This Greek Chicken Souvlaki is a batch of juicy, flavorful chicken served on a piece of fluffy pita with a couple of crisp and creamy sides to go along with it. It takes an hour to marinade, and just 10 minutes to make on the grill! It’s the perfect Mediterranean recipe for the whole summer and the whole family.
There’s nothing like Mediterranean cuisine for the summer: fresh, simple, and full of seasonal ingredients. And here’s one that you can throw right on the grill!
My chicken souvlaki recipe involves an incredibly simple marinade that is versatile and customizable. So customizable, in fact, that you can easily swap it out with my alternative Mediterranean Chicken Marinade!
Important to note: this is not an overnight recipe. You don’t want to marinate for any longer than one hour, four tops, or you risk the chicken becoming mushy and unappetizing.
When it comes to sides and sauces, you can’t do much better than fresh and zesty tzatziki to round out these Mediterranean flavors. To serve, toss your grilled skewers onto some homemade pita bread.
Chicken souvlaki pita
Cuisine: Greek / Mediterranean
Souvlaki is a Greek dish, featuring small pieces of marinated meat grilled on skewers. Sometimes vegetables are added as well. Authentic Greek souvlaki is made with pork, but beef, lamb and chicken are common too.
For this Greek souvlaki recipe, we’re using chicken.
Greek souvlaki, Greek grilled chicken skewers, chicken souvlaki pita
soo · vlah · kee
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Chicken – You’ll have the easiest time cutting boneless breasts.
- Olive Oil – This is a great marinade base because it moistens the meat as well as helps all of the other ingredients stick to and flavor it. Canola or vegetable oil are possible substitutes, but olive oil heavily contributes to the Mediterranean flavor.
- Lemon Juice – A bright flavor that also tenderizes the meat.
- Garlic – Sharp and pungent. Chives, shallots, or plain garlic powder can be used instead if preferred or easier.
- Oregano – I used dried, but you can chop up fresh herbs if you have them handy. Just add a bit more to get the same amount of flavor.
- Salt & Pepper – Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper will balance the marinade. Don’t skip them!
- To Serve – I recommend plating with fresh tzatziki, soft pita, some lemon slices, a couple of tomato slices, and a bit of red onion.
Greek souvlaki recipe video
Grilling chicken to juicy perfection does take practice, but it’s a simple process. To see it from start to finish, watch the video in the recipe card below!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN SOUVLAKI
- Cut the Meat. Dice the meat into bite sized cubes, somewhere between a ½” to 1”. Toss in a baggie and set aside.
- Marinade. Add all of the marinade oils, juices, and seasonings to a bowl and whisk together. Pour the mixture into the bag with the meat and toss until covered. Refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
- Make the Skewers. Skewer the marinated meat with some space between the pieces.
- Prep the Grill. While the grill preheats to a medium-high heat, spray down with oil.
- Grill the Souvlaki. Grill the skewers for up to 10 minutes while regularly rotating the skewers to allow for even browning. Pour some of the reserve marinade over the skewers sometime during the process, and a couple of times if preferred.
- Let Rest. Remove the skewers once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 163°F, allowing them to rest for 5 minutes while the center continues to cook.
- Plate & Serve. Meanwhile, heat up the pita on the grill and plate the vegetables, lemon, and tzatziki. Serve alongside the chicken souvlaki, and enjoy!
Before you add the chicken pieces to the marinade, reserve a little bit for basting the meat while it’s on the grill.
Tips for grilling chicken souvlaki skewers
- Use metal skewers if possible.
While bamboo and other wooden kabob skewers are fine to use, you’ll need to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding food for grilling. Otherwise, there’s a risk of them catching fire.
- Food safety is important!
When precautions aren’t taken, grilling raw meat and poultry presents a risk of food poisoning and/or illness from bacteria that’s present in the raw meat.
Because your health is important, I recommend following the grilling guidelines outlined by the FDA and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Because of the bacteria in raw meat, do not ever reuse marinades that have had raw meat or poultry in them. If you’d like to use a marinade as a dressing or dipping sauce, just make extra and reserve it for using with the meal, or set some aside before coming in contact with raw meat.
Chicken souvlaki pita FAQ
While both dishes are served in pita bread, each has a different cooking process. Gyro meat is cooked on a rotisserie spit while Greek souvlaki meat is grilled on skewers.
After the grilled meat cools to room temperature, it can be frozen for up to three months. Just be sure to freeze it in an airtight container or freezer safe storage bag.
Chicken souvlaki marinade is actually incredibly simple. Aside from the fresh lemon and garlic, you likely already have everything in your kitchen: olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Lemon concentrate and powdered garlic are potential substitutes to make this recipe even easier to make on a whim.
I like to use metal skewers — you can use them more than once and they’re easy to clean!
You could, however, also use wooden skewers. If you go that route, I recommend cutting them down to fit your grill and soaking them in water for 30 minutes or so to keep them from burning while grilling.
Grilling meat is one of the healthiest ways to prepare it, as opposed to frying or sauteing. Chicken itself is also one of the leanest proteins you can consume.
Aside from that, this recipe contains a few ingredients that contain vital vitamins and minerals, including onions, tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon.
It’s important to remember that the key lies in moderation: excessive amounts of olive oil and meats can be detrimental to your health.
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes June, 2021, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in June, 2022.
Greek Chicken Souvlaki + Video
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts boneless skinless, cubed
- Cut chicken into bite size pieces and transfer to gallon size zip top food storage bag.
- Mix together the above Marinade ingredients or try my Mediterranean chicken marinade and pour over chicken. Squeeze air out of bag and seal. Toss chicken to coat and transfer to refrigerator to marinate for 45 minutes to an hour (See Note 1).
- Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto metal skewers. Leave some space between the pieces, don't pack too closely together (See Note 2).
- Preheat grill to medium-high. Clean and oil your grill to prevent food from sticking.
- Cook the skewers of chicken souvlaki for 8-10 minutes, turning until golden brown on all sides. Baste at least once with reserved marinade, being sure to discard any leftover marinade. Chicken is done cooking when food thermometer reads 163°F (chicken will continue to cook as it rests). Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes before serving.
- Heat pita on grill to warm up and soften, if desired.
- Serve souvlaki pita with grilled chicken, tomatoes, onion slices, authentic tzatziki, then squeeze lemon on top.
- Chicken should not marinate for longer than an hour. Otherwise, the proteins will start to break down resulting in a mushy texture.
- I use metal skewers, but if using wooden ones, cut long wooden skewers to fit your grill or grill pan. Soak them soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent the wood from burning.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.