grilled chicken kebabs with a side of lemon salsa

I had eyed the bags of perfectly gorgeous (almost to the point of fake-looking) Meyer lemons at the store for a few weeks before I finally set one in my cart. Never having actually used this particular citrus myself, I just wasn’t sure what to do with them.

Until I opened up my January edition of bon appetit. There it was. The recipe that was going to kick my butt over the Meyer lemon hurdle.

Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Meyer Lemon Salsa.

My family could not get enough of these kebabs. Even while I was grilling them, big and little bodies kept wandering into the kitchen asking about the delicious and unfamiliar smell. The chicken was tender, perfectly flavorful, and charred to perfection.

Blake and I also liked the bright and tart contrast that the Meyer lemon salsa brought to the dish. It was unlike anything we had ever eaten before. But in all honesty, the salsa was just too much for the kids. It packed a very powerful punch, one that some might actually call overpowering if they aren’t especially fond of lemons. I plan to play around with the salsa ingredients a little more to find a compromise that will satisfy our whole family.

If you’re a lemon fan, I do hope you’ll try this complete recipe. And if you’re not a lemon fan…please, please, pleeeeeeease at least make the chicken kebabs. They’re outrageously good and have been stamped with the highest seal of approval from each and every family member here.

If you’re not familiar with the Meyer lemon, this dark yellow citrus fruit is one I encourage you to get friendly with. A cross between a lemon and a sweet orange, it has sweeter juice, a thinner smooth-skinned peel, and less acid than other lemons. And now is the time to find them at their peak.

meyer lemons on a black table
grilled chicken kebabs with a side of lemon salsa

Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Meyer Lemon Salsa

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes

Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Meyer Lemon Salsa are a fantastic flavor combination of smoky, grilled chicken and tangy lemon. These juicy chicken kebabs have become one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken!


For the meyer lemon salsa

  • 5 Meyer lemons (do not substitute regular lemons)
  • ½ cup diced English cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion, divided
  • 1 tablespoon seeded and minced serrano chile
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (add more if your lemons are particularly tart)
  • kosher salt, to taste

for the chicken kabobs

  • 1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1½″ pieces
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • ¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric


  1. For the Meyer lemon salsa: With a sharp knife, cut all the peel and white pith from the lemons and discard. Working over a medium bowl, with a sharp paring knife, cut between the membranes to release the lemon segments (aka "supremes") into the bowl. You want only the empty membranes remaining in your hand. Squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl and discard the membranes. Strain juice into another bowl; remove any seeds. Here’s a great tutorial, if you’ve never done this before. Cut segments into ¼" to ½" size pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lemon segments, 1 tablespoon of the strained lemon juice (reserve the rest for another use), cucumber, 2 tablespoons green onion, chile, and sugar. Taste and add salt as desired. Set aside.
  3. For the chicken kabobs: Place chicken pieces in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a mini processor or small blender, or with an immersion blender (needs to be small, as this is a small amount to blend), make the marinade. Puree ¼ cup of the cilantro, plus the yogurt, vegetable oil, garlic, coriander, and turmeric. (The marinade can be made 1 day ahead. Just cover and chill until you’re ready to marinate the chicken.)
  5. Pour marinade over chicken and fold to coat evenly. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes - or place in the fridge, covered, to marinate for 1-2 hours.
  6. Heat grill to medium/medium-high heat. Make sure grates are scrubbed clean and then oiled well (see Notes).
  7. Thread marinated chicken onto skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Place assembled kabobs on grill and cook until you see nice char marks, then rotate them. Continue to rotate until all sides are nicely charred and the chicken is cooked through to 165° F. This should take about 10-12 minutes or so, depending on grill heat and size of chicken pieces.
  8. Garnish kabobs with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and 1 tablespoon green onion, and serve with the Meyer lemon salsa.


If using wooden skewers, place them in a shallow pan of water to soak when you start making this recipe. This will help them to not burn up as quickly on the grill.

To oil the grates, add some vegetable oil to a small bowl. Then fold a heavy paper towel a few times to make a smaller square. With a tongs, grasp the folded paper towel and dip it into the oil until the paper towel is soaked. Then run the paper towel over the clean, hot grates, repeating until all grill grates are thoroughly oiled.

Adapted from bon appetit, January 2012

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 199mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 42g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

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chicken kebabs on a grill pan