My go-to chicken skewers. These pack in so much flavor, you won’t even need a sauce to jazz them up! Get ’em while they’re hot!
You can make these chicken skewers on the grill or inside on a grill pan. I’ll write instructions for both methods. The chicken is heavily coated in a variety of spices, which result in a very flavorful and delectable final product. Some cumin, hot Hungarian paprika, a bit of za’atar, turmeric, garlic powder, cardamom, and good ‘ole dried oregano. Of course I recommend using all of them, without substitutions – you can use any leftover spices that you buy for future recipes. Plus, your palate will thank me for bringing these spices into your life!
I’ve made these countless times, and they are always a fan-favorite. For everyone who has ever asked me for the recipe, here you go – enjoy!
- Let your meat come to room temperature before cooking. 30 minutes to an hour. This ensures more even cooking throughout. The outside of the meat won’t dry out too much before the inside is cooked through, resulting in a juicier final product. Don’t we all want that?
- Soaking your wooden skewers. This will prevent the skewers from splintering off when you put the meat on. It will also prevent the skewers from burning too easily on the grill.
- Chicken Thighs – I love using chicken thighs because they’re extremely juicy and do not dry out as easily as chicken breasts. If you don’t like dark meat, feel free to use chicken breasts instead, but I’ve served these to people who tell me they hate dark meat, and they ALWAYS end up loving these skewers.
- Smoked Paprika – For those of you who have never used this spice, you may be thinking: Can I use regular paprika? Yes, you can use regular paprika if you want to, but the smokey flavor is a nice added element to the flavor of this dish. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores, but if you can’t, buy it here.
- Za’atar – A Middle Eastern spice that is comprised of assorted dried herbs, sumac (tart and acidic), and sesame seeds. I always have za’atar in my spice drawer! If you cannot find it at a store near you, buy it here.
- Avocado Oil – I love using avocado oil for cooking when I am sautéing, stir fry-ing, or searing. It has a high smoke point, which means it can get very hot before it starts to smoke and burn, similar to other neutral oils, like vegetable or canola. However, it’s SO MUCH healthier than those oils, almost as healthy as olive oil. You can read more about it here. If you want, you can substitute olive oil or grapeseed oil, but you should be able to find avocado oil in most grocery stores.
The Best Spiced Chicken Skewers
- Large Mixing Bowl
- 6 wooden skewers (if choosing to use the large metal skewers, you can put on double the chicken, so the recipe would only make 3 skewers)
- Outside grill or grill pan
- 6 chicken thighs cut into 6 equal cubes
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon za’atar
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let marinate for at least an hour or up to one day. If marinating for longer than an hour, keep in the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before cooking.
- While the chicken marinates, soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Skewer the chicken, using 6 pieces per skewer. You may need to fold larger pieces of chicken and skewer both ends of them so that they’re not hanging off the skewer. If you’d like to wrap the open ends of the skewers in foil, you can do so, but it’s not always necessary.
- If using a grill: Preheat the grill on medium-high heat. Once hot, place the chicken skewers on the front edge of the grill with the open wooden parts hanging off the front side. Close the grill (it won’t close all the way because the skewers will be in the way) and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, until fully cooked. Serve immediately while still hot.
- If using a grill pan: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Heat your grill pan over medium-high heat and spray the pan with non-stick spray. When hot, add your skewers to the pan, with the wooden ends hanging off the side. Cook for 5 minutes per side, and then stick the entire grill pan into the oven for an additional 5 minutes, or until fully cooked. Serve immediately while still hot.