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Summer means grilling, and these easy grilled lamb kabobs are the perfect addition to any cookout. These shish kabobs are marinated in lemon, garlic and spices for a quick and delicious meal the whole family will love.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Lamb: Use a boneless loin or leg of lamb and trim it of any excess fat before cutting it into cubes. These are the most tender cuts of lamb and don’t require them to be slow cooked.
- Onion: The cubes of lamb are threaded onto the skewers with chunks of yellow onion. You could use other vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini. You’ll also grate some of the onion to use in the marinade.
- Garlic: Mince or grate the garlic cloves for the strongest flavor.
- Lemon: Lemon juice adds a nice zingy freshness to the lamb and we use both the juice and the zest. Use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is essential in marinades as it helps the flavors to penetrate the meat. It also helps to evenly cook the lamb when placed on the grill.
- Spices: These lamb shish kabobs are seasoned with a mix of cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and black pepper.
How to make grilled lamb kabobs
Marinate the lamb
- Add the ingredients for the marinade to a bowl.
- Place the diced lamb into the marinade.
- Toss to coat the lamb, cover and refrigerate to let the flavors develop.
- Thread the lamb onto skewers with the onion and place on a hot grill.
- Cook on each side until browned and cooked to your liking.
Tips for grilling lamb
- Cut the lamb into similar sized pieces. The lamb cooks quickly, so the cubes should be roughly the same size so that they all cook evenly.
- Don’t squeeze the lamb too tightly together on a skewer. They need some room in between or they won’t cook in the middle.
- Allow the lamb to come up to room temperature before grilling. Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to cook it. Thread it on to the skewers and let it sit for a bit. If the lamb is cold when you add it to the grill, it can seize up resulting in chewy and tough meat.
- Don’t skip the marinating time. The marinade not only adds flavor to the meat, but the acid from the lemon juice helps to break down tough proteins so that you have a tender and juicy bite. If you can, leave it in the fridge overnight, or allow at least 4 hours.
Frequently asked questions
The lamb can be marinated overnight and you can thread the skewers up to a day ahead too and keep them covered in the fridge. If you do have leftovers, they will keep well for up to 4 days. It’s best to reheat them in the oven, so that they don’t overcook, at 350F for 10 minutes to warm through.
The spice mix that is used on these kabobs works so well with lamb and beef would also work great. You can use this on chicken kabobs, but as chicken has a milder flavor it will have quite a different taste. Chicken will also take longer to cook through.
These grilled shish lamb kebabs make such a great change from chicken or beef. Seasoned with popular Lebanese spices, they are one yummy bite! Quick to prep and grill, they make the perfect addition to your summer cookouts!
More grilling recipes to try:
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Grilled Lamb Kabobs
- 1 yellow onion ½ grated and ½ cut into chunks
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ¼ pound boneless lamb loin or boneless leg of lamb trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Fresh dill for serving
- In a large bowl, mix grated onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add lamb and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove lamb from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Remove lamb from marinade, shaking off excess and wiping away any grated onion bits. Thread pieces onto metal or soaked wooden skewers with the onion chunks in between the lamb.