These Portuguese Chicken Skewers use always moist boneless, skinless chicken thighs, grilled with Portuguese spices and served with a spiced cilantro yogurt dip and grilled lemons, for drizzling.

Portuguese chicken skewers on platter with lemons

Food on sticks! It’s one of the best thing about summer, in my opinion. These Portuguese Chicken Skewers use always moist, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, that are tossed in a medley of Portuguese-inspired spices. Add to that a cilantro yogurt sauce and grilled lemons for drizzling and you have a quick, easy and delicious meal!

You can cook these skewers on the BBQ, in a grill pan on the stove-top or under the broiler in your oven. Be sure not to crowd the skewers too much, so that the chicken will cook both quickly and evenly. Don’t like cilantro? I don’t either. Simply substitute flat parsley for the cilantro leaves. Surprisingly, even though coriander comes from cilantro, I like it in spice form.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Chicken – I love to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, as they are always moist. You could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but be careful not to over-cook, as they can be dry.

Smoked Paprika – Note that the recipe calls for smoked paprika, which adds bit of smokey flavour to the chicken rub. Look for it in little red cans in the spice section of your grocery store. It’s a great addition to your spice cabinet! If you can’t find it, you can use regular paprika.

Recipe Tips

I definitely suggest that you don’t skip the lemons. The warm lemon drizzle is such a nice note with the chicken. You could also use the juice in combination with some oil and seasoning for a great salad dressing to go with your skewers.

Portuguese chicken skewers on platter with lemons

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Portuguese chicken skewers on platter with lemons

Get the Recipe: Portuguese Chicken Skewers with a Cilantro Yogurt Dip

Quick, easy and delicious, these Portuguese chicken skewers use always moist chicken thighs, rubbed in Portuguese inspired spices and grilled or broiled. Served with a Coriander Yogurt Sauce.
5 stars from 6 ratings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


For the chicken rub:

  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. for flavour or up to 1 tsp. for a bit of heat
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves)
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, , trimmed of visible fat and cut into three pieces
  • 12 oregano sprigs, halved
  • 2 lemons, halved

Coriander Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (or sub flat leaf parsley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For garnish: pinch of paprika, cayenne or smoked paprika


  • Preheat on high a BBQ grill, grill pan on the stove-top or oven broiler, with rack about 6-inches from heat. If using oven broiler, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the paprika, cayenne, oregano garlic salt, pepper and oil. Add prepared chicken and mix well to coat.
  • Thread the chicken onto 3 or 4 long metal skewers and tuck 3 oregano sprigs onto each skewer between the chicken pieces. Be sure not to push the chicken together too much, so it cooks quickly and evenly.
  • Cook the chicken on the BBQ for 3-4 minutes per side, in a grill pan for 4-5 minutes per side or under the broiler for 5-6 minutes per side (on aluminum foil lined baking pan), or until charred in spots and cooked through. When you turn the chicken over, place the lemon halves cut side down on the grill or grill pan or cut-side up under the broiler and allow them to cook until the chicken is done.
  • Meanwhile, to make the coriander yogurt sauce, place the yoghurt, cilantro (or parsley) leaves, coriander, salt and pepper in a small food processor and process for 30 seconds to combine.
  • Serve the skewers with the yogurt sauce, grilled lemon and micro greens or a salad, if you like.


Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe.
Cuisine: Portuguese
Course: Main Course
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 408kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 47g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 222mg, Sodium: 713mg, Potassium: 875mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 2360IU, Vitamin C: 34.8mg, Calcium: 133mg, Iron: 3.3mg
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