Persian Chicken Kabob (Kabob-eh Morgh)

Persian Chicken Kabob (Kabob-eh Morgh) is incredibly moist and flavorful because of it’s saffron, onion and yogurt marinade.

Persian Chicken Kabob (Kabob-eh Morgh) by FamilySpice.comThere used to be a time when no one in the U.S. heard of “kabobs.” When I grew up in Houston, for example, the nearest Persian restaurant was an hour away. No bamboo skewers were to be found at the grocery store. Making kabob at home was a lot of work. Especially without skewers! But today, everyone is making kabob and making kabob their own. Stick any food on a stick, call it kabob and enjoy.

My grandmother was an amazing cook. She also made amazing kabob, the old fashion way: stooped over a small charcoal stove, fanning the flames by hand. My mother-in-law is equally talented as a cook and I have learned even more about Persian cooking from her. And since my kids love kabob so much, my husband and I team up and make it often and at home.

Persian Ground Beef Kabob (Kabob-e Koobideh) by

Although everyone loves Ground Beef Kabob (Kabob-e Koobideh), I tend to prefer Chicken Kabob, Kabob-eh Morgh, for quick everyday meals. It is easier to make, quicker to prepare and definitely lighter in calories!

Traditionally, Persian Chicken Kabob begins with marinating chicken breast in a yogurt, onion, saffron mixture. Yogurt makes a terrific marinade, as it tenderizes the meat as lemon juice or vinegar would do.

Persian Chicken Kabob (Kabob-eh Morgh) by

Traditionally Persian Chicken Kabob is served with grilled tomatoes, onions and any other grilled vegetables you like with a big bed of basmati rice. We always enjoy our Chicken Kabob with Shirazi Salad or Mast-o Khiar (Persian Yogurt with Cucumbers) and a plate of fresh herbs, onions and radishes. I’m getting hungry just typing about it!

A little phonetics lesson is also included in this post. It’s a minor pet peeve of mine. Kabob is pronounced: ka (like the ‘a’ in ‘at’) bob (like your  pal named ‘Bob’). It’s not kay-bab or kuh-bab or whatever.


Americans might slur it together and say kuh-bob, and spell it kebab, but that’s wrong, too.


Learn it. Love it. Lesson over.

Boneless Chicken Breast Kabob (Joojeh Kabob)

Persian Chicken Kabob (Kabob-eh Morgh) is incredibly moist and flavorful because of it's saffron, onion and yogurt marinade.


  • 3 1/2 lb chicken breast, boneless skinless
  • 2 onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, ground & dissolved in 2 TBS of hot water
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 lavash bread


  1. Cut into 2-inch cubes:
    • 3 1/2 lb chicken breast, boneless skinless
  2. Place chicken in a large shallow container and mix in:
    • 2 medium-sized onions, sliced thin
    • 1/4 tsp saffron, ground & dissolved in 2 TBS of hot water
    • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain
    • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  3. Coat all pieces of chicken completely with marinade.
  4. Cover and marinate at least 6 hours and up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
  5. Start your charcoal at least 30 minutes prior to grilling.
  6. Slide chicken breast pieces close together onto metal skewers, leaving room on each end of the skewer to handle without burning yourself. This also insures the meat is resting on the hottest part of your grill.
  7. In a small saucepan cook over medium heat until melted and combined:
    • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp saffron , ground & dissolved in 1 TBS of hot water
  8. Grill kabobs for 8-15 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with butter-lemon mix.
  9. The chicken is done when the juice running out is no longer pink.
  10. Remove from heat and remove meat from skewers by grabbing it and sliding it down the skewer with:
    • 1 lavash bread
  11. To keep warm until all the chicken is cooked, cover with:
    • 1 lavash bread
  12. Serve hot.


Serve with basmati rice or lavash bread. Also terrific with green salad or mast-o khiar (Persian yogurt with cucumbers).

Prep Time:

Yield: 6 skewers

Cook Time:

Total Time:

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10 Responses to Persian Chicken Kabob (Kabob-eh Morgh)

    • Ha! You definitely know me: everything is always better with saffron!

  1. Eha at #

    So agree with you re your ‘pet peeve’ 🙂 ! Actually I pronounce the ‘ka’ as ‘kaah’!! And, of course, there are similar delicious dishes we write as ‘kabab’, ‘kepbabab’, ‘kabab’, ‘shish kebab’, ‘sharwma’, ‘Gyro’ and ‘tikkah’ . . . . Birds or a feather and so delightful!!!! . . . the Persian version has indeed a lot of finesse!!!!!!

  2. mjskit at #

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’ve been wanting to try a kabob that uses a yogurt marinade for a long time. I love the spices and other ingredients you use in the marinade, so I think my waiting is over. Thanks!

  3. They’re called kebabs here in Australia and they’re really common. There are kebab shops that are open really late and that’s what the folks who leave the clubs eat before going home.

    I love this stuff but I’ve never eaten it late at night. 🙂

  4. I love kabobs but have never made them at home! The ones I buy pre-made at Ralph’s or wherever are always so hard to grill – different sized bits I suppose. I should just give your recipe a try – I love chicken marinated in yogurt!

  5. Amy at #

    This looks awesome! Random question….if a recipe calls for 1/2 tsp ground saffron threads, dissolved in 2 TBS of water how much saffron would I use if it is already in the liquid form? And would I still mix it with water? What do you think?

    • You want your chicken to have a golden hue to it. If your liquid saffron is super concentrated, then add 1 teaspoon of water and see what the mixture looks like. You want enough saffron so that the marinade itself (without adding chicken) is a light orange color. Hope that helps!

      • Amy at #

        That’s perfect! Thank you!!!

  6. Sundays were family night when my grandparents were still around and we’d usually go out for kabob. These days, we just stay in and cook something.
    Your chicken kabob is on the menu while we’ve still got bbq weather!

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