Lamb kabobs are your new grilling go-to! Marinate tender lamb cubes in a flavorful mixture (with ingredients you probably already have on hand) for at least 8 hours (24 hours is ideal) for maximum flavor infusion. Then, simply thread them onto skewers and grill to juicy perfection in just 15 minutes.

While the humble skewered meat dish we call “kabob” is most commonly associated with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, variations exist in many cultures around the world. From seasoned meat chunks to ground meat mixtures, these dishes share the basic principle of grilling or cooking meat on skewers.

The name itself reflects this global influence. You might see spellings like kebab, kebap, kebabi, satay, sosatie, suya, pinchitos, or shashlik, depending on the region and specific ingredients.

For our recipe, we’ll focus on “kabob” (though “kebab” is equally accurate) traditionally made with lamb. Lamb kofta is another variation that uses ground lamb mixed with spices instead of marinating whole pieces.

What You’ll Need

  • Lamb – The best cut to use for kabobs is either a boneless leg of lamb or lamb shoulder. I prefer keeping it local and using domestic American Lamb because of the milder, sweeter flavor.
  • SkewersMetal or wood. The benefit of metal skewers is they are usually flat, so you can more easily spin the kabobs to turn them. If you use wood, be sure to soak the skewers for at least 30 minutes in water so they don’t catch fire on the grill.
  • Meat Thermometer – To check for doneness. Cooking to temperature and not by time is the best way to get perfect doneness.
marinating lamb for kabobs

How to Make Lamb Kabobs

Easy steps to flavorful grilled lamb kabobs.

  1. Marinate the Lamb: Cut lamb into cubes and whisk together the marinade ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, spices, etc.). Marinate for at least 45 minutes, or ideally 8+ hours, for maximum flavor.
  2. Assemble & Cook: Preheat your grill, broiler, or skillet to medium-high heat. Thread the lamb cubes onto skewers and discard any excess marinade. Grill, broil, or pan-sear the kabobs for 3-5 minutes per side, rotating them for even cooking. Use a meat thermometer to check for desired doneness (130°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium).
  3. Rest & Serve: Let the cooked kabobs rest on a platter for 5 minutes before serving. For extra flavor, you can drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt.

Tip: Soak your wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes so they don’t burn.

Ways to Cook Kabobs

There are many ways to cook kabobs. Direct, high heat is what you want to use for a flavorful crust on the outside without overcooking the delicate lamb.

  • Grill – Grilling is the preferred cooking method because of the delicious smoky flavor you can get from the grill that pairs so well with the lamb and marinade. Check out the entire Lamb Grilling Guide.
  • Broiler – A convenient and quick way to cook the kabobs inside the house in the oven.
  • Pan Sear – A great option to cook in a skillet on the stove, or even while camping. A heavy-bottom skillet, a little oil and a high-heat burner will do a great job at browning the outside, giving lots of flavor.

The Marinade

A punchy and bright marinade is essential for kabobs. Not only will it add tons of great flavor, but it will also tenderize the lamb. This marinade is packed with bold and flavorful ingredients including olive oil, lemon juice and zest, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, fresh herbs, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes for some heat. This combo of tangy, sweet and savory perfectly complements the lamb. Give it at least 8, and up to 24 hours, to absorb into the meat.

placing marinated lamb on skewers

Tips for Success

  • Skip Veggies on the Skewers – Meat and veggies cook at different times, so make separate skewers of veggies if you also want grilled vegetables.
  • Buy a Large Cut of Lamb – Make these kabobs and use the rest to make a delicious grilled leg of lamb.
  • Marinate and Freeze – The kabobs can be marinated, vacuum-sealed and frozen for up to 3 months before grilling.
  • Soak the Skewers – Don’t skip soaking your wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes to keep them from burning on the grill or in the oven. Or if you make kabobs frequently, upgrade to metal skewers.
lamb kabobs on a plate overhead 1

Serving Suggestions

The beauty is that tasty grilled lamb goes great with just about anything. Try kabobs with tzatziki (Mediterranean cucumber yogurt sauce), pepitas and a fresh crunchy salad with a zesty vinaigrette, or grilled potatoes. You can switch it up to Mexican flavors and add them to some delicious lamb tostadas with pickled veggies.

Kebobs go great with a refreshing cucumber saladpotato salad, tomato salad, hummus, or rice. Of course, some grilled veggies on a skewer are great, too.

Lamb Kabobs

These grilled lamb kabobs are the answer to your Mediterranean flavor cravings! Marinated with zesty flavors then cooked on the grill, stove or oven to tender, juicy perfection.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil (optional for finishing)
  • lemon juice (optional for finishing)

Kabob Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juiced and zested)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled, smashed and chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme and rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)


  • Prep the Lamb: Trim fat from the lamb and cut into 1 – 1 1/2" cubes.
  • Make the Marinade: Whisk all marinade ingredients in a bowl or pulse them in a food processor until combined.
  • Marinate the Lamb: Toss lamb cubes with marinade in a bowl or ziplock bag, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (ideally 24 hours) for maximum flavor.
  • Prepare for Grilling (Optional for Wooden Skewers): Soak wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes if using.
  • Preheat the Grill: Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Alternatively, cook in a skillet with oil or under the broiler.
  • Assemble the Kabobs: Thread lamb cubes onto skewers, letting excess marinade drip off.
  • Grill the Kabobs: Sear kabobs for 3-5 minutes per side, rotating them, until cooked through (130°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium), about 10 to 15 minutes total. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check for doneness.
  • Rest & Serve: Transfer kabobs to a platter, and rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt (optional).


  • Marinate for at least 45 minutes if short on time, but 8+ hours is best.
  • Kabobs can be grilled, broiled, or pan-seared.
  • Skip veggie skewers on the same kabobs as lamb – they cook at different rates.
  • Opt for separate veggie skewers or cook them at different times.
  • Use pre-soaked wooden skewers or opt for reusable metal skewers.

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