Saffron Chicken Kebabs

saffron chicken kebabs
Photo: Ryan Liebe
Prep Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
8 to 10 Serves

Marinating chicken breast with saffron and citrus before grilling yields juicy, golden meat packed with bright flavor. The skewers are served atop lavash with flame-kissed onions and tomatoes, fresh radishes and mint, and a spicy herbed yogurt sauce.


  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken-breast cutlets

  • ¾ teaspoon saffron

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh juice

  • 3 sweet onions, such as Vidalia, 1 halved and thinly sliced, 2 cut into thick wedges

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, halved

  • Lavash or pita bread, sumac, quartered radishes, and fresh mint, for serving

  • Spicy Herb Sauce, for serving


  1. Slice chicken crosswise into thirds (about 2-inch pieces). Using your fingers or a mortar and pestle, crush saffron with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then add 1 teaspoon hot water; let stand 1 minute. Whisk together lime and orange juices, zest, saffron mixture, sliced onion, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and oil. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag; add marinade. Seal bag and massage meat to fully coat. Let stand at least 1 hour, or refrigerate up to 1 day.

  2. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking. Remove chicken from marinade; thread each piece onto two skewers, so it lies flat. Skewer tomatoes and onion wedges. Season everything with salt and pepper; drizzle with oil. Working in batches, grill chicken and vegetables, flipping once, until charred in places and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Line a platter with lavash, then transfer cooked chicken and vegetables to platter. Sprinkle with sumac. Serve with radishes, mint, more lavash, and herb sauce.

Cook's Notes

If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in cool water for at least an hour before grilling. If you don't have skewers, you can cook the cutlets directly on the grill and slice them before serving.

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