If you want to make the juiciest and best tasting grilled chicken kabobs all summer long, you’re at the right place. In today’s post, you’ll learn how to make these epic skewers a staple in your summer meals.
For us, chicken is a top protein and when the temperatures pick up and I need something to grill outside that can turn into a full meal, skewering is the way to go! Even the kids can help bring our usual chicken dinner up a notch and make kabobs.
I’ll admit that my first few tries resulted in overcooked and over charred chicken pieces -and let’s not talk about the veggies. Oh.my.gosh. They resembled coal.
Over time I learned all the tips and tricks to making perfectly cooked chicken kabobs, all of which I’m sharing with you in this post.
How to Grill Chicken Kabobs
While I have a delicious recipe for steak kabobs, chicken is where it’s at for when you want a more affordable and leaner meal.
The meat is tender and takes on the flavor of whatever marinade and spice rub you use. Here’s how to make flavorful, juicy chicken kabobs happen:
Cube 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts into even-size pieces. Somewhere in the area of 1 to 2-inch cubes.
Choose your marinade and combine ½ cup with the chicken in a large zip bag. Seal and marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Before grilling, soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
- Fire up the Grill
Preheat the grill to 375F.
Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating with your choice of veggies if desired. Lightly brush the kabobs with olive oil before placing them on the grill.
Place the kabobs onto the preheated grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. After searing the chicken on one side, close the grill to cook the skewers until you’re ready to flip them. After flipping, sear the other side with the grill open before you finish cooking the chicken skewers with the lid down.
Remove from heat and allow the kabobs to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
Watch this video to see grilling process step-by-step from prep to table!
Prepping the Skewers
If using wooden skewers, they will need to be soaked in water so they don’t erupt into flames. Submerge the skewers into room temperature water for 30 minutes. This can be done while the chicken marinates.
If using metal skewers, no soaking is required.
How to Cut Chicken for Grilling Kabobs
The key to evenly cooked chicken kabobs is cutting the chicken into even-sized pieces. Cubing boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs into 1-inch pieces is recommended for the most delicious and perfectly cooked results.
It’s important to cut the chicken into even-sized pieces, so each skewer cooks simultaneously with the others.
Best Marinade Recipes for Grilled Chicken Kabobs
The best marinade is one you know your family will love. You can use a vinaigrette-based marinade, something spicy, sweet, or something in between. I’ve linked my best chicken marinade recipes below:
When marinating chicken aim for at least 30 minutes and no more than 24 hours. While the longer it marinates the more flavor it has, if too much time goes by, the vinegar/acid in the marinade will begin to cook the meat, creating tough, rubbery chicken.
Settings for Chicken Kabobs on a Gas Grill
When making chicken kabobs on a gas grill, the knob on your grill should be set to the medium-high heat range. If your grill has a temperature gauge, cook them between 375F to 400F.
With both settings, the key is to allow your gas grill to heat up with the lid closed before you place your chicken on the grill. This will sear the meat and start to cook the skewers at the right temperature.
This is similar to cooking kabobs in the oven or any other food.
I prefer this temperature range because it won’t overcook the meat, and if you soak your wooden skewers, they won’t burn.
Do You Grill Chicken Kabobs with the Lid Open or Closed?
The lid can be closed to heat up the grill, but once the chicken kabobs are on the grill, keep it open for 3-4 minutes to sear the chicken. After that, close the grill lid to trap the hot air inside and evenly cook the chicken to juicy perfection. You can re-open the lid to flip the kabobs over.
How Long to Grill Chicken Kabobs
The total cooking time for grilled chicken kabobs will depend on the size of the chicken pieces. It’s also important that your chicken pieces are cut approximately to the same size, at least in the same skewer.
The time chart below reflects the cooking time for various sizes and a grill temperature of medium-high heat (375-400F).
|small: ½-inch pieces
|med: 1-inch pieces
|thick: 2-inch pieces
How to Keep Chicken Kabobs From Drying Out
Cooking by internal temperature is the best way to prevent dried-out chicken. Once removed from heat, meat continues to cook, so it’s best to catch it before you risk overcooking.
I recommend using a digital meat thermometer to check around the 10-minute mark. Insert the thermometer tip into the thickest part of the chicken piece, and once it reads 165F, time is up.
Another tip for keeping grilled chicken kabob moist is to allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes before slicing or serving. This time period locks in any moisture and cooking juices.
How Many Chicken Kabobs Per Person
On average, 4 to 6 ounces of chicken is plenty, resulting in 1 to 2 kabobs per person. The size of the chicken pieces and if you’re adding veggies to the skewer will determine the number of kabobs unless you keep the skewers to chicken only and serve veggies on the side.
If the chicken kabobs are not the star of the show and you’re serving a variety of summer side dishes, about 4 ounces per person of chicken threaded with veggies will work too.
Can You Cook Beef Kabobs at the Same Time as Chicken?
If you’re going to grill both chicken and beef kabobs at the same time, the good news is that, generally speaking, the meat will take just as long as the chicken to cook through.
When grilling white chicken meat (breasts), chicken will need to be cooked to 165F and beef to 145F for medium.
Once you place the skewers on the grill, don’t touch them or try to lift them until they are ready to be flipped, about 6 to 8 minutes in. Raw meat will stick to the grill and you might end up pulling the stick out accidentally.
I’ve found that sliding a grill spatula under the skewers, then lifting the kabobs with a pair of tongs is the most useful way to flip them without burning your fingers on the open flame.
Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Vegetables
Mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and zucchini are perfect veggies to add to your chicken skewers. Or, you can make separate veggie kabobs and have several options.
The secret to the evenly cooked chicken and veggie kabobs is selecting vegetables that can be cut into similar shapes and sizes. Below are my top choices for grilled veggie kabobs:
- Cherry Tomatoes
What to Serve with Kabobs
Grilled kabobs are delicious all by themselves, but we still want a few yummy sides to serve along with them. Some of my favorites are Sweet Potato Salad, a fresh Watermelon Feta Salad, corn on the cob baked in foil, or this amazing Corn and Black Bean Salsa.
Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- 2 lbs chicken breast, cubed
- Lemon Chicken Marinade
- 2 cups button mushrooms, stems removed
- 1- pint cherry tomatoes, whole
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 red onion, ends trimmed, cut into wedges
- 2 large zucchinis, ends trimmed, sliced thick
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Wooden or metal skewers
- Prepare the chicken marinade and reserve ¼ cup of marinade to brush over the skewers.
- Marinate chicken pieces in the remaining marinade inside an airtight container or zip bag.
- Wash and prep all veggies, and soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes if using.
- Preheat the grill to 375F.
- Slide chicken pieces and veggies through the skewers, alternating vegetables, and chicken.
- Place skewers on a baking tray (to transport to the grill) and brush them with reserved marinade on all sides.
- Grill skewers on a heated grill, over medium heat, for 12 to 14 minutes, making sure to flip them halfway through by using tongs.
- The key to evenly cooked chicken kabobs is cutting the chicken into even-sized pieces.
- If using wooden skewers, they will need to be soaked in water so they don’t erupt into flames. Soak in room temp water for 30 minutes while the chicken marinates.