Middle Eastern Beef Shish Kebab Recipe

Beef shish kebab
Authentic Middle Eastern beef shish kebab.

The Spruce

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 portions (8 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
314 Calories
20g Fat
0g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 portions (8 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 314
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 70mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 32g
Calcium 10mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

You will love the colors in this beef shish kebab recipe. The brightness of the veggies against the darkness of the beef on a bed of hot white rice is just plain appetizing. And the marinade makes the beef tender, and delicious.

In the Middle East, kebabs are not always prepared on a skewer and do not always consist of cubed meat and veggies.

Since kebabs are prepared in just about every Middle Eastern country, there are several spellings, such as kabob, kebob, kebap, kabab, and kebab.


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  • 2 pounds beef (sirloin or tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
  • Optional: wedges of red onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this beef shish kebab dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking.

Marinate the Beef

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. About 24 hours prior to grilling, prepare the marinade by combining olive oil, vinegar, cumin, coriander, paprika, and garlic.

  3. Pour marinade into a freezer bag and add beef cubes. Allow marinating in the refrigerator until ready to grill.

Grill the Kebabs

  1. Remove beef from the refrigerator and thread meat onto skewers that have been sprayed with cooking oil. If using the optional vegetables, thread them onto separate skewers because they cook differently than the beef.

  2. Spray grill with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.

  3. Serve kebabs on the skewers or off the skewers over a bed of white rice, with grilled veggies, salad, and pita bread.


  • The type of skewer you use is very important when making kebabs. Flat, stainless steel skewers seem to work well because the meat and vegetables cling to the skewer better than wooden kinds.
  • If you do use wooden skewers, it is best to soak them in water for about 15 minutes before use because they can splinter. Do not use heavy cubes of beef or weigh down wooden skewers, as they will split in half.
  • Regardless of what type of skewer you use, be sure to apply a light coat of cooking oil before threading vegetables and meat. Your meats and veggies will slide off with ease.

Charcoal vs. Gas Grills

For an authentic-tasting kebab, a charcoal grill is better than a gas grill in terms of flavor, but it is a matter of personal taste as to which type of grill to use.

What Exactly Is a Shish Kebab?

A shish kebab is a skewer of meat and vegetables that are usually grilled. It can contain lamb, beef, fish, or chicken, as well as vegetables like green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

Kebabs have become very popular in Western food culture over the last few decades and are commonly referred to as "shish kebab" at cookouts and on American menus. Shish kebab translates to "skewer of grilled meat" and encompasses many variations of the kebab.