Shish Tawook

5 from 513 votes

Try this Authentic Shish Tawook recipe - a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon and garlic.

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Shish Tawook is a very popular skewered chicken dish in the Middle East. Think of perfectly tender and juicy chicken that’s been marinating in earthy spices, yogurt, lemon juice and garlic. That’s exactly what you get with my shish tawook recipe. And while the recipe is Middle Eastern, you’d be surprised how approachable the ingredients are.

Shish tawook recipe on a platter with garlic sauce

Although my recipe is Lebanese based on how my parents taught me to make it, the origin of the name is from Turkey. Shish means skewers and tawook means chicken. The Ottoman (Turkish) Empire ruled Lebanon for a while, which explains the Turkish influence on Lebanese food!

How to make shish tawook

This recipe is all about the the marinade! I’ve played around with different options and this combination is by far my favorite!

Essentially the three most important ingredients in the marinade are yogurt, lemon juice and garlic (6 whole garlic cloves!). But I also add tomato paste to give it that rich red color, and some other spices including paprika, cinnamon, oregano and ginger. Mix it all together and you’ll get this orangey creamy color ready for you to coat the chicken with.

Add the large cubes of chicken breast to the marinade and make sure that everything is well coated. While the yogurt and lemon are crucial parts of the flavor of this dish, they also act as a tenderizer for the chicken. That’s what makes the chicken come out so juicy and tender. Let it marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Process shots for how to make the shish tawook chicken marinade

Skewer the chicken right before you’re ready to cook it. I like adding chunks of white onions on each skewer to eat with the sandwich. I love how onions get sweeter when they’re grilled…the perfect vegetable with this shish tawook.

Traditionally, these chicken skewers are meant to be grilled outdoors. You can also use an indoor grill pan or regular pan if you don’t have a grill pan. Either way, you’d be surprised how quickly the shish tawook cooks, all thanks to the yogurt and lemon juice in the base that helped tenderize the chicken!

Process shots showing the chicken on skewers before and after grilling

When it’s cooked, I love making sandwiches with lettuce, pickles and lots of homemade Lebanese garlic sauce. You’ll want to pile on that sauce – it’s dairy-free, rich in flavor and totally takes takes any shish tawook sandwich to another level! In my book, it’s mandatory to eat it with tawook.

Adding garlic sauce on top of the chicken

Tips for making shish tawook

  1. Marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight in the fridge to allow the chicken to tenderize. Trust me, it’ll make the chicken more juicy and flavorful!
  2. Cover the chicken immediately with pita bread after grilling. The pita bread helps trap the vapors and moisture to make the chicken even more juicy! It’s often served this way as well.
  3. Use plain full fat yogurt, and not Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is fine, but it’s best to use regular yogurt because the water content from the regular yogurt helps to keep the chicken moist.
  4. Soak the bamboo sticks for 30-45 minutes if you’re using. This will prevent them from burning and possibly getting burnt woodchips inside the shish tawook.

Frequently asked questions

How long does grilled chicken keep?

Shish tawook are best served as soon as they are cooked so that they are wonderfully succulent. If you do have leftovers keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat the skewers once, if you reheat it’s best to cover them with foil so that they don’t dry out. I like having the leftovers cold on top of a salad.

Why do you need to marinade the chicken?

Marinating the chicken will not only add flavor, but it also helps to tenderize the chicken and help lock in the moisture when you grill them. Marinate them for at least 4 hours and all you have to is grill them when you are ready to serve.

What do you serve with shish tawook?

I love to serve these as hand held food in a pita with lettuce and garlic sauce, but you can easily turn these into a larger sit down meal as well. Try serving them with Lebanese Rice, Fattoush Salad or even with Cauliflower Rice.

Skewers of the shish tawook on a plat

It’s really hard to mess up this Lebanese Shish Tawook recipe. It comes out moist and flavorful, and makes a great addition to salads, rice, grain bowls or just plain pita bread with garlic sauce.

For more Lebanese recipes:

For more chicken recipes:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Shish Tawook recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

This Shish Tawook recipe was originally published on July 10, 2018. I’ve updating the recipe with more tips, more step-by-step photos and a video tutorial. Here’s the original photo!

Shish Tawook is a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon & garlic and served with pita bread

Shish Tawook

Try this Authentic Shish Tawook recipe – a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon and garlic.
5 from 513 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 276
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
Total Time 28 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into large chunks
  • ½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, all the seasoning and salt/pepper) and whisk to combine.
  • Place the chicken cubes in the same bowl and coat the chicken in the marinade. Cover, and let rest/marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  • Thread the chicken on skewers right before grilling. Add one wedge of onions to each skewer, if desired.
  • Grill on medium heat for 5-8 minutes per side.
  • Serve with pita bread, lettuce and garlic sauce, if desired.

Video

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Equipment: If you want to make these on grill pan, I highly recommend the Anolon grill pan that I use (affiliate link)
Make Ahead: You can make the marinade about 3 days in advance and you can marinate the chicken in the marinade for up to 24 hours in advance.
Nutritional Data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use. It does not include the garlic sauce or the pita bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 276kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 99mg, Sodium: 595mg, Potassium: 648mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 270IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Shish tawook recipe on a platter with garlic sauce

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Comments

  1. This recipe is super delicious! Our grilling days are about done here in Ohio, so I just seared the pieces of chicken on the stove. Shared this with a bunch of my Middle Eastern friends and everyone loved it! Will definitely make this again.

  2. Made this last week and even my chicken detesting son gave this 7 stars.The most delicious chicken kebabs I have ever made…! I am getting some friends over tomorrow to try round 2. I will make the garlic sauce as well.Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Stella! I absolutely love garlic sauce and I don’t know if you have a Trader Joe’s by you but they sell it there and it is fabulous! I’m making this chicken tonight and I have the garlic sauce in my fridge. You should definitely give it a try!

  3. I made this for dinner yesterday and WOW was it delicious! Tasted very authentic and just like the tawook I’d get in a restaurant in Beirut. The chicken was so tender and flavorful. Our grill broke right when we were starting to cook it, so I made them in the oven. Turned out perfect paired with your Fattoush salad recipe! Yummmm! Thanks for these authentic amazing recipes that always take me back to my childhood!

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