Persian Chicken Kabobs

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These easy Persian Chicken Kabobs are marinated in yogurt, lemon, and spices that come out tender and juicy every single time. These chicken skewers are packed with flavor and

202 CAL 9g CARBS 1g FAT 36g PROTEIN 0

Although I generally try to stay away from take-out for, one of my favorite take-out options is a delicious Persian restaurant near my house. Between the amazing kabobs, garlicky hummus, and crunchy cucumber and tomato salad – I am always a happy girl.

Inspired by that delicious takeout, I set out to create my own kabobs at home using chicken breast, yogurt, parsley, fresh lemon, and lots of spices.

Yogurt is one of my favorite things to use to marinate chicken (this Yogurt Parmesan Chicken is delicious). Yogurt is lower in calories than oil and almost guarantees a moist and tender chicken breast.

While I opted to just use chicken in this recipe, you could definitely add some veggies to your kabobs. Red onion, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini would be delicious.

Craving more Middle Eastern takeout favorites? Don't miss this Chicken Kofta Bowl and Chicken Shawarma,

What You'll Need

Here is everything you need to make these Persian chicken kabobs.

  • Chicken: These work with broth boneless skinless chicken breast and chicken thighs. It would also work with chunks of pork. 
  • Yogurt: Any type of plain or Greek yogurt works for marinating the chicken. Nonfat, low fat, and full fat all work as well. Just use whatever type of plain yogurt you have on hand. Yogurt is a great way to tenderize the chicken. 
  • Lemon: The lemon adds a bright and fresh flavor to the chicken and also helps to tenderize the chicken. Fresh lemon juice is always best. 
  • Parsley: Parsley is a staple in this style of cooking and adds flavor and a nice, fresh flavor to the chicken. Fresh basil, cilantro, or oregano would work as well. Dried or freeze fried parsley could be used if you don't have fresh, 
  • Garlic: Garlic is a much in these kabobs. Fresh garlic is always best but minced garlic can be swapped in. 
  • Spices: Cumin is a popular herb in Persian cooking that adds an earthy, smoky flavor. Additionally, the recipe uses onion powder, black pepper, salt, paprika, and coriander. 

Recipe Tips to Amazing Kabobs

Here is what you need to know to make really tasty grilled kabobs.

  • Always cut the chicken into uniform pieces so that they cook in the same amount of time. There is nothing worse than having some pieces that are burned and some that are raw. One-inch squares are a good size for kabobs. 
  • Consider adding vegetables to the kabobs. Bell peppers, red onions, and zucchini all work well. For added flavor, marinate the vegetables as well. Or make these grilled vegetable skewers on the side. 
  • Do not turn the kabobs too soon. If it is sticking to the grill, it is probably not ready to turn yet. Let the chicken brown and naturally release from the grill. 
  • If your grill tends to be sticky, oil the grill before adding the kabobs. 
  • For a more authentic kabob, marinate slices of onion with the chicken. Then thread a piece of onion between each piece of chicken. 
  • Throw some halved tomatoes on the grill for a traditional side dish. 

What to Serve with Persian Chicken Kabobs

There are so many ways to serve these kabobs. Go traditional and serve them with rice, grilled tomatoes, and cucumber salad. Or get creative and serve them with grilled vegetables, a tasty lentil salad, or over a green salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to the most common questions about making these Persian Chicken Skewers.

Joojeh kabobs are a common Persian chicken kabob that is made by marinating chicken in bloomed saffron, lemon, yogurt, and onions. The chicken is threaded on a skewer and grilled. This version doesn't include saffron, although you could add it to the marinade and reduce the amount of other spices. 

These kabobs turn out great in the oven, just make sure to cook them on broil. The key to a delicious kabob is getting some bowned, crispy edges. Broiling does that. Just make sure to turn the kabobs often so they don't burn. 

The yogurt in this recipe works to add flavor to the chicken and also tenderizes the chicken. If you decide not to use the yogurt, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of olive oil. Some people also use mayonnaise instead of yogurt, but that isn't traditionally used in a shish kabob. 

The Recipe
Persian chicken kabobs marinated in yogurt and spices and served over a couscous salad.

Persian Chicken Kabobs

202 CAL 9g CARBS 1g FAT 36g PROTEIN 0
PREP TIME: 4 Hours, 10 Min
TOTAL TIME: 4 Hours, 25 Min
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  • 1.33 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander

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Combine the yogurt, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, onion powder, black pepper, salt, paprika, and coriander. Marinate the chicken in this mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight.


When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess drip off. Thread onto skewers. These can also be cooked without the skewers. If making skewers,consider adding some of your favorite veggies.


To grill: Place on a medium hot grill for 10-15 minutes, turning 2-3 times, or until chicken is fully cooked.


To broil: Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Broil for 10-12 minutes, turning 1-2 times, or until chicken is cooked through.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 202
Calories from Fat 16
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 75mg
Sodium 697mg
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 5g
Protein 36g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Persian Chicken Kabobs
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Leslee Eicher
August 4, 2018 - 09:41
Hi! I’m planning to make this recipe this week and wondered what the side-dish is that you show in the picture. It all looks delicious! Thanks, LesLee
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August 7, 2018 - 09:44
I think it is this curried chickpea and course - :)
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Anna Meyerson
February 7, 2017 - 16:38
Add a Rating:
This was delicious. I prepared as specified (although used dried parsley cause that's all i had - I used about 1/2 recommended amount). I marinated overnight, placed in a wire grill basket and grilled about 15 minutes. My 3 young kids asked for seconds.
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December 14, 2015 - 10:20
Glad to hear you enjoyed the flavors! For baking I would recommend 20-25 minutes at 425, flipping after the first 10 minutes. Let me know how it turns out!
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