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Flavorful And Tender Turkish-Style Chicken Kebabs(Tavuk Şiş) !

This recipe for Turkish-Style Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Şiş) offers a delightful exploration into the culinary traditions of Turkey, coupled with some practical tips for perfect grilling. Let’s break down some key elements that make this recipe stand out:

Why It Works:

  1. Choice of Meat: Opting for chicken thighs over breast meat provides a juicier, more flavorful result. The higher fat content in thigh meat is more forgiving on the grill and less likely to dry out.
  2. Cutting Technique: Slicing the chicken into strips instead of chunks exposes more surface area, allowing for quicker cooking and more even seasoning.
  3. Marinade: The red pepper, Fresno chilies, and Aleppo pepper offer a vibrant kick, while the honey and tomato paste balance the flavors with sweetness and acidity, respectively. Fresh and dried mint add a unique touch of brightness.
  4. Marination Time: Allowing the chicken to marinate for at least an hour (or up to 12 hours) ensures the flavors are well-absorbed.
  5. Two-Part Puree: The recipe cleverly separates the puree into two parts. One part is used for marination and the other part, combined with fresh mint, serves as an accompanying sauce.
  6. Grilling Technique: The recipe details the ideal settings for both charcoal and gas grills, ensuring you achieve that much-coveted char and smokiness regardless of your equipment.

Tips and Variations:

  • Skewer Selection: If you’re using wooden skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling to prevent them from burning.
  • Alternative Spices: If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, the recipe offers a suitable alternative using sweet paprika and a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes.
  • Veggie Add-ons: Consider adding bell peppers, onions, or cherry tomatoes to the skewers for extra flavor and color.
  • Serving Ideas: This would go well with sides like pita bread, rice pilaf, or a simple cucumber and tomato salad.
  • Oven Method: If you don’t have access to a grill, these skewers can also be cooked in an oven preheated to 425°F (220°C) for about 15-20 minutes, turning once.


  • 1/2 cup drained roasted red bell peppers, patted dry
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 Fresno chilies, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper (see headnote)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


  1. In a food processor, combine the roasted red peppers, garlic, chilies, oil, dried mint, Aleppo pepper, honey, tomato paste, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until almost smooth, 45 to 60 seconds, scraping the sides as needed. Measure 3 tablespoons of the puree into a small bowl, then stir in the lemon juice; cover and refrigerate. Transfer the remaining puree to a medium bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
  2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney three-quarters full of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents and the lid vent. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high and heat, covered, for 15 minutes, then clean and oil the grate; turn all burners to medium-high.
  3. While the grill heats, remove the reserved puree from the refrigerator. Thread the chicken onto eight 10- to 12-inch metal skewers, evenly dividing the pieces and scraping off excess marinade. Place the skewers on the hot side of the grill (if using charcoal), and cook, uncovered, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until evenly charred on all sides and the thickest piece is opaque when cut into, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer the cooked chicken skewers to a serving platter.
  5. Stir the fresh mint into the reserved puree and serve it with the kebabs.

Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a beginner, this recipe sets you up for success with its thoughtful approach to both ingredient selection and cooking techniques. Enjoy your juicy, flavor-packed Tavuk Şiş!

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