Learn how to make shish kabobs, also spelled “shish kebabs,” with this easy shish kabob recipe. A flavor-packed marinade made from basic pantry staples makes these steak kabobs unbelievably juicy and delicious–perfect for your summer BBQs!

Steak kabobs with bell peppers and onions served on platter

Shish kabobs, hot off the grill with a fresh tomato and cucumber salad and Mediterranean dips like baba ganoush, tzatziki, and hummus is my idea of the perfect summer party. 

In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, shish kabobs are synonymous with gathering together to enjoy a meal. When I have friends or family coming over, I love to make skewers with whatever looks best at my market. I skewer classics like chicken, shrimp, lamb and pork, to Brussels sprouts and even frozen chocolate-covered grapes (recipe on YouTube). There’s just something about food on a stick that brings a festive feeling to any party! 

This shish kabob recipe uses an aromatic spice rub packed with warming Mediterranean spices like nutmeg, allspice, and paprika. Red wine and lemon add depth, and the meat tenderizes as it soaks–allow a few hours to marinate in your fridge for the best results. From there, less than 10 minutes on the grill and these shish kabobs are juicy, incredibly tasty, and perfectly charred. 

Table of Contents
  1. Shish Kabob Ingredients
  2. Best Meat for Shish Kabobs
  3. How to Make Shish Kabobs
    1. At Least 1 ½ Hours Before Cooking: Marinate the Shish Kebabs
    2. One Hour Before Grilling: Get Ready to Grill
    3. 30 Minutes Before Serving: Grill the Shish Kebabs
  4. What to Serve with Shish Kabobs
  5. You’ll Also Like: Our Juiciest Kabob Recipes 
  6. Bundle and Save!
  7. Shish Kabob Recipe
ingredients for beef kabob recipe


Shish Kabob Ingredients

We build big flavor with a homemade spice rub made with what’s likely already living in your spice drawer. Here’s what you’ll need to make this shish kabob recipe: 

  • Spices: Garlic powder, ground nutmeg, ground green cardamom, allspice, smoked or sweet paprika, salt, and black pepper are the major flavor-makers in this kabob recipe. 
  • Vegetables: Bell peppers and red onions get sweet and bright and need just a quick char on the grill. You can substitute with any quick-cooking seasonal items you have on hand, like zucchini or cherry tomatoes.
  • Meat: I like to use beef tenderloin because it stays super tender without much effort. You can use top sirloin or another cut of steak, just make sure to marinate tougher cuts overnight (more tips below). In fact, you can really use any meat you like here, including lamb and chicken. 
  • Lemon: Adds a bright flavor to balance the richness of the meat. 
  • Olive oil: Tenderizes and enriches the meat. Use a smooth, high quality extra virgin variety, like our Greek Koroneiki.
  • Red wine: Use a dry red wine. It doesn’t need to be super expensive, but it should be tasty enough to drink on its own.
beef shish kebab on large paltter with parsley garnish

Best Meat for Shish Kabobs

The best meat for shish kabobs is a cut that’s both tender and flavorful, which can be trickier than it sounds. Here are the best steaks for this shish kabob recipe: 

  • Beef tenderloin: My favorite cut for shish kabobs, as it stays tender without much work. It’s not quite as robust in flavor as other cuts of meat, so I like to marinate it for a couple of hours in the fridge. The downside, though, is that it's fairly expensive, so feel free to substitute with a more economical cut. The marinade in this recipe is so good you don’t necessarily need to splurge.
  • Sirloin: I particularly like “sirloin tip” if it’s available. Sirloin is less expensive and is a good option because of its big beefy flavor. Allow at least 2 hours in the marinade (refrigerated) to tenderize the meat.
  • I don’t recommend: chuck steak. I avoid this cut of meat when it comes to kabobs. While it's a flavorful cut of meat, it can be way too tough and chewy for kabobs.
Kabobs with a side of tomato salad

How to Make Shish Kabobs

To make shish kebabs, make sure you give yourself enough time to allow the meat to marinate for the best flavor. Two to four hours is ideal, but 30 minutes does the trick if you’re short on time. Here’s how to make shish kabobs: 

At Least 1 ½ Hours Before Cooking: Marinate the Shish Kebabs

  • Make the spice rub. In a large bowl, mix together 2 ½ teaspoons garlic powder, 1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons cardamom, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon paprika, and a very generous pinch or two of kosher salt and black pepper. 
  • Season the meat. Cut 3 pounds of steak (I use beef tenderloin) into 1 ½-inch cubes. Add the meat to the bowl with the spice rub and use your hands to rub the spices into the meat, coating it in the spices.  The best beef shish kabob recipe (how-to!) | The Mediterranean Dish. This recipe and tutorial will show you exactly how to make the perfect beef kabobs (kebabs). From the spices and marinade, and how to grill the best kabobs! Click the image for the recipe and visit TheMediterraneanDish.com for more!
  • Prepare the marinade. Thinly slice one red onion and add to a large, deep baking dish or Tupperware container. Juice in two lemons and add 1 cup each of olive oil and red wine. The best beef shish kabob recipe (how-to!) | The Mediterranean Dish. This recipe and tutorial will show you exactly how to make the perfect beef kabobs (kebabs). From the spices and marinade, and how to grill the best kabobs! Click the image for the recipe and visit TheMediterraneanDish.com for more!
  • Marinate the meat. Add the seasoned meat and use your hands to work the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (preferably 2 to 4 hours, or overnight for a tougher cut of steak).The best beef shish kabob recipe (how-to!) | The Mediterranean Dish. This recipe and tutorial will show you exactly how to make the perfect beef kabobs (kebabs). From the spices and marinade, and how to grill the best kabobs! Click the image for the recipe and visit TheMediterraneanDish.com for more!

One Hour Before Grilling: Get Ready to Grill

  • Get ready. Remove the meat from your fridge for one hour before grilling. If you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least one hour to prevent sticking. Cut one red onion and 4 bell peppers (a mixture of red, green, and yellow) into pieces that are roughly the same width as the meat. 

30 Minutes Before Serving: Grill the Shish Kebabs

  • Preheat your grill. Lightly oil the grates of a gas grill and heat for 10 minutes on high.
  • Prepare the skewers. Thread the meat, onion pieces (discard the slices from the marinade as they’ll be too thin), and bell peppers onto the prepared skewers. Alternate until you run out of meat–I do about 4 pieces of meat per skewer with the vegetables nestled in between. Hold onto the marinade as we’ll use it later. Season the skewers with more freshly ground black pepper. The best beef shish kabob recipe (how-to!) | The Mediterranean Dish. This recipe and tutorial will show you exactly how to make the perfect beef kabobs (kebabs). From the spices and marinade, and how to grill the best kabobs! Click the image for the recipe and visit TheMediterraneanDish.com for more!
  • Grill. Place the shish kabobs on the grill. Cook, turning occasionally and brushing the meat a couple of times with the marinade as you go. They’ll be done in 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is and how well-cooked you like your meat. The best beef shish kabob recipe (how-to!) | The Mediterranean Dish. This recipe and tutorial will show you exactly how to make the perfect beef kabobs (kebabs). From the spices and marinade, and how to grill the best kabobs! Click the image for the recipe and visit TheMediterraneanDish.com for more!
  • Rest before serving. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving platter. Allow 5 minutes for the kabobs to rest before serving. Enjoy!

What to Serve with Shish Kabobs

Shish kebabs are traditionally served with a number of mezze sides and salads. Here are some ideas to turn these easy shish kabobs into a full dinner spread to please a crowd.

For a salad, go for something fresh and seasonal. Herby tomato salad, watermelon salad, loaded chickpea salad, or three bean salad all come to mind. 

For your sides, make a starch and a vegetable–something fresh and something hearty to serve with the juicy shish kebabs. Batata harra (spicy potatoes), lemony roasted cauliflower, and grilled zucchini would all be delicious. No mezze spread is complete without dips.Tahini with cucumbers and tomatoes, baba ganoush, tzatziki, and hummus are some of my favorites, and you can get them all ready to go before your guests arrive.

You’ll Also Like: Our Juiciest Kabob Recipes 

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4.71 from 105 votes

Shish Kabob

Suzy Karadsheh of The Mediterranean Dish. In the kitchenSuzy Karadsheh
Steak kabobs with bell peppers and onions served on platter
Learn how to make shish kabobs with this easy shish kabob recipe. A flavor-packed marinade made from basic pantry staples makes these steak and veggie kabobs unbelievably juicy and delicious–perfect for your summer BBQs!
Prep – 20 minutes
Cook – 10 minutes
Inactive time for marinating 30 minutes
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 10 people
Course:
Main Course

Equipment

  • grill
  • Up to 20 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour

Ingredients
  

For the Skewers

  • 2 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground green cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper more for later
  • 3 lb Top sirloin steak or beef tenderloin fillet, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 2 red bell or orange bell peppers

For the marinade

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry red wine

Instructions
 

At Least 1 ½ Hours Before Cooking:

  • Make the spice rub. In a large bowl, mix together the garlic powder, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, paprika, and a very generous pinch or two of salt and pepper.
  • Season the meat. Add the meat to the bowl with the spice rub. Use your hands to rub the spices into the meat, coating the meat in the spices.
  • Prepare the marinade. In a large and deep baking dish or Tupperware container, combine the red onions, lemon juice, olive oil and red wine. Add the seasoned meat and use your hands to work the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (preferably 2 to 4 hours, or overnight for a tougher cut of steak).
  • Get ready. Remove the meat from your fridge for one hour before grilling. If you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least one hour to prevent sticking. Cut the onion and bell peppers into pieces that are roughly the same width as the meat.

30 Minutes Before Serving:

  • Preheat your grill. Lightly oil the grates of a gas grill and heat for 10 minutes on high.
  • Prepare the skewers. Thread the meat, onion pieces (discard the slices from the marinade as they’ll be too thin), and bell peppers onto the prepared skewers. Alternate until you run out of meat–I do about 4 pieces of meat per skewer with the vegetables nestled in between. Hold onto the marinade as we’ll use it later. Season the skewers with more freshly ground black pepper.
  • Grill. Place the shish kabobs on the grill. Cook, turning occasionally and brushing the meat a couple of times with the marinade as you go. They’ll be done in 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is and how well-cooked you like your meat.
  • Rest before serving. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving platter. Allow 5 minutes for the kabobs to rest before serving. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Cook's Tip: If you have the time, allow the meat to marinate in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight if you're using a tougher cut of meat. I used beef tenderloin which is a tender cut of meat and does not require too much time in the marinade.
  • Allowing the meat to come to room temperature before grilling is an important step. An even temperature throughout the steak allows you to cook it quickly over high heat, keeping it juicy.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 273.7kcalCarbohydrates: 8.4gProtein: 31.2gFat: 10.6gSaturated Fat: 3.4gPotassium: 649mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 3.2gVitamin A: 931.7IUVitamin C: 62.6mgCalcium: 47.1mgIron: 2.7mg
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This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2016 and has been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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4.71 from 105 votes (88 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Patricia Kuhse says:

    5 stars
    It sounds fun for a nice family bruchp

  2. Kitty Johnson says:

    5 stars
    This is an amazing dish! I will definitely preparing this dish again! My husband loved it!

  3. Mara Mossberg says:

    5 stars
    Best kebab I ever had

  4. Colleen says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Family loved the flavors.