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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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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Comments

  1. Monica Ledgett says:

    I made this recepi for my husband’s birthday, but unfortunately, it wasn’t good at all. I have made Kababs all my life, but gotta say these were not good at all. I used sirloin and honestly I hate having spent so much money for a recepi that was just not worth it.

  2. Gerrick says:

    5 stars
    That is the flavor I’ve been looking for in a delicious shish kabob,
    Where I live, it is too hot to grill until winter time. So, I baked them 10 mins. flipped them over and basted them heavily. They turned out really good still….I’ll definitely grill them when I can;)
    Thank you

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks for sharing how you make these, Gerrick!

  3. Elizabeth Cardon says:

    I just finished applying the rub and placing meat in marinade but I'm wondering why those steps aren't reversed. Won't marinating after the rub wash the rub off, whereas applying the rub after marinating will create a nice crust and leave the flavor on the surface of the meat? Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Elizabeth. We find that massaging the spices into the meat before adding it to the marinade works very well. It's hard to really rub those spices in after the meat has been sitting in the marinade. You can always totally experiment a bit and switch those two steps around and see which way you prefer, though!

  4. Carol Thoma-Perry says:

    This is my go to Shish Kebab recipe. I do like my veggies cooked more so will often cook on own skewers. Or roast 300 degree fan ahead of cooking the beef and broil after the beef is cooked for crispy edges. Thanks for providing consistently delicious recipes!!!♥️

  5. Lin says:

    Hi I don’t have a grill, am I able to make this in the oven somehow?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Lin! That would probably work! Rather than skewering, I'd just combine the veggies and steak and bake in the oven. I have a sheet pan chicken and veggies recipe that can kind of serve as a guide.

    2. DeeG13 says:

      5 stars
      Hey Lin!

      Does your Oven have a broiler? It "should" especially if you have an older one that has it via inside the oven with the top rack... Unlike these stupid new ones, which are on the bottom of the oven in its own separate drawer (smh apparently who ever designs these like this, doesn't "really" like broilers LOL).
      Broilers are the BBQ of the house!
      ; )

  6. Megan says:

    Do you have a recommended alternative ingredient (or alternative marinade) to replace the red wine? I don't drink and never have wine around and dislike buying a bottle just for a recipe. Any suggestions?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Megan! You can try using beef broth/stock in place of the red wine. The flavor profile will be different, but it will add the needed liquid

    2. Joyce says:

      If I can’t cook meat is it ok to freeze with the sauce until later?

      1. Suzy says:

        Hi, Joyce, you can. Just be aware that sometimes the lemon in the marinade can change the texture of the meat a bit, if it sits too long.

  7. ish kabibble says:

    Muchas gracias por la información, nos sera de gran utilidad.

  8. Claudia Hapip says:

    Hi! Would it be OK to bbq them in advance for a dinner party and reheat in the oven prior to serving? If so, what temp and for how long?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Claudia. I have not attempted that with this recipe, so it's a bit hard to advise. I did a quick internet search and found that making them no more than a day in advance, then wrapping them in foil and reheating in the oven at a temp of 300 degrees F until warmed through might work. I personally think these are best served fresh off the grill, though.

  9. Karl says:

    5 stars
    Hi Suzy,

    Is it ok to marinate the tenderloin meat overnight? As I don’t have time to marinate it in the morning for few hours before lunch bbq.

    Thank you.
    Karl

    1. Suzy says:

      Yes, Karl. That should be fine.

  10. paul says:

    i have dry white wine available. is red wine for color or flavor?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Paul. We use the red wine here for it's particular flavor.

  11. Willem says:

    5 stars
    Very tasty! First time making kebobs, followed the recipe exactly and it turned out better than what I’ve gotten at restaurants!

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome! Thanks, Willem!

  12. Jocelyn says:

    What would you recommend for marinating rime on tenderloin? And, would Za'atar be a suitable swap for the spices here?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Jocelyn. The marinade time for tenderloin would be what's listed there in the recipe. As for the za'atar... I have never tried that substitution, personally, so not sure if it's suitable. If you give it a go, please stop back and share your thoughts.

  13. Alex G says:

    5 stars
    I made these on a smoker. Slow cooked for an hour. They were amazing. Thanks so much!

    1. Suzy says:

      Sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Alex!

  14. Tim says:

    5 stars
    This marinade is ridiculously easy and delicious. I've used it twice with venison loin (AKA backstrap). The first time I used Cabernet Sauvignon which was a bit on the sweet side (but still great!). Last night I used a Merlot which was drier and more to my liking. Both times I marinated baby portabella mushrooms with the meat and they were a big hit! FWIW, I skewer things together, meat on one, bell peppers on one, etc... May not be the best presentation, but I load all the skewers on a large platter and go buffet style...FWIW, I served it on a bed of quinoa.

    Thank you Suzy for this fantastic recipe!

    1. Suzy says:

      So glad to hear it, Tim! And thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  15. Lisa says:

    Those look delicious!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Lisa!

  16. Mandy says:

    Hello, I am looking forward to making this recipe this weekend for the first time. We aren't wine drinkers and have never cooked with it. Would you please tell me what kind of wine you used?
    Thank you much,
    Mandy

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi Mandy. Any dry red wine that is not super expensive will work. The answer is elaborated on in the actual post.