Make your own Turkish style takeaway lamb shish kebab skewers at home with this simple step by step fakeaway recipe guide.
We show you what lamb meat to use. What ingredients to marinate the lamb, and how to marinate the lamb.
Wondering how long to barbecue or bake your marinated meat kebab? Don't worry, we've got you covered! We'll let you know the cooking times for gas BBQ, charcoal BBQ, oven baking or on the grill.
Plus, we can help suggest side dishes that perfectly accompany them too. Let us take care of dinner tonight so you don't have to!
We love lamb skewers, but are you looking for a Chicken Shish Kebab recipe? We have a takeaway chicken kebab recipe with a yogurt marinade too.
See our slideshow video below to see how quick and easy it is to make this shish kebab recipe at home.
Continue reading for more lamb shish kebabs tips.Or jump straight to the recipe card at the bottom of this page
According to stories, shish kebabs were invented by medieval Turkish soldiers in the middle east who used their swords to cook their meat over fires, though realistically, this cooking method was used much earlier than this.
In Turkish, shish kebab translates to “gobbets of meat roasted on a spit or metal skewers.” It would have been a very convenient way of cooking before the invention of the oven and grill.
A lamb shish kebab is a Middle Eastern dish that consists of marinated lamb, skewered, and then cooked on a hot grill.
To create the most mouth-watering lamb shish kebab recipe, that taste great, you'll need these essential ingredients.
Undoubtedly, lamb is the key ingredient needed. We like to use lamb neck fillets as they’re easy to cut into cubes. This joint of cooking lamb is suitable for kebab quick cooking time and is reasonably priced.
You can use other cuts of lamb; lamb loin or leg steak is my second preferred choice but a little pricier.
My last choice would be a boneless leg of lamb, lamb shoulder or lamb shank; butchers also sell diced lamb for extra ease.
The reason I list these as my last choice is that although they cut into nice pieces of lamb. They will require a longer marinating time to break down the tougher fibres to be suitable for this recipe.
The key to a good shish kebab is in the marinade you put on the lamb pieces.
Olive oil adds a great taste to your marinade. Sunflower oil or vegetable oil can be used if preferred.
For this kebab recipe, we used fresh crushed garlic, though you could also use garlic puree for ease.
We find sun-dried tomato puree has a lovely strong, rich taste. You can also use double-concentrated tomato puree, but add a little more!
Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a great zing to the marinade and helps break down the meat. You can also use lime juice if you prefer.
To flavour our lamb shish kebabs and we based our great recipe on an authentic Turkish recipe.
We have used cayenne pepper, paprika, ground coriander and cumin. You could also use chilli powder or any other spices you prefer to suit your own taste.
You can add some fresh herbs after cooking. Fresh coriander or fresh parsley both work well. We would suggest chopping it finely and sprinkling it over once its lamb is cooked to your desired doneness.
You can also add some vegetables, such as bell peppers or onions to the marinated lamb shish kebab skewers.
The equipment needed for shish kebabs is as follows;
Whether you choose metal or wooden skewers for your lamb shish kebab, proper preparation is essential.
If using wooden skewers, ensure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before use to help prevent burning.
Metal skewers are a great choice as they provide even heating through the marinated meat. Plus, they're reusable!
Large Ziplock Bag
We prefer to marinate diced lamb inside a large ziplock bag. A large bowl will work instead; just make sure to cover it during marination time.
If you choose to oven grill, you will need a baking tray large enough to hold your skewered kebabs. If you plan to grill meat on bbq they can go directly on the grill rack.
Now we show you how to make this takeaway lamb shish kebabs recipe.Click here to jump to the printable recipe card with step by step pictures
Start by placing your olive oil, cumin, garlic, sundried tomatoes, paprika, ground coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice into a large ziplock bag. This will be your lamb shish kebabs marinade.
Chop your meat into cubes, and add your lamb pieces to the bag. Rub this in until your lamb is completely covered.
Place your bag in the fridge to marinate the lamb.
Marinate Time ⏲
Marinating meat overnight is an underrated but invaluable cooking trick that can help take its flavours and meat tenderness to the next level. It allows for ingredients like spices and herbs to fully penetrate the meat.
Not only does marinating meat add an extra punch of flavour, it breaks down some of the tougher fibres in the meat, which makes it more tender after it has been cooked.
Ensure your lamb has sufficient time to marinate- at least 2 hours for quick cooking cuts like lamb neck fillet, rump, and leg steak. For tougher lamb cuts, marinate in the refrigerator overnight. You'll be surprised by the incredible difference this seemingly simple step can make in transforming your dish!
Now the meat has marinated it is time to thread the diced meat. It is best to use metal sticks as the BBQ will heat the metal to cook inside as well as out at the same time. They are also reusable.
Wooden skewers will work if you prefer. If using wooden sticks make sure to soak them to prevent burning.
Cooking Time ⏱
The cooking time for lamb kebabs is 10-20 minutes, depending on the cooking method and your desired doneness.
BBQ / Grill
Our favourite way is on a charcoal or gas BBQ grill on a nice summer evening!
The following tips are for best results when BBQing lamb kebabs.
Remove meat from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking for even cooking throughout.
If cooking on coals, wait 30 minutes after lighting to allow the coals to turn white and the flames to calm down. Ensure the grill plate is hot and oil it before placing the meat on it to prevent it sticking.
For tougher cuts of lamb such as neck fillet, shank or leg of lamb, it's best to BBQ them until they are medium-well done. This takes around 6 minutes on each side.
However, if you opt for more delicate types like tenderloin or leg steak cuts then you can cook them in less time and get a scrumptious and juicy medium-rare dish!
Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C fan /200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Oiling the baking tray or using foil will keep your lamb from sticking. Now you're ready to pop it in for 15 minutes - no need to turn it over!
To ensure that your meat is cooked through, cut into pieces of lamb and check if it's done according to preference. If not, continue cooking until the desired doneness is achieved.
You can also add wedges of onion, cherry tomatoes or chopped-up chunks of red/green/yellow pepper to make it serve more.
Serving Suggestions 🥗
The best thing to serve lamb shish kebab with is a warm pitta and a salad consisting of shredded lettuce, red cabbage, cucumber, onion, and tomato.
Check our recipe for making the best red cabbage salad, similar to what they serve in kebab shops.
Alternatively, serve with salad in a wrap instead of Pitta, or on a bed of plain rice.
Complement your lamb shish kebabs with some grilled vegetables. Our favourites include onions, peppers and cherry tomatoes - so why not try them together for a delicious meal?
This will make enough for 2 very large kebab skewers.
However, if you wanted, you can adjust to 3 medium or 4 small kebabs.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Takeaway Lamb Shish Kebab
- 400 g Lamb neck fillet or shank / shoulder / leg meat cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Crushed Garlic 1 heaped teaspoon garlic puree
- 1 teaspoon Sundried Tomato Puree or 2 teaspoon regular tomato puree
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Coriander
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin
- 1 tablespoon Freshly squeezed Lemon
Serve with pitta or wrap with, shredded lettuce, red cabbage, cucumber, onion, and tomato. Or on a bed of rice.
- Place marinade ingredients into a large plastic ziplock bag or a large bowl.
- Chop meat into 2-inch cubes, add lamb to marinade. Seal bag and rub the marinade into the meat.
- Leave sealed bag or bowl in the fridge to marinate the lamb meat. For best results leave as long as possible, but can be anytime between 2- 24 hours
- Thread the lamb onto skewers- we made two large kebab skewers. You could do 3 medium or 4 small skewers if prefered?
- Skip to what method of cooking you are using, to see how long to preheat? Then to skip to COOKING TIME section.
Gas BBQ Grill - High heat
- Preheat gas BBQ grill for 5 minutes, oil the grill plate before placing the kebabs on.
Charcoal BBQ Grill
- Light the charcoal BBQ grill 30 minutes prior to cooking, the flames should have calmed down & the charcoals should have turned white? Oil the grill plate before placing the kebabs on.
- Preheat for 5 minutes, place foil under grill plate.
The below time will result in 'Medium-Well' done Lamb Kebab - adjust cooking time to less for medium-rare or more for well done?
- Cook for 6 minutes on one side then turn for another 6 minutes on the other. Do not keep turning the sticks once halfway through is fine.
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F - Oil the baking tray or bake on foil to prevent sticking. Oven cook for 15 minutes, no need to turn.
- Cut into a chunk of lamb to check if cooked to the desired doneness? Cook for longer if required?
- Add Pitta bread for the last minute to warm through on the grill plate
- Serve lamb on top of pitta and a salad consisting of shredded lettuce, red cabbage, cucumber, onion, and tomato. Or on a bed of rice.
This post was originally published on 09/08/2020 and has been modified on 21/02/2023 with updated writing, photos, and a new video for creating the best lamb shish kebabs.
Storage advice 🧊
These can be stored in the fridge inside an airtight container for 48 hours. Ensure they are heated thoroughly before serving.
You can also freeze the marinated lamb inside a ziplock bag before cooking for up to three months. Allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight before cooking.
We use lamb neck fillet for our shish kebabs; it is reasonably priced and easy to cut, into cubes. Alternatively, lamb loin or lamb leg steak are lovely tender joints which are easy to cut. Equally as good to use for kebabs is boneless lamb leg, shank or boneless lamb shoulder. Or buy meat on the bone and cut it off yourself.
Your local kebab shop will have their own unique marinade, ours consists of oil, garlic, tomato puree, cayenne pepper, paprika, ground coriander, cumin and lemon juice.
Metal skewers are a great choice when it comes to preparing delicious lamb shish kebabs. They provide an even heating that helps the marinade and spices fully penetrate the meat for maximum flavour and tenderness.
As with all our skewered meat recipes we suggest if using wooden skewers it is best to soak them in water first to prevent them from burning.
It is best to marinate lamb meat for kebabs ahead of time.
Leave to tenderise the meat and seep up the flavours in the fridge for as long as possible. Preferably overnight. However, if not planned ahead you can use tender cuts of lamb such as lamb tenderloin or leg steaks and marinade for 2 hours.
For lamb shank/ shoulder ot leg of lamb meat cooked on bbq it is best to cook until the lamb is medium to well done, about 6 minutes on each side.
If using tender meat such as tenderloin or lamb leg steaks you can cook for less time and have beautiful medium-rare meat.
More Kebab Recipes Ideas
Kebabs are a delicious and easy recipe to entertain guests or enjoy a casual meal at home.
The great thing about kebabs is that they can be made with almost any type of meat, poultry, or seafood. For something a little different, try some of our other meat kebab recipes.
Lamb Recipe Ideas
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