Chicken Döner Kebab Recipe
Chicken döner kebab is one of my absolutely favorite comfort foods. Succulent marinated chicken thighs are oven-roasted to sheer perfection, and served up in a warm pita wrap or over your favorite bowl of greens.
Turkish Comfort Food
Meat cooked on a stick is said to have originated with nomadic tribes in what is now modern day Turkey. This chicken döner kebab recipe has a ton of flavor whether it’s marinated for 30 minutes or 24 hours, making it a perfect option for a weeknight dinner or your next weekend grilling session.
The Best Chicken Marinade
Yogurt is one of the key ingredients for marinating the chicken in this recipe. Since yogurt is acidic, it tenderizes the meat (we’re talking fork tender here, people). Add lemon zest and lemon juice, along with a perfect blend of spices, and dinner couldn’t be any easier. Smoked paprika is used, and while not a “traditional” ingredient (it’s Spanish, and döner is Turkish), it adds incredible flavor and mimics the smokiness of cooking over an open flame. Also, I opted for garlic powder instead of minced garlic in this recipe out of sheer laziness. But feel free to use 1-2 cloves of minced fresh garlic if you like. Cinnamon sticks add a hint of flavor, which is not too overpowering.
Traditionally, döner meat is threaded onto skewers and cooked upright against an open flame. In this recipe, threading the chicken thighs onto 2 skewers, and cooking perched on a baking sheet mimics the traditional method. P.s. Lining the baking sheet with foil makes clean-up super easy!
How to Serve Chicken Döner Kebab
Döner is usually served inside a pita with fresh veggies and sauce of some kind. Make a simple yogurt sauce by adding 1-2 cloves of minced garlic to one cup of plain yogurt. Or, try tahini sauce with parsley (linked in the recipe below). A perfect side for chicken döner is fingerling potatoes or sweet potato wedges with chili and cinnamon. I like making up a batch of chicken döner kebab to have throughout the week for salads and sandwiches.
Chicken Doner Kebab Recipe
- 1.5-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 lemon
- 1 3" piece cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon sumac
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- handful parsley leaves
- tahini dressing recipe with parsley
- Remove chicken thighs from the refrigerator and place in a medium-sized bowl. Zest lemon over top and add juice too. Break up cinnamon stick with your hands and add to the bowl. Add remaining ingredients, reserving a few parsley leaves for garnish. Mix to coat chicken, either with a spoon or your hands. Marinate chicken for 30 minutes-24 hours. If you're cooking it within the hour, leave the marinating chicken outside of the fridge.
- When ready to cook, line a rimmed baking sheet that is big enough so to perch metal skewers on top, with foil. My baking sheet and skewers are about 16 inches long.
- Thread pieces of marinated chicken onto 2 long metal skewers and bake at 400 degrees until internal temperature reaches 165F (about 30 minutes). Flip chicken once during cooking, using tongs or hot pads. Chicken may also be grilled. If you like, broil chicken for the last 5 minutes of cooking for crispy yummy bits!
- Remove from skewers and thinly slice for use in a sandwich wrap or over a salad. Serve with tahini dressing with parsley (linked above).