Romanian Chicken Kebabs (Frigarui)

Romanian Chicken Kebabs (Frigarui) on a plate with cucumber slices

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Marinade Time: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 skewers
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
342 Calories
17g Fat
8g Carbs
38g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 342
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 114mg 38%
Sodium 642mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 7mg 33%
Calcium 128mg 10%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 469mg 10%
*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.)

It is said that shish kebab, also spelled kabob, kebap, kabab, comes from Turkish and refers to meat threaded on a skewer and grilled (literally, kebab means "skewer.")

Kabobs were born over the open field fires of the soldiers of the Turkic tribes who used their swords to grill meat.

This recipe for Romanian chicken kabobs/kebabs or frigarui is made with seasoned chicken only or a combination of chicken and veggies. Frigarui also can be made with pork or beef and sometimes bacon skewered with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and then grilled.

This popular Romanian street food is typically served with a garlic sauce known as mujdei de usturoi. As you might imagine, there are as many versions of this sauce as there are cooks in Romania.

"The chicken kebabs were easy to make and had excellent flavor and texture after marinating for several hours. The garlic sauce was strong, but it was amazing. Chicken breasts can become dry when overcooked—look for a temperature of about 165 F." —Diana Rattray

romanian chicken kebabs/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup mixed tender chopped herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 whole garlic head, peeled and separated into cloves

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, more for the grill

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

Marinate the Chicken

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chicken marinade ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Cut the chicken into 1 1/2-inch cubes.

    Chicken cubes on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. In a zip-top bag, combine the chopped herbs, pepper, lemon juice, sugar, ginger, garlic, and plain yogurt.

    Chopped herbs, pepper, lemon juice, sugar, ginger, garlic, and plain yogurt in a plastic bag

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add chicken cubes, completely coating all the chicken pieces with marinade, and refrigerate, overnight or at least three hours.

    Chicken cubes and marinade in a plastic bag

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Make the Garlic Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Garlic sauce ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. On a work surface, mince the garlic with the salt, crushing with the side of a knife until it is a paste consistency. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.

    Crushed garlic with salt in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Put the garlic paste in a small bowl. Add the oil. Whisk until well combined and emulsified, about 3 minutes.

    Garlic and oil mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add sour cream and plenty of black pepper. Mix well. Set aside.

    Garlic sauce in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Grill the Chicken

  1. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat (350F to 375F). Thread the chicken pieces on wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for about an hour so they don't catch fire on the grill (or use metal skewers).

    Uncooked Romanian Chicken Kebabs (Frigarui) on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Grill chicken kebabs on greased grates about 10 to 15 minutes or until done, turning several times while cooking. These can also be prepared on an indoor grill, under a broiler or in the oven. Serve with the mujjdei de usturoi sauce.

    Romanian Chicken Kebabs (Frigarui) on a grill

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

Recipe Variations

  • Thread tomato wedges and chunks of mushrooms and onion between the cubes of chicken.
  • Thread a square of bacon between the chicken cubes.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate leftover chicken kebabs in a covered container within 2 hours and eat within 3 to 4 days.
  • To reheat a chicken kebab, wrap it in foil and reheat in a 250 F oven until the meat reaches 165 F.

What goes with chicken kebabs?

The chicken kebabs with seasoned rice, braised cabbage, coleslaw, or a Greek salad. Corn on the cob is also an excellent side to serve with kebabs.