Homemade shish kebab seasoning makes making your kebabs even faster. With this kebab spice mix at the ready, there’s no need to open umpteen jars of spice each time, or chop garlic. Make a big batch to last all summer.
We love shish kebabs here, and make them at least once a week in the summer. I do like an easy life, however, and getting all those bottles of spice out of the cupboard, searching for the elusive missing one (which is always at the back of the cupboard) is something I prefer to avoid.
Homemade spice and seasoning blends are so useful when you make a recipe on a regular basis. I find it’s cheaper to make your own for the dishes you make all the time.
Let me show you how to make the perfect kebab seasoning blend, which you can adapt to your taste and use in all your shish kebab recipes. Read my hints and tips for buying the best spices too.
This recipe is the ideal kebab spice mix for both my lamb shish kebabs and my chicken shish kebabs, so you only need one jar. If you cook kebabs regularly, this spice blend will save you so much time.
Why make homemade kebab shop seasoning?
- It is easy – throw the spices into a bowl, mix and store in a jar.
- Timesaving – no more hunting for jars at the back of the cupboard. Everything you need in one jar.
- Tailor to your taste – so much nicer than ready made blends!
- Far cheaper than buying a ready made blend.
Kebab seasoning ingredients
- paprika – powdered roasted peppers, once known as ‘Turkish pepper’
- ground cumin – warm, earthy and bittersweet
- salt – fine salt, so that it combines with the other ingredients
- black pepper – a touch of heat
- ground coriander – slightly peppery and fragrant
- garlic powder
- turmeric – slightly bitter, colourful and with a reputation of promoting good health
- cinammon – sweet and fragrant
Helen’s Pro Tip
Unless you have a really good blender, it’s best to buy ready ground spices here. They will have a better texture on the finished kebabs. If everything is ground to about the same consistency, the contents of the jar won’t separate as they settle.
How to make shish kebab seasoning – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can make this recipe perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
Step One – Grab all the ingredients! There is nothing more annoying than starting a recipe and realising you don’t have everything you need, so get organised before you start.
You should also check the size of your storage jar before you start. I weigh the jar, fill with water and weigh again. 5 g of water is 5 ml / 1 tsp, and this recipe makes 16 tsp. It is best to do this well in advance, however, as you do need the jar to be dry when you fill it with your spice mix.
Step Two – Put all the ingredients into a clean, dry bowl. You don’t want any lingering drops of water from the washing up!
Step Three – Give everything a good mix with a spoon or whisk.
Helen’s Pro Tip
It’s far better to mix in a bowl rather than putting everything in a jar and shaking. This can take ages and if the jar is nearly full, your spices may not be well combined.
Step Four – Transfer your shish kebab spice mix to a clean, dry jar. I usually use a jam funnel for this.
Step Five – Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place.
Serving suggestion / How to Use
Use in a yoghurt marinade or as a dry rub for shish kebabs and roast meats, add to minced meat when making koftes, or to flavour mayonnaise or yoghurt to make a dip.
Chicken kebab seasoning
If you are mainly going to use this shish seasoning blend mainly for chicken kebabs, then I would double the quantities of turmeric and cinnamon.
Store your shish kebab spice blend in a cool dark cupboard.
Your ‘best before’ date will be the shortest dated of out of all the spices you used!
Tips for buying and storing spices
Generally speaking, the fresher your spices, the better.
I’ve never been an advocate of bulk buying huge bags of spices, unless you regularly cook for a crowd. Once opened, they rapidly go stale and lose flavour. If you cook for two, as I do, the bulk buy rapidly becomes a false economy.
Having said that, those small jars of spice in the supermarket can be expensive. I also find the strength and quality decidedly variable, so it makes sense for me to buy smaller bags (several times the size of the jar) of the spices I use more often.
Once I have opened a bag, I use a bag clip to reseal it rather than rely on the bag’s own seal. I then store all my spices in airtight plastic boxes. I generally keep one for savoury spices, one for herbs, and one for sweet spices.
The answer is ‘it depends’. If you never use spices for anything other than kebabs, it may be more economical to buy a ready made mix. If you sometimes cook curry or Middle Eastern dishes, however, it works out cheaper to mix your own.
Again, it depends – this time on what’s in the shop bought version. Some of them do have some odd ingredients, though. With a homemade mix, you know exactly what you are are getting and can adapt it to suit your taste.
It depends on what you like! I have gone for a balance of earthy, warm, bitter and sweet, using spices that have a history in Turkish cuisine.
No. You could use it in vegetable dishes and in dips too. Experiment!
More kebab shop fakeaway recipes
- Lamb shish kebabs – succulent and juicy
- Chicken shish kebabs – coated in a gorgeous yogurt marinade
- Kebab shop salad – with delicious marinated cabbage for an authentic taste of your favourite takeaway
- Kebab shop chilli sauce – so easy, with no cooking at all!
- Kebab shop garlic sauce – the final flourish
- 1 tbsp paprika (ground)
- 1 tbsp cumin (ground)
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper (ground)
- 2 tsp coriander seed (ground)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp turmeric (ground, optional as mainly for colour)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
Chicken Shish Kebab Seasoning (as above adding an extra)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Gather your ingredients and put everything in a clean, dry bowl.1 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp coriander seed, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cinnamon
- Mix together thoroughly.
- Transfer your kebab seasoning mix to a clean dry jar with a lid that fits tightly. If you have a jam funnel, this will help to avoid any spillage.
- Seal and store in a cool, dark place, ready to use in all your kebab marinades.
This is such a good idea, I hate having to get every single jar of spice out of the cupboard!
Made a jar up and then made lamb shish kebabs with it – so easy!
What a fantastic time saver! Fuss Free at its best.
This is such a good idea..
Made a jar up and then made lamb shish kebabs with it
Hi there does the recipe mean I add the extra turmeric and cinnamon for chicken Shish or that I only use those two for chicken shish? Sorry.
that is a great question- thank you for asking – I have clarified it in the recipe card. You add extra turmeric and cinnamon for a chicken seasoning. But I don’t think it matters that much I just like them to taste differently.
Thank you. I thought as much but just wanted to make sure. Making it right now! Thanks :)
Great idea but what do I do with it after I’ve made it? Is it a dry rub or do I mix it with yogurt?
either – if using yoghurt add to it, or as a dry rub for shish kebabs, or in the mince for koftes.