Chicken Souvlaki with Lemon Mint Tzatziki. A simple recipe for the marinade, a quick cooking time and a deliciously refreshing tzatziki make this a meal the whole family will love.
2019 update: includes instructions for cooking this under the broiler for a more winter friendly method. Find them in the recipe notes/
Greek food is a family favorite at our house. This simple but very flavourful meal is yet another way to pull a great meal off the summertime grill. This particular souvlaki and tzatziki was definitely one of the best meals I’ve had this summer. I’m already craving more!
The chicken only needs to be marinated for 15-20 minutes to infuse it with intense lemon garlic flavour. My souvlaki marinade also uses a small splash of balsamic vinegar and some smoked paprika for extra layers of flavour.
I like to debone my own chicken breasts so that I can roast the bones and skins for stock later. I freeze them until I have enough to cover a baking sheet then use the instructions in my post on making Chicken Stock here.
This marinade also works very well with pork tenderloin or lamb. These meats can be marinated much longer than chicken if you prefer.
Lemon Mint Tzatziki for Souvlaki Chicken
There are a couple of herbs that work well in a good tzatziki. Both parsley or dill are great, but my absolute favourite is finely chopped fresh mint. I pluck the mint from a small herb bed in the garden, just a few feet from the kitchen door.
Mint works really well with the tangy zing of lemon and Greek yogurt. I also like the balancing freshness that mint brings to this bright accompaniment to a great souvlaki. It also makes a fantastic dressing for Greek salad or as a veggie dip.
We served this meal a couple of days ago with a simple Greek salad. Instead of traditional pita bread we used the backyard grill once again to make some crispy, chewy garlic flatbreads which were perfect to round out this amazing meal.
You can find that Flatbread recipe here.
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If you like this souvlaki, you might also like these Garlic Balsamic Grilled Lamb Chops:
Originally published August of 2011.
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 rounded tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 3 cups Greek yogurt drained.
- 6 inch piece of English cucumber
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- zest of half a lemon finely minced, (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt and pepper to season
I like to pound out the chicken breasts to about a quarter inch thickness to provide as much surface space as possible to accept the marinade and increase the flavour. I then cut the thin marinated chicken into about 1 x 3 inch pieces and fold them over before piercing the meat onto a skewer to grill.
Mix all of the ingredients together and pour over the chicken in a Ziploc bag. Toss the chicken around well in the marinade to coat on all sides.
Marinate in the fridge for 15 - 20 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, soak 4 long bamboo skewers in water. Pierce the chicken onto the skewers, alternating with pieces of sweet pepper or red onion.
Cook on a preheated grill at medium high heat for about 6 minutes before turning over and grilling for an additional 6 minutes on the opposite side or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
Serve with a Greek Salad, flatbread and tzatziki.
Draining the yogurt removes much of the liquid and produces an end product about the consistency of thick sour cream. To drain the yogurt, line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth (or in a pinch, several large coffee filters) Pour the yogurt into the colander and place it in a large bowl or in the sink for an hour or two. this should produce about 2 cups of thick yogurt.
Peel the piece of cucumber and remove the seeds and pulp at the center with a teaspoon, then dice the outside flesh of the cucumber into small cubes of 1/8 inch or less.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt over the diced cucumber and toss together well. Let this rest for about a half hour, stirring occasionally. This process removes some of the liquid from the cucumber so that it will not water down the consistency of your finished tzatziki.
Drain all of the liquid off the diced cucumber before adding it to the drained yogurt along with the mint, garlic, lemon juice, zest, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Mix well, cover and store in the fridge for at least a half hour before serving. I often make the tzatziki a day ahead to let the flavours develop.
This recipe can also be done under the broiler and that's how we do it when the back patio is covered in snow. Place the skewers on a wire rack over a cookie sheet under the broiler turning every few minutes until completely cooked. I use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken hits about 180 degrees F.
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.
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