Greek Chicken Souvlaki

If you love ordering Greek chicken souvlaki when you're out at a restaurant but are intimidated by making the dish yourself, ask yourself this: Could you cook a few pieces of chicken in a pan? Yes? Then you can make this dish at home. Seriously. When you go with store-bought tzatziki sauce, the hardest part of prepping this entire recipe will be the two hours you have to spent waiting for the chicken to marinate, knowing your delicious dish awaits.

Before we get to the recipe itself, let's clear up the terms a bit. "Souvlaki" simply refers to little pieces of meat cooked on skewers, so it can be applied to chicken, lamb, beef, and more, and is sometimes even used for veggies cooked on a wooden skewer. In other words, it's a method, not an ingredient. And tzatziki is a salted yogurt usually made with finely diced garlic, cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, and a variety of herbs. You can make it from scratch, but that's taking this dish from easy to not-quite-so-easy.

And by the way, if you'd prefer to do your cooking al fresco, go for it. Chef, food writer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli says: "If you have access to a grill, this works great on the grill instead of the stovetop."

Gather the ingredients for this Greek chicken souvlaki

Technically, souvlaki is just the cooked meat on the skewer itself. But when you order it at just about any restaurant or café, you'll be served your meat along with a delicious tomato and cucumber salad and some pita bread, not to mention extra tzatziki for dipping. 

So all told, for a proper Greek chicken souvlaki, you'll need some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, a generous portion of tzatziki sauce, divided, plenty of pita bread pockets, diced cucumber, diced roma tomato, olive oil, and salt. (You can also toss in some sliced red onion to add a bit of zing if you'd like.)

Marinate the chicken and dice the veggies for this Greek chicken souvlaki

Remember how we talked about the waiting being the hardest part of this recipe? Well, we're pretty much at that part already. The first step is to trim the fat off the chicken thighs, then slice chicken into two-inch cubes. Now place the chicken in an airtight container with a lid (or a big sealable bag if ned be) along with eight ounces of the tzatziki sauce. Toss the meat in the sauce, then place it in fridge to marinate for two hours.

About an hour into the waiting process, go ahead and start soaking the wooden skewers you'll insert into the meat before cooking. When the time has almost elapsed, go ahead and dice the tomato and cucumber, and measure out the olive oil and salt.

Cook the chicken in a hot pan for this Greek chicken souvlaki dish

Grab those large wooden skewers you soaked, and add chicken pieces to five skewers, distributing it evenly among them. (Note that if you are cooking the meat in a pan, it's okay to use skewers you did not pre-soak. If you're cooking on a grill, it's really best to have prepared the skewers in water.)

Heat a large nonstick skillet or a lightly greased pan over medium flame, and once it's warm, add three skewers. Allow the chicken to cook on both sides for about seven minutes, checking for an internal temperature between 160 and 165 degrees. Remove the meat from the pan and add the remaining two skewers, cooking them in the same way. (And yes, you can use two pans and cook it all at once!)

Assemble the salad then serve your Greek chicken souvlaki

In the meantime, while the Greek chicken souvlaki is cooking, assemble cucumber tomato salad by combining the diced cucumber and the diced tomato in a small bowl. Toss the veggies with olive oil and salt, stirring to combine everything well. And chop the pitas into handy wedge sizes.

Now serve chicken skewer along with cucumber tomato salad, the pita bread, and remaining tzatziki sauce for dipping. And if you end up with more of this succulent meat than you can eat in one sitting, Carli says: "I recommend storing the skewers in a large Ziploc bag in the fridge for up to three days," adding: "It reheats well in the oven."

Greek Chicken Souvlaki
4.9 from 17 ratings
The hardest part of prepping this entire recipe will be the two hours you have to spent waiting for the chicken to marinate, knowing your delicious dish awaits.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
5
servings
Greek Chicken Souvlaki served on a platter
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 16 ounces tzatziki sauce, divided
  • 5 pita bread pockets
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Slice chicken thighs into 2-inch cubes, then place in an airtight container along with 8 ounces of the tzatziki sauce. Toss, then place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
  2. Using large, pre-soaked wooden skewers, add chicken pieces to 5 skewers.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 3 skewers and allow to cook on both sides for 7 minutes.
  4. Remove from pan and add remaining 2 skewers, again allow to cook on each side for 7 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, assemble cucumber tomato salad by combining diced cucumber and tomato in a small bowl and tossing with olive oil and salt, stirring to combine.
  6. Serve chicken skewer along with cucumber tomato salad, pita bread, and remaining tzatziki sauce for dipping.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 699
Total Fat 42.0 g
Saturated Fat 9.5 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 185.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.4 g
Dietary Fiber 5.3 g
Total Sugars 4.2 g
Sodium 926.1 mg
Protein 41.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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