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Joojeh Kabob

Spice up your grilling game with joojeh kabob – a tasty Persian chicken kabob known for juicy, saffron-spiced boneless chicken breast flavored with fresh onion, salt, and pepper that’s grilled to perfection over an open flame. And just like koobideh kabob, have a lavash ready to soak up all the flavor as the kabobs travel from the grill to your table. 

A close up of joojeh kabobs on skewers.

What is Joojeh Kabob?

Joojeh kabob is an Iranian dish consisting of boneless chicken pieces spiced with onion, aromatic saffron, and other spices, then skewered and grilled over an open flame. The result is tender, juicy chicken with a naturally smoky flavor, perfect for any occasion. Pair the kabobs with saffron rice, lavash, and Shirazi salad.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken Breast: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are the most commonly used cuts of chicken for joojeh kabob. Cut them into bite-sized pieces that are easy to thread onto skewers to cook on the grill.
  • Onion: Cut the onion and massage them with salt to draw out its flavor as they help to marinate and tenderize the chicken.
  • Spices: Season the the Persian chicken kabob with salted onions and pepper before grilling them.
  • Saffron Stems: Take the time to bloom the saffron before using it in the recipe. Doing so will draw out the richness and fragrance of the saffron. You can bloom the stems by gently mixing them with a hot liquid, like water or milk. You can find high-quality saffron at local Indian or Arab markets.
  • Butter: Use butter to flavor the kababs as they finish cooking.

How to Make Joojeh Kabob

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Trim excess fat from the chicken breasts. Then, cut them into 1½- inch pieces and add them to a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Thinly slice the onion and massage them with your hands for 2-3 minutes with one teaspoon of kosher salt. Toss them in the bowl with the chicken pieces and black pepper.

Step 3: Cover and marinate in the fridge for 6 hours (at least 30 minutes). Remove the chicken from the refrigerator before grilling, and let it come to room temperature.

Step 4: Prepare the grill by removing the grates and setting it to high heat for 10 minutes. Hold the wide skewer with one hand, and slide the chicken pieces onto it.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all the skewers are loaded. Then, season the chicken with 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt.

Chicken lined onto the skewers.

Step 5: Once heated, rest the skewers onto the edges of the grill, 4-5 inches from the flame.

Joojeh kabobs fresh on the grill.

Step 6: Sear the chicken skewers for 7 minutes until the color changes and begins to blister. Flip the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.

Joojeh kabobs flipped on the grill.

Step 7: Meanwhile, soak the saffron stems in a small bowl with two tablespoons of warm milk; set them aside to bloom for 5 minutes. Then, warm the butter in a small skillet and add the saffron mixture to the butter.

Step 8: Lower the heat, but maintain an overall grill temperature of 350℉ (176℃). Brush the chicken skewers with the saffron butter mixture.

Cook the chicken for 10 minutes, turning the skewers until they are golden brown on all sides and reach an internal temperature of 165℉ (73℃).

Joojeh kabobs coated in saffron butter on the grill.

Step 9: Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes; pair them with fresh bread or Saffron Rice, and enjoy!

A close up of joojeh kabobs on skewers.

Expert Tips

  • Marinating the chicken is essential for achieving the juicy and flavorful kabobs. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, but I recommend 6 hours or more. 
  • Remove the kabobs from the refrigerator before grilling and give them enough time to come to room temperature.
  • Oil the skewers before adding the chicken to ensure they don’t stick.
  • Every grill is different. With that in mind, the cooking times should work as a guide. For the most consistent results, I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C), then remove the skewers from the grill immediately.
  • Once the kabobs grill, let them rest for at least 10 minutes before serving; this allows the juices to redistribute and helps to keep the chicken moist and tender.
Joojeh kabobs served with saffron rice.

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Let the chicken cool, and transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Joojeh kabob freezes for up to 4 months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the chicken in the fridge overnight when you’re ready to eat. 
  • Reheat: Reheat defrosted or leftover chicken in the oven at 400°F (204°C) for 5-10 minutes.
  • Repurpose: This may be a given, but use the leftovers to make a tasty pita or top a salad or pizza.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make joojeh kabob in the oven?

To make koojeh kabob in the oven, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with foil. Thread marinated chicken pieces onto skewers (metal or bamboo skewers soaked in water) and line them onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the skewers halfway through. Let the kabobs rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Is joojeh kabob healthy?

Joojeh kabobs are a healthy part of a well-balanced diet. The lean chicken is high in protein, and the meal doesn’t require many ingredients, so it’s perfect for meal prep. If you want to reduce the calories, use less butter or skip that step entirely.

How to marinate joojeh kabob?

Chop the onions and massage them with a small amount of salt before adding them to a bowl with the bite-sized chicken pieces; this process draws the liquid out of the onions so they flavor and tenderize the chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the chicken and marinade to a zip-top bag, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

What does joojeh mean in English?

Joojeh means ‘young chicken’ in Farsi. So, joojeh kabob refers to skewered and freshly grilled chicken.

More Chicken Recipes:

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A close up of joojeh kabobs on skewers.

Joojeh Kabob

Tressa Jamil
Spice up your grilling game with joojeh kabob, a classic Persian kabob featuring saffron-spiced boneless chicken breast grilled over an open flame.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 389 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into 1½ -inch pieces
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 tablespoon warm milk
  • teaspoon saffron stems
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
Instructions
 
  • Trim excess fat from the chicken breasts. Then, cut them into 1½- inch pieces and add them to a mixing bowl.
  • Thinly slice the onion and massage them with your hands for 2-3 minutes with one teaspoon of kosher salt. Toss them in the bowl with the chicken pieces and black pepper. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 6 hours (at least 30 minutes). Remove the chicken from the refrigerator before grilling, and let it come to room temperature.
  • Prepare the grill by removing the grates and setting it to high heat for 10 minutes. Hold the wide skewer with one hand, and slide the chicken pieces onto it. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all the skewers are loaded. Then, season the chicken with 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
  • Once heated, rest the skewers onto the edges of the grill, 4-5 inches from the flame.
  • Sear the chicken skewers for 7 minutes until the color changes and begins to blister. Flip the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, soak the saffron stems in a small bowl with two tablespoons of warm milk; set them aside to bloom for 5 minutes. Then, warm the butter in a small skillet and add the saffron mixture to the butter.
  • Lower the heat, but maintain an overall grill temperature of 350℉ (176℃). Brush the chicken skewers with the saffron butter mixture. Cook the chicken for 10 minutes, turning the skewers until they are golden brown on all sides and reach an internal temperature of 165℉ (73℃).
  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes; pair them with fresh bread or Saffron Rice, and enjoy!
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Marinating the chicken is essential for achieving the juicy and flavorful kabobs. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, but I recommend 6 hours or more. 
  • Remove the kabobs from the refrigerator before grilling and give them enough time to come to room temperature.
  • Oil the skewers before adding the chicken to ensure they don’t stick.
  • Every grill is different. With that in mind, the cooking times should work as a guide. For the most consistent results, I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C), then remove the skewers from the grill immediately.
  • Once the kabobs grill, let them rest for at least 10 minutes before serving; this allows the juices to redistribute and helps to keep the chicken moist and tender.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 389 kcal | Carbohydrates: 4 g | Protein: 36 g | Fat: 13 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 131 mg | Sodium: 1432 mg | Potassium: 492 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 4 IU | Vitamin C: 5 mg | Calcium: 2 mg | Iron: 4 mg
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