Shish Tawook chicken, a traditional Lebanese dish, becomes juicy and tender from a simple marinade of fresh lemon juice and garlic.
If I could eat one food every single day for the rest of my life, it would be Lebanese food, without a doubt. Shish Tawook Chicken (also spelled shish taouk), a native dish of Lebanon and Syria, is marinated chicken breasts that are typically grilled on skewers. Since we live in Michigan where the grill is covered in snow 75% of the year, for most of the year we sauté the chicken in a pan with a little olive oil. I’ve also broiled the chicken in the oven which works well, too.
- Chicken breasts: Large, moist, and meaty part of the chicken that is easily accessible and affordable. Chicken thighs would work as well.
- Lemon juice: Bright and acidic, it works as a great natural tenderizer for meat.
- Lemon zest: Fresh, intense citrus flavor without any of the bitterness.
- Garlic: Nutty, earthy, and strong flavor that pairs well with lemon.
- Olive oil: A great addition to any marinade to add volume to help coat the chicken.
How to Make Shish Tawook Chicken
Start your Shish Tawook Chicken by using a microplane to freshly grate your garlic into a large bowl.
Next drizzle in the olive oil.
Then, using a zester or microplane, freshly zest one lemon into the bowl.
Juice the same lemon used to zest, and add it to the bowl.
Add in some salt and pepper for taste, then give it a little whisk.
Add your cubed chicken to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated in the marinade. Let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, but you could do this the night before as well.
When ready to cook, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat and add a bit of olive oil. Add the chicken along with any remaining marinade to the pan, and cook until lightly brown.
Serve your Shish Tawook Chicken garnished with fresh parsley, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between chicken shawarma and chicken tawook?
The biggest difference is that chicken shawarma uses warmer spices, and usually more of them than chicken tawook.
Is shish tawook healthy?
It’s relatively low in calories and fat, making it a great healthy recipe to add to your dinner rotation.
How do you store leftover tawook chicken?
Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, leftovers will keep for up to 4 days.
More Lebanese REcipes
- Classic Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts
- Garlicky Greens with Caramelized Onions (Hindbeh)
- Grilled Chicken Shawarma
- Lebanese Hushwee Rice
- Roasted Garlic Hummus
Did you try this recipe and love it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your meal.
If you need some inspiration, leftover Shish Tawook Chicken tastes delicious wrapped in a pita with cucumber laban and hummus. Let me know how you like it in the comments!
Your fork is waiting.
Shish Tawook Chicken
- 20 ounces boneless (skinless chicken breasts – cut in cubes)
- 1 juice and zest of lemon
- 2 cloves garlic (grated)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- fresh parsley to serve
- Place chicken breasts cubes in a glass bowl or large resealable plastic bag.
- Add lemon juice, zest, grated garlic, salt and pepper to the chicken toss until chicken is evenly coated with marinade. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or up to overnight.
- Heat pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add chicken to the pan along with all of the marinade. Sauté chicken, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Serve with fresh minced parsley on top.
Check out more Lebanese recipes on my Pinterest board!
I’m pregnant and have been craving Lebanese food, so I found your recipe for shish tawook through a Google search. Wow, am I glad I did! My fiancé and I made this for dinner tonight and fortunately we tripled the recipe so we’ll be eating it for a few days. I can’t believe that such a simple recipe could yield such punchy, delicious flavor! And it’s healthy which is a great bonus. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe; it’s easily going into our rotation and I’ve already texted a couple people the link to make this, too!!
I’m so glad it was able to satisfy your craving and that you both enjoyed!
I say this is so delicious! I used a cast iron pan and once all the juices evaporated it browned up just lovely. The taste is so fabulous. Thank you for a great and easy recipe. I ordered the pickled turnip on line and it was so worth it!
We are making it tonight for dinner!! Isn’t it the best?!
I just made my first batch of Toum. Can I just use Toum instead of the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil?
You could use toum, but it wouldn’t have the same outcome or flavor as shish tawook.
Thanks for this recipe! It’s our second time making it. My six year old loved it so much that I’ve tripled the recipe this time.
Oh that makes me so happy!!
Can this be done in a pressure cooker/instant pot?
I wouldn’t suggest it only because chicken breasts take about 20 minutes max to cook. :)
I think I was Lebanese in former life. A restaurant opened nearby and I could eat there every day. This chicken tastes Very Close to their recipe, so I’m very excited to make this.
No way that’s so funny!! I hope you love it!!
I eat this multiple times a week! I LOVE IT!
Ohh I’m so glad to hear it!! It’s one of may favorites too!
I could eat this EVERY SINGLE DAY
Sounds easy to make and delicious. Looks healthy too.
This was delicious…my family really enjoyed it. It was easy to prepare too. I did sauté and I placed all of the marinade in the pan, but I drained it later so the chicken could brown. Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!! We usually let the marinade cook off but it does take a little longer.
Do you think this could be made in a crockpot?
We will make this again! I liked the marinade a lot. I’ve learned it’s important to salt meat well, I find many don’t do this and it leaves it tasting rather deflated.
We grilled it on skewers with chunks of bell pepper and red onion, served over a garlic rice pilaf from Annie’s Eats, and really enjoyed this!!
Thank you for the recipe!
You’re so right – salt is key!! So glad you enjoyed it!!
I hardly ever post comments on recipes but this one deserved it! I absolutely avoid making chicken because it usually comes out plain, overcooked, and bland. This recipe was perfect. I adore lebanese cooking, order it all the time and this shish tawook is on par with what I’ve had in lebanese restaurants and also made by my Lebanese friends’ Moms. SO EASY, SO DELICIOUS. thank you :)
Wow thank you so much! You truly made my day!!! I hope you make it again and again!
Made the chicken tawook tonight. The favors are fabulous… I overcooked though to get it the light brown color, will know better next time. Great recipe, thank you!
I’m glad you tried it!! Make it again soon!
Fantastic recipe! Made it twice so far, with the second a double batch so I could have lots of leftovers for salads and sandwiches. :-)
If I prepare it on skewers in the oven, what temperature and cooking time do you recommend?
I’m so glad you like it Andrew!!! So tasty right? As for the skewers in the oven, I would actually broil them for about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your cubes.
Sabrina’s sister in-law here…she recommended your site and I’m blown away by your awesome recipes!!! Cooked up Chicken Tawook for the family last night and they were practically licking their plates…a real winner! Keep up the great work!!
Thank you so much for writing!! Such a small world. I’m so glad you like the chicken tawook -it’s a family favorite and a staple in our house!! Hope to see you at Hannah’s Bat Mitzvah!
Do you know how to make that amazing garlicky paste/dip that comes with Shish Tawook? I would love a recipe for it! Just tried this recipe and it is delicious. Thanks!
YES! My Aunt just dropped me off a fresh batch! Let me get her recipe – stay tuned!!
Thanks! It is truly one of my favorite things :)
I really love this recipe. Wanted to let you know that I featured it in my monthly round-up of 25 Deliciously Healthy Low-Carb Recipes. I hope a lot of my readers will come over here and try it!
Absolutely love love love this recipe and just shared it on my blog in a post called Friday Foodie Faves where I share my favorite foodie finds from around the web.
Aww thank you so much Vicky!!! You’re the best!