Easy Marinated Chicken Skewers

Whether you choose to call these easy marinated chicken skewers kebabs, kabobs, or skewers, one thing is for certain. The sweet and spicy flavor from the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, and chile powder marinade will have you making them over and over again.

Three easy marinated chicken skewers on a blue plate and a fourth one on top of a piece of flatbread.

Adapted from Asma Khan | Ammu | Interlink Books, 2022

For these Indian-inspired marinated chicken skewers, or kebabs, boneless chicken thighs are infused with a marinade of honey, soy, ginger, garlic, Kashmiri chile powder, coriander, and vinegar. They can be broiled or grilled and cook very quickly, making them ideal for a quick weeknight meal. Just remember to toss them into the marinade before you leave for work in the morning.–Angie Zoobkoff

Marinated Chicken Skewer FAQs

What is the best method for cutting ginger?

Ginger root can be a little intimidating – but fear not. With a couple of easy steps, you’ll be on your way to fresh chopped ginger in no time. First, take the ginger root in your non-dominant hand and hold a cheap spoon in your dominant hand. Scrape the edge of the spoon across the skin until it peels off. Then use a microplane or grater to grate your ginger into tiny pieces.

Don’t have either of those? No big deal. Using a large chef’s or santoku knife, cut your peeled ginger into thin slices in one direction, then chop in the other direction until you have a lovely mince. Please don’t substitute ginger powder for the fresh version called for in this recipe.

What should I serve with marinated chicken skewers?

There are so many options. Jasmine or Basmati rice would be lovely, perhaps with a side of cooling raita and a basket of fresh naan. Grilled peppers and onions would work well with the chicken. Look for bright, vibrant colors to complement the deep dark reds of the chile powder. Vegetables like grilled asparagus or broccolini would be marvelous.

Can I use whole boneless chicken thighs or breasts instead of skewering the chicken?

Absolutely. You’ll probably need to marinate for more than two hours due to the larger pieces of meat, and your cooking time will be longer, but the chicken will still be fantastic. Use a meat thermometer and make sure your chicken cooks to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C), then move it to a plate or cutting board and let it rest under a loose foil tent for about five minutes. All that’s left to do then is to serve, sit back, and enjoy.

Easy Marinated Chicken Skewers

Three easy marinated chicken skewers on a blue plate and a fourth one on top of a piece of flatbread.
These chicken kebabs are a cinch to throw together. Whip up a flavorful honey, soy, and chile marinade, let the pieces of chicken thigh soak up all that flavor, and then quickly grill or broil.
Asma Khan

Prep 20 mins
Cook 8 mins
Total 2 hrs 45 mins
Mains
Indian
4 skewers
173 kcal
5 / 2 votes
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Equipment

  • 4 Metal or wooden skewers

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or mild chile powder
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions
 

  • In a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger and garlic, then stir in the soy sauce, vinegar or lime juice, honey, coriander, and chile powder to make a marinade. Alternatively, the marinade ingredients can be blitzed in a food processor.
  • Place the chicken in a bowl, pour over the marinade, and mix well to ensure all the pieces are coated. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking, about 30 minutes.
  • If you are using a broiler, it is better to use wooden skewers. Soak four skewers in water for 20 to 30 minutes before threading the chicken onto the skewers. Preheat the broiler on high with a rack set 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) from the heat source.
    If you are using a grill, metal skewers work best. Divvy the chicken between four skewers and thread the chicken onto the skewers. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Grill or broil the skewers until the chicken is cooked all the way through and an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) is reached, 3 to 6 minutes per side. Serve.
Print RecipeBuy the Ammu cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1skewerCalories: 173kcal (9%)Carbohydrates: 7g (2%)Protein: 24g (48%)Fat: 5g (8%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 108mg (36%)Sodium: 975mg (42%)Potassium: 400mg (11%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 176IU (4%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 26mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Over the past year or so our restaurant visits have been mostly takeout, with our favorites being Thai, where we generally order chicken satay to get the meal started. This easy marinated chicken skewers recipe provided an opportunity to create something similar at home as well as break out the backyard grill for the first cook of the year.

Preparing these marinated chicken kebabs is very straightforward with minimal prep and cooking times. Since I was riffing chicken satay, I made a delicious peanut sauce and served the grilled chicken over Basmati rice with the peanut sauce on the side. My guest and I loved the mildly spicy chicken paired with the creamy peanut sauce. It was better than the restaurant fare we have been enjoying at our favorite spots!

The only change I will make the next time I use this recipe is to add some red or yellow peppers to the skewers to provide some color and vegetable to the meal. The flavors of the marinade will hold up nicely to any vegetable added to the meal.

It was a lovely first day of spring and it was time to start up the grill. I thought this spicy marinated chicken kebabs recipe was perfect for grilling and it was! The whole recipe was easy to follow and resulted in a tasty chicken dish. I used mild chile powder, but if I made this marinade again, I think medium chile powder would be a better choice. I love the flavor of fresh ginger and may use a little more next time. The combination of soy sauce and honey in the marinade created a nice color and caramelization on the chicken. With a couple of tweaks, it’s a marinade that is worthy of a repeat this summer!

With just a short window of balmy temperatures before returning to winter, I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and try out these marinated chicken kebabs. They were tender, flavorful, and delicious, not to mention gorgeous!

I loved the absolute ease of preparation; I used a mini food processor to make it even simpler and left the cubes of chicken to marinate overnight. I used 1 1/2 lbs of boneless chicken breasts (there was plenty of marinade to accommodate even more chicken–I’ll bet you could easily have done 2 lbs with this amount) because they are easier to cube uniformly. I sprayed the metal skewers with cooking spray and also sprayed the grill grates after the grill was preheated to avoid sticking. I only grilled for a total of 6 minutes and really 5 minutes total would have done the trick. I served the chicken with sesame noodles and steamed asparagus.

The title, ingredients, and prep for this easy marinated chicken skewers recipe are what drew me in. Once I opened the container that had been marinating the ingredients, it confirmed I made the right decision! The waft of fresh ginger, aromatic garlic, and soy sauce set off a Pavlovian response like no other. The cooked pieces of tender chicken were even better, as was the taste.

I ended up using boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs, as this is what we had. Plus, hubby prefers this cut of chicken. I also ended up marinating for a full 24 hours!

Fortunately, the chicken held up well and grilled beautifully. In lieu of a mortar and pestle (or food processor), I used a microplane for both the garlic and ginger. (I didn’t even peel the ginger.) I used fresh lime juice (we have a tree) and mild red chile powder.

For cooking, I patted the chicken dry with paper towels and coated lightly with neutral oil for grilling, used metal skewers, and cooked them on an outdoor gas grill. It took a total of 11 minutes to cook them through. For finishing, I added a couple pats of butter along with another tablespoon of lime juice over the chicken then wrapped in foil to rest. This created a beautiful sauce.

For serving, I sprinkled a few toasted sesame seeds and fresh cilantro on top of the chicken over a bed of steamed jasmine rice, along with a side of Asian inspired coleslaw. Turned out delicious! I will be making this again…and again!

If you are looking for a very easy, quick but yummy recipe these easy marinated chicken skewers are a good choice. Prep for this recipe took just about 15 minutes since all the chopping/mixing is done in the food processor.

I marinated the chicken for 4 hours and it was very flavorful so I assume a longer marinate would only be better. I grilled the chicken, turning once halfway and it was cooked perfectly in 7 minutes. I don’t have metal skewers so I used water-soaked wooden ones and it worked fine. The flavors in the marinade blended well with each flavor present but none were overpowering.

We like our food on the spicy side so I will try increasing the ginger and chile powder next time. I served the chicken atop rice stir-fried with broccoli and red bell pepper and used some of the remaining marinade to cook the stir fry. Delicious!

These easy marinated chicken skewers use simple ingredients and technique but produce loads of flavour – one to keep in your back pocket! Marinate in the morning and come home to dinner mostly prepped!

Originally published June 8, 2022

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    If I used skinless chicken breasts or chicken cutlets, can they be broiled? Broiled whole? I don’t have a grill. The recipe sounds wonderful, and I appreciate the original information and the comments from the various testers. I have not tried the recipe yet, but hope to in the near future.

      1. So, per your suggestion cut up the chicken, then marinate, then broil. Thank you so much, David.

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