This is the simplest recipe for oven-baked chicken skewers, featuring a mayonnaise-based marinade. As a result, the meat comes out exceptionally juicy and tender.
About oven-baked chicken skewers
Chicken skewers or chicken kebobs, are pieces of chicken threaded onto metal or wooden skewers. Kebobs are usually grilled, or cooked on an open fire.
We do not always have access to the grill, so I will show you how to prepare tender and flavorful kebobs in the oven.
This recipe is made with boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can easily use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead.
Just remember, that thighs will cook a little faster.
First, we are going to marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes in a simple mayo-based marinade, which will infuse the meat with flavors and tenderize it.
After marinating, the chicken pieces and vegetables are threaded onto skewers and baked in the oven until golden brown. You can use metal or wooden skewers.
I often add vegetables to the marinade and thread them alternating with chicken.
They make the skewers more fun and you can make a side dish at the same time. Today, I had onions and zucchini.
You can use mushrooms, bell peppers, or eggplants. If you plan to marinate the chicken for more than 2 hours, do not add the veggies at the same time to the marinade (onions are OK), as they will become watery.
I only marinate vegetables with chicken if the skewers are baked in the next 30-60 minutes.
Chicken skewers pair well this a variety of side dishes and sauces, such as rice, salads, vegetables, pita bread, and sauces like tzatziki, spicy sauce, peanut sauce, and more.
The choice of marinade
You can adapt this recipe to different cuisines or simply to your own liking by choosing different marinades.
For quick, juicy, and flavorful kabobs, I like to use a simple mayo-based marinade that you can find in the recipe card below.
Mayo contains egg yolk, oil, and vinegar. Oil helps to keep the chicken juicy inside and browns it evenly on the outside, while acid tenderizes the meat.
Mayonnaise sticks to the chicken well and can be a great carrier for other ingredients, such as spices, herbs, and aromatics.
I always use a full-fat quality mayo for marinating the meat.
The meat always comes out juicy and does not dry out the next day after reheating.
If you want the chicken to be spicy, add about ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
If you prefer lighter marinades, I recommend Greek yogurt marinade I used to make these baked chicken drumsticks or a simple olive oil marinade.
For the olive oil marinade, mix ¼ cup of olive oil, the juice of half of the lemon, 2 grated garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or other herbs), and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
I have also made this recipe with teriyaki, Italian, and honey mustard marinade.
This is just an overview of recipe ingredients.
For the full list of ingredients and their quantities, please see the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Chicken breasts: skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs work best for this recipe. You can also use turkey instead of chicken.
- Onions and zucchini: add your favorite veggies or even fruits. I used zucchini and onions this time. You can use yellow or red onion.
- Mayonnaise: for the marinade, always choose full-fat quality mayo.
- Fresh thyme (or other herbs): I happened to have fresh thyme this time to use for the marinade. The recipe is flexible, so you can use dried or fresh herbs, such as thyme, and parsley. cilantro.
- Salt and seasonings: I used salt, sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. I usually add salt to the cubed chicken and vegetables and the rest of the seasonings are mixed with the marinade.
How to make it
Start by cutting the chicken breast into cubes. I cut a single chicken breast into 8 pieces, so you will have about 16 pieces out of 2 medium chicken breasts.
Cut zucchini and onion into approximately the same size chunks as chicken, about 1-1.5-inch.
Place both chicken and vegetables into a large bowl. Season everything with salt.
In a medium bowl, add mayonnaise, lemon juice (optional), sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Mix to combine.
Pour the marinade over the chicken and vegetables. Mix them with a spatula or a spoon until well coated.
If you plan to marinate the chicken longer than 2 hours, leave out the vegetables and add them straight to the skewers before baking.
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes. This step will prevent them from burning.
And if you forget this step, a handy tip is to wrap the ends of the skewers with foil. Alternatively, you can use metal skewers.
Preheat oven to 425° degrees F. Line the baking pan with parchment paper. For crispier chicken, line a baking pan with aluminum foil instead, and place a wire rack on top of the foil.
Remove wooden skewers from the water and pat them dry. Take out the marinated chicken and veggies. It's time to assemble the kebobs.
Thread the chicken and vegetables onto to the skewers, alternating them to your liking. With 2 medium chicken breasts, I ended up with 5 skewers, each with 4 chicken pieces on each.
Place the prepared skewers onto a prepared baking pan. Ensure they have space in between for even cooking.
Slide the pan in a preheated oven and bake it for about 17-20 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked.
Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F. Halfway through cooking time, rotate the kebobs for even browning.
Once cooked, let them cool down for a few minutes and enjoy!
- Marinade: let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes (maximum overnight) for tender and chicken kebobs.
- Uniform pieces: cut the chicken into evenly sized pieces to ensure they cook evenly.
- Soak wooden skewers: if you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
- Cooking methods: besides the oven, you can cook them on a hot grill or even in the air fryer.
- Add-ons: add fruits or vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, pineapple, and mango between chicken pieces. They add color and flavor.
You can keep uncooked chicken in a marinade for up to 24 hours, depending on the marinade.
Acidic marinades (with mayo, lemon, apple cider vinegar) should not be marinated longer than 4 hours, as the acid will start breaking down the proteins.
Dairy-based and oil-based (Greek yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, olive oil, and herbs) are OK to leave in the fridge for about 24 hours.
To store: If you have the leftovers of cooked kebobs, simply remove the meat from the skewer and place it in an airtight container in the fridge, where it will last for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat: to maintain the meat flavor and juiciness, you can use a microwave, oven, or air fryer to reheat it.
A few serving ideas
Oven-baked chicken kabobs are great with roasted veggies, salads, rice, potatoes and dipping sauces.
Choose the sides that complement your skewers' flavor profile, depending on the marinade used. You can serve them as:
- Main dish: serve chicken kebobs as a main dish with your favorite sides. Consider pairing them with our air fryer carrots and potatoes, carrot salad, red cabbage coleslaw, beets and arugula salad, rice, or sweet potato rounds.
- Appetizer: you can serve them as an appetizer with a side of dipping sauce, such as tzatziki, buffalo, peanut, etc.
- Salads, and bowls: add them to your favorite salads or bowls as a delicious protein addition.
Frequently asked questions
Boneless chicken breasts (leaner option) or boneless skinless thighs (more flavor and slightly more fat) are the best kinds of chicken to use for skewers.
I like to bake chicken skewers at 425°F. This temperature created a golden crust without drying out the meat. If you use chicken thighs, the cooking temperature can be raised to 450°F.
Yes, air fryer is another convenient way to cook the chicken skewers. Ensure your air fryer that can fit in the long skewers. Preheat the air fryer for about 5 minutes, and place the skewers on a tray, ensuring there is some space in between. Cook them at 400°F for about 10-12 minutes, flipping them once or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
More delicious chicken recipes
- Crispy panko-crusted chicken breasts
- Thin sliced baked chicken breasts
- Air fryer buffalo wings
- Oven-baked wings
- BBQ chicken breasts
- Whole roasted chicken in oven bag
Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts Skewers
- 5 wooden or metal skewers soak wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes before using
- 1 bowl
- 1-1.5 pounds chicken breasts (2 medium) or boneless thighs
- ½ yellow onion
- 1 small zucchini
- ⅓ cup full fat mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
- Cut the chicken in to 1 inch cubes. Cut zucchini into ½-inch thick rounds. Cut onion into 1-inch pieces.
- Place chicken, zucchini and onion into large bowl. Season everything with salt to taste. I used about ½ teaspoon of salt per pound of chicken.
- In a small bowl, add ⅓ c. mayo, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon paprika, and some black pepper to taste. You can also add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper there.
- Stir the marinade until combined. Add it to the chicken and veggies and mix until the ingredients are well coated. Cover with the plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 1 hour. (if you plan to marinate the meat overnight, add the vegetables later, just before cooking the skewers).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the baking pan with parchment paper. For crispier edges, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top.
- Thread the marinated chicken and vegetables alternating them. I always try to start and end the skewers with the chicken. But the order does not really matter.
- Place them vertically on a prepared baking pan, leaving some space between each skewer. Bake chicken skewers for about 17-20 minutes, turning them half way through, until the chicken is fully cooked. The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F.
- Once cooked, let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!