Greek Chicken Souvlaki Recipe

Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
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This healthy Chicken Souvlaki recipe is classic Greek street food. The marinated chicken is packed with flavor and will bring the taste of Greece right into your kitchen!

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Souvlaki Recipe

Chicken souvlaki is a Greek classic that takes marinated, grilled meat to the next level. You can also customize it and add in vegetables if you’d like. Here are a few more reasons about why I love this meal so much:

  • Juicy and tender. This grilled chicken comes out so juicy on the inside, with just a touch of smokiness and char on the outside layer.
  • Complex seasoning. Homemade Greek seasoning is super easy to whisk together, but the flavors are complex and full of depth! It’s made with dried basil, garlic powder, dried dill weed, marjoram, ground cinnamon, and more.
  • Adaptable. You can eat this chicken right off the skewer, make Chicken Gyros with it, put it in a salad, etc. The meal options are endless!
Chicken souvlaki in pita bread with red onion, tomato, lettuce, and tzatziki sauce.

What is Souvlaki?

Chicken souvlaki is a Greek street-food-type dish made with chicken marinated in traditional Mediterranean flavors. The word “souvlaki” simply means “meat on skewers,” so the chicken is threaded onto skewers and grilled. Sometimes you’ll see vegetables added on and grilled along with the chicken. Souvlaki is usually one part of a meal served along with sides.

Ingredients for chicken souvlaki.

Recipe Ingredients

Simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have, come together to make this authentic chicken souvlaki. Here’s what you’ll need to round up (if you’re looking for specific quantities, check out the recipe card below):

  • Chicken – Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thigh meat), cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Olive Oil – I like to use extra virgin olive oil, but canola/vegetable oil will also work.
  • White Wine Vinegar – Red wine vinegar can be substituted, but the flavor is bolder than with white wine vinegar.
  • Garlic Cloves – Freshly minced garlic is best, but store-bought minced garlic works in a pinch.
  • Seasoning – I like to mix Homemade Greek Seasoning, salt, and pepper when I make this grilled chicken.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice – The acidity from the lemon helps tenderize the chicken while it marinates.
Grilled chicken on skewers next to red onion.

How to Make Chicken Souvlaki

Making chicken souvlaki is a breeze… the hardest part is waiting for the chicken to marinate! Here’s how it all comes together (you can find the full directions in the recipe card below):

  • Make the souvlaki marinade. Combine all of the ingredients, except for the chicken, in a ziplock bag and shake the bag to mix everything well.
  • Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken in, and shake to ensure that the marinade is covering it. Allow the chicken to marinate in this mixture in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
  • Thread the skewers and grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill it until it is cooked through. The chicken can be grilled outdoors or on a stovetop with a grill pan.

Tips for Success

Let’s talk tips and tricks! Before you start on this souvlaki recipe, here are some helpful things to know:

  • Let the meat marinate. This is an important step, so don’t skip it! When you marinate the chicken, all of the flavors in the marinade mingle and set into the chicken, making it more flavorful and tender.
  • Don’t overcrowd the skewers. If there are too many pieces of chicken on the skewer, it will be harder for the chicken to cook through and to cook evenly.
  • Soak your skewers. If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes before you start grilling so that they don’t burn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a gyro and souvlaki?

Like souvlaki, gyros are popular Greek street food. Both are made with meat, but the meat is prepared differently. Souvlaki is made with small pieces of grilled meat, while gyros are made with slices of meat that are shaved off of a vertical rotisserie. You can learn more about the difference between these two popular street foods here.

Is souvlaki healthy?

Souvlaki is a relatively healthy form of Greek comfort food. Chicken souvlaki in particular is good for you because it is made with lean meat that is full of protein.

Chicken skewers with Greek seasoning.

What Goes With Greek Souvlaki?

Chicken souvlaki can be served in a number of ways. If you’re looking for suggestions, this is what I’d recommend:

  • Make gyros. My favorite way to use this chicken is in chicken gyros with some delicious Tzatziki Sauce! I like to warm up some Homemade Pita Bread, top it with the chicken souvlaki, and add a generous dollop or two of fresh tzatziki.
  • Add a salad. If you are looking for something to go with your chicken souvlaki to make it more of a meal, consider serving it with a traditional Greek Salad.
  • Prepare some more side dishes. Something like this Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad or this Chickpea Salad would work well!

Can Souvlaki Be Made in Advance?

Yes! You can leave the chicken in the marinade for up to 24 hours in the fridge. You can also prepare and cook it fully and reheat it for easy dinners later. I prefer reheating it in a pan on the stove, but it can always be microwaved too. It is best served fresh off the grill, but it’s still delicious when reheated.

Chicken souvlaki in a chicken gyro.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

If you happen to have leftovers, keep them in the fridge for later! Here’s how to properly preserve this souvlaki recipe:

  • To store. You can store chicken souvlaki in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 5 days. I prefer to remove the chicken from the skewers because it’s easier to store that way. You’ll also want to keep the chicken separate from any toppings or tzatziki sauce.
  • To reheat. When you are ready to enjoy your chicken souvlaki again, warm the chicken on the stovetop or in the microwave, and then add on your favorite toppings!

Can I Freeze Chicken Souvlaki?

You can prep the chicken ahead of time by placing it in a freezer-friendly ziplock bag with the marinade and freezing it for easy meal prep later. When you are ready to make the chicken souvlaki, pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. By doing this, you are also marinating the chicken as it thaws. All you have to do the next day is cook it!

More Chicken Dinner Ideas

Looking for some more simple chicken recipes? These are some of my favorites!

Stack of wooden skewers with cooked chicken souvlaki next to a bowl of dipping sauce
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Chicken Souvlaki

This simple and healthy Chicken Souvlaki is classic Greek street food. The marinated chicken is packed with flavor and will bring the taste of Greece right to your kitchen.
Prep Time6 hours
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time6 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, in bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Greek Seasoning
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake well to mix.
  • Add chicken and shake to ensure the marinade is covering chicken. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
  • Remove chicken from marinade, and toss leftover marinade. Thread chicken onto skewers and grill until cooked thoroughly on an outdoor grill or on the stove top with grill pan. Serve warm!
  • Serve with Tzatziki sauce for dipping, as a topping for Greek salad, in pita for chicken gyros or wiht Greek sides or roasted vegetables.

Video

Notes

To Freeze: Prep the chicken in marinade and place it in a freezer friendly ziplock bag (with the marinade) and freeze it for easy meal prep later. When you are ready to make the Chicken Souvlaki, pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. By doing this, you are also marinating the chicken as it thaws. Cook according to above directions once thawed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 261kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 3768mg, Fiber: 1g

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.