Chicken Shish Kebab Rolls
These Chicken Shish Kebab Rolls are easy to make, and perfect for summer lunches and dinners or anytime of the year! Chicken is marinated in a flavor-packed yogurt-based marinade with spices, herbs, and more, then seared in a skillet until perfectly charred and juicy and served in a kebab shop style roll!
Confession. My favorite late night post drinking snack is a chicken shish roll with juicy grilled spiced chicken chunks, crisp lettuce, sliced onion, tomatoes, and lashings of garlic sauce, chili-mayo yogurt sauce, and mint-yogurt sauce.😍 But to be honest, I love a good chicken shish roll any time of any day, sober or not! 😉
What is Chicken Shish?
Shish (Şiş in Turkish) means skewers. Traditionally, marinated cubed pieces of meat are threaded on skewers and cooked over an open fire. But in kebab shops today, the marinated meat is commonly grilled (either on skewers or not) on a hot flat-faced grill before being piled onto a tortilla with salad toppings and sauces. It’s usually made with chicken breasts or lamb.
Chicken shish can be served with rice, french fries (chips), or salad in addition to rolls/wraps – which are commonly (and mistakenly) referred to as ‘kebabs’. Kebab in Turkish cuisine, refers to any grilled or broiled meat dish. What they serve the meat in is called a wrap or roll (‘dürüm’), not a kebab.
Easy Skillet Method
For this chicken shish recipe, I decided to mimic the way the folks at my favorite kebab shop – 27 Kebab House – make their magnificent chicken shish roll. They sear the marinated whole chicken breasts on a flat-faced grill and cut up the meat into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. This method ensures that the chicken stays juicy, and doesn’t overcook or dry out in spite of using breasts instead of thighs.
I’ve used a nonstick skillet to achieve the same meat texture and the result is incredibly delicious! Just like my Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon, you don’t need a grill to get the lovely char marks on the meat because of the yogurt based marinade. Yogurt tends to “burn” while cooking, so all you need is a nonstick skillet and you’re all set to get juicy and tender, perfectly charred pan-grilled chicken.
Bonus? Using a nonstick skillet means you don’t have to spend time scraping or fuss with cleaning up a griddle pan or grill grates. 🙌
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s straightforward and easy to make. The lengthiest part – marinating the chicken – is inactive.
- Marinating the chicken with garlic, spices and herbs, and lemon juice in a yogurt-based marinade ensures that the chicken will be incredibly flavorful, but also wonderfully tender and juicy once cooked since the yogurt acts as a meat tenderizer.
- Using a meat mallet to flatten the chicken breasts guarantees that they will cook evenly and the end tip won’t dry out.
- Searing/pan-grilling the chicken in a nonstick skillet as opposed to a grill or griddle pan means easier cleanup.
- You can customize the rolls with any salad toppings and type of flatbread you like.
- Chicken: I use boneless and skinless chicken breasts as it’s what is traditionally used to make chicken shish. But you can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Plain Greek Style Yogurt: Or use plain whole milk yogurt. Be sure to use Greek style yogurt and not Greek yogurt – the latter is much thicker in consistency.
- Tomato Paste: This is a concentrated paste made with tomatoes and comes in cans or tubes. Look for it in the tomato products aisle at your supermarket.
- Harissa Paste: This is a smoky, mildly spicy Tunisian hot chili pepper paste that is made with roasted red peppers and other spices and herbs. You can find it in the Middle Eastern aisle of a well-stocked supermarket, at Middle Eastern/Mediterranean grocery stores, or order it online.
- Seasonings and Spices: You’ll need quite a few spices and seasonings for the marinade. But most of them are everyday pantry spices that you likely have on hand already. The only unique spice is sumac – a red wine-colored Middle Eastern spice with a lemony flavor. You can leave it out if you don’t have it on hand. Or simply add an extra splash of lemon juice to the marinade.
- Olive Oil: For cooking the chicken. Feel free to use any other cooking oil you like.
- Garlic Sauce: A MUST for chicken shish kebab rolls! I’ve included the recipe for this sauce in the recipe card below, but you can check out my Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce post for more detailed instructions with pictures.
- Chili Mayo-Yogurt Sauce: This is a mildly spicy sauce. You can opt to not make it if you are particularly sensitive to heat.
- To Serve (optional breads and toppings for the kebab rolls): Large tortillas (I highly recommend Aly or Ekin brand for making kebab rolls), pita bread, lettuce, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or any other kebab toppings you like!
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
How to Make Chicken Shish Kebab Rolls
1. Flatten the chicken. So that they will cook more evenly once even in size. I use a meat mallet to pound the chicken in between two large pieces of cling wrap on a chopping board.
2. Marinate the chicken. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium sized bowl. Mix until evenly combined, then add the flattened chicken breasts and toss to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight for best flavor.
3. Cook the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. You will likely need to work in batches of two breasts so that you don’t overcrowd the skillet. Place the chicken in the skillet, and sear each side for 2 minutes. Then cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces using kitchen shears. Continue cooking while tossing occasionally until the chicken is nicely charred and has cooked through.
Note: Due to the marinade being a yogurt-based one, it will burn a little in the pan as you cook. Don’t worry though – simply scrape up and discard any burnt bits and continue cooking until the chicken has cooked through.
4. Make the sauces. Simply whisk together all the ingredients for the garlic sauce in one bowl, and all the ingredients for the chili mayo-yogurt sauce in another bowl.
5. Assemble kebab rolls: Tear large sheets of foil and place them on your work surface. Then place a large tortilla on each foil and top with romaine lettuce, sliced red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Pile on the chicken shish and drizzle with the garlic sauce and chili mayo-yogurt sauce. Roll tightly into a wrap.
6. Place under panini press. Place under a hot flat-faced panini press or sandwich griddle for a few minutes. If you don’t have one, place the kebabs in a skillet or on a griddle pan over medium heat with a large plate and heavy mug on top.
7. Serve! Then peel back the foil, and sink your teeth into the deliciousness that is this Chicken Shish Kebab Roll!!
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Don’t overcook the chicken. Chicken breasts tend to dry out if cooked for too long. Cooking for 6-8 minutes in the skillet will ensure that you have perfectly cooked juicy chicken pieces that are nicely charred.
- Marinate the chicken overnight. This will ensure better flavor, but also better texture since the Greek style yogurt in the marinade acts as a meat tenderizer. The longer you marinate, the more juicy and tender the chicken will be once cooked.
- Don’t skip flattening the chicken breasts. They will cook better and more evenly. You also don’t run the risk of the tip end drying out and cooking quicker than the rest of the chicken if it has been pounded to an even thickness.
The chicken shish itself is is gluten-free. However, make sure to serve in gluten-free tortillas or other gluten-free flatbread.
In general, chicken shish is not excessively spicy, but is full of flavor because of all of the seasonings and herbs in the marinade. If you are sensitive to heat, you can control the level of spice by reducing the amount of ground cayenne and harissa paste you use.
Although the chicken shish will taste best if eaten immediately after cooking, it will keep in the fridge in a sealed airtight container for 3-4 days. To reheat the chicken, microwave on high for 30 seconds, then assemble the kebab rolls and place under the grill as indicated in steps 5 & 6.
To cook on the grill: Brush olive or vegetable oil on the grill grates and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium fire, turning once or twice, until the chicken is nice and charred on the outside and the center has cooked through. Then transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.
To cook on a griddle/grill pan: Brush oil on the griddle/grill pan and cook the chicken for 8-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the chicken is charred on the outside and cooked through in the center. Then cut into bite-sized pieces.
Leaving the chicken whole ensures that the chicken won’t cook too quickly and potentially dry out. It also allows you to get a nice sear on the whole pieces without drying out the meat. But if you prefer, you can cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces before adding to the marinade. Note that the chicken will cook quicker in the skillet so cook for 6-10 minutes tops, until nicely charred and just cooked through. If cutting into bite-sized pieces, you have the option to thread the pieces onto skewers, then cook either on the griddle or grill for 8-10 minutes, or until nicely charred and just cooked through.
More Summer Lunches & Sides
- Spicy BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza
- Chicken Tikka Naanza (Naan Pizza!)
- Greek Yogurt Pizza Dough
- Coronation Chicken Salad
- Loaded Street Corn Salad with Manchego
- Or browse the entire Summer and Lunch recipes collections.
MADE THIS RECIPE? If you make this recipe, leave a comment and review it below with a STAR rating! I always appreciate your feedback and it helps other readers that are thinking of making the recipe. Take a photo and be sure to tag it with @thatspicychick on Instagram and hashtag it #thatspicychick and I’ll be sure to share.Print
Chicken Shish Kebab Rolls
Marinated spiced chicken is cooked in a nonstick skillet until perfectly charred and juicy, then served in a tortilla wrap with crisp lettuce, sliced onion and tomatoes, creamy kebab shop style garlic sauce, and chili-mayo yogurt sauce!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Marinating Time: 4 hours
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Lunch
- Method: Pan-fry
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
For the Chicken Shish:
- 680 grams / 1.5 pounds Chicken Breasts (or thighs), boneless, skinless – cleaned and pat-dried with paper towels
- ½ cup Plain Greek Style Yogurt (or plain whole milk yogurt)
- 1.5 TBLS Tomato Paste (or 1 TBLS Double Concentrated Tomato Paste)
- 1 TBLS Harissa Paste (DEA harissa or Le Phare Cap Du Bon harissa brands preferred)
- 5–6 Garlic cloves – smashed and finely chopped
- 1 TBLS freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1.5 TSP Kosher Salt
- ½ TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper
- ½ TSP Sumac
- 1 TSP Ground Cayenne (or Kashmiri chili powder)
- ¾ TSP Paprika
- ¾ TSP ground Cinnamon
- 1/8 TSP ground Cardamom
- ½ TSP ground Cumin
- ½ TSP Coriander Powder
- ½ TSP Dried Oregano Flakes
- ¼ TSP Dried Thyme
- ¼ TSP Dried Mint Flakes
- 2–3 TBLS Olive Oil (or any other cooking oil)
For the Garlic Sauce:
- ¾ cup Mayonnaise
- 3 Garlic cloves – smashed into a paste using a mortar and pestle
- 2 TBLS Greek Style Yogurt (or plain yogurt)
- 1 TBLS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 TSP freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
- ½ TSP Za’atar Spice Blend
- 1/8 TSP Dried Oregano Flakes, or more to taste
For the Chili Mayo-Yogurt Sauce:
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 TBLS Greek Style Yogurt (or plain yogurt)
- 1–2 TBLS Harissa Chili Paste, to taste
- ½ TSP Crushed Red Pepper Chili Flakes, to taste
- ½ TSP Ground Cayenne (or chili powder), to taste
- ¼ TSP Sumac
For the Chicken Shish Kebab Rolls (optional breads and toppings):
- Large 25cm / 10-inch tortillas (or pita bread or any other flatbread) – I highly recommend Aly and Ekin brand tortillas for kebab rolls
- Chopped romaine lettuce (or any other type of lettuce)
- Sliced red onion
- Cherry tomatoes – halved
- Sliced cucumber
- Garlic Sauce
- Chili Mayo-Yogurt Sauce
- Mint-Yogurt Sauce
- Flatten the chicken: Place a large piece of cling wrap on a cutting board, then place a chicken breast on top, followed by another layer of cling wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken breast to flatten it until it is ½-inch thick and even. Transfer to a bowl/plate and repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
- Marinate the chicken: Combine all the ingredients for the Chicken Shish except the olive oil in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon until evenly combined. Add the flattened chicken breasts to the bowl and mix to coat. Cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 4 hours, or overnight for best flavor.
- Cook the chicken: Remove the bowl of marinated chicken from the fridge 30-60 minutes before you plan to cook. Let it sit on the counter to take the chill off. When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or cast-iron pan. Working in batches of two chicken breasts at a time, shake the excess marinade off the chicken breasts and place in the pan once the oil is hot. Cook for 2 minutes, then use tongs to turn the chicken breasts over and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Using tongs in one hand and kitchen shears in the other, lift the chicken breasts and cut into thick strips, then into bite-sized pieces. Continue cooking while tossing occasionally for 2-4 more minutes, until the chicken is nicely charred on the outside and cooked through. (Note: While cooking the chicken, some of the marinade will inevitably burn and blacken due to the marinade being a yogurt-based one. Don’t worry though – simply scrape off and discard any burnt bits that form in the pan as you cook. The chicken will still get cooked to charry outside and juicy inside perfection.) Transfer to a clean plate and place in the oven to keep warm. Add more oil to the pan and cook the remaining chicken pieces.
- Make the Garlic Sauce and Chili Mayo-Yogurt Sauce: Mix together all the ingredients for the garlic sauce in a small bowl, then set aside until ready to use. In a separate small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the chili-mayo yogurt sauce, then set aside.
- Assemble the Chicken Shish Rolls: Tear 4 long sheets of aluminum foil and place on a kitchen counter or flat work surface. Place a tortilla (or other flatbread) on top of each sheet of foil. Top the center of the tortillas with romaine lettuce, sliced red onion, cherry tomatoes, and other toppings of choice. Pile on the chicken shish and drizzle with garlic sauce, chili mayo-yogurt sauce, etc. Then roll tightly and fold the ends of the foil over to the center.
- Place under panini press: Working in batches if needed, place the kebabs under a hot flat-faced panini press or griddle sandwich press (or in a clean skillet or on a griddle pan over medium heat with a large plate and heavy mug on top if you don’t own one) for 4-8 minutes.
- Serve: Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Nutritional information: The nutritional information provided is for the chicken shish only as values will differ based on bread and toppings of choice and amount of sauce used when assembling the kebabs.
- Can I make this ahead? You can marinate the chicken and make the garlic sauce and chili-mayo yogurt sauce a day in advance. Store the sauces in a sealed airtight container in the fridge and consume within 5-7 days.
- Storing: While the chicken shish will taste best immediately after cooking, it will keep in the fridge in a sealed airtight container for 3-4 days. Remove the chicken from the fridge 10 minutes before you assemble and place the kebab rolls under a panini press as instructed in step 5 and 6. If using the skillet and plate method to toast the kebab rolls, microwave the chicken on high for 30 seconds before assembling and placing the kebab rolls in the skillet with the plate and heavy mug on top.
- Chicken: I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts since it’s commonly used to make chicken shish. However, you can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs if you like.
- Leaving the chicken whole vs. cutting into bite-sized pieces: While I’ve left the chicken whole in the marinade because I like getting a good sear on the breasts before cutting them into bite-sized pieces (and because this is what my favorite kebab shop does), you can cut the pieces into bite-sized pieces before adding it to the marinade and then pan-fry it for 6-10 minutes. It will cook quicker this way, so you’ll need to be careful about not overcooking and drying the pieces out. If cutting into bite-sized pieces, you also have the option to thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and either cook on the griddle or grill for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through and nicely charred.
- To cook the chicken on a grill or griddle pan:
- To cook on the grill: Brush olive or vegetable oil on the grill grates and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium fire, turning once or twice, until the chicken is nice and charred on the outside and the center has cooked through. Then transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- To cook on a griddle/grill pan: Brush oil on the griddle/grill pan and cook the chicken for 8-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the chicken is charred on the outside and cooked through in the center. Then cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Alternative ways to serve chicken shish: Serve over a salad or rice, or with chips (fries) and roasted/grilled veggies, toasted pita bread, and plenty of garlic sauce, chili-mayo yogurt sauce, and mint-yogurt sauce instead of in kebab rolls/wraps.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 334
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 615.8mg
- Fat: 15.9g
- Saturated Fat: 3.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 10.8g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 6.4g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 40.1g
- Cholesterol: 128.1mg
Keywords: chicken shish, chicken shish wrap, chicken shish kebab
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