Turkish marinade recipe for mouthwatering grilled chicken!

Do you want to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure through the flavors of Turkey? Look no further than this delicious Turkish marinade recipe for beef and lamb kabobs. As an Israeli chef, I have always been fascinated by the complex and aromatic spices used in Turkish cuisine, and this recipe is a perfect example of how those spices can elevate any dish.

The secret to a good marinade is balance, and with this recipe, you’ll achieve just that. A combination of fragrant spices such as cumin, ground cinnamon, hot paprika, and Aleppo pepper perfectly blends with fresh herbs like flat-leaf parsley to create a bold flavor that complements the meat without overpowering it. Fresh lemon juice and garlic cloves add a tangy kick that will leave you wanting more.

This marinade is versatile and works well with both beef and lamb. Use it to make shish kebabs or try making kofta kebabs or adana kofte, all traditional Turkish dishes that are sure to impress your guests. And don’t worry if you don’t have a grill; these kebabs are just as delicious cooked on a stovetop grill pan.

So gather your ingredients and let’s get started on this adventure of flavors. Your taste buds will thank you.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Turkish Marinade (Beef & Lamb Kabobs)
Turkish Marinade (Beef & Lamb Kabobs)

Are you tired of the same old boring kebab recipes? Look no further! This Turkish marinade recipe will elevate your grilled meat game to a whole new level.

With the perfect blend of spices, including cumin, hot paprika, and ground cinnamon, this marinade makes every bite full of rich and bold flavors. Not to mention, the tenderizing properties of yogurt combined with the acidity of lemon juice helps to make your meat not only flavorful but also melt-in-your-mouth juicy.

Whether you are a lamb lover or prefer beef, this recipe is versatile enough to be used with any type of meat. Serve up some delicious lamb shish kebabs or try it out with beef souvlaki – you won’t regret it!

But don’t just take my word for it – this recipe has been passed down for generations in Turkish cuisine as a tried and true favorite. Impress your friends and family at your next barbecue or dinner party with these irresistible Turkish lamb kebabs. So fire up that grill and get ready for an explosion of flavor in every bite.

Ingredient List

 Spiced to perfection: Turkish Marinade turns ordinary beef and lamb kebabs into a mouthwatering masterpiece.
Spiced to perfection: Turkish Marinade turns ordinary beef and lamb kebabs into a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Here is the Ingredient List that you need to make delicious Turkish Marinade for Beef & Lamb Kabobs:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons (approximately 4 tablespoons)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For Lamb Kebabs:

  • 1 pound lamb or beef, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • Skewers

For Adana Kofte:

  • 500g ground lamb or beef
  • A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 5 tsp Aleppo pepper or paprika
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For Kofta Kebab:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Juice of half a lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For Turkish Lamb Shish:

  • 1 pound lamb meat or beef (use tender cuts like sirloin or rib-eye), cubed into medium-sized pieces
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (or two tablespoons)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • A teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • A teaspoon of cumin seeds

The Recipe How-To

 Colorful and aromatic, this marinade kicks up the flavor of even the toughest cuts of meat.
Colorful and aromatic, this marinade kicks up the flavor of even the toughest cuts of meat.

Mixing the Marinade

To start off with Turkish marinade for beef and lamb kabobs, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix one tablespoon of hot paprika, 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of pepper flakes, 3 garlic cloves minced , juice from one lemon and 1/3 cup of olive oil. Stir well to combine.

Recipe Ingredient List Section

Prepping the Meat

After mixing the marinade thoroughly, it’s time to prep your meat. Cut ½ pound of lamb and ½ pound of beef into cubes for lamb and beef kabobs. Place the meats into separate bowls for marinating.

For lamb shish kebab, use pieces of boneless leg meat that are cut about an inch and a half thick. This will ensure that they are tender and juicy after being grilled.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe? Section

Applying Marinade

Once you have prepped your meat, add half of the prepared marinade to each bowl to coat the meat completely. Make sure that every piece is evenly covered so they cook uniformly.

Cover each bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight if you want more intense flavoring.

Substitutions and Variations Section

Skewering the Meat

Before skewering your meats with vegetables or fruits, first soak your skewers in water for at least a few hours. This helps prevents them from burning while grilling.

Put vegetables such as sweet onions, bell peppers and tomatoes on a separate skewer from your meat to ensure even cooking temperatures.

To make Turkish kofta, form the mixture into elongated sausages around skewers before grilling.

Serving and Pairing Section

Grilling Your Kabobs

When using lamb or beef for making kabobs, it is important not to overcook it as this can lead to tough and chewy meat.

Preheat your grill at high heat for ten minutes before grilling. Once you are ready to grill your meats, make sure that they are heated thoroughly on all sides by constantly turning them over until golden brown with crisp on all sides.

[Bold important tip: Only check for charred marks when considering if your kebab is done or not. Do not cut through it as this will allow its precious juices to escape!]

Enjoy serving delicious Turkish marinade lamb kebabs recipe at parties, family gatherings or other occasions where Turkish cuisine can be appreciated!

FAQ Section

Substitutions and Variations

 Take your taste buds on a trip to Istanbul with this authentic Turkish marinade recipe.
Take your taste buds on a trip to Istanbul with this authentic Turkish marinade recipe.

If you want to switch things up and try some different flavors with your kabobs, there are several substitutions and variations you can make with this recipe. Here are some ideas:

– Chicken kabobs: Instead of using beef or lamb, you can use chicken breast or thighs for a lighter option. The marinade works just as well with chicken and will make for a delicious meal.

– Veggie kabobs: If you’re vegetarian or just looking for a plant-based option, you can skip the meat altogether and make veggie kabobs. Use vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms, red onion, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Marinate the veggies in the same marinade as the meat and grill them on skewers.

– Seafood kabobs: For a different twist, you can try making seafood kabobs. Shrimp and scallops work particularly well with this marinade. Brush the seafood with the marinade and grill until cooked through.

– Adana kebabs: Adana kebabs are a type of Turkish kebab typically made with ground lamb or beef mixed with red pepper flakes, cumin, and sumac. You can use this marinade to make Adana kebabs by substituting the hot paprika in the recipe with red pepper flakes and adding 1 teaspoon of sumac to the mix.

– Kofta kebabs: Kofta kebabs are similar to meatballs made from minced meat mixed with spices and herbs. You can use this marinade to make kofta kebabs by mixing ground beef or lamb with 2 teaspoons of cumin, 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 garlic clove finely grated, 1½ tsp Aleppo pepper, ¾ cup finely chopped parsley leaves (or cilantro), and ½ cup plain yogurt.

Try out these substitutions and variations to bring new life to your barbecue game!

Serving and Pairing

 The secret to tender and juicy kebabs? A generous slather of this Turkish-inspired marinade.
The secret to tender and juicy kebabs? A generous slather of this Turkish-inspired marinade.

Once your Turkish marinade beef or lamb kebabs come off the grill, it’s time to serve them up and enjoy the flavors straight away. When serving these kebabs, I prefer to place them on a bed of fluffy basmati rice and sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the top for color and taste. This way, the meaty, smoky flavor of the kebabs is balanced with the lightness of the rice.

Make sure you slice your sweet onions thinly and give them several hours to marinate in some lemon juice ahead of time so that they soften up and their natural sweetness will pair well with your meat skewers. The onions will likely become sweet, tangy and tender after being marinated in lemon juice, which balances out perfectly against the strong flavor of the Turkish lamb marinade.

If you’re serving your kebabs at a dinner party or gathering, consider pairing them with some traditional mezze plates, such as baba ghanoush, hummus or tzatziki sauce. These dishes are great palate cleansers between bites of the smoky kebabs.

Finally, finish off your meal with a simple dessert like baklava or fruit compote served with a dollop of yogurt to cool down tastebuds from the spicy heat of kebab sauce. A glass of robust red wine or a cold beer would make an excellent addition to any outdoor meal of Turkish shish kebab as well.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Looking for a simple way to elevate your summer BBQ game? Try this Turkish marinade on for size.
Looking for a simple way to elevate your summer BBQ game? Try this Turkish marinade on for size.

This Turkish Marinade is perfect for making ahead of time and storing for use later. When preparing the meat, you may wish to make a large batch and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. This allows the flavors to fully develop, improving the overall taste of your finished product.

When it comes to reheating your lamb or beef kabobs, there are a few methods that you can use. Firstly, you can use the microwave, but this is not recommended as it will dry out your meat and reduce its quality. Instead, try using a grill or oven to reheat your kabobs. Simply place the kabobs over medium heat and grill until heated through. Alternatively, you can preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C), place the kabobs on a baking sheet and bake for around five to six minutes, or until cooked through.

If you have any leftover marinade after serving your kabobs, do not discard it. This is an excellent base for other marinades, such as chicken or fish. You can store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Remember that when storing your marinated meats, always use an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and ensure that they are stored in the refrigerator at all times to prevent spoilage. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy your delicious Turkish-style kabobs even after they have been made ahead of time!

Tips for Perfect Results

 With just a few simple ingredients, you can add a world of flavor
With just a few simple ingredients, you can add a world of flavor

Before you start making Turkish Marinade (Beef & Lamb Kabobs), here are some helpful tips to ensure your kabobs come out perfectly juicy and flavorful every time.

1. Tenderize the meat

When making kabobs, it’s important to tenderize the meat to ensure it cooks evenly and stays juicy. You can use a meat mallet, a fork or a marinade to achieve this. If you’re using tougher cuts of beef or lamb, marinating overnight can help break down the fibers and make the meat more tender.

2. Soak the skewers

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before using them. This will prevent them from burning on the grill or in the oven. Alternatively, you can use metal skewers that don’t require soaking.

3. Don’t overcook the meat

Overcooking your kabobs can result in dry, tough meat. Cook beef kabobs until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F and lamb kabobs until they reach 160°F. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the proper temperature is reached.

4. Use high-quality ingredients

Using high-quality ingredients like fresh herbs, spices and olive oil can make a big difference in the flavor of your kabobs. Don’t skimp on these essentials.

5. Let the meat rest

Once your kabobs are cooked, let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in juicier and more flavorful kabobs.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to making the perfect Turkish Marinade (Beef & Lamb Kabobs) every time!


Now that you have learned how to make the perfect Turkish Marinade for your beef and lamb kabobs, it’s time to address some frequently asked questions. Below are some commonly asked questions about the recipe, along with answers and tips from an experienced chef. Don’t be afraid to try out new things as these questions and answers will help you along the way. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully, as they will result in delicious and tender meat with a tangy flavor that is sure to please anyone who tries it. Here are some FAQs you might have about the Turkish marination process.

How long should you marinate meat for kabobs?

When preparing the meat for the skewers, it’s important to marinate it for at least an hour and up to six hours to ensure maximum flavor. Additionally, remember to soak the wooden skewers in water beforehand to prevent them from burning on the grill. A shallow pan filled with water will do the trick.

What spices are in kebabs Turkish?

When it comes to creating mouth-watering kebab skewers in Turkey, there are certain spices that are essential to achieve that authentic flavor. Among the most commonly used spices are paprika, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, thyme, and oregano. However, if you’re looking to make Adana kebab, adding ingredients such as pul biber (red pepper flakes), Aleppo pepper, isot pepper, or urfa pepper will give your kebabs a unique and delicious taste.

What meat is used in Turkish kebabs?

The traditional way to prepare kebab involves marinating beef or lamb and cooking it on a skewer known as a “shish” or “şiş” in Turkish.

What is Turkish kebab made of?

The original type of meat used for doner kebab was lamb, but nowadays, other meat such as chicken, beef, veal, and turkey are cooked in the same way. A blend of veal leg meat, lamb meat, and lamb tail fat is used in Turkey, where the fatty cuts help keep the meat succulent and rich in taste as it slowly cooks on the rotisserie.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, this Turkish Marinade recipe is truly a game-changer for anyone who loves to grill lamb and beef. It’s quick, effortless and adds so much flavor to your kebabs. The marinade is the star of the show here, it’s a perfect balance between tartness from the lemon juice, sweetness from the sweet onion and spices like cumin and cinnamon add a warm depth to the dish.

By using high-quality meat, following the recipe carefully and marinating your meat overnight or even longer — you can easily make succulent shish kabobs at home that are just as good as the ones you would have in any Turkish restaurant. Trust me! I’ve been perfecting this lamb kebab recipe for years now.

So, if you are looking to impress your dinner guests with deliciously grilled Turkish lamb or beef kebabs and tantalize their taste buds with bold flavors and aroma, then try this recipe out today. With these tips and tricks, you won’t go wrong.

No matter what event you have in mind; dinner parties, Father’s day barbecues or picnics, this Turkish marinade will be your go-to marinade for beef and lamb kabobs. The compliments will be rolling in before you know it! Don’t forget to share your experiences with me in the comments below! Happy grilling!

Turkish Marinade (Beef & Lamb Kabobs)

Turkish Marinade (Beef & Lamb Kabobs) Recipe

Works great with Beef and Lamb Kabobs. I also like this as a dressing.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Turkish
Servings 1 marinade
Calories 412.8 kcal


  • 2 cups chopped sweet onions
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 4 -6 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup olive oil


  • Add all except the olive oil to a food processor or blender. Blend on high and slowly drizzle in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Marinate your favorite Meat and enjoy.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 147gCalories: 412.8kcalCarbohydrates: 14.3gProtein: 1.8gFat: 41.1gSaturated Fat: 5.7gSodium: 8.4mgFiber: 3.9gSugar: 3.7g
Keyword < 15 Mins, Asian, Easy, Middle Eastern, Turkish
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