Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs is a grilled chicken recipe served with brown basmati rice–with onions, spice, and raisins–and fresh bread.

a serving of Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs

We’re still enjoying grilling during these last days of summer! On our weekly rotation is chicken kebabs. You may have already tried our Best Grilled Chicken Thighs or BBQ Chicken Bacon Kebabs. This Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs recipe comes together in no time, and is a delicious meal to serve the family or dinner guests.

Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs

Lemon and basil are essential summertime ingredients. This recipe combines the flavors of sweet honey, punchy garlic, tangy yogurt, and bright pepper. It makes an extraordinarily simple marinade. The chicken sits overnight, and by the time dinner comes around, it is tenderized and full of flavor. We marinate this chicken for 24 hours.

Grilled Basil Chicken Kebabs

Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs ingredients:

  • Plain full-fat yogurt
  • Kosher salt + black pepper
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Basil
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken breasts

round plate of Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs

What do you serve with Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs?

To serve, I love to make brown basmati rice with onions, spices, and raisins. But you can also serve it with fresh, crunchy bread, grilled veggies, and a garden salad.

Or, serve a simple side dish of basmati rice and generous amount of mint for garnish.

Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs with rice

How do you make the yogurt-based marinade?

  1. In a food processor, combine the yogurt, black pepper, salt, honey, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and basil.
  2. Puree until smooth (there will be some large pieces of basil, that is fine), then add the olive oil and mix just until combined.
  3. Taste for additional seasoning and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with a lid or a Ziploc bag, combine the yogurt and the chicken and let marinade for twenty-four hours.

Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs

How do you grill the chicken kebabs?

  1. Before cooking, heat the grill to medium-high.
  2. Transfer the chicken to the skewers (about five to six metal skewers), making sure to not pack the meat together too tightly on the skewer (this will cause uneven cooking).
  3. Grease the grates of the grill well with an oiled rag, then grill the kebabs until fully cooked and lightly charred.

kebabs with rice

Tips and substitutions:

Letting the chicken marinate overnight is key to getting the best texture and flavor from this recipe. Note: Be careful not to let it sit too long (up to two days), because the acid in the marinade will begin to cook the chicken and change the texture.

Chicken thighs can also be used instead of chicken breasts. Thighs, because they have more fat, won’t dry out as easily as chicken breasts. This makes a great alternative if you’re concerned about undercooking the meat.

grilled Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs

Alternative ways to cook meat if you don’t have a grill:

  1. Use a cast iron skillet to cook the meat. Heat the pan on the stovetop to medium-high. Once hot (and likely smoking a little), add some neutral oil, then place the skewers on top and cook until fork tender with an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
  2. You can also place the skewers across a cast iron skillet so that the meat is not touching the bottom (the skewers will be suspended over the pan rather than touching the bottom). Rotate the skewers as needed until fully cooked.
  3. A third option is broiling the meat on a wire rack directly under the broiler until lightly charred and cooked through—the meat can be on skewers or not.

All you need to do is fire up the grill, skewer the chicken, and cook until caramelized and dripping with flavor!

ENJOY!

Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs with basil

More grilled recipes to try:

Pineapple Mango Grilled Chicken Skewers

Super easy Grilled BBQ Marinated Chicken Recipe

Epic Grilled Breakfast Charcuterie Board

Our favorite Grilled Corn Pineapple Salad

Great side dish: Grilled Vegetable Salad

grilled Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs
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Get the Recipe:

Lemon Basil Chicken Kebabs

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
marinating time: 1 d
Total Time: 1 d 25 mins
Yield: 6

Ingredients
 

  • 1 c plain, full fat yogurt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • ½ c basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb chicken breast cut into 1’’ cubes
  • Rice or crunchy bread to serve

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor, combine the yogurt, black pepper, salt, honey, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and basil. Puree until smooth (there will be some large pieces of basil, that is fine) then add the olive oil and mix just until combined. Taste for additional seasoning and set aside.
  • In a large bowl with a lid or a Ziploc bag, combine the yogurt and the chicken and let marinate for 24 hours.
  • Before cooking, heat the grill to medium-high. Transfer the chicken to the skewers (about 5-6 metal skewers), making sure to not pack the meat together too tightly on the skewer (this will cause uneven cooking). Grease the grates of the grill well with an oiled rag, then grill the kebabs until fully cooked and lightly charred—4-5 minutes per side.
  • Alternative ways to cook meat if you don’t have a grill: use a cast iron skillet to cook the meat. Heat the pan on the stovetop to medium-high. Once hot (and likely smoking a little, add some neutral oil, then place the skewers on top and cook, about 4-5 minutes per side, until fork tender with an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
  • You can also place the skewers across a walled cast iron skillet so that the meat is not touching the bottom (the skewers will be suspended over the pan rather than touching the bottom). Rotate the skewers as needed until fully cooked.
  • A third option is broiling the meat on a wire rack directly under the broiler until lightly charred and cooked through—the meat can be on skewers or not.
  • Serve with basmati rice and garnish with a generous amount of mint.

Notes

NOTES:
Letting the chicken marinate overnight is key to getting the best texture and flavor from this recipe—however, be careful not to let it sit too long (up to two days) because the acid in the marinade will begin to cook the chicken and change the texture.
Chicken thighs can also be used instead of chicken breasts. Thighs, because they have more fat, won’t dry out as easily as chicken breasts, making them a great alternative if you’re concerned about undercooking the meat.
Cuisine: middle Eastern
Course: Main Course
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kebabs with lemon and basil