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Lebanese Shish Tavuk: Middle Eastern Chicken Skewers Recipe

Sherry loves restaurant-style dishes and always looks for easier and tastier recipes to try.

Shish Tavuk

Shish Tavuk

Middle Eastern Dishes

I have always been a fan of Middle Eastern dishes, and shish tavuk has always been my favourite meal. I love this dish more and more now that I know how to cook it myself. I cook it at least once every two weeks. Trust me, it is much easier than it looks. All you have to do is prepare the marinade, keep it in the refrigerator for some time, thread the chicken on the skewers, grill, and—TA-DA!—it is done.

Shish tavuk is a traditional marinated shish kebab of Middle Eastern cuisine served in every Lebanese and Turkish restaurant.

Shish tavuk is eaten in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iran, and Israel. In some other countries, it is called 'Shish kebab' or 'Sheekh kebab,' prepared with slight variations.

Origin of the Name

'Shish' means skewers in Turkish, and 'Tavuk' comes from 'takagu', meaning 'chicken.'


This dish can be served with rice, yogurt, and skewer-grilled vegetables. The Syrian and Lebanese versions are served with toum, hummus, and tabbouleh—all of which are amazingly delicious and equally as easy to make.

I prepared it with little variation each time I made it. You can prepare the same appetizing shish tavuk by removing or adding ingredients to suit your taste and health choices.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

4 hours 30 min

20 min

4 hours 50 min

Serves 6 people 2 pound of skewer-grilled chicken


  • 1/4 cup lemon, juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (hung yogurt)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons tomato, paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano, dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, cinnamon, cumin together, ground
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 onions, cut into large wedges
  • 1 green large bell pepper, cut into large wedges
  • 1 hot chili pepper, cut into wedges
  • 4-5 leaves cabbage
  • 1 tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 tomato, cut into wedges
  • Pinch red color, usually not used. I used it to match the colorful cuisines theme.


  1. In a bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients (yogurt, garlic, tomato paste, oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano, black pepper, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon and cumin) together.
  2. Add the chicken cubes to the above mixture and coat the pieces with the marinade completely.
  3. Similarly, add the wedge-cut onion, bell pepper, hot chili pepper, cabbage and tomatoes into the marinade to coat them.
  4. Transfer the marinade-coated chicken and vegetables into a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight. The longer you keep the marinade in the refrigerator, the tastier it gets.
  5. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  6. Thread the chicken pieces onto the pre-soaked skewers one after one, adding onion, tomato and pepper pieces in the middle.
  7. Cook until the chicken is golden and cooked in the centre; after keeping it for about 5 minutes, depending on the heat, turn the skewers upside down for the other side to cook.
  8. Sprinkle parsley on the top.
  9. Serve the shish tavuk with flatbread or rice and yogurt. Hummus and toum are delicious dips if you already have these at home, or you can make these easy 10 minutes dip by watching the videos I have added below.
Preparing the marinade

Preparing the marinade

Shish Tavuk (Skewer-grilled chicken)

Shish Tavuk (Skewer-grilled chicken)

Good Cooking Tips

  • You can keep the marinade prepared for use any time you want.
  • Skip using spices that your health cannot keep up with.
  • I used red colour to give it a colorful look. The non-colored shish tavuk looks more authentic, though there is no change in the taste of course.

Do try this tasty recipe and tell me how it was, and also tell me what variations you used.

© 2018 Sherry Haynes