Grilled Chicken Adana Kebabs

Turkish chicken Adana is a richly seasoned chicken kabob you can make outdoors on the grill or right under your oven’s broiler. Fresh, aromatic herbs and smoky spices are blended with moist thigh meat and charred as a deliciously textured, juicy, spiced kebab.

extreme closeup: chicken adan kabobs with vegetables

There are few meals I’ve enjoyed more than the street food I’ve encountered in the Middle East. There’s something so satisfying about a grab-and-go meal, and there’s nothing as grab-and-go as a kebab!

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite Turkish kebabs: chicken Adana. The moist and juicy chicken is minced along with peppers, herbs, and a few aromatic spices for a hint of citrus and smokiness. I first discovered this in Istanbul, and when traveling throughout Turkey found the street vendors selling them in Çanakkale to be outstanding!

extreme closeup: chicken adana recipe over white rice

The longest part of this recipe is waiting for it to chill and firm up — an hour minimum. So make sure you have at least that long before you need to fire up the grill or serve dinner. They’re great with rice and pita, slathered with yogurt sauce!

Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes before grilling to prevent burning or use metal ones. This strategy is useful for this chicken Adana recipe and for kabobs of meat or vegetables.

overhead: bowl of minced vegetables and spices for chicken adana

Tip From Kevin

Chicken Thighs or Breast Meat

Chicken thigh meat for ground chicken offers juiciness and a richer flavor due to its higher fat content, making it ideal for dishes where moisture and flavor are desired, such as meatballs, burgers or in these kebabs. Chicken breast meat is great due to its lower fat content, making it a healthier option with less saturated fat. It’s also leaner and has a milder flavor, suitable for those seeking a lighter taste profile. On the other hand, it can also dry out quickly. The choice is yours!

overhead: my chicken adana recipe on a wire rack over a baking sheet before grilling

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

(Be sure to check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities)

  • Chicken Thighs – I like to use boneless cuts to make chopping easier. As the meat is minced, you can really use any cut. 
  • Red Bell Pepper – You can use any color of bell pepper. I prefer red for its juiciness and sweetness. 
  • Red Onion Chop finely to keep the mixture smooth and solid on the skewer. Substitute with white or yellow onion or chives if needed. 
  • Garlic – Mince two cloves. Some recipes call for more, and some call for less. I say use as much as you want! 
  • Jalapeno Not every chicken Adana recipe includes this chile, but I never skip it — it adds great texture, heat, and flavor! But you can omit it if you want a smoother or milder chicken Adana.
  • Fresh Cilantro & Parsley Feel free to replace with other herbs such as oregano, chervil, or arugula.
  • Seasonings – The spiced chicken is seasoned with spicy red chili flakes, smoky sweet paprika, and a bit of salt and pepper. Sumac is another popular, lemony Turkish spice you can add to this chicken Adana recipe if desired — it’s found in other Middle Eastern dishes like kabobs and in za’atar seasoning.
closeup: grilled chicken adana with fresh parsley on top

How to Make Chicken Adana

  1. Mince the Ingredients. Mince the peppers, onion, and garlic in a food processor. Transfer to a sieve. Add the chicken to the processor and mince well. Then, add the pepper mixture back to the processor, along with the herbs and remaining spices, and pulse until well mixed. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Skewer the Meat. Divide the chilled mixture into 8 (smaller) or 10 (larger) portions. Wet your fingers in cold water before, one by one, shaping the portions into 1-inch wide, 6- or 8-inch long kebabs on the skewers. If desired, flatten with your thumb and index finger for a traditional appearance. Set aside.
  3. Broil or Grill. Turn on the broiler — or, if grilling, preheat to 350 degrees F and oil the grates. Place skewers under broiler or on the grill grates. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes before flipping, basting, and cooking for 3 or 4 minutes on the other side. 
  4. Serve. Plate immediately while warm.
  • Skewers – Use pre-soaked, wooden skewers or flat metal skewers to grill or broil this chicken Adana recipe. Note that you can also make these without skewers by simply shaping the meat into 8-inch logs to be enjoyed as a wrap or with rice. 

Storing and Reheating

Chicken Adana can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. The best way to reheat is back under the broiler until warmed through. As the meat is thin on the kebab, it should reheat quickly. 

If microwaving, add a bit of sauce or do so over rice to re-introduce moisture to the meat. Chicken dries out quickly. 

I probably don’t need to say it, but I will just in case — don’t reheat in the microwave if you used a metal skewer!

extreme closeup: my chicken adana recipe with vegetables over rice

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between kebab and Adana?


There is no difference. Adana is a type of kebab. Rather than chunks of meat, the protein is minced to form a log-like kebab.

Is Adana spicy?


Mildly. Red pepper flakes and minced jalapeno in the mixture do introduce a moderate amount of heat, but it isn’t overwhelmingly spicy at all. I wouldn’t even say it’s in the top 5 flavors in chicken Adana!

But if you’re worried about it, omit either pepper ingredient or replace with a milder chile or paprika.

How do you keep chicken adana on the skewers while grilling?


The trick is to place the skewers perpendicular to the grill grates, supporting the kebab and grilling the meat onto the skewer at multiple points. 

Using a flat metal skewer makes it easier for the meat to stick and cook quickly onto the metal, too.

What kind of meat is used in Adana?


Any kind! This is a recipe for chicken Adana, but it’s often made with lamb and beef as well.

Grilled Chicken Adana Kebabs

Chicken Adana is quick to prep and grill! With these bold Turkish herbs and spices, it’s a juicy chicken kebab no one will forget.
Servings: 6
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 23 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • If using wood skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning, otherwise use flat metal skewers.
  • In a food processor, pulse red bell pepper, red onion, garlic and jalapeno until minced. Remove and drain in a sieve.
  • In a food processor, pulse the chicken until minced well. Add the pepper/onion mixture, parsley, cilantro and remaining spices. Pulse until mixed well. Place chicken mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Divide meat mixture evenly into 8-10 portions. Dip fingers into bowl of cold water, then one portion at a time, form meat around a 1-inch wide flat metal shish kebab skewer, molding and flattening meat to make each chicken koobideh kebab about 6-8 inches long.
  • For a traditional look, gently press meat between your thumb and index finger once meat is on skewer (see photos). If not using skewers, shape meat into 8-inch long log shape.
  • Set kabobs aside on greased wire rack set over a baking tray.
  • Turn on broiler OR clean and preheat charcoal or gas grill to 350°F. Apply cooking oil to grill grates to prevent sticking.
  • Place tray of skewers under broiler, or each kebab skewer on grates of grill. (Lay skewers perpendicular to the direction of grates to prevent ground meat mixture from falling off into the fire).
  • Cook 3–4 minutes, then turn each skewer over and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 568mg | Potassium: 679mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1344IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

Course: main dishes
Cuisine: Turkish
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): grilled chicken adana kebabs

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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