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It’s easy to get the same juicy, flavorful morsels of chicken without a grill with the right method for cooking Chicken Kabobs in the Oven. Tossed in a simple, herbaceous blend of olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper and threaded onto skewers, tender chunks of boneless skinless chicken breast cook to succulent perfection in your oven.

Chicken Kabobs cooked in the oven served on a white oval platter with a linen napkin

Kabobs are an ancient dish popular in a significant part of Asia, the Middle East, and worldwide. Having such a long history, it’s only natural that the skewered meat is traditionally grilled. Or, in other words, kissed by smoke and fire. 

Ingredients for Chicken Kabobs in the Oven

Ingredients for Chicken Kabobs in the Oven on a white marble board
  • Chicken: boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Olive Oil: ideally extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garlic: a few large, fresh garlic cloves
  • Fresh Rosemary: Dried rosemary is not a good alternative for this recipe.
  • Kosher Salt: or half of the amount of fine salt
  • Black Pepper: ideally freshly ground
  • Avocado Oil: or other high-heat neutral vegetable oil

Modern Methods, Traditional Results

The primal cooking method of grilling certainly adds some of the kabob’s flavor personality. But with modern cooking options, there’s no reason why we can’t cook juicy and beautifully charred chicken kabobs in the oven.

The best alternative to grilling chicken kabobs is to cook on a sizzling hot cast iron grill pan, pre-heated in the oven. The cast iron grill is key here, to cook the meat hot and fast and etch every morsel with those bronze grill marks we all love on kabobs. 

Chicken Kabobs cooked in the oven served on a white oval platter with a linen napkin

Don’t think of these baked chicken kabobs as an inferior alternative to traditional grilled kabobs. On the contrary, it’s a controlled environment that offers consistent results, so you can forget about unevenly cooked or dried-out meat.

Using a cast iron grill in the oven cooks the chicken kabobs both with direct heat on the grill itself while the oven cooks the meat indirectly. Think of it as grilling with a closed lid.  Refine this method for your particular oven and you can count on kabobs that come out lightly charred outside and juicy within every time. 

Grill Pan Alternatives

Don’t worry if you don’t have an oven-safe grill pan, (though I promise it’s a wise investment – here’s the one I use). An oven-safe rack set in a baking sheet or just a baking sheet lined with foil will work for similarly exquisite results. (See recipe notes for specific instructions. Also works great for making Carne Asada in the oven and Steak Kabobs in the oven.) And during grilling season, be sure to try the Rosemary Garlic Chicken Kabobs that inspired this recipe.

Oven Chicken Kabobs FAQ

How long does it take to cook kabobs in the oven?

For bite-size pieces of chicken breast (~1-inch chunks), kabobs take 12-15 minutes at 425˚F on a pre-heated cast iron grill pan.

What temperature do you cook kabobs?

I recommend an oven preheated to 425˚F for the perfect balance of char on the outside and a juicy center.

Can you put wooden kabobs in the oven?

You can use bamboo or wooden kabobs in the oven by presoaking them in water for at least 15 minutes.

Pair With

How to Cook Chicken Kabobs in the Oven

Preheat a cold cast iron grill pan and the oven to 425˚F. While they preheat, toss bite-size chicken chunks with marinade ingredients (olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper). String chicken chunks evenly onto 6 metal skewers or soaked bamboo skewers.

Place chicken kabobs in a single layer on preheated grill pan and cook until lightly charred outside, juicy and cooked through inside (12 to 15 minutes), flipping half way through cooking time. Serve hot.

cooked chicken kabobs on grill pan

Chicken Kabobs in the Oven

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 194
Servings: 6 kabobs
Chicken Kabobs made in the oven are tender, juicy and full of flavor. They're simple to prepare – no grill required! – with just chunks of chicken breast, olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Put the kabobs in the oven and in 15 minutes you'll be serving dinner!

Equipment

  • 6 metal skewers or bamboo or wooden skewers soaked in water for at least 15 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless-skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary dried rosemary is not a good substitute here
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more
  • vegetable oil such as avocado oil or other neutral flavored, high heat oil

Instructions 

  • Add cast iron grill pan to cold oven and preheat oven to 425˚F. (recipe note #1)
  • While the oven heats, make marinade. Combine chicken, olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir to coat chicken on all sides. (recipe note #2)
  • Thread chicken chunks evenly onto 6 skewers.
  • With oven mitts, remove preheated grill pan from oven and brush lightly with vegetable oil. Arrange kabobs in a single layer on grill pan (they should sizzle when they touch the pan). Place in oven and cook 12-15 minutes, until cooked through and still moist, flipping kabobs half way through cooking time. Serve.

Notes

  1. If you don’t have an oven-safe grill pan, cook chicken kabobs in a single layer on an oven-safe rack inside a foil lined rimmed baking sheet (or line a baking sheet with aluminum foil if you don’t have an oven-safe rack). Increase the cooking time by a minute or two using this method. 
  2. For deeper flavor marinate the chicken for 1-2 hours and up to 2 days in advance.
  3. Use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts if you prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 520mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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19 Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    are there any differences if convection oven?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Jessica! If you’re cooking using the convection option on your oven, you’ll want to reduce the temperature by 25˚F (or 15˚C).

  2. Ana says:

    5 stars
    So easy to make and flavorful!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      So glad you enjoyed these, Ana!

  3. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    Oooo – this is a fun idea! Kabobs on the grill are a staple in our house, but I’ve never tried them in the oven. This is perfect for rainy or snowy days when the grill is less than ideal!

  4. jojobe says:

    5 stars
    We liked this very much. Served over a salad of home grown greens, under a Greek (ish) vinagrette.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      That’s wonderful to hear, jojobe! Thank you for coming back to let me know.

  5. Lois says:

    Cant wait to try these tonight for a party

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I hope they’re a big hit, Lois!