Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kabobs

Hello, summer!

With the first mention of  “kabob”, you know what season it is.

Grilled chicken can incite groans from even the most die-hard grillers because of its reputation of bland flavor and dry texture.  But if done right, it can become your new favorite and quite the crowd pleaser.

Try typing “chicken” into Google and thousands of desperate cries from folks all around automatically pop up for new palate-stimulating recipes.

What do you do when you have a freezer full of chicken breasts and want to try something new?  I turned to Bon Appetit, a great go-to online source for recipes that might not be in your everyday repertoire.

This stood out to me as the perfect chance to invite summer in with kabobs, and to try a new technique for marinating chicken — with yogurt.

From what I’ve heard, marinating meats in yogurt keep them tender and moist, and impart a nice tangy flavor.

Add a little spice to the tang, and you’ve got a winner.

I’ll definitely be making this Turkish-inspired dish again.

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kabobs with Aleppo Pepper
Courtesy Bon Appetit

1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper or 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper plus 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika, plus additional Aleppo pepper or paprika for sprinkling
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 unpeeled lemons; 1 thinly sliced into rounds, 1 cut into wedges for serving
2 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken (thighs and/or breast halves), cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
Metal or bamboo skewers

If using Aleppo pepper, place in large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon warm water. Let stand until thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. If using dried crushed red pepper and paprika combination, place in large bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons warm water and let stand until paste forms, about 5 minutes.

Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper to spice mixture in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in garlic and lemon slices, then chicken.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).  Thread chicken pieces on metal skewers, dividing equally. Discard marinade in bowl.   Sprinkle each skewer with salt, pepper, and additional Aleppo pepper or paprika.

Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes total.  Transfer skewers to platter. Surround with lemon wedges and serve.


I didn’t use Aleppo pepper for the marinade.  Instead, I used the alternative, the paprika and red pepper combination.  It tasted great, and I didn’t even have to do any Aleppo pepper hunting.

If you don’t have any metal skewers, you can just use the bamboo version, as I have.  Be sure to soak them in water for a minimum of half an hour prior to grilling so that they don’t burn (or at least burn less).

Don’t skip the lemon in the marinade!  The chicken becomes perfumed with the citrus and really makes it special.

Author: Adrienne | Categories: Home Cooking + Recipes | Comments: 8


  1. Posted June 11, 2010 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    These kabobs look great. I like the combination of flavors in the marinade: the spices, the yogurt, garlic, vinegar…all good stuff.

    On another note, I’m still struggling with my photography but yours are looking better and better! Great job!

  2. Posted June 12, 2010 at 5:53 AM | Permalink

    Looks wonderful 🙂

  3. teenbug
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    Kabobs look fantastic. You’re photography is getting better with each post. Yay!! 🙂 Lara is my hrro. Love her.

  4. Posted June 24, 2010 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    Yum, your recipe sounds great for grilling season. I’ve never used yogurt to marinate chicken but I will have to try it. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    So good. I accidentally doubled the red pepper flakes, ha. Also, I omitted the lemon and used a thick tomato puree instead of paste. We loved it.

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