Sambal Chili Chicken Skewers

Enjoy a sweet and spicy oven-roasted dinner with these quick and easy marinated Sambal Chili Chicken Skewers.

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Skewers of marinated and roasted chicken thighs arranged on an enamel tray.
Skewers of marinated and roasted chicken thighs piled on a green plate.
Marinated sambal chicken on a bed of rice.

Spicy Sambal Chili Chicken Skewers

Marinated in a sweet and spicy mix of yogurt, chili paste, brown sugar, and spices, these tender strips of chicken are pounded flat and skewered before being roasted under the broiler. The finished sambal chili chicken skewers develop a delicious char, perfect for serving over rice, noodles, or with a side of vegetables for dinner.

As someone without a grill or access to the outdoors, I love finding ways to simulate the cooking method in my home kitchen. By setting an oven-safe rack into a baking sheet and pounding the chicken thin, the oven’s broiler is able to cook the chili chicken skewers quickly, with a nice crispy blackening to give it just the right amount of smokey flavor.

Skewers of marinated and roasted chicken thighs arranged on a baking tray.

Sambal Oelek Chili Paste

If you aren’t familiar with sambal, it is a style of chili paste native to the cuisines of Indonesia and popular in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Brunei and Singapore. Sambal oelek is specifically the raw form, which is often used as a base for marinades and sauces within the sambal family.

I was so excited when I spotted this particular Sambal Oelek Chili Paste at the grocery store. Most pre-made sauces and pastes contain garlic and onion (which I have a sensitivity to), especially in the Asian foods section. This one, however, has a pretty simple ingredient list: chili, salt, distilled vinegar, and a few simple preservatives. In addition, it tastes delicious.

Skewers of marinated and roasted chicken thighs piled on a green plate.

Spicy Sambal Chili Chicken Skewers

Quick and easy marinated Sambal Chili Chicken Skewers are a sweet and spicy oven roasted dinner.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground lemongrass


  • Using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken thighs until they are about half an inch thick. Trim any excess fat and discard. Cut the chicken thighs into strips, approximately 1 ½- 2 inches wide by 2-3 inches long.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Toss the chicken strips in the marinade and let sit in the fridge for 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • Cover a baking sheet with foil, and set an oven-safe cooling rack or grate into it. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Thread the chicken strips lengthwise on the skewers. You should be able to fit 1-2 strips on each skewer. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
  • With the oven rack situated closest to the heating element, broil the chicken skewers on low for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through. Broil an additional 5 minutes on high to give the chicken a little char. Serve immediately over rice or with flat bread.


Water Soaking Skewers: To keep bamboo skewers from accidentally burning under the broiler, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
Keyword chicken, chili, spicy
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