This homemade chicken souvlaki recipe takes you to the streets of Athens! Complete with the best souvlaki marinade; instructions for indoor or outdoor grilling; and what to serve with your souvlaki.
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You simply cannot go to Greece without experiencing souvlaki. It’s a major Greek street food, and happens to be one of my favorites.
What is Greek Souvlaki?
Like Kabobs, the word Souvlaki simply means “meat on skewers.” But Greeks also use it to describe the actual meal—warm pita, loaded with perfectly marinated grilled meat and topped with Tzatziki sauce. Other fixings are typically included, and even a handful of fries are tucked into the pita.
During my last visit to Greece, I had a lot of good souvlaki, particularly in Athens. And I’ve been in love ever since!
The closest thing I experienced to Athen’s Greek chicken souvlaki, though, was here at a smallish Greek festival in Cumming, Georgia. The annual festival is put on by a local Greek Orthdox Church, and non other than all-knowing Greek Yiayias are in charge of the food. A feast including: spanakopita, keftedes, and grilled souvlaki!
Why this Greek Chicken Souvlaki Recipe works?
After a bit of research and trial and error, I’ve developed my own Greek chicken souvlaki recipe. It is not a complicated recipe, but it was important for me to get it right.
What goes into this souvlaki recipe? Three simple things: an awesome Greek souvlaki marinade, quality chicken, and the pita fixings.
- Greek Souvlaki Marinade. It’s a simple marinade with the perfect balance of flavors—lots of raw garlic along with spices like oregano, rosemary, and sweet paprika. The liquid in this souvlaki marinade is a combination of excellent extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and dry white wine. If you have the time, let the chicken marinate for a couple of hours or overnight (refrigerated). But if not, even 30 minutes is enough to infuse the chicken with great flavor.
- Quality Chicken. My family subscribes to ButcherBox meat delivery service. And for this recipe, I used their organic, free range chicken. I am every bit as in love with its succulent and clean flavor as I am with the fact that ButcherBox chickens are fed an organic and vegetarian diet that is pesticide-free, chemical-free, and hormone free. (Scroll down below the recipe to learn more about ButcherBox and how to get free organic chicken + $10 off your first order!)
- Pita fixings. Lastly, to assemble a mean grilled souvlaki, you need some warm Greek pita and a few fixings. I usually grill my pita just before servings. Greek Tzatziki sauce is a MUST! And I typically add sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and Kalamata olives.
What to serve with Greek souvlaki?
This chicken souvlaki recipe will make between 10 and 12 skewers. And if you’re looking to turn it into a Mediterranean-style BBQ party, then consider adding a few salads and sides to go along.
Greek salad is a natural addition, but Balela, Fattoush, Grilled Zucchini Salad and this cooling Watermelon Salad would work as well. Make a large Mezze platter like this one, or a plate of creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus.
You really can’t go wrong with Greek souvlaki any night of the week! This chicken souvlaki recipe includes outdoor grill or grill pan instructions.Print
For Souvlaki Marinade
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp each Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 lb organic boneless skinless chicken breast, fat removed, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- Greek pita bread
- Tzatziki Sauce (make according to this recipe)
- Sliced tomato, cucumber, onions, and Kalamata olives
Ideas for Sides to Serve Along (optional)
- Prepare the marinade. In the bowl of a small food processor, add garlic, oregano, rosemary, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, white wine, and lemon juice (do NOT add the dried bay leaves yet). Pulse until well combined.
- Place chicken in a large bowl and add bay leaves. Top with marinade. Toss to combine, making sure chicken is well-coated with marinade. cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight (see note for quicker marinating option.)
- Soak 10 to 12 wooden skewers in water for 30 to 45 minutes or so. Prepare Tzatziki sauce and other fixings, and if you’re adding Greek salad or other sides, prepare those as well. (some sides like roasted garlic hummus may take longer, you can prepare those in advance).
- When ready, thread marinated chicken pieces through the prepared skewers.
- Prepare outdoor grill (or griddle). Brush grates with a little oil and heat over medium-high heat. t. Place chicken skewers on grill (or cook in batches on griddle) until well browned and internal temperature registers 155° on instant read thermometer. Be sure to turn skewers evenly to cook on all sides, about 5 minutes total. (Adjust temperature of grill if necessary). While grilling, brush lightly with the marinade (then discard any left marinade).
- Transfer chicken to serving platter and let rest for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, briefly grill pitas and keep warm.
- Assemble grilled chicken souvlaki pitas. First, spread Tzatziki sauce on pita, add chicken pieces (take them off skewers first, of course) then add veggies and olives.
- Optional: if you want more items to add to your buffet, consider Greek salad, watermelon salad, roasted garlic hummus, or a big Mezze platter.
- Recipe notes: 1) If you do not have the time, you can simply marinate the chicken for 30 minutes before cooking. Just cover and leave at room temperature. 2) Grilled Souvlaki will keep well in the fridge for 3 days or so. Be sure to un-thread the chicken from skewers, and place in a tightly-closed container before refrigerating.
- For more serving ideas: see “what to serve with Greek souvlaki” up in the post.
- Recommended for this Recipe: Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed koroneiki olives). SAVE! Try our Greek extra virgin olive oil bundle!
- Recommended for this recipe: Sweet Spanish Paprika and dried Rosemary. SAVE! Try or Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle; Our Essentials Bundle; or Create your own 6-pack from our all-natural or organic spice collections!
Keywords: Chicken Souvlaki Recipe
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