Turmeric Marinated Chicken Kabobs

Cooked turmeric marinated Chicken kabobs on a grill.

These Chicken Kabobs are first marinated with a simple fresh turmeric marinade and then grilled to perfection on the barbecue. This marinade is also is delicious on shrimp!

Turmeric: An Extraordinary World Flavour

Once turmeric was very scarce as an ingredient outside of India and SE Asia, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. It has now become a sought after ingredient in North America, partially due to the super popular ‘Golden Mylk’ trend.

Turmeric rhizomeson a wooden cutting board.

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It is used in many cuisines, both in fresh or dried and ground forms. In India, ground dried turmeric is a part of traditional masalas while fresh turmeric is often pickled. This golden rhizome is also found in Iranian, Moroccan, North African, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indonesian, Thai, and Malaysian dishes.Turmeric being ground with a mortar and pestle.

Fresh Turmeric is Worth Searching Out

Ground turmeric is readily available at grocery stores, but have you ever had the chance to try fresh turmeric? It looks a little bit like ginger because it’s a rhizome but it is smaller and has an orange tint to it. The flavour is much brighter and slightly spicier than dried and ground turmeric which can sometimes be bitter.  

Raw marinated chicken kabobs.

How to Prepare Fresh Turmeric

The short answer is: carefully. The bright orange hue of turmeric is pretty to look at but it will stain everything it comes into contact with. Protect your hands with gloves and use equipment that you don’t mind getting stained yellow. 

Raw marinated chicken kabobs on a grill.

Remove the skin, then mash it all up with a mortar and pestle. I’ve recently found a Canadian company that sells fresh turmeric paste in a jar and it’s amazing! All I have to do is measure out the amount needed for my recipes. 

Raw marinated chicken kabobs on a grill.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Western medical studies have shown that the curumin component in turmeric may reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Cancer (via anti-oxidants). Though it has been a part of Eastern medicines (including Ayurveda, Siddha, and traditional Chinese medicine) for thousands of years, there is still much to be learned about this rhizome’s health benefits.

Cooked turmeric marinated Chicken skewers on a grill.

Super Easy Chicken Kebobs

I love how easy this marinade is, especially if you have a jar of fresh turmeric paste. Five ingredients is all it takes to make the most delicious, appealing chicken kebobs. For this recipe, I usually use skinless chicken thighs because they have more fat and flavour. However, most people like chicken breasts and that’s okay too. Just throw the turmeric, salt, pepper, and oil into a glass dish or marinating bag then add the chicken. Make sure the bag is closed, then massage the paste into the chicken. Let sit for at least an hour and grill. 

Cooked turmeric marinated Chicken kabobs on a grill.

How to Serve Turmeric Chicken Kabobs

This chicken has a really fresh, earthy and slightly spicy flavour. Serve them with steamed rice or even herbed cilantro rice and a fresh salad. I recommend grilling up extra chicken to eat in a pita or chicken salad sandwich.

Cooked turmeric marinated Chicken skewers on a grill.

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Pinterest images of chicken skewers being cooked on a grill.

Yield: 4 servings

Turmeric Marinated Chicken Kabobs

Cooked turmeric marinated Chicken skewers on a grill.

These Chicken Kabobs are first marinated with a simple fresh turmeric marinade and then grilled to perfection on the barbecue. This marinade is also is delicious on shrimp!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 4 Chicken Breasts (or 8 thighs)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Chop chicken breasts or thighs into uniform pieces, roughly 1 inch pieces.
  2. Place chicken in a small glass dish or medium ziploc baggie.
  3. Add remainder of ingredients to chicken and mix well. Marinade for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Using gloves, thread chicken onto skewers.
  5. Grill on medium heat until finished, around 10 minutes.


Using fresh turmeric really makes a difference in this recipe. Be warned it stains EVERYTHING so please use gloves!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 671mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 37g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. Kristy @ she eats

    is it weird that I love when ingredients stain my hands? it makes me feel like a painter, but afterwards I get to eat the art. albeit bad art. but still.


  2. Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

    Oh wow this recipe looks SO good! I have never even thought of cooking with a turmeric root (I actually didn’t even really realize it was a root haha), so I love it when I come across recipes like this! I learned something new and am now craving something delicious! πŸ™‚


  3. ceecee

    I’ve never used fresh tumeric but want to try it now! I have a new Indian cookbook so lots of recipes to chose from – and this one looks amazing too!


  4. jess meddows

    Fresh turmeric is such a fantastic ingredient. This chicken dish looks delicious!


    1. dishnthekitchen

      For the amount of effort put into this dish (minimal!) it has amazing flavours and is so good for you.

  5. chefkim1968

    wow where did you find fresh turmeric? Lucky you!


    1. dishnthekitchen

      Once in a while I luck out. I have found it at our Co op rarely but I mostly get it at the Farmer’s Market.

  6. Biren @ Roti n Rice

    I am glad your family enjoyed the dish. It is one of our favorites. Fresh turmeric gives the chicken a wonderful flavor. Thanks for the link back. πŸ™‚


    1. dishnthekitchen

      Thank YOU for the recipe. My fingers are finally now back to normal πŸ™‚

  7. foodisthebestshitever

    Tumeric chicken is my wiffy’s all time fave… Love that shit!!!


  8. krumkaker

    PS I have nominated you for the versatile blogger award (see http://krumkaker.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/the-versatile-blogger-award/ ). It is just a little sign of appreciation. Entirely up to you if you would like to accept. Thanks again for sharing these great recipes.


    1. dishnthekitchen

      How lovely and very thoughtful of you. Thank you so much πŸ™‚
      This is my first award! What do I do?

    2. krumkaker

      Oh, but well deserved! It is just a small way to share appreciation to fellow bloggers. I looked up the guidelines, listed below. 15 nominations seems a lot, I have also seen just 3 to 7 nominated. It is up to you, no need to do anything unless you feel like it.

      Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging
      Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award
      Share 7 random facts about yourself
      Thank the blogger who has nominated you
      Add the Versatile Award picture to your post

  9. krumkaker

    That looks delicious! I optimistically bought fresh turmeric recently, but have absolutely no idea how to cook with it….. so thanks for the inspiration!


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