The Mexican Chicken Kebabs with Picante Salsa make a great addition to any barbecue! I’ve managed to get Chris in front of the camera again to show you how!
Mexican chicken kebabs piled on a wooden board. Salsa and rice in the background.
Of course you can cook them on a griddle or under the grill too, but you can’t beat that lovely smoky barbecue taste!

I made these for Cinco De Mayo last year, and have made them loads of times since (although not on the bbq – I’m not allowed to use Chris’s bbq – which is why he’s done the video this time! ha ha).

One of the things I love about being a blogger, is getting inspiration from National or Celebratory days. I prefer the bigger ones such as Cinco De Mayo, bonfire night and Christmas. There are simply too many to keep track of if I was going to cook for all of them.

Did you know that September 17th is National Monte Cristo Sandwich day for example? Wow that’s seriously specific. I Love Mexican food and this seams like a perfect excuse to make a batch of these served up with Loaded Mexican Carrot Fries, some of Chris’s famous Chilli Con Carne (which the kids ask for at least once a week in our house) or these Fish Taco’s, Any excuse is a good one  😉

Back to the chicken kebabs! First we marinate with fajita spice, lime juice, coriander (cilantro) and a few other goodies:

Stirring chicken with a mexican-spice marinade in a glass bowl

Then whilst the chicken is marinating in the fridge, heat up the barbecue coals. Chris uses a chimney starter to speed up the process.

Hot coals in a barbecue chimney starter - heating up for a barbecue

Thread the chicken onto skewers with peppers and red onion:

Chicken and peppers being threaded onto skewers

Then cook on a direct heat until the chicken is cooked through:

Chicken kebabs cooking on the barbecue

Did you know, here in the UK we don’t tend to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. In fact good ole’ Wiki tells me that it’s celebrated more in the USA than in Mexico.

History tells us that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s defeat of the French army in 1862 after France, Spain and Britain landed in Mexico to demand payment of debts.

Spain and Britain withdrew after negotiation, but France invaded. Their 6,000-strong, well-armed army were defeated by Mexico’s poorly-equipped 2,000-strong army in one day.

In the US, Cinco de Mayo is more a celebration of Mexican culture, celebrated with parades, music, festivals, Mexican food and drink.

And I can never resist the call of Mexican food. Especially this picante salsa!

Picante salsa just made in a food processorWhoa! I like to whip up an extra large batch of this stuff, and drizzle it over coriander-flecked rice to go with the chicken skewers. Then we’ll continue to eat it with crisps, and then again with salad the next day.

It’s got a good kick to it – depending on the heat of your chillies. I like to start with one chilli, blend everything together, then add more if needed. I’ve used Fresno and Thai red chilli peppers when making this salsa, but use whatever chillies you like.

Close up image of Mexican chicken kebabs piled on a wooden board. Salsa and rice in the background.

I think it would even taste great warm, as a pasta sauce.

Can I make it gluten free?

Yes – this recipe is already gluten free.

Can I make it ahead?

If you’re eating the kebabs hot, it’s best to eat them right after they’re cooked, as that’s when they’re lovely and juicy.

Reheating them tends to dry out the chicken a little.

Personally I like to cook a larger batch of the chicken kebabs and and then save some of the meat and peppers, served cold for meal prep bowls for the next couple of days.

The Mexican Chicken Skewers Recipe:

5 from 7 votes

Mexican Chicken Skewers with Rice and Picante Salsa

Mexican Chicken Skewers with Rice and Picante Salsa - perfect for Cinco De Mayo or any Friday night dinner! Gluten Free too!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican


Chicken Skewers:

  • 3 chicken breast chopped into cubes (approx 2cm)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp fajita spice
  • 1 large clove garlic peeled and minced
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped into 2cm squares
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped into 2cm squares
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped into 2cm squares
  • 1 large red onion peeled and chopped into 2cm squares


  • 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 10 ripe cherry (grape) tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • large bunch coriander roughly torn, stems removed
  • 1 or 2 red chillies - such as Fresno Serenade or Thai
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp light brown soft sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper

To Serve:

  • boiled rice
  • roughly chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • fresh lime slices
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  • Place the chicken in a bowl with 1 tbsp of the oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, honey, fajita spice, garlic and coriander. Mix together and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
    3 chicken breast, 2 tbsp sunflower oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp fajita spice, 1 large clove garlic, 3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • Preheat the barbecue, or if cooking on a griddle pan, preheat it and brush with oil.
  • Thread pieces of the marinated chicken onto 8 skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes first, to prevent the sticks from burning) along with the peppers and red onion.
    1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 large red onion
  • Place the skewers on the barbecue (or griddle, or under the grill/broiler) and grill for 8-10 minutes, turning every few minutes until lightly charred. Check that the chicken is cooked by cutting it into a large piece and making sure it's no longer pink in the middle.
  • Whilst the chicken skewers are cooking, place all of the picante ingredients in a food processor. Blend until well combined, but still with a little bit of texture, then turn off the blender and transfer to a bowl.
    400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes, 10 ripe cherry (grape) tomatoes, 1 medium onion, large bunch coriander, 1 or 2 red chillies, juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp light brown soft sugar, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, ¼ tsp white pepper
  • Serve the skewers (two per person) on top of boiled rice that has been mixed with chopped coriander. Drizzle on some picante, and serve with lime slices and extra picante.
    roughly chopped coriander, fresh lime slices, boiled rice



Can I make it gluten free?

Yes - this recipe is already gluten free.

Can I make it ahead?

If you're eating the kebabs hot, it's best to eat them right after they're cooked, as that's when they're lovely and juicy.
Reheating them tends to dry out the chicken a little.
Personally I like to cook a larger batch of the chicken kebabs and and then save some of the meat and peppers, served cold for meal prep bowls for the next couple of days.
Nutritional Information is per skewer, without the serving suggestion of rice.


Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 847mg | Potassium: 1091mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1715IU | Vitamin C: 157.6mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

This post was first published in May 2017. Updated in August 2018 with new photos, tips and a recipe video.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Tanya says:

    5 stars
    Wow! Just Wow! We are sitting down to dinner and my first bite blew me away and I am a food snob! My MIL who is a phenomenal cook always taught me to make the first try of a recipe as written before making changes and I did that with one exception (sorry Nicky) – we only had 2 peppers (red and orange) so I had to substitute the other 2 peppers with a nice yellow squash and some cayenne powder since we like a bit of kick. It looked lovely on the skewers both before and after and tasted great too. I did serve it with cilantro lime rice but used the Target packaged version because I was in a bit of a hurry to get dinner on the table. We will be trying Nicky’s cilantro rice next time though. Another side was fresh corn on the cob and it went so well with this dinner. Thank you for this wonderful recipe and we will be eating this again (and again!).

  2. Jane Peterson says:

    5 stars
    Great dinner!! It’s my go to for the summer. Very easy instructions, clean ingredients
    Family favorite

  3. JOHN ASHTON says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe, a Family favourite, I put Halloumi cheese with them, really Lovely recipe Thanks

  4. Nancy says:

    5 stars
    Great flavor — what a nice way to get the summer grilling season going. Made just as directed and served these chicken skewers with some cilantro lime rice, coconut flavored black beans. The salsa was delicious with this chicken. : )

  5. Yash says:

    Thank you kitchensanctuary for sharing such a good recipe. Keep up the good work.

  6. Maggie Unzueta says:

    5 stars
    It looks incredibly delicious. I wish this were in front of me.

  7. Danielle says:

    5 stars
    Loving this! The flavors are simple but delicious, and I love cooking on the grill in the summer. That picante sounds AMAZING too!

  8. Bharati Bhatt says:

    These Kebabs are delicious. I make them. They were
    Very tasty and everyone loved them.

  9. Tom says:

    5 stars
    Made these at the weekend, thoroughly enjoyed by all. We all love Mexican spices and these were perfect to bbq.

  10. Alia @ Everyday Easy Eats says:

    Those chicken skewers look sooo delicious – I love Mexican food! I will have to try making this for dinner sometime! 🙂