Persian chicken kabob | kelly’s kitchen

Hi everyone, welcome to Kelly’s Kitchen. It’s great you’re here today. This week, Alex asked to make Joojeh Kabob, which is a Persian Chicken Kabob. We haven’t had Persian food since we left California, so I thought this would be a good one to try. 

Joojeh Kabob is typically served with grilled tomatoes and onions. We also grilled some lavash and I made some plain old rice. (We’ll save Tahdig for another post!) Our intention was to let the chicken marinate overnight, but because of all the rain this week, we put it off another day, so the chicken marinated for two days – which turned out perfectly. 


Day 1 Marinade

This marinade is easy! It does call for quite a bit of saffron, half a teaspoon (which is about 1.4 grams). The strands are easy to pulverize. But if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use the butt of your chef’s knife and a bowl.  The marinade calls for half of the saffron water mixture. The remaining half will be part of the basting sauce.


Just mix the ingredients in a bowl. Add the cubed chicken, toss to coat. Then I poured the whole thing into a Ziplock, squeezed out the air and popped it in the fridge. 

Day 2 (or 3) Grilling

Take out your chicken and get your grill going. While the grill heats up and the meat comes to room temperature, prep your veggies. I halved the tomatoes and cut the onion into eighths. Go ahead and start your rice (Basmati is best for this dish.)

The basting sauce is simply, lemon juice, butter and the remaining saffron water. combined and warmed through in a saucepan on the stove.

Researching grilling techniques for kabobs led us to discover a couple things: 1) definitely use flat skewers to keep your food from spinning on the skewer. 2) to get the best charring on your food, if you can, avoid using a grill altogether and let your kabobs sit directly over the coals. This required us to double thread the food to get longer skewers. It’s no problem if you can’t go this route, your kebabs will still be delicious if you cook them on grill grates. 

Try to keep as many of the onions from the marinade on the chicken as you can when you thread the chicken. They will caramelize beautifully!

Our kettle grill is quite large, so this set up may easier for you if you have a standard size charcoal grill. Grill your kabobs for about 4-6 minutes each side, basting after the first turn then every minute until the chicken is done.

We found that doing the chicken this way first, then placing the grill grates on for the tomatoes and onions was an easier way to get an even cook on the tomatoes and onions. 


I plated the Joojeh Kabobs on a bed of rice; add tomatoes, onions and lavash. I also added some Israeli feta and parsley from the garden. The saffron is the real star of this recipe. Saffron lends a deep honey flavor, only it’s not sweet. It tastes like how honey smells, if that makes sense…. The smoky flavor from the charcoal combines with the saffron for a unique and distinct harmony of flavors. 

Persian cuisine is one our favorites and I look forward to sharing more of our favorite Persian dishes with you! I do hope you give Joojeh Kabob (Persian Chicken Kabab) a try! They are simple to make and they are a wonderful way to experience the flavors of Iran. 

Thank you so much for joining me today! Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram and Facebook too! Also, let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to explore in this weekly column.  Take care, be well, xo Kelly


5 from 1 vote

Joojeh Kabob (Persian Chicken Kabob)

Course dinner
Author Family Spice


  • 3.5 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 2 Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Saffron, ground and dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil, EVOO
  • 2 cloves Garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1.5 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • Rice, Lavash, Feta, Parsley, Grilled Onions and Tomatoes optional serving suggestions


  1. Cut chicken into 2-inch cubes.

  2. Place chicken in a large shallow container and mix in onions, half the saffron water, yogurt, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

  3. Coat all pieces of chicken completely with marinade

  4. Cover (or transfer to a Ziplock) and marinate at least 6 hours and up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

  5. Start your charcoal at least 30 minutes prior to grilling.

  6. Thread chicken breast pieces close together onto metal skewers.

  7. In a small saucepan add butter, lemon juice and the other half of saffron water. Cook this over medium heat until melted and combined.

  8. Grill kabobs for 4-5 minutes on each side, basting with butter-lemon mix.

  9. The chicken is done when the juice running out is no longer pink.

  10. Let chicken rest about 5 minutes and slide off skewer.

  11. Serve over rice with lavash, tomatoes and onions.


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  1. Melinda wrote:

    One of my very favorite dishes! Sometimes, if I don’t want to grill, I throw them on a screaming hot sheet pan and roast them in the oven for a few minutes (without the skewers). So yummy!

    Posted 8.29.20
    • Hi Melinda, What a great alternative to the grill! I will have to try it this way. Thanks so much for the hot tip! xo Kelly

      Posted 8.29.20
  2. Bonnie wrote:

    Hello Kelly
    I made you peach scones using buttermilk. They were so good that I made them again yesterday. I did add 1/4 tsp. of soda because every time I make biscuits & scones with buttermilk the recipe calls for soda.

    Posted 8.29.20
    • Hello Bonnie, Good call on the baking soda. Buttermilk scones sound so light and fluffy… I am really happy you enjoy the recipe! Thanks so much for writing in to let me know, take care! xo Kelly

      Posted 8.29.20
  3. Heather wrote:

    This looks so delicious, I know what I am making for dinner tomorrow!!!!

    Posted 8.29.20
    • Hey Heather, you will love Joojeh kabob! Let me know how it turns out for you, enjoy! xo Kelly

      Posted 8.29.20
      • Heather wrote:

        We just finished eating this for dinner and my husband and I loved it. He said was absolutely delicious and gave it a 10 out of 10!!!

        Posted 8.30.20
        • 10 out of 10! Heather, that’s great! I am so happy you tried the recipe and it was a hit. Thank you so much for writing in to let me know. 🙂 Thank you so much, xo kelly

          Posted 8.30.20
  4. Ann Smith wrote:

    5 stars
    This is so fabulous as my Armenian in laws made lamb kabobs with the same veggies and rice–I’ve missed this grilling kabobs and your recipe sounds perfect! Time for me to fire up the grill! You are so talented–you should write a cookbook. Thanks for the recipe.

    Posted 8.29.20
    • Aw thanks, Ann! I am sure you will love Joojeh kabob. So flavorful! Fire up your grill and let me know how it turns out for you! xo Kelly

      Posted 8.29.20
  5. Roberta wrote:

    Thank you, Kelly, for your recipe Joojeh Kabobs. Our favorite restaurant in San Carlos, Ca was the Kabul. I so miss their
    kabobs and a starter of pumpkin w/meat sauce. Since moving to Oregon, I haven’t
    found a middle eastern restaurant. Now I have your delicious sounding recipe. The pics look yummy.

    Posted 8.29.20
    • Definitely worth trying at home, Roberta. We absolutely felt that they were just as delicious as any Persian restaurant we’ve been to. You’re a fellow Bay Area person… Isn’t it a challenge to find restaurants that compare to the Bay Area? Did you ever go to Shalizaar, in Belmont? We loved that place and would make the trip up from Los Gatos frequently. Maybe we’ll have to dive into the pumpkin with meat sauce on Kelly’s Kitchen….Take care, xo kelly

      Posted 8.29.20

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