Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken
This Middle Eastern grilled chicken recipe has got to be my new favorite, especially with grilling season around the corner. This may be the only way I marinate my chicken from now on. All the flavors are incredibly delicious and create a super juicy result. It’s a fantastic lean protein perfect for meal prep to enjoy throughout the week. In the Middle East, we refer to this as shish tawook. You will find it named similarly in all Arabic restaurants.
I have had this chicken with salads like my go-to refreshing Arab Salad, Fattoush, Tahini Salad, Mediterranean orzo salad, freekeh salad, and bulgur salad just to name a few. It is fabulous in a sandwich too especially stuffed in a pita or placed in a wrap with sliced fresh and pickled vegetables along with toum. You can also pair it with my vermicelli rice. As you can see, the ideas of how to use this delicious protein are endless.
How to make this Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken
It is quite simple and quick to make too. All you have to do is cut your chicken into even fillets, pound it into even thicknesses, toss a few ingredients to make the marinade, add the chicken, and cook. Traditionally, the chicken is typically cubed and skewered then grilled. However, I find this faster and more convenient. In the marinade, you have plenty of aromatics that really make this chicken unlike any other. The Middle Eastern flavors of Aleppo pepper, sumac, and seven spice set it apart. The addition of yogurt and vinegar helps tenderize the chicken as well creating such a moist bite.
Many people shy away from cooking skinless boneless chicken especially chicken breast as it tends to run dry. This is not the case here! If marinated and cooked properly, you will have succulent and flavorful chicken breast. However, you can always use dark meat like boneless skinless chicken thighs if that is your preference and it will be just as delicious. Although the recipe mentions the chicken is grilled; I often cook it on the griddle at home and it is just as delicious. Depending on the season and where you live in the world; it isn’t always practical to grill so rest assured these are just as good cooked on a hot pan.
I would love to see your remakes on my Instagram. It always brings me great pleasure to see! As always, please feel free to leave questions below or comments. I hope you give this recipe a try!
Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken
- 2 lbs Chicken Breast, skinless, boneless, cut into fillets you can use skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup Plain yogurt this helps tenderize the meat but can be omitted if you are Dairy-Free
- 1 Lemon's Juice
- 1/2 tbsp Vinegar, apple cider or white vinegar work great
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- 1 tbsp Dried Ground Oregano
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Seven Spice
- 1 tsp Aleppo Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Sumac
- 1 tsp Paprika
- Salt & Pepper to preferene use at least 1 tsp of salt
- In a large shallow bowl, mix together all the above ingredients other than the chicken into a creamy well incorporated mixture.
- Use a mallet to tenderize the chicken and make it equal in thickness by covering the fillet in plastic wrap then pounding the fillet a few times.
- Season each chicken fillet with salt and pepper on both sides. Then. toss the chicken in the marinade making sure that it is equally marinated on all sides. Keep the chicken in the marinade for at least 2 hours covered in the fridge. Ideally, 4 + hours or overnight would be great.
- This chicken would taste amazing on the grill cooked for about 7 minutes each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken. I always recommend having a meat thermometer.
- Alternatively, you can heat a griddle and spray with a little oil then cook the chicken by searing 7 minutes on each side and then covering it with a lid so the inside of the chicken cooks through as well. This may take more time depending on the thickness of the fillet. Make sure the chicken is either fully white inside or reaches an internal temperature of 165F for a juicy chicken.
- Serve this delicious grilled chicken with salad, rice, or in a sandwich. Enjoy!
This was so flavorful and delicious! Exactly what I was looking for today! And the kids loved it! Definitely kids approved with the pickiest of eaters. I didn’t have apello pepper so I just substituted with smoked paprika since I didn’t have sweet paprika and still came out delicious! Really is great alongside rice and salad and can work in a pita bread sandwich too!
Thank you, Hadeal!
Wow! This is easily the best homemade marinade I’ve ever made. This was my first time using yogurt in a marinade and now I’m sold! The chicken was juicy and very flavorful. I baked the chicken with some eggplant and zucchini for healthy lunches during the week and I am so looking forward to eating them!
Thanks so much, Jessica! Enjoy your meal prep!
Thank you so much for this delicious recepy, it was easy and super quick to prepare and cook. My kids loved it.
Happy to hear!
So TENDER, flavorful & delicious. Will be in our rotation for sure! Loved it so much. Serve it On gyro bread with toppings 🙂 yum!
Amazing! I am happy it will be a part of your dinner rotation!
Salaam Heifa, your recipes are incredible and a huge hit with our family! The beef shawarma and grilled chicken have become weekly staples in our household! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks so much, Aisha
I have made this 3 times already and it’s absolutely delicious. My chicken is not dry with this marinade. Very juicy, tender and flavorful. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Chicken doesn’t get any better than this here! This recipe is perfection! So juicy and flavorful! My Mexican husband hates to admit how much he loves this chicken🤪 haha!! My picky sister also loves it! This chicken recipe is perfect and goes well with rice dishes or some times I just love it with pita as a sandwich! So good!
That makes me so happy to hear!!! Glad it is enjoyed all around.
This sounds so good! If I wanted to bake it, what’s the best way to do that to make it juicy?
I prefer not to bake chicken breast as it can dry quickly. It is easier to keep an eye on it if you were to pan-sear or grill. I pan-sear these for about 5-7 minutes on each side and then cover to ensure the center is cooked. This is dependent on the thickness of the chicken, so I would recommend having a meat thermometer to check doness. Aim for 165F internal temp.