Chipotle Chicken Skewer

By Marcus Samuelsson |

Kids love food on a stick. The chili sauce is store-bought (see? Chefs take shortcuts, too!), the chipotles add some zing (food for kids doesn’t have to be bland), and the orange juice cuts a little of the heat. If you’re not a cilantro fan, you can swap it out by doubling the basil.

Prep Details

Servings: Serves 8, with 2 skewers each



1 cup fresh orange juice

½ cup chili sauce

½ cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)

2 garlic cloves

2 chipotle chiles in adobo (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon chile powder


3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 medium red onions, cut through the root into sixths

18 (6-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil


Photography by Paul Brissman.

Photography by Paul Brissman.


1.     Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if you need to.


2.     Put the chicken into a 1-gallon zip-top bag, add ½ cup of the marinade, and massage to coat all the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Reserve the rest of the marinade.

3.     Preheat the broiler; if using a gas grill, preheat to medium.

4.     While the grill or broiler is heating up, slide 1 piece of onion onto each skewer, followed by 3 pieces of chicken. Continue until you’ve filled all the skewers. Arrange the skewers in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and pepper and brush with ¼ cup of the reserved marinade.

5.     Broil the chicken skewers, without turning them, until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. If grilling, they will take 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the sesame seeds, cilantro, and basil.

 6.    Bring the remaining marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and serve with the skewers.


Sidebar: Have the kids massage the marinade and chicken, put the skewers together, and garnish.