Beef Kebabs

Call them kabobs, kebabs, or shish kabobs. Either way, what’s a summer grill without them? Marinate sirloin chunks in soy sauce with garlic, ginger, and olive oil. Skewer with veggies and get to grilling!

Beef Kabobs with onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers on skewers

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

How is it that two people can remember things so differently?

If you ask my mother she'll say she's only made beef kebabs a couple times in her life.

If you ask me, one of my favorite childhood memories is my mother's kebabs (or kabobs), cooked over the little cast iron hibachi grill my parents had on the back porch.

My most vivid memory of them was the time I was recovering from pneumonia, hadn't eaten anything for 3 weeks, and was allowed for the first time to sip some broth. And sip I did while the rest of the family ate beautiful, smoky, meaty, hearty, beefy kebabs.

It. Was. So. Unfair. I can still smell them now. There was nothing I wanted more in the world at that moment than those kebabs. Sigh.

Funny, the emotional ties we can have with food, isn't it?


How to Make Beef Kebabs

Making Beef Kebabs

I love, really truly love beef kebabs.

Why? They're fun, they're on a stick.

You can make your own, just they way you want them (lots of mushrooms please). If you've marinated the meat properly (several hours or preferably overnight), they're the most juicy wonderful morsels you could possibly eat.

5 Tips for the Best Beef Kebabs

A few tips that will help ensure your kebabs turn out well:

  • Marinate the meat, the longer the better.
  • Use double skewers to make them easier to turn.
  • Use bamboo or wooden skewers so that the inside of the steak pieces stay nice and pink.
  • Keep a little space between the items (more space than shown in the photo above, I sort of forgot that part when I did the batch pictured), so that the food grills versus steams.
  • Most important, keep an eye on them! Do a finger test for doneness, or if the grill is too hot, tap the meat with the end of your tongs to see how much it is giving. The meat and veggies will continue to cook a little once you've taken them off the grill and they are resting, so keep that in mind.
Beef Kabobs on a pan ready to be grilled

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

The Best Marinade for Beef Kebabs

Key to this kebab recipe is marinating the beef chunks. This marinade is a mix of the following:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Black pepper

Marinate the beef for at least 30 minutes, several hours or overnight is even better.

Shish Kabobs on wooden skewers with onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms, ready to eat

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

What to Serve with Beef Kebabs

If you're making these kebabs for a weeknight dinner, we'd serve them with a simple tossed green salad. If you're putting together a whole spread for a backyard barbecue, go with the classics: potato salad, macaroni salad, or three bean salad.

More Delicious Kebab Recipes to Try at Home!

What's the Difference Between Kebabs and Shish Kabobs?

Kebabs refer to Middle Eastern dishes that contain grilled meat, which are sometimes placed on wooden skewers, but not always. Traditional kebabs can consist of either fish, lamb, or beef meat that are grilled on skewers with vegetables and/or fruit. They may also be grilled without skewers or prepared in a pan on the stove or in the oven. Pork versions are usually excluded due to religious reasons in Middle Eastern cooking. 

Shish kebab (or shishkabob) is the Americanized version of kebabs that are usually prepared on skewers and may include chicken, beef, fish, pork, and/or vegetables.

Tips for Marinating Kebabs

  • Allow the meat to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but for maximum flavor overnight is even better.
  • You can adjust the marinade ingredients according to your personal tastes, e.g., add more or less garlic, use low-sodium soy sauce, substitute brown sugar or maple syrup for the honey, try balsamic or apple cider vinegar.

Veg and Fruit to Add to Kebabs

If a fruit or vegetable can be threaded onto a skewer it will probably "kebab"! For some items, like potatoes, you may want to par-cook them in advance so they will finish cooking along with the rest of your skewers.

  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Pineapple
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn on the cob segments
  • Par-cooked new potatoes
From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Beef Kebabs

Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 60 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

Using bamboo or wooden skewers instead of metal will help keep the steak from getting overcooked on the inside. Metal transfers heat, so it's useful to use for chicken, or a meat that you want to cook all the way through, but not so useful for steak that you want done rare or medium rare.


For the marinade

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the kebabs

  • 1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 large bell pepper

  • 1 to 2 medium red onions

  • 1/2 to 1 pound button mushrooms


  1. Marinate the meat:

    Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the meat. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably several hours or even overnight. (Heck, I've kept the meat marinating for a couple days, still great.)

    Prep bowls with ingredients to make the marinade for kebabs.
    Cambrea Bakes
    Glass bowl with marinade and beef inside to make shish kebab.
    Cambrea Bakes
  2. Soak skewers in water:

    Soak the wood or bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This will help prevent them from completely burning up on the grill.

    Soaking skewers to make shish kabobs.
    Cambrea Bakes
  3. Thread the meat and veggies onto the skewers:

    Cut the vegetables into chunks roughly the width of the beef pieces. Taking care not to poke yourself, thread the meat and vegetables onto double bamboo skewers.

    One way to do this safely is to put the piece that you are trying to pierce on a cutting board, and then push the skewers through the piece to the board.

    Using double skewers will help you turn the kebabs on the grill. If you keep a little space between the pieces, they will grill more evenly.

    Paint the kebabs with some of the remaining marinade.

    Slicing mushrooms to make shish kabobs.
    Cambrea Bakes
    Layering meat and veggies to make beef kabobs.
    Cambrea Bakes
    A plate of beef kabobs.
    Cambrea Bakes
  4. Grill on high, direct heat:

    Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, and how done you would like your meat, turning occasionally.

    Putting beef kabobs on the grill.
    Cambrea Bakes
  5. Let rest:

    Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    A baking sheet of grilled beef kabobs.
    Cambrea Bakes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
477 Calories
29g Fat
22g Carbs
34g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 477
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 104mg 35%
Sodium 839mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 32mg 161%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 828mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.