Tender and juicy chunks of turkey breast in a smoky and herby marinade make an easy, light and fresh meal. Threaded on a wooden skewer and then cooked under a grill, this is an easy way to cook lean turkey breast. Serve these turkey kebabs in flatbreads with some salads for a delicious light lunch.
We love meat on a stick and cooked under the grill. It's so versatile, with different meats, vegetables and marinade, but if we are looking for a lean and protein packed kebab, then these turkey kebabs are our favourite. Marinated in a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon, garlic, paprika, cumin and parsley, these have a lot of flavour, but they are simple to make.
Just 5 minutes prep time and 10 minutes under the grill is all it takes. Turkey breast can sometimes be a bit dry, but with the marinade and cooking it under a very hot grill, you get really tender and juicy chunks of turkey. If you have only ever had roast turkey at Christmas, and want to try something different, then this is a great place to start.
Why you will love it
- A delicious way to cook turkey - If you are not used to cooking with turkey, then this is a great place to start. Turkey breast is nice and lean, but cooking it like this keeps it nice and juicy.
- Quick and easy - Although we really recommend marinating the turkey, aside for the time that that takes, this is a quick and easy meal. Just 5 minutes prep time and 10 minute cooking time.
- Adaptable - There are so many different ways your could marinate the turkey. Feel free to use your favourite spice blend to mix it up.
- Versatile - There are lots of different ways that you can serve these turkey kebabs. In a flatbread, on rice or with roast potatoes. We have given lots of options below.
- Turkey - We have used turkey breast to keep these kebabs lean. You could use diced turkey thigh instead.
- Oil - We used a really good quality olive oil. You could use sunflower or vegetable oil.
- Seasoning - Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spices - We used a blend of cumin, paprika and turmeric. This gives it a warm and smoky flavour.
- Garlic - Freshly crushed is best, but you could save time by using frozen. If you are crushing it yourself, then make sure it is almost paste like, so that there is even distribution of garlic on the turkey.
- Lemon - This really lightens up the turkey kebabs and adds some freshness.
- Parsley - Another way to add some freshness, you could swap the parsley for another leafy herb like coriander if you prefer.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: In a bowl, mix together the oil, spices, garlic, seasoning, lemon juice and parsley.
Two: Put the turkey chunks into a bowl and add the marinade. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Three: Thread the marinated turkey onto pre-soaked skewers. Grill for 10 minutes, turning regularly.
What is a kebab?
A shish kebab like this, is generally meat and vegetables in a marinade that have been threaded on to a metal or wooden skewer. Although lamb is traditionally used, shish kebabs are also made with chicken, beef, salmon or turkey. Turkey isn't very traditional, but we love it for a lean alternative.
Shish kebabs can also have vegetables, so you could add some peppers. They get nice charred edges, but we have given options for other vegetables to add below. The kebabs are then put on to a barbecue grill, or under a grill (broiler), to cook until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
It is thought that cooking meat on a stick dates back to before the 17th Century, where stones have been found with marks cut out of them to rest the sticks on to support them over a fire whilst they cook. Shish kebabs are said to have originated in Iran (what was known as Persia), but they are popular all over the Middle East. They are popular all over the world, with many countries having their own version of meat on a stick.
Health benefits of turkey
Turkey isn’t just an alternative to red meat, it is really delicious in its own right. It has lots of flavour, but the added bonus of being high in protein and low in fat. Turkey is also a rich source of niacin, vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptothan and it also contains zinc and vitamin B1.
What to serve with turkey kebabs
We served these in light and fluffy flatbreads. If you want to try making your own, then why not try our Easy Homemade Flatbread Recipe? You could also put them in a pitta or wrap. We then stuff ours with lettuce and add some Kebab Shop Chilli Sauce, Easy Garlic Sauce and Quick Pickled Onions. Basically, all the toppings you would usually find in your local kebab shop.
You don't have to serve them that way though. You could serve them with some side dishes and eat them off the skewers. Here are some of our favourite side dishes that would go perfectly:
- Easy Greek Rice
- Hasselback Potatoes
- Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli
- Celeriac Chips
- Crispy Garlic Smashed Potatoes
- Little Gem Salad
- Garlic Spring Greens
- Homemade Fries with French Fry Seasoning
Frequently Asked Questions
The cooking time will vary, depending on the heat of your grill and how big you have cut your chunks of turkey breast. These will take around 10 minutes to cook, but make sure you turn the skewers to make sure they have cooked evenly. You may need to cook it for 3-5 minutes longer if the turkey is not cooked through.
The best way to check that turkey is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The safe internal temperature for cooked turkey is 74°C/165°F. It should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Yes, these cook really well on the BBQ. They will take around 8 minutes and they get nice charred edges.
Yes, they can be cooked in the oven and they will take around 20-22 minutes. You won't get the crispiness though.
If you have leftovers, you can store them in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can, however we would say they are best kept in the fridge and eaten after 2 days. The turkey can become a bit tough once defrosted and reheated.
Yes, as long as you make sure that there is no cross contamination, these are gluten free.
Yes, you can easily double or triple the ingredients and there is no change to the cooking method.
A shish kebab is cooked on a skewer. The other type of kebab that you might have eaten before is a doner kebab which is cooked on a rotisserie and served the same way. But this shish kebab is much better.
We used metal skewers as they are much bigger and sturdier than wooden skewers, which is what we needed as everything we put on them was pretty chunky. You could use wooden skewers instead though, however the marinade tends to get soaked up by the wood, which is just wasting the flavour.
• We recommend marinating the turkey for at least an hour, but if you can then try to marinate it overnight. This will take the flavours of the turkey kebabs to the next level, as it allows them to really get in to the chunks of turkey.
• Make sure that you grill the kebabs on a high heat. This will get them nice and crispy on the edges.
• If you are using a wooden skewer, make sure that you soak them in water for an hour before threading, so that they don't burn when they go under the grill.
• If you wanted to add some vegetables, you could add chunks of bell pepper, aubergine, onion, courgette and mushrooms. It needs to be a vegetable that can be added to a skewer and also cooks quickly. Some cherry tomatoes add a nice burst of flavour when you bite in to them, but be careful because the juices inside can be really hot.
• Add some extra flavour by mixing some sun-dried tomato paste into the marinade.
• If you like spicy food, then you can add some red chilli flakes to the marinade.
More turkey recipes
- 400 g (14 oz) Turkey breast - cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 2 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 0.5 teaspoon Ground turmeric
- 0.5 teaspoon Ground cumin
- 3 Garlic clove - crushed
- 0.5 Lemon - juice only
- 5 g (0.25 oz) Fresh parsley - finely chopped
- In a bowl, mix together 2 tablespoon Olive oil, 1 teaspoon Paprika, 0.5 teaspoon Ground turmeric, 0.5 teaspoon Ground cumin, 3 Garlic clove, 2 pinch Sea salt and black pepper, juice of 0.5 Lemon and 5 g Fresh parsley.
- Put 400 g Turkey breast into a bowl and add the marinade. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Thread the marinated turkey onto pre-soaked skewers. Grill for 10 minutes, turning regularly.
- We recommend marinating the turkey for at least an hour, but if you can then try to marinate it overnight. This will take the flavours of the turkey kebabs to the next level, as it allows them to really get in to the chunks of turkey.
- Make sure that you grill the kebabs on a high heat. This will get them nice and crispy on the edges.
- If you are using a wooden skewer, make sure that you soak them in water for an hour before threading, so that they don't burn when they go under the grill.
- If you wanted to add some vegetables, you could add chunks of bell pepper, aubergine, onion, courgette and mushrooms. It needs to be a vegetable that can be added to a skewer and also cooks quickly. Some cherry tomatoes add a nice burst of flavour when you bite in to them, but be careful because the juices inside can be really hot.
- Add some extra flavour by mixing some sun-dried tomato paste into the marinade.
- If you like spicy food, then you can add some red chilli flakes to the marinade.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.