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Air Fryer Chicken Skewers – Shish Kebabs

Air Fryer Chicken Skewers, also known as Shish Kebabs, are a fantastic way to bring the joy of grilling into your kitchen with minimal fuss. They’re quick to prepare, cook evenly, and deliver that delicious, slightly charred taste we all love. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a weekend treat, these skewers will become a favorite in no time.

6 pieces of chicken skewers cooked in air fryer

Please continue scrolling down to find the recipe card below, which contains the complete list of ingredients with measurements, detailed recipe instructions, additional notes, and nutritional information.

These Chicken Shish Kebabs are made with marinated chicken breast or thigh pieces, threaded into bamboo skewers, and then cooked in an air fryer with some vegetables. 

The simple marinade for these kebabs typically contains milk or yogurt mixed with olive oil, tomato paste, red pepper paste, and a few spices.

They are perfect for entertaining your dinner guests. You can prep them a day ahead and cook them on the day of your gathering.

Ingredients You’ll Need

labelled picture of ingredients foe chicken kebabs
  • Chicken – I prefer using skinless, boneless chicken thighs for kebabs, but chicken breast works perfectly well too. You can also use frozen chicken if that’s what you have on hand, make sure to defrost them overnight before marinating.
  • Olive oil – I use cooking olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil for the marinade. It adds flavor to the meat and keeps it moist.
  • Tomato paste – A staple in Turkish cooking, it adds umami flavor and bright red color to dishes. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops.
  • Red pepper paste – Turkish red pepper paste is a rich, delicious paste made from juicy, spicy red peppers. I use it often in my Turkish recipes. It can be purchased from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops.
  • Milk – I use semi-skimmed or full-fat milk. Milk helps tenderize the chicken and keeps it juicy. While many recipes use yogurt for marinades, I prefer milk as yogurt tends to burn quickly.
  • Vegetables – Typically, onions, peppers, and tomatoes are used for kebabs, but feel free to use any vegetables you like, such as chilies, mushrooms, or eggplants.

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Skewers – Shish Kebabs?

Important Note

Before you start cooking, note that times may differ among air fryers. I develop my recipes using a Cosori 6.8 air fryer. If you’re using a different air fryer, view my recipes as a general guide and tweak the cooking time—add a bit more or cook slightly less as needed.

Making these Air Fryer Chicken Skewers – Shish Kebabs is very easy. However, you need to follow a few simple steps to achieve the best results :

Cut the chicken into chunky cubes, each about 4-5 cm (1 ½” – 2″) in size. 

In a bowl, combine olive oil, milk, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if using), chili flakes, paprika, freshly ground black pepper, and salt. Whisk until well combined. 

marinade for the air fryer chicken kebabs

Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and toss them in the marinade until evenly coated. 

Cover the bowl, place it in the fridge, and let the chicken marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. 

Peel the onion and cut it into chunky cubes similar in size to the chicken. If using large tomatoes, wash and cut them into wedges. Cut Turkish chili peppers into quarters. If using bell peppers, cut them into chunky cubes similar in size to the chicken. 

veggies are prepped for chicken skewers

Thread the chicken and vegetables onto bamboo kebab skewers. Try to leave a little space between each piece to allow for even cooking.

marinated chicken pieces are threaded into skewers along with veggies

Set your air fryer to 392°F (200°C), and place the skewers in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook them in batches. 

6 pieces of chicken skewers are placed in air fryer basked

Cook the skewers for 14-16 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time to ensure they cook evenly on all sides.

Quick Tip!

Check the chicken with a meat thermometer to make sure the core temperature reaches 74 °C (165 °F) before serving.

Once the skewers are done, let them rest for a few minutes. Then, serve them hot with your favorite sides. These skewers are delicious with a simple onion salad, rice, or some warm pita bread and cacik sauce.

air fryer chicken kebabs served with onion salad and pita bread on the side

Expert Tips From the Chef

  • Ensure that the chicken cubes are uniform in size for even cooking your chicken shish kebabs.
  • I opt for using milk over yogurt in the marinade because it provides a softer texture and enhances the meat’s flavor.
  • You can use this marinade to marinate chicken wings or a whole chicken. It’s versatile and perfect for any chicken cut!
  • Avoid marinating the chicken for more than 24 hours, as the acid in the marinade can break down the meat’s texture.
  • The cooking time for tavuk sis may vary on the size of the chicken cubes and the type of your air fryer.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Skewers – Shish Kebabs?

When you’re serving up delicious air fryer chicken skewers, consider these tasty accompaniments to complete your meal:

Warm pita or flatbread pairs perfectly with chicken skewers. It’s great for wrapping the skewers and soaking up any marinade or sauce.

Creamy Cacik (or Tzatziki) is a refreshing yogurt and cucumber sauce that pairs perfectly with chicken and vegetables.

Fluffy and fragrant rice pilaf makes a great side dish. It absorbs the flavors of the skewers and adds substance to the meal.

Grilled or air-fried vegetables such as air fryer eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms are a natural fit with chicken skewers. They add color, texture, and extra nutrition to the plate.

Creamy hummus is another fantastic dip option for your skewers. It’s packed with protein and adds a rich, earthy flavor to the meal.

Pickled vegetables, such as pickled red cabbages, cucumbers, or turnips, provide a tangy and crunchy contrast that complements the skewers well.

Storage and Reheating

Let the cooked chicken pieces cool to room temperature, take them off the skewers, and store them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. You can refrigerate them for up to 3-4 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.

To reheat the leftovers, set your air fryer to 175°C (350°F). Place the chicken pieces on your air fryer basket, and heat until warmed through, approximately 6-7 minutes.

Recipe FAQS

Can I use frozen chicken for the skewers?

Yes, you can use frozen chicken, but make sure to thaw it completely in the refrigerator before marinating.

Can I cook the skewers on a grill instead of an air fryer?

Yes, you can grill the skewers. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and cook the skewers for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through.

Is it safe to leave chicken shish kebabs at room temperature?

No, avoid leaving chicken shish kebabs at room temperature for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth and ensure food safety.

Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out! Please give us a five-star rating and leave a comment below.

I hope you enjoy the process of preparing these juicy Air Fryer Chicken Skewers – Shish Kebabs just as much as you enjoy eating them! 🙂 

Bon appétit! 

Air Fryer Chicken Skewers – Shish Kebabs

Ayla Clulee
Air Fryer Chicken Skewers, also known as Shish Kebabs, are a fantastic way to bring the joy of grilling into your kitchen with minimal fuss.
Prep Time 14 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Turkish
Servings 4 people
Calories 173 kcal

Ingredients
  

Marinade for the Chicken

  • ¼ cup olive oil  (60 ml)
  • ¼ cup milk (full fat or semi-skimmed)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste  (optional, could be replaced with tomato paste) 
  • ½ tsp chili flakes  (adjust to your taste)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Chicken Kebabs

  • 800 g boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 Turkish green chilies (or 1 large green bell pepper)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (or 1 large tomato)

Instructions
 

  • Cut the chicken into chunky cubes, each about 4-5 cm (1 ½" – 2") in size.
  • In a bowl, combine olive oil, milk, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if using), chili flakes, paprika, freshly ground black pepper, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and toss them in the marinade until evenly coated.
  • Cover the bowl, place it in the fridge, and let the chicken marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Peel the onion and cut it into chunky cubes similar in size to the chicken. If using large tomatoes, wash and cut them into wedges. Cut Turkish chili peppers into quarters. If using bell peppers, cut them into chunky cubes similar in size to the chicken.
  • Thread the chicken and vegetables onto bamboo kebab skewers. Try to leave a little space between each piece to allow for even cooking.
  • Set your air fryer to 392°F (200°C), and place the skewers in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook them in batches.
  • Cook the skewers for 14-16 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time to ensure they cook evenly on all sides. Check with a meat thermometer to make sure the core temperature reaches 74 °C (165 °F) before serving.

Notes

  • Ensure that the chicken cubes are uniform in size for even cooking your chicken shish kebabs.
  • I opt for using milk over yogurt in the marinade because it imparts a softer texture and enhances the meat’s flavor.
  • You can use this marinade to marinate chicken wings or a whole chicken. It’s versatile and perfect for any chicken cut!
  • Avoid marinating the chicken for more than 24 hours, as the acid in the marinade can break down the meat’s texture.
  • The cooking time for tavuk sis may vary on the size of the chicken cubes and the type of your air fryer.
Keyword air fryer, chicken recipes, kebab, main dish

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