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Gather Round the Grill: Chinese Five Spice Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Welcome to week two in Gather Round the Grill here on Neighborfood! This week is all about main dishes. All week we’ll be talking easy, flavorful, and unique meals you can throw on the grill. Feel free to share your favorite grilled main dishes along the way and come back Friday to link them up! Thanks for joining in the fun!

Grilled 5 Spice Chicken and Veggie Skewers |

If you’re looking for something really different to wow your guests at your next cookout, look no further than these Chinese Five Spice Chicken and Veggie Skewers.

There’s something wonderfully festive and fun about kebabs. The bright colors, the portability, the smoky flavor. They just scream “summer!” They require little work, but carry lots of WOW. That’s my kind of dish.

I was only recently introduced to Chinese five spice and I have to tell you, I’m already hooked. In case you’re wondering, “five spice” isn’t a type of spice but rather a blend of five spices traditionally used in Chinese cooking. It usually contains anise, cloves, and cinnamon, but the other two spices can vary from blend to blend.

The result is a spice that is warm, spicy, peppery, and just a tad sweet.

Grilled 5 Spice Chicken and Veggie Skewers |

This recipe starts by marinating the chicken pieces in a mixture of five spice powder, ginger, and sesame oil. Then all you have to do is thread them onto skewers with the vegetables of your choice and grill them up. Really, the hardest part of this recipe is not stabbing yourself with the skewers (been there, done that).

The finished grilled chicken pieces have a sweet, warm heat, and pair beautifully with the caramely grilled peppers and onions. If you don’t like spicy food, dial back the red pepper flakes or cut them out completely.

Grilled 5 Spice Chicken and Veggie Skewers |

This meal is great served with rice, but my favorite part of it was actually the leftovers. The next day, I heated up the extra chicken and veggies and stuffed them into a grilled pita with roasted red pepper hummus. I’m definitely sold on pita as the ultimate delivery system for spicy chicken. So pop a couple pita breads on the grill with your skewers and you’re well on your way to a light and satisfying weeknight meal.

Gather Round the Grill: Chinese Five Spice Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Prep Time 25 minsPrep Time
Cook Time 10 minsCook Time
Total Time 35 mins Total Time
Yields 3

This recipe made six skewers. If these are being served solo without additional sides, I would recommend planning for two skewers per person.


  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Oil, to coat the grill grates
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a shallow bowl combine five spice powder, brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  2. Cut the chicken breast into bite sized chunks. Place them in the bowl with the marinade mixture and stir to coat. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the red onion and bell pepper into bite sized pieces. Preheat the grill to medium high heat (mine was at about 350 degrees) and brush the grates with oil.
  4. Remove chicken from the fridge. Thread onto skewers, alternating with onions and peppers. This made 6 13 inch skewers for me, with one cherry tomato and 5 pieces of chicken on each one. Drizzle any additional marinade over the finished skewers.
  5. Place skewers on the grill and cover and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.


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Recipe adapted from On a Stick!: 80 Party-Perfect Recipes

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