A serving of joojeh kebab on a gray plate with sauce.

This Joojeh Kabab recipe is a flavor-packed dish that you won’t soon forget! The chicken is marinated in a blend of saffron, lemon juice, and Greek yogurt, giving it a unique flavor that is perfectly balanced with a sprinkling of sumac to finish it off. Mmm.

Joojeh Kabab on a white plate with sauce and a side.

Delicious Persian Chicken Kabob Recipe

These Persian chicken kabobs, authentically called “joojeh kabob,” are some of the best things on earth. They bring me back to the fondest memories of my childhood eating all things Persian cuisine. Every time I get the chance to eat one, it feels like home. 

The secret is an incredible overnight marinade (with onion juice!) that makes them so juicy and tender.

They are best grilled over charcoal, but use what you have, and they’ll still taste amazing! Serve them over a bed of Persian rice (or go with cauli rice or my low-carb Kaizen rice!) or with lavash bread and grilled vegetables, and you have a delicious meal!

A plate of Joojeh Kabab on a blue and white striped plate.

Why You’ll Love It

  • These flavor-packed kebabs are simple to make and easy to serve to a crowd.
  • The saffron marinade is exquisite. You’ve never had chicken with this kind of flavor!
  • It’s a versatile recipe that you can easily make your own.
  • A great low carb, keto, or paleo option.

What You’ll Need

  • Onion Juice: I used onion juice as the base of the marinade for tender chicken with tons of flavor. 
  • Salt & Pepper: Use salt and pepper to taste!
  • Oregano: A great spice to enhance the natural flavors of the chicken.
  • Garlic Powder: The holy grail of spices, garlic powder takes this dish to the next level. 
  • Greek Yogurt: Great for tenderizing the chicken. Use your favorite brand of plain Greek yogurt.
  • Lemon: Lemon adds a nice brightness to the marinade.
  • Saffron: I dilute the saffron in 3-4 ice cubes of water for maximum flavor.
  • Chicken: I used 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can use your favorite cut of chicken.
  • Sumac: Sumac makes for a lovely garnish. This is optional.
  • Fresh Herbs: Another optional addition, there’s nothing like fresh oregano or mint to elevate a Persian dish!

How to Make Joojeh Kababs

The steps are simple, and I’m outlining them below but be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the full, printable recipe card. You can also check out my Instagram reel!

Joojeh Kabab on a blue and white striped plate with sauce and a side.

STEP 1 – JUICE ONIONS

Cut your onion into small chunks and place it in a food processor. Process the onion until it’s fully puréed — it should have a liquid consistency. 

Then grab a large bowl, put a strainer on top, and pour the onion juice over it to separate the pulp from the juice.​

STEP 2 – MAKE MARINADE

To the strained juice, add the salt, pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and diluted saffron. Give the marinate a good mix. 

Ingredients for making Joojeh Kabab.

STEP 3 – PREP CHICKEN 

Next, cut the chicken into equal-sized chunks. 

STEP 4 – MARINATE CHICKEN

Add the chicken to the marinade, mixing to ensure everything is coated. Then cover and let the meat marinate for 6 hours to overnight.

Marinated chicken in a bowl for Joojeh Kabab.

STEP 5 – GRILL KABABS

When you’re ready to make your Persian kebabs, skewer them up and grill them on a charcoal grill. If you don’t have one, you can always use a cast iron, small table-top gas grill, or even air fry them. Cook them over high heat for about 4-6 minutes per side or until the chicken is done (internal temperature should be 165°F).


Pro Tip: If you’re using wooden skewers, you will need to soak them in water first to prevent them from burning on the grill. Wooden skewers are especially great if you’re cooking these kabobs in a cast iron skillet since you can cut them to fit the pan. 

However, if you’re grilling, long metal skewers are the way to go! They will save you time and money since they don’t need to be soaked like wooden skewers. Just grab them and get grilling! 

STEP 6 – GARNISH & SERVE

Top it up with some sumac spice and fresh herbs. Then serve it with more grilled veggies, rice, or any base of choice.

ENJOY!

Serving Suggestions

This joojeh kabab recipe makes for an excellent main dish, but it’s even better with a few sides! I recommend serving this delicious Persian chicken kebab over a bed of rice if you can eat it or your favorite grilled vegetables (I love bell peppers!). 

It would also taste fantastic with this Thomas Keller Zucchini or Keto Brussels Sprouts.

FAQ

Is joojeh kabab healthy?

Absolutely! The chicken is usually prepared by grilling or roasting, which helps to keep the fat and calories low. Plus, with saffron and lemon added to the simple marinade, joojeh kabob is packed with flavor and nutrients. 

So if you’re looking for a delicious meal that won’t break your calorie budget, joojeh kabob is a great option.​

Can I make this recipe in a pan or oven?

Yes, you can make joojeh kabab in either the pan or the oven. To make it on the stovetop, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. If desired, skewer the meat with wooden skewers cut to fit inside the pan. Place the skewers (or individual chicken pieces) in the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan or stir the chicken too much. 

To make joojeh kabab in the oven, place them on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping them halfway through until they’re fully cooked. Enjoy your delicious joojeh kababs! 

What is the difference between kabab and shawarma?

While they both involve grilling or frying meat on skewers, kabab and shawarma have some distinct differences. Kabob is cooked quickly over hot charcoal or in a pan using small pieces of meat such as beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. 

By contrast, shawarma is slow-cooked vertically on a rotating spit next to a heat source for several hours. The outside layer of meat is then sliced off when it is served. 

Storage

Store any leftover joojeh kababs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. 
To reheat, simply place the kababs in a pan and warm over medium heat or pop ’em on a baking sheet, cover with some foil, and bake at 250°F for 15-20 minutes.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Yield: 2-4 servings

Joojeh Kabab

A serving of joojeh kebab on a gray plate with sauce.

These Persian chicken kabobs, authentically called “joojeh kabob,” are some of the best things on earth. The secret is an incredible overnight marinade (with onion juice!) that makes them so juicy and tender.

Prep Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • juice of 1/2 large yellow onion
  • a couple pinches salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2.5 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of saffron diluted in 3-4 ice cubes or water.
  • sumac (optional)
  • fresh herbs (optional)

Instructions

    1. Cut your onion into small chunks and place it in a food processor. Process the onion until it's fully puréed — it should have a liquid consistency.
    2. Grab a large bowl, put a strainer on top, and pour the onion juice over it to separate the pulp from the juice.​
    3. To the strained juice, add the salt, pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and diluted saffron. Give the marinate a good mix.
    4. Cut the chicken into equal-sized chunks.
    5. Add the chicken to the marinade, mixing to ensure everything is coated. Then cover and let the meat marinate for 6 hours to overnight.
    6. Once marinated, skewer your chicken and grill them on a charcoal grill. If you don’t have one, you can always use a cast iron, small table-top gas grill, or even air fry them. Cook them over high heat for about 4-6 minutes per side or until the chicken is done (internal temperature should be 165°F).
    7. Top it up with some sumac spice and fresh herbs. Then serve it with more grilled veggies, rice, or any base of choice. Enjoy!

Notes

Store any leftover joojeh kababs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. 

To reheat, simply place the kababs in a pan and warm over medium heat or pop 'em on a baking sheet, cover with some foil, and bake at 250°F for 15-20 minutes.

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