Juicy chicken in a mouthwatering marinade, skewered and grilled to perfection? SIGN ME UP! This grilled chicken marinade incorporates soy sauce, honey, beer, and delicious spices to give you tender meat for chicken skewers. Skewered with plenty of veggies – this grilled chicken marinade is literally the best!
What is chicken marinade?
Chicken marinade is any type of sauce or combination of liquid and spices that you use to infuse the chicken with flavor. It is also used to inject more juice into the chicken since it has a tendency to dry out when you grill or bake it!
What are chicken skewers?
Chicken skewers go by different names – some people call them kabobs or shish kabobs.
There are a lot of different ways to make them, but the idea is the same. You layer a long wooden skewer with chicken and your choice of fruits and vegetables.
I have even seen chicken skewers with pineapple on them, so be creative and fill them up with your favorites.
Why should I marinate chicken?
Grilled chicken is bland with just salt and pepper. So, marinating chicken prior to grilling it imparts more flavor into the chicken breast, turning a blank canvas into a delicious work of art.
Marinating chicken prior to grilling also helps keep it from drying out from the high heat of the grill!
Chicken thighs don’t dry out nearly as badly as chicken breasts, but I still think you should marinate all chicken before grilling it.
Chicken marinade ingredients
The ingredients used in the grilled chicken marinade are:
- Red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bay leaf
- Soy sauce (low sodium)
- Olive oil
- Minced garlic
The soy sauce in the marinade helps salt the chicken and keep it moist while cooking. The sugar in the honey helps caramelize the outside of the chicken.
If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, you can substitute garlic powder.
Why add beer to marinade
Beer has enzymes that will help break down the chicken and make it extra tender. It also adds an additional layer of rich flavor to the meat!
My favorite beer to marinate with is Guinness, but I have also used IPA’s and Ambers with this same recipe.
How to marinate chicken for chicken skewers
Here is how to prepare the chicken marinade:
- Whisk all these marinade ingredients together and add the bay leaf.
- Slice chicken breast into 1 ½ inch chunks and add to the marinade. This recipe skewers the chicken with vegetables, but you can also use this marinade for whole chicken breasts.
- Cover the chicken and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
The longer the chicken marinates, the more flavor!
Best vegetables to use for chicken skewers
Slice the vegetables to use on the skewers in between the chicken. You can choose your favorite vegetables!
I usually use:
- Red onions
- Assorted bell peppers
- Whole garlic cloves
Mushrooms also work well with the recipe!
For a little extra spice, add some jalapeno peppers. You can also add some pineapple for a bit of sweetness.
Tips for cutting bell peppers
- Using a paring knife at a diagonal, cut around the crown of the bell pepper.
- Grab the stem and twist to remove the seeds.
- Slice in half and using your paring knife, shave the white membranes out of the inside. These are bitter.
- Cut into 1-inch squares to be skewered.
How to assemble grilled chicken kabobs
If you are using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them for 10 minutes prior to skewering, to avoid them burning on the grill.
When skewering the chicken, you can follow any order you would like!
The zucchini and bell peppers sometimes slip off the end as they shrink on the grill, so you might want to add chicken on the ends to keep them on.
I also double up the onion pieces since they are thin.
How to grill chicken skewers
Start out by preheating your grill on high for 10 minutes, and using a grill brush, scrape off any previous bits. Lower the heat to medium (425F-450F).
To grill the skewers:
- Place the skewers on the grates and grill until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. The cooking time will depend on how thick your chicken pieces are.
- While the skewers grill, rotate them every so often with tongs, so each side gets evenly cooked.
Remove them from the grill once the grilled chicken has reached 165F internal temperature. The vegetables should be tender and charred.
I always use an instant-read food thermometer when I cook to make sure I fully cook the chicken. You can’t really go by how it looks on the outside.
What to serve with chicken skewers
Use a fork to slide the grilled chicken and vegetables off the skewers, or you can serve on the skewer for everyone to remove themselves.
As a side dish, I usually pair this chicken dish with some rice or garlic parmesan smashed potatoes. You can also never go wrong with mashed potatoes!
Looking for other grill recipes?
- Grilled Jerk Chicken Skewers
- Marinated Steak Skewers With Chimichurri
- Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers
- Fall-Off-The-Bone Dry Rub Ribs
- Marinated Flank Steak
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Chicken Skewers (With Chicken Kabob Marinade)
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
- ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can beer Guinness stout or beer of choice
- 3 bell peppers trimmed, stems removed, and sliced into squares
- 1 zucchini ends trimmed, cut into ½ inch slices
- 1 head garlic cloves peeled
- 1 red onion peeled, sliced into squares
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Clean chicken breast and cut into roughly 1 ½ inch cube pieces
- In a large bowl add all the ingredients (minus the beer) and whisk together. Once mixed, pour in beer, and stir to combine. Add in chicken, mix, cover with a lid or wrap, and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours or overnight.
- While chicken is marinating, slice up all of your vegetables that are going onto the skewers. Once done, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and mix to coat the vegetables.
- Preheat your grill on high for 10 minutes and use a grill brush to clean any previous remnants. Lower the heat to medium (425-450F).
- Once the chicken is done marinating, place the ingredients on the skewers. Alternate between assorted vegetables in between each chicken piece. Since red onions are thin, I double up on the onion pieces.
- Grill until meat is fully cooked through (165F degrees) and vegetables are charred. Rotating every few minutes so the chicken and vegetables are evenly cooked.
- Serve the skewers on their own or with your favorite side dish!
- If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 10 minutes prior to grilling so they do not burn or catch fire when cooking.
- The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees.
- If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, you can substitute garlic powder.
- My favorite beer to marinate with is Guinness, but I have also used IPA's and Ambers with this same recipe.
- For a little extra spice, add some jalapeno peppers. You can also add some pineapple for a bit of sweetness.
Can you marinate shrimp in this also?
Hi Cammie! Yes you can marinate shrimp in this. They take on flavor quickly so you only need to marinate them for 30 min up to an hour
What else can I use instead of a beer for liquid?
I’ve never replaced the beer in this recipe since it’s one of the main ingredients. If you’re worried about the alcohol you can substitute with non-alcoholic beer. Or you can maybe try some chicken broth? It may dilute the flavor though.
Came out amazing!! I added a bit of lemon juice as well and they came out incredible. Def saving this recipe!! Thank you!
Hello, I’m a vegan that happens to be cooking for my family whose not and I decided to follow this chicken skewer recipe. It smelled so good I decided to veganized it. I subbed the chicken for tofu and the honey for agave and it was amazing. Such a versatile recipe
Super dumb question here…there is bacon in the title of this entree but no mention of bacon in the directions? Am I missing something?
Hi Audrey, are you looking at the right recipe? This recipe is titled “the best grilled chicken marinade”
The marinade is simply the best. Chicken is juicy and tender, with great flavor!
This marinade is incredible. Made chicken kebabs and they were amazing
I’m sure this is a dumb question… The only beer we have on hand right now is Busch Light!!! Would that be awful? I’ll try to make it to the store today to buy something better……. But if you think Busch Light would be okay……….?
Hi Meghan! I haven’t tried it with a beer like that, the marinade does take on a lot of the beer flavor, so I would shy away from it but if it’s all you have on hand you can go for it. Let me know how it turns out!
Would this recipe work well using chicken thighs for the kabobs?
I haven’t used thigh meat with this recipe, but I don’t see why not! Let me know how it turns out if you do!
Do you have to use Guinness ? Would another beer …
Hi Susan, yes you can use another beer. I’ve used amber ale’s and IPA’s with this recipe too!
Can the vegetables be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge until the next day along with the chicken?
Hi Mary, yes the vegetables should be fine overnight pre-prepped. I would put them in a Tupperware or seal them in something to stay fresh.
Haven’t made a chicken kabob for so long. When I saw your post today I thought “ tonight is the night”. Delicious! Will definitely do this Marinade and recipe again. Thanks!
Hi Marc, I am so glad you enjoyed the chicken marinade! Thanks for making it.
Do you think adding pineapple juice to the marinade would be ok?
Hi Sheila, I haven’t tried it before… so I can’t speak to the taste when the pineapple is added to the rest of the ingredients in the marinade. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out!
OMG . The best chicken ever, I let it marinate for 8 hours!!!! Then bbqd , we are fans !!!!!!!! 💕
I’m so glad you loved it Pamela!
The name doesn’t lie, this marinade is delicious! We marinated our chicken and zucchini in it for 3 hours and they came out perfect. Such a great marinade!
How long is the maximum for marinating? Was thinking of doing overnight?
Hi Erin, overnight will be fine! Keep it under 24 hours, because then it can affect the texture.
Made them in the oven 400F for 30 minutes turning every 10minutes
Hi Ria, I’m so glad you loved the recipe! Great idea to do it in the oven!
I made this, but marinated beef cubes instead of chicken. My entire family LOVED IT; there were no leftovers!
My husband asked that I keep this meal in rotation. Thanks for the recipe – EXCELLENT flavor.
Carolyn I’m so happy that you and your family loved the recipe! Great idea to use it on beef, I’ll have to try that!
Surprised how high the carb count is. Is it the honey?
Marinade’s are tough to calculate because you discard most of it once you remove the chicken and a lot cooks off on the grill too. My nutritional calculator doesn’t account for that, just all the ingredients used in the marinade.
How could I prep this for a camp trip? Could they be frozen?
Hi Cami! I haven’t tried freezing the chicken in the marinade myself, but you can definitely do that! It can keep for up to 8 months in the freezer. I think it would be a great addition to your camping trip.