What Is Souvlaki?
Souvlaki is a Greek dish of marinated meat grilled on skewers. The word souvlaki (plural souvlakia) comes from the Medieval Greek word for skewer, souvla. The grilled meat is traditionally pork, but can also be lamb, chicken, or beef. Souvlaki meat is usually flavored with a marinade of lemon juice, garlic, and herbs before grilling.
How to Serve Souvlaki
In Greece, souvlaki is typically served as a main course with rice and tzatziki. In the United States, it’s often served as a pita bread sandwich similar to the gyro or shawarma. For a side dish or appetizer, try a Greek salad made with feta cheese, cucumber, sliced red onion, and tomato, or pair souvlaki with fried potatoes.
Greek Chicken Souvlaki Recipe
Prep Time30 min
Total Time8 hr 50 min
Cook Time20 min
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup fresh oregano leaves, minced
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Tzatziki sauce, to serve (optional)
- Pita or rice, to serve (optional)
- Veggies such as lettuce, tomato, and pickles, to serve (optional)
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.
- Make the marinade. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, pepper, salt, minced garlic cloves, oregano, paprika, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Marinate the chicken. Toss the chicken pieces in the marinade and refrigerate, covered, overnight.
- The next day, let the chicken rest at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Arrange chicken pieces on metal or wooden skewers, leaving plenty of room at the base of the skewer for easy handling. (If using wooden skewers, soak in water an hour before cooking.)
- Brush a cast-iron grill pan with the remaining oil and place over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the chicken skewers. Cook until internal temperature registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 5–10 minutes per side. Serve warm with souvlaki accompaniments like tzatziki, pita, rice, and veggies.
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