Smoky and Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs Recipe

Smoky and Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs Recipe

A combo of smoked and hot paprika in a yogurt-based marinade gives these moist chicken kebabs a strong smoky and spicy character. [Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

A riff on tandoori-style chicken, these chicken kebabs are marinated with yogurt and lemon, with smoked and hot paprika in place of the more traditional Indian spice blend. The result is a completely different, but equally delicious, dish.

Why this recipe works:

  • Using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts results in juicier and more flavorful kebabs.
  • The yogurt in the marinade helps keep the chicken from drying out over high direct heat.
  • A mixture of both smoked and hot paprika gives a delicious smoky and spicy flavor, plus an attractive red color.
  • Yield:Serves 4-6
  • Active time: 40 minutes
  • Total time:4 hours 40 minutes


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Type of fire: Direct
  • Grill heat: medium-high


  1. 1.

    Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, oil, ginger, salt, smoked paprika, hot paprika, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade and seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 4 to 8 hours.

  2. 2.

    Thread chicken tightly onto skewers.

  3. 3.

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers until well browned on all sides and center of chicken registers between 160-165°F on an instant read thermometer, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer skewers to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.