How to make shish kebab

Updated February 21, 2017

Fun and easy to make, assembling kebabs is something everyone can help with. Use traditional ingredients or make your own version. Shish kebab or shish kabob--no matter how you spell it, the result is always delicious. Traditionally a Mediterranean food, shish kebab is limited only by your imagination.

Place washed and dried chicken pieces in zip top plastic bag and add enough Italian dressing to cover chicken. Close the bag securely and refrigerate. Marinate chicken overnight or at least 8 hours, turning occasionally to be sure all chicken pieces are submerged in the marinade.

Wash and dry cherry tomatoes, bell pepper and onions. Leave the cherry tomatoes and pearl onions whole. Regular onions, cut in wedges, may be substituted for pearl onions. Cut bell pepper into pieces slightly larger than bite size to use them as an "anchor" to hold the shish kebab together.

Store the washed and cut vegetables in refrigerator until ready to assemble. Preparing the vegetables ahead of time is a great time saver for dinner.

Clear an area for assembling the shish kebabs, either the kitchen table or a large area of kitchen countertop.

Set up the area as an assembly line, with bell peppers at the beginning and end of the line. Bell peppers should be the first and last ingredient on the skewer.

Use disposable plastic coated paper plates or Styrofoam plates for the vegetables. For example, if you want 3 pieces of meat and 2 tomatoes on each skewer, place the meat on 3 separate plates and the tomatoes on 2 separate plates. Put the plates in order of how they will be added on the skewer.

Place the skewered shish kebabs on a baking sheet or platter for easier transport to the grill.

Place the shish kebabs on a preheated grill, approximately 7.5 cm / 3 inches apart. You will need the space to turn or roll the kebabs frequently. A good set of tongs is easier to use than a spatula for turning.

Use a basting brush to baste the kebabs while they are grilling. The leftover marinade can be used for basting, it helps infuse even more flavour.

Grill kebabs depending on your grill and the type of meat used. The size and type of vegetables will also determine the time needed to cook. A good rule of thumb is a minimum of 6 minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes total grilling time.

Serve the shish kebabs over rice for a full course and nutritional meal. Rice that has been cooked in chicken broth is excellent when served with chicken shish kebabs. Prepare the rice ahead of time and reheat in the microwave to save time.

Try brown rice or wild rice, an excellent choice to accompany shish kebab, as is the ethnic Mediterranean couscous. Most major grocery stores will carry couscous or other Mediterranean foods to use as a side dish.

Place small containers of dipping sauce on the table for each person.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the skewer by placing it over the rice and sliding the vegetables off using either a knife or fork.


Bell peppers placed first and last on skewer will help kebabs remain stable. Vary the vegetables and meat on the skewer for an appetising presentation. Leave the mushrooms whole for more stability. Small whole canned potatoes, washed thoroughly, are a great addition. Have lots of paper towels on hand, it can be a messy job with the marinade. Finish assembling all shish kebabs before placing on grill. Place the shish kebabs in a mesh fish basket for easier turning. Lay the skewers opposite the grill tines to prevent them from falling into the fire.


Always wash and dry chicken well.

Thoroughly wash cutting surface before preparing vegetables. Mushrooms will turn brown if washed ahead of time. Do not use the same sauce that was used to marinate the raw meat as a dipping sauce--it may contain bacteria from the raw meat.

Things You'll Need

  • Boneless chicken breasts, cut in bite size pieces
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green Bell pepper
  • Fresh whole mushrooms
  • Pearl onions
  • Italian dressing or marinade of your choice
  • Wood skewers soaked in water
  • Rice (optional)
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