Shish Tawook, Grilled Chicken Skewers

Shish Tawook is a beloved Lebanese dish of grilled chicken skewers. So tender, and huge on flavor! The marinade is key, with several spices in a yogurt base imparting flavor through-and-through. 

Chicken Shish Tawook on skewers

Oh how the Lebanese love their grills! This juicy, highly seasoned grilled chicken recipe is a traditional favorite. “Shish Tawook” means chicken skewers, and they’re always grilled. I consider this one of the most delicious ways to cook skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Lean, healthy chicken gets the royal treatment in a simple but lush marinade.

The recipe comes together easily, too: dice the chicken, whisk the marinade, combine and let those chill. Skewer the marinated chicken, grill for about 15 minutes, and you’ve arrived!

Marinade ingredients in a bowl for Shish Tawook
Cubed chicken in a bowl with marinade for Shish Tawook

Ingredients for Shish Tawook, Grilled Chicken Skewers

The list of ingredients for shish tawook may seem long, but these are mostly spices that give the marinade, and in turn the chicken, its incredibly wonderful flavor.

Yogurt, which functions as a tenderizer for the chicken. Plus flavor!

Lemon juice. Together with the yogurt, a key flavor maker.

Garlic. Because garlic.

Tomato paste. For a hit of color and more of the acidic flavors like lemon and yogurt. Paste from a tube is a great way to use just a couple of tablespoons.

Spices: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, allspice, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

For the chicken, use skinless, boneless breasts cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Keep a little neutral oil (such as canola or avocado oil) to coat the grill grates. Don’t skip this as it makes such a difference when turning the skewers.

How to make Shish Tawook Marinade

The many spices in the Shish Tawook marinade make for the “wow” flavor factor that this grilled chicken is known for.

The yogurt base, along with lemon juice, tenderize the chicken and keep it moist through grilling. Use plain yogurt. Labneh or Greek Yogurt are thicker, so if you use either of these, just add more lemon juice and olive oil in the marinade to loosen it.

I use a whopping 8 garlic cloves for my Shish Tawook to ramp flavor right up! The spices all contribute to deep flavor layers; there are many but all are common so know that you’ll continue using any that need to be purchased for the recipe. And, once you make these grilled chicken skewers, no doubt they’ll be back on your menu again and again! You’ll want all ingredients handy!

Chicken marinating for Shish Tawook in a bowl
Skewered chicken for shish Tawook on a pan

Tips for Skewering Chicken for Shish Tawook

  1. The marinade will coat the chicken cubes rather heavily. Wipe away some of that marinade as you pull the chicken from the bowl to skewer it.
  2. As the chicken is threaded on the skewers just before grilling, be sure each cube rests next to the last one but doesn’t crowd it. We want to make sure the chicken can cook nicely all the way through.
  3. Metal skewers are my favorite, so I keep shorter, 10- to 12-inch metal skewers on hand. Bamboo skewers are fine, just be sure to soak them for about 30 minutes before threading the chicken on them so they don’t burn on the grill.

Grill with shish tawook skewers

How to serve Shish Tawook

Serve Kebabs, or grilled skewers, off the skewer! Anything that is cooked on a skewer is much easier to serve and eat when it is already removed from the cooking instrument, the skewer.

A very easy way to remove the chicken from the skewer is with a piece of pita, flatbread, or other piece of sturdy bread. Be sure the skewers have cooled enough to handle, or use a hot pad to handle. Wrap the bread around the meat at the handle end of the skewer and push all of the meat off the pointed end onto a board or platter.

P.S. This bread now laden with grilled chicken juices tastes divine!

Grilled Shish Tawook on a board

What to Serve with Shish Tawook

Garlic Toum Sauce

Lebanese Vermicelli Rice

Grilled Vegetable Platter

Fattoush Salad

More of My Lebanese Grilled Skewer Recipes

Kafta Kebabs

Chicken Shawarma

Lamb Skewers

Marinated Chicken Kebabs

Chicken Shish Tawook on skewers

Chicken Shish Tawook

Maureen Abood
These beloved Lebanese grilled chicken skewers are tender and huge on flavor! The marinade is key, with several spices in a yogurt base that imparts flavor through-and-through. Serve with a saucy Toum Garlic Sauce, Lebanese Vermicelli Rice and Grilled Vegetables.
Servings 6


  • 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt or laban
  • Juice of 2 lemons (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Several grinds black pepper
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Neutral oil, such as canola or safflower, or oil spray, to coat the grill grates


  • In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ingredients except the chicken and neutral oil.
  • Add the cubed chicken to the marinade, mixing well to coat the pieces fully. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to one day.
  • Thread the marinated chicken on metal or soaked bamboo skewers.
  • Heat the grill to medium high. Coat the grates generously with oil just before adding the chicken.
  • Place the skewered chicken on the grill and cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken cubes) or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Turn the skewers once midway through cooking. Look for a golden brown color with some charring.
  • Remove the skewers and allow them to rest for a few minutes. Push the chicken from the skewers using a piece of pita bread or a large fork. Serve immediately.
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Maureen Abood in the kitchen

I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!

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