Lemon Buttermilk Chicken Skewers

Lemon Buttermilk Chicken Skewers

An overnight marinade makes these lemon buttermilk chicken skewers impossibly tender, and they get a extra flavor boost from the rosemary tzatziki sauce.

Lemony Buttermilk Chicken Skewers

I’m determined to give everything a ‘skewer moment’ here on the blog, and today it’s chicken’s turn. I’ve already made beautiful SALMON, STEAK, VEGGIE, and TOFU skewers in the past, and I’m convinced it’s the quickest, healthiest meal out there. Threading chunks of meat, poultry or fish onto skewers allows you to serve smaller portions in a fun and flavorful way. Just add a starch and a green veggie and you’re golden.

Lemon Buttermilk Chicken Skewers with Rosemary Tzattziki

Skewers give you that outdoor grilling feel any time of the year, right inside the kitchen, I use a grill pan to brown the skewers and then finish them in the oven. You can do them entirely in the oven if you like. The secret here is the buttermilk. The marinade tenderizes the meat and guarantees a nice brown crust on the surface of your chicken, and that guarantees lots of flavor. That marinade also allows you to split up the work for this meal — make the sauce ahead too, and dinner will be a breeze to put together.

Rosemary Tzatziki Sauce for Lemon Buttermilk Skewers --- this sauce is a variation on the classic Greek sauce that goes so well with grilled meats and chicken

Tzatziki is a cooling Greek yogurt sauce that goes perfectly with the grilled chicken. There are lots of regional variations all over the Mediterranean, but it’s usually made with yogurt, cucumber and garlic. Mine is a simple blend of yogurt, lemon, and rosemary. I have a huge bush right outside my front door, and I pluck the tender new shoots — they combine with the yogurt into a pale green sauce with a really nice piney flavor.

Lemon Buttermilk Chicken Skewers
4 from 2 votes

Lemony Buttermilk Chicken Skewers

Author Sue Moran


  • 2 chicken breasts or about 1 and 1/2 pounds
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 lemons
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

tzatziki sauce

  • 1/2 cup regular yogurt not Greek
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp approximate fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch salt


  • Cut the chicken into large chunks of equal size. Aim to get about 16 pieces so you will have four chunks per skewer. Put them in a large zip lock baggie, or a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, the juice of one lemon, and garlic, and pour over the chicken. Make sure all the chicken is coated, then seal the bag or cover the bowl and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
  • To make the sauce, put the rosemary leaves in a small food processor and pulse to chop. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
  • Set oven to 400F and line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
  • Slice the remaining lemons on the 1/8 inch setting of your mandoline slicer. You can use a sharp knife, but make sure the lemons are sliced thinly enough that they are pliable.
  • Thread four skewers with alternating chunks of chicken and two slices of lemon. I fold the lemon in half before threading onto the skewer.
  • Heat a grill pan over medium high heat until quite hot. Brush the pan lightly with oil and brown each skewer for a couple of minutes per side, until nice and brown. Transfer to the sheet pan and finish cooking in the oven, about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken chunks.
  • Serve immediately, drizzled with the sauce.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • Does the buttermilk marinade really tenderize chicken? Yes, it contains enzymes that break down protein, and that results in tender chicken, the longer you leave it, the better — up to 24 hours. The buttermilk that clings to the surface also helps to create a wonderful browning when it cooks.
  • Line your pan with foil or parchment for easy clean up.
  • I kept my skewers simple, but you could add chunks of onion, mushrooms, or colorful bell peppers to yours.
  • Use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you  prefer dark meat.
  • Don’t use dried rosemary, fresh is essential. If you don’t like rosemary, substitute dill, garlic, or mint.


Don’t forget to PIN IT!

Lemon Buttermilk Chicken Skewers with a rosemary tzatzkiki sauce makes an easy Mediterranean inspired meal with tons of fresh flavor!


tvfgi recommends…

This is the Calphalon grill pan (left) I use, I like it because it’s non stick and gives really nice grill marks to whatever I’m making. If you want to cook several skewers at once, the long Lodge cast iron pan works great too. I use a sturdy Cuisinart mini food processor for tons of small jobs, including the tzatziki sauce. The Mandoline slicer stays on my counter, I use it almost daily!


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    I don’t see how many servings. ?

  • Reply
    August 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    This is probably a dumb question–but can these be cooked completely on the grill?

    • Reply
      August 3, 2017 at 4:44 pm


  • Reply
    August 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Not sure what kind of mandoline you use but I had a hard time slicing the lemons. I used a traditional french mandoline. I had to slice the lemons by hand.

    • Reply
      August 16, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Mine is an inexpensive mandoline, Carolina, and I use a firm steady swipe when I’m doing something like lemons…I always use the guard because that allows me to push firmly without fear of cutting myself.

      • Reply
        August 16, 2016 at 4:51 pm

        I’ll definitely keep that in mind the next time I make these. The skewers came out great anyway! They didn’t brown as much as they should have because the chicken still had marinade on it. Still delicious nonetheless! I love your website! This is the 3rd recipe that I have made from your website. 😉

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 6:45 am

    This reminds me so much of a grilled chicken dish I used to make with mayonnaise. I love how this is lightened up with the tzatziki sauce instead! Your skewers look delicious, Sue!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    This takes “healthy” to a whole new level. I so love this recipe, and can’t wait to make it on our outdoor grill. Perfection.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Oh pucker up..beautiful!!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 9:34 am

    These look amazing and I love the photos! I always end up with leftover buttermilk from making pancakes, now I know how to use it!

  • Reply
    Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners
    March 27, 2016 at 5:17 am

    I love your skewer recipes, Sue, and we’re doing lamb skewers today for those who don’t want prime rib or salmon. I like your tzatziki sauce recipe better than mine so I’ll be using it and the rosemary will be perfect for the lamb. Happy Easter!

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes
    March 26, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Buttermilk is fabulous! Love the rosemary tzatziki sauce with these skewers – sounds awesome! Have a blessed Easter Sue!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    March 26, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Lovely and can’t beat the lemon/chicken combination! Pinned!

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