Turkey Kebabs

These turkey kebabs are marinated in onion, vinegar, sumac, and oil, then quickly grilled and served with a refreshing cucumber, mint, and sumac salad. An easy meal that doesn’t require turning on your oven.

A metal plate with chunks of cooked turkey, a turkey kebab, and a dish of cucumber salad.

These marinated grilled turkey kebabs, inspired by something that’s common in Azerbaijan, are surprisingly complex in taste yet sufficiently quick and easy to let you take all the time you want to do things other than swelter in a hot kitchen come summer. Yet thankfully they don’t at all taste like they were tossed together at the last minute.Angie Zoobkoff

☞ Table of Contents

Turkey Kebabs

A metal plate with chunks of cooked turkey, a turkey kebab, and a dish of cucumber salad.
This simple, fresh, and healthy meal of marinated grilled turkey kebabs with cucumber salad doesn't require you to turn on the stove or oven, making it perfect for hot summer days.

Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Resting Time 3 hrs
Total 3 hrs 30 mins
6 servings
346 kcal
5 from 1 vote
Print RecipeBuy the Taste of Persia cookbook

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For the turkey kebabs

  • 3 pounds boneless turkey (white or dark meat) cut into 1 1/2-inch (8-cm) chunks
  • 2 (7-ounce) onions grated
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or verjuice
  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or mild vegetable oil
  • Sea salt to taste

For the cucumber salad

  • 3 cups peeled Persian or English cucumbers cut in 1/2-inch (6-mm) cubes
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried mint or 1 tablespoon torn fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste

To serve (optional)

  • Cooked rice
  • Assorted chopped fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, mint, or parsley


Make the turkey kebabs

  • At least 3 hours before you want to grill, pat the turkey dry. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, onion, vinegar or verjuice, and 1 teaspoon sumac and stir to fully coat the turkey.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours.
  • About 30 minutes before you want to grill, remove the turkey from the fridge. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill over medium heat to about 400°F (204°C).
  • Slide the turkey pieces onto skewers, leaving ample space between each piece. Discard the marinade. Lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with a little salt.
  • Grill the skewers, turning frequently, until the turkey is lightly browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Partway through cooking, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sumac and another generous sprinkle of salt.

Make the cucumber salad

  • While the turkey is cooking, place the cucumbers in a serving bowl.
  • Sprinkle with the mint, sumac, and salt and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

To serve

  • When the turkey is done, pile the skewers on a platter. Serve with the cucumber salad along with and rice and herbs, if desired.
Print RecipeBuy the Taste of Persia cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 346kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 8g (3%)Protein: 50g (100%)Fat: 13g (20%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 122mg (41%)Sodium: 569mg (25%)Potassium: 743mg (21%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 95IU (2%)Vitamin C: 7mg (8%)Calcium: 57mg (6%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These turkey kebabs were a HUGE hit in my house. All of my eaters kept marveling that the meat was turkey. Grating the onion is genius and a hack I’m going to use when marinating other meats destined for the grill. The tiny onion bits that cling to the meat caramelize and practically dissolve away, leaving behind a delicious flavor.

I served the kebabs with simple brown basmati rice, some stewed french lentils, cucumber salad, and an herb platter, which is exactly how I love to eat.

I used turkey breast meat and unseasoned rice vinegar. I also used an English cucumber. Because I was using fresh mint in the herb plate I subbed fresh mint into the cucumber salad instead of dried. I hate wasting herbs.

If you’ve avoided grilled turkey kebabs for fear of them being dry, look no further. This healthy recipe produces moist, flavorful turkey, although the cucumber salad really stole the show here. Crunchy, salty, and just plain delicious, we couldn’t stop eating the cucumbers.

Do take the time to search out sumac; the rich earthy flavor really makes the turkey and cucumbers pop. I used turkey tenderloins from the breast, so it was all white meat, but didn’t dry out at all. I used rice vinegar for the marinade. I used Persian cucumbers, fresh off the garden.

Originally published June 05, 2020



    1. Peter, that’s an excellent question, and we weren’t provided with that recipe by the publisher. I’m guessing it’s a chutney of some sort—-a little spicy and a little sweet and perhaps a little sour–perhaps something like a mango chutney…

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