This homemade Greek Lamb Souvlaki tastes just like you would find down a side street in Greece. Tender chunks of melt melt in your mouth lamb cooked on the grill after being marinated in a generous amount of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and herbs. Serve with flatbreads, tzatziki and all the trimmings for a great recipe to feed a crowd.
If you are not too familiar with cooking with lamb, then this is a really good recipe to start with, as you just marinade the chunks of lamb, thread them on to a skewer and then grill them.
If you are having a dinner party with meat loving friends and family, then this recipe will go down a treat. You can just put everything on the table and your guests can build up their own meal of flatbreads, juicy lamb, salad and lashings of creamy hummus and tzatziki. If you want to serve it how we ate it in Mykonos, then you can add some fries into the flatbread too.
- Lamb - We used diced lamb leg for this lamb souvlaki recipe, which makes it super easy to just thread on to the skewer as it has already been chopped up for you. Lamb is such a great meat to use on the BBQ, but I don't think it is used enough and people tend to go for beef.
- Oil - We used olive oil as we love the flavour. Try to use the best quality olive oil you can, as you really will be able to tell the difference.
- Lemon - Make sure it is a juicy lemon, otherwise half won't be enough and you might need to use a whole one.
- Herbs - Oregano and thyme are where all the Greek flavours come from. Make sure that your dried herbs have not been open longer then 6 months, otherwise they won't have much flavour.
- Garlic - Freshly crushed is always best, however you can save some time by using crushed garlic in a jar.
- Flatbreads and tzatziki - There are to serve with the lamb souvlaki.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make lamb souvlaki - Step by step
One: Make the marinade by combining the oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
Two: Put the lamb in a bowl with the marinade and marinate for at least 2 hours.
Three: Thread the skewers with the marinated lamb.
Four: Place the skewers on a barbecue or under a grill. Cook for around 12 minutes, or until it gets to a temperature of 70°C/158°F.
Five: Serve in flatbreads with salad and tzatziki.
Health benefits of lamb
Lamb can get a reputation of being unhealthy, but it really doesn't have to be! Use the leanest mince that you can find and grill it instead of frying and you have already saved yourself some calories, but you still have all that flavour. It's all about pairing it with fresh vegetables and that sprinkle of mint on top at the end is everything.
Lamb is not only a rich source of protein, but it is also a great source of many vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
The lamb itself has so much delicious flavour, but the marinade really brings the whole dish to life. We keep it all pretty simple, but with a definite nod to Greek flavours.
The marinade is mad up of a generous glug of olive oil (the best quality you can afford - you will really notice the difference), a squeeze of lemon juice, some crushed garlic, salt, pepper and dried oregano and thyme (this is where you will get a burst of Greek flavour).
What to serve with lamb souvlaki
We think this lamb souvlaki recipe is great for feeding a crowd. So you want to serve it with things you can just put on the table and let people help themselves, and build up their own meal.
We served ours with a harissa couscous (or try our Vegetable Cous Cous), some homemade flatbreads and then some chopped salad, a tomato and cucumber salad, olives, hummus, tzaziki and feta. You could swap the couscous for some sweet potato wedges and really use any salad ingredients that you have that need using.
Store: This is always best eaten fresh, however if you do have any leftovers then you can store it in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Freeze: You can take the meat off the skewers and put them in some Tupperware and then keep them in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
Defrost: Then when you want to eat them, fully defrost them in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: You can either reheat the lamb in a frying pan in a little oil, or you can reheat it in the air fryer. You can also reheat them in the oven with some foil over them for around 15-20 minutes.
The kebabs need to be left to marinade, ideally overnight, so they are best made well in advance. You just thread the skewers before you are ready to cook them. You can cook them in advance and then reheat them in the oven with some foil over them for around 15-20 minutes. The skewers will be a little tougher once reheated though, so they are best eaten straight after cooking.
You don't have to, but it really does make a huge difference to how tender the meat is. The lemon juice in the marinade, which is acidic, breaks down the tissue of the meat and lets more moisture in. This means that once cooked the lamb is much more tender and has a more intense flavour
The difference is the cooking process. Traditionally, Souvlaki is cooked using pork (but we have used lamb) and kebabs are cooked using lamb. Souvlaki is cooked horizontally on a spike, but a kebab is cooked vertically on a spike. Souvlaki also has a different marinating process than kebabs. If you go to Greece and order a kebab, you will get souvlaki.
Firstly, there are all the health benefits of lamb that we have mentioned above. This is a much healthier alternative than getting a kebab from a takeaway. You can control what goes in to the marinade and what the toppings are. You can also add lots of vegetables for a nutrient boost.
We cooked ours for 12 minutes, turning half way through. Cooking time will depend on how hot your grill is.
The best way to check that lamb is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The safe internal temperature for cooked lamb is 62°C/145°F. It should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat that's not touching any bone.
Yes, they can be cooked in the oven and they will take around 20-22 minutes. You won't get the crispiness though.
Try to use metal skewers as they are much bigger and sturdier than wooden skewers, which is what you need when all the ingredients are pretty chunky. You could use wooden skewers instead though like we have, however the marinade tends to get soaked up by the wood, which is just wasting the flavour. Make sure you soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using to avoid them burning too much.
• Bring the lamb to room temperature before putting it on the grill. This will allow for it to cook more evenly.
• Turn the skewers every couple of minutes to prevent them from burning. If they do start to burn, then move them to a cooler part of the BBQ.
• You can reheat the skewers by putting them in the oven under some foil for about 15 minutes.
• The lamb freezes well if you take the chunks off the skewers and put in a container. Defrost thoroughly before reheating.
• We recommend marinating the lamb for at least an hour, but if you can then try to marinate it overnight. This will take the flavours of the lamb souvlaki to the next level, as it allows them to really get in to the chunks of lamb. It also makes the lamb really tender.
• Make sure that you grill the souvlaki on a high heat. This will get them nice and crispy on the edges.
More lamb recipes
Greek Lamb Souvlaki
- Make the marinade by combining the oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Put the lamb in a bowl with the marinade and marinate for at least 2 hours.
- Thread the skewers with the marinated lamb.
- Place the skewers on a barbecue or under a grill.
- Cook for around 12 minutes, or until it gets to a temperature of 70C.
- Serve in flatbreads with salad and tzatziki.
- Bring the lamb to room temperature before putting it on the grill. This will allow for it to cook more evenly.
- Turn the skewers every couple of minutes to prevent them from burning. If they do start to burn, then move them to a cooler part of the BBQ
- You can reheat the skewers by putting them in the oven under some foil for about 15 minutes.
- The lamb freezes well if you take the chunks off the skewers and put in a container. Defrost thoroughly before reheating.