30-Minute BBQ Chicken Skewers are easy to make and are moist, tender, and delicious made on the grill or oven baked. Perfect for a quick dinner of bbq chicken kebabs.
This recipe is great when you don't know what to make with those chicken breasts. Just trim, skew, grill, and brush with barbecue sauce, all in 30 minutes. Use your favorite sauce for flavor and add optional ingredients to make them perfect.
This never-fail easy kabob recipe is as versatile as it is easy. It has optional bell pepper, red onion, and pineapple for a complete dinner. The whole family will love these simple chicken skewers.
- Chicken—skinless boneless chicken breasts trimmed into approximately 1-inch cubes.
- BBQ sauce—the barbecue sauce you like or Memphis BBQ Sauce. Other seasoning options are discussed in the Tips section below.
- Pantry ingredients—olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper
- Vegetables or Pineapple—optional, red or green peppers or red onions but not root vegetables like potatoes or carrots, which will not cook in the same time frame.
👨🍳How to Grill BBQ Chicken Skewers
- Preheat the grill to a surface temperature of 450°.
- Trim and cut two chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Coat with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
- If using veggies or pineapple, trim and cut into chunks—brush with oil.
- Thread onto skewers.
- Grill over direct heat and rotate every 5 minutes until 155°.
- Brush with BBQ sauce. Continue to grill until 165°. About 20 minutes total grill time.
♨️How to cook chicken skewers in the oven
You can cook kabobs on a tray in a 450° oven for about 20 minutes. As always, you cook to a final internal temperature, not by time alone. Time varies by the oven, the tray, and the size of the chicken chunks.
- Other seasonings besides BBQ sauce can easily be used. Try a seasoning salt like Loweys, thyme, rosemary, Chipotle Seasoning, Black Magic Seasoning, or BBQ Dry Rub are all good choices.
- A marinade may be used but will add time—check out Lemon Butter Chicken Marinade or Quick and Easy Chicken Marinade.
- Skinless thighs may be used but cooked to a bit higher internal temperature of a final internal temperature of 180° for tenderness.
- The standard onion and bell peppers will cook faster than the chicken if cooked on separate kabobs. But they can cook with the chicken when mixed in with the chicken.
The terms are all used interchangeably, as is "shish kabobs." Kabobs are food on skewers. But skewers can also refer to the wood or metal rods used to make kabobs or skewers. So the term you like—I tend to go back and forth.
Use metal skewers, especially for chicken, where some heat transfer along the metal will help the cooking. You can use wooden skewers if soaked first to prevent them from burning.
A grill surface temperature of about 450° is suggested for this and most chicken cooking. Higher temperatures tend to overcook and dry the outside before the center reaches the desired final internal temperature.
On most gas grills, this will be a bit above medium. On charcoal grills, you must be careful with the number of coals and the vent settings.
Please use a grill surface thermometer to get the right temperature. For more information on grill temperature, please see A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill.
The minimum safe internal temperature for chicken is 165°. While thigh meat is safe at 165°, it will not be tender. Generally, dark chicken meat has a better texture at about 180°.
Storage and reheating leftovers
Store leftovers sealed in an airtight container, refrigerate for 4 days, or freeze for 3 months—reheat in the oven or an air fryer.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Start by cleaning and oiling the grill grates, then preheat the grill to a surface temperature of about 450°—medium-high heat on most grills.
Trim 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts. Cut into 1-inch cubes or a little bigger.
Mix with two teaspoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
Thread on to skewers. I like metal for heat transfer, but wood will do. If using wood, soak them first. If using vegetables or pineapple, trim and cut into chunks—add between the chicken and brush with oil.
Place over direct heat and grill each side for 5 minutes before turning. Continue until internal temp of 155°—about 13-15 minutes. Brush all sides with your favorite BBQ sauce. Cook about 2 minutes more per side until nice color and an internal temperature of 165°.
30-Minute BBQ Chicken Skewers
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
Optional added ingredients
- 1 Green or red bell peppers
- 1 Red onion in chunks
- Start by cleaning and oiling the grill grates, then preheat the grill to a surface temperature of about 450°—medium-high heat on most grills.
- Trim 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts. Cut into 1-inch cubes or a little bigger.
- Mix with 2 teaspoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- If using vegetables or pineapple, trim and cut into chunks. Add between the chicken chunks and brush with oil.
- Thread on to skewers. I like metal for heat transfer, but wood will do. If using wood, soak them first. If using vegetables or pineapple, trim and cut into chunks—add between the chicken and brush with oil.
- Place over direct heat and grill each side for 5 minutes before turning. Continue until internal temp of 155°—about 13-15 minutes.
- Brush all sides with your favorite BBQ sauce. Cook about 2 minutes more per side until nice color and an internal temperature of 165°.
Your Own Private Notes
- You can use chicken thigh meat for these kabobs but you should cook to an internal temperature of about 180°.
- The main trouble most people will have relates to too high of a grill temperature causing the surface to burn before the inside is done.
- You can put a very light coat of sauce on the chicken at the start of cooking, but not really needed and may burn if you are not careful.
- You can add bell pepper and red onion chunks between the chicken and cook with the chicken. If you make separate vegetable kabobs, they will cook about 5 minutes faster.
- You can do this on a charcoal grill but not over hot coals. Make a cooler area for the chicken and check frequently.
- I usually cook these with a closed grill hood, but you can do this open.
- You can also do this in an oven at 450° for about 20 minutes.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editors Note: Originally Published June 25, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.