Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers Recipe

5 from 1 vote
8 hours 30 minutes
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This Indian-inspired chicken skewers recipe is a delicious and easy way to change up your summer cookout routine! A flavorful yogurt marinade tenderizes boneless skinless chicken breasts and a spicy chutney is the perfect accompaniment.

Eight Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers on white plate with Cilantro Mint Chutney and lime wedges in small bowls.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Indian cuisine is known for its rich and aromatic spice blends, and when combined with yogurt, it’s a match made in culinary heaven. Yogurt marinades are used in numerous cuisines, including Middle Eastern and Greek.

Chicken marinated with yogurt is tender and flavorful. Because of its natural enzymes, yogurt helps tenderize boneless skinless chicken breast meat, which tends to be dry, in this grilled chicken skewers recipe. Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium and probiotics, so it also adds nutritional value.

This Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers recipe is:

  • Easy! Although it looks like a lot of ingredients, the marinade and the chutney use many of the same elements, so all you have to do is prep and divide them up. A food processor makes quick work of both the marinade and the chutney.
  • Make ahead! The chicken can be placed in the marinade up to eight hours ahead or overnight. The chutney can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and refrigerated.
  • So flavorful! Thick, tangy, flavor-infused Greek yogurt envelopes each piece of chicken to balance the spices for a creamy element to the overall flavor. It provides a pleasant contrast to the smoky flavor that develops during grilling.

Let’s make it!

Two Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers with Cilantro Mint Chutney on white and gray plate.

How to Make a Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers Recipe with Cilantro Mint Chutney:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this chicken skewers recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt has culinary roots in the Middle East, but numerous cultures have a version of strained yogurt. The thickness comes from straining out the excess whey, but the end result retains the same bright tanginess. I’m a fan of Fage, one of the original companies to make Greek yogurt available to the masses. For this grilled chicken skewers recipe, I use 5% milk-fat yogurt but you can use lower-fat yogurt.
  • Serranos: Serrano peppers are named for the region in Mexico where they originated. They’re second to the jalapeno pepper in popularity there but are hotter than jalapenos. They are also used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Most of the heat is in the seeds and membrane, so remove them if you don’t want that much spice. I highly recommend wearing gloves when handling serranos, being careful not to touch your eyes or other sensitive areas.
  • Ginger: Although ginger paste is found in tubes in the produce department and is very convenient, nothing compares to fresh ginger. I highly recommend using it instead of the paste, which will not have the same “punch” as fresh ginger root.
  • Curry Powder: I like to use Madras curry powder for the extra heat. If you prefer something more mild, use regular curry powder.
  • Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but boneless skinless chicken thighs will also work well and will be less expensive.
  • Mint: Mint is widely used in Indian cooking in chutneys, relishes, salads, sauces and teas. It tends to be pretty prolific in the garden, especially in the spring and early summer, so if you have a fresh mint plant, here’s your chance to use some!

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Combine the first 11 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add the chicken pieces. Toss to thoroughly coat each piece and ensure the marinade covers the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours or overnight.
Chicken in yogurt marinade in glass bowl.
  • Before placing the chicken on the grill, make the Cilantro Mint Chutney.
  • Combine the chutney ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  • Process until smooth. Set aside while grilling the chicken skewers or refrigerate until needed.
Bowl of Cilantro Mint Chutney.
  • Preheat a grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken onto skewers.
Eight uncooked chicken skewers on rimmed sheet pan.
  • Place on the grill, reduce heat to medium and grill for 4 to 5 minutes on the first side.
  • Flip the skewers and grill another 4 to 5 minutes on the second side or until the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees in the center of each piece.
Eight grilled chicken skewers on rimmed sheet pan.
  • Serve the chutney with the chicken, along with lime wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

That’s it! Delicious, tender, super flavorful Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers!

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers on white plate with Cilantro Mint Chutney, lime wedges and cilantro sprigs in small bowls.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • If using wood skewers, soak them for at least 30 minutes before threading the chicken so they don’t burn on the grill.
  • I used a bowl to marinate the chicken pieces in the yogurt combination. If you don’t mind the waste, you could also use a zipper-top bag for one less dish to wash.
Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers on white plate with Cilantro Mint Chutney, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges in small bowls.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is chutney?

In Indian cuisine, chutney is a condiment or sauce made from various fruits, tomatoes, herbs, yogurt (like this cilantro and mint variation), cucumber or assorted vegetables. They can encompass a range of flavors, including sweet, spicy, and sour or have multiple taste profiles.

What does yogurt do for marinating chicken?

Marinating chicken in yogurt is a gentler and more efficient method of tenderizing meat compared to traditional marinades. Acidic marinades containing vinegar or citrus juice can make proteins like chicken breast tough and rubbery if left in them too long. However, yogurt gradually tenderizes the chicken, yielding tender and flavorful meat.

Can you marinate chicken in yogurt overnight?

15 minutes is all it takes to achieve a noticeable difference in chicken when using yogurt as a marinade. But because yogurt will not make chicken mushy the way other acid-based marinades will, you can marinate chicken in yogurt overnight or for up to 24 hours.

Two Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers with Cilantro Mint Chutney on white and gray plate.

Storage:

  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy them within five days. Reheat in a 350-degree oven until heated to 165 degrees in the center.

Serve with:

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Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers on white plate with Cilantro Mint Chutney, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges in small bowls.

Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers Recipe

5 from 1 vote

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
This Indian-inspired chicken skewers recipe is a delicious and easy way to change up your summer cookout routine! A flavorful yogurt marinade tenderizes boneless skinless chicken breasts and a spicy chutney is the perfect accompaniment.
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 206 kcal

Ingredients
  

Marinade and Chicken

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/2 medium onion - coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper - seeded if desired, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro - leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice - (approximately 1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves - (2 1/2 pounds) or 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch cubes

Cilantro Mint Chutney

  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 large bunch cilantro - leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper - seeded if desired, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic - coarsely chopped
  • Pinch sugar - or honey, if needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

Marinade and Chicken

  • Combine the first 11 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add the chicken pieces. Toss to thoroughly coat each piece and make sure the chicken is covered with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat a grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken onto skewers.
  • Place on the grill, reduce heat to medium and grill for 4-5 minutes on the first side.
  • Flip the skewers and grill another 4-5 minutes on the second side or until the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees in the center of each piece.

Cilantro Mint Chutney

  • Combine the chutney ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Serve with grilled chicken.

Notes

SUBSTITUTIONS:  Can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
  • If using wood skewers, soak them for at least 30 minutes before threading the chicken so they don’t burn on the grill.
  • I used a bowl to marinate the chicken pieces in the yogurt combination. If you don’t mind the waste, you could also use a zipper-top bag for one less dish to wash.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 508mg | Potassium: 486mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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