Skewers, Sticks, and Swords

However you thread them, these kebab recipes prove that dinner is more fun on a stick.

People around the world have been cooking food on swords and sticks over open fires for at least centuries. Skewering meat (or seafood, or veggies) holds ingredients in an even, rigid line, making them quick and easy to grill, and frankly, more fun to eat.

Throughout the Middle East and India, small pieces of marinated lamb or chicken, or seasoned ground meat are often threaded onto thin metal swords for kebabs, while in Southeast Asia, skewered foods make up a popular category of street foods, including the hugely popular satay. In Western China, a potent layer of aromatic spices coats skewered and grilled strips of lamb, and along Mexico’s Pacific coast, beachside hawkers sell the day’s fresh catch—marinated then grilled on a stick—to hungry beachgoers. Check out these, and the rest of our favorite kebab and skewer recipes below.

Turkish Ground Lamb Kebabs

Turkish Lamb Kebabs
Serve these spiced lamb skewers with warm flatbreads, charred tomatoes, and cooling labneh. Simon Bajada

Grilled Chicken Tikka Kebabs

Grilled Chicken Tikka Kebabs
A spiced yogurt marinade works wonders with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Get chef Meherwan Irani’s recipe for Grilled Chicken Tikka Kebabs. Thomas Payne

Paneer Tikka Kebabs

Paneer Tikka Kebabs
Charred bell peppers and onions help balance out the richness of the paneer in these colorful vegetarian skewers. Get the recipe for Paneer Tikka Kebabs. Thomas Payne

Lamb Seekh Kebabs

Lamb Seekh Kebabs
While not traditional, fresh mint is a natural partner for lamb and plays well with the spices in these skewers. Get the recipe for Lamb Seekh Kebabs. Thomas Payne

Grilled Swordfish Kebabs (Machli Kebabs)

Grilled Swordfish Kebabs (Machli Kebabs)
Garnishing with fresh dill, ground sumac, and a drizzle of olive oil turns up the volume on these flame-kissed fish skewers. Get the recipe for Grilled Swordfish Kebabs (Machli Kebabs). Thomas Payne

Grilled Marinated Lamb Kebabs

Lamb Kebabs
Marinating lamb with raw onion and garlic after rubbing it with spices yields tender, flavorful meat. Get the recipe for Grilled Marinated Lamb Kebabs. Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Galilee-Style Grilled Fish Kebabs

Galilee-Style Grilled Fish Kebabs
The ground spice and garlic marinade that adds layers of flavor to these fish kebabs also works well on cubed chicken or lamb. Get the recipe for Galilee-Style Grilled Fish
Kebabs. Ted Cavanaugh

Grilled Fish Skewers (Pescado Embarazado)

Skewers of fish rubbed with a citrusy achiote-and-tomato-based marinade and grilled.
Whole mackerel is threaded onto skewers and grilled for chef Esther Sanchez’s pescado embarazado. Get the recipe here. Matt Taylor-Gross

Chinese Chile and Cumin Lamb Kebabs

Cumin Kebabs
The staple meats of Western China, lamb and mutton can be found folded into everything from pilafs to buns to noodles. Of course, they’re also the focal point of the region’s iconic kebabs. Seasoned with freshly ground cumin (zira in Farsi and zīrán in Chinese), which was probably introduced to Xinjiang from Persia, the kebabs get an extra kick from minced garlic cloves and ground chile powder. Get the recipe here. Matt Taylor-Gross

Pineapple and Pork Teriyaki Skewers

Pineapple and Pork Teriyaki Skewers
Sweet grilled onion and pineapple stand up against rich marinated pork in these easy, Hawaiian-inspired skewers. Get the recipe for Pineapple and Pork Teriyaki Skewers » Matt Taylor-Gross

Filipino Barbecue Chicken Skewers

Filipino Barbecue Chicken Skewers
These Philippine Barbecue Chicken Skewers from chef Lean Cohen of Pig and Khao balance sweet, salty, and tart flavors. Matt Taylor-Gross

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma
Soak up the flavorful juices of these Mediterranean-spiced chicken skewers by resting them on grilled pita during the final stages of cooking. Chef Ana Sortun uses yogurt’s natural acidity to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. Get the recipe for Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma. Michael Turek

Shish Kebabs

Chicken Shish Kebabs
Chef and food writer Farideh Sadeghin learned to make these simple grilled kebabs from her father, who likes to serve them with rice and shirazi salad. Farideh Sadeghin

Shish Taouk (Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Garlic Yogurt Sauce)

Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Garlic Yogurt Sauce (Shish Taouk)
Redolent of garlic, cumin, and mint, these Middle Eastern-style chicken kebabs can be served with basmati rice or flatbread. Get the recipe for Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Garlic Yogurt Sauce (Shish Taouk). Dylan + Jeni

Shashlik (Russian Lamb Kebab with Tomato-Prune Sauce)

Russian Lamb Kebabs with Tomato-Prune Sauce (Shashlik)
Robust lamb and onion kebabs steeped in a tenderizing seltzer and vinegar marinade are paired with a sauce of tomatoes, prunes, and herbs in this traditional Russian dish. Get the recipe for Russian Lamb Kebabs with Tomato-Prune Sauce (Shashlik). Todd Coleman

Pork Kebabs with Cucumber–Mint Yogurt Sauce

Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce
Redolent of oregano and cinnamon, these pork kebabs owe their tenderness to a red wine marinade. Get the recipe for Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce. André Baranowski

Satay Ayam (Chicken Satay)

Chicken Satay
The ultimate Southeast Asian snack, these fragrant chicken satays are marinated in a spice market’s worth of seasonings. See the recipe for Satay Ayam (Chicken Satay). Todd Coleman

Tavuk Kebabi (Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs)

Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi)
Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi). Laura Sant