This Chicken Shawarma recipe is absolutely delicious. It is gluten-free, low carb, and keto-friendly. It’s a very tasty Middle Eastern recipe that will make you want to make it again and again! You can make this Shawarma in large quantities and then freeze it for later use. It's the perfect time-saving make-ahead freezer meal for busy weeknights!
Restaurant-Style Chicken Shawarma Recipe
Today, you will learn how to make one of the most popular Middle Eastern dishes right at home!
This chicken shawarma has incredible flavors. The chicken thigh is seasoned with a homemade Shawarma seasoning spice blend. The perfect marinade, consisting of everyday spices and made from scratch!
It tastes as good if not better than the shawarma at many of my local Lebanese restaurants! So, please skip the take-out and make your own chicken shawarma!
What is Chicken Shawarma
Shawarma is a dish in Middle Eastern cuisine. It consists of a combination of spice-marinated meat that is cut into thin slices, stacked, and then slowly roasted on a vertical rotisserie or spits.
Shawarma is one of the world's most popular street foods, especially in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries.
Making your own chicken shawarma at home isn't as difficult as you might think. This chicken shawarma recipe is absolutely an easy dish to make!
What is Chicken Shawarma Made of?
The secret to this amazing chicken shawarma is in the spice mixture! The spice mix will infuse the chicken with those flavors of the Middle East! It's so aromatic, it makes the house smell outstanding while cooking the shawarma!
Chicken. In this recipe, I used chicken thighs because they are a fattier cut of meat. Chicken thighs offer a more rich and intense flavor than chicken breast.
Homemade Shawarma Spice Mix. I used a combination of fresh garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground paprika, fresh lemon juice, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground turmeric, ground cayenne pepper, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
You can purchase all of these ground spices at any grocery market from the spice bulk section. To reduce your cooking cost, only purchase the right amount of spices that you're going to use for this recipe.
How to Make Chicken Shawarma at Home:
Anybody with even basic cooking skills can do this.
You don't need a vertical rotisserie spit to make super delicious chicken shawarma at home. What you need is a large sheet pan if you are going to roast the chicken in the oven, or a grill pan / outdoor grill if you are going to grill it!
Here are some important steps to follow:
Step 1. Make the Shawarma Seasoning
- In a medium bowl, mix all shawarma spice seasoning mix until combined.
Step 2. Marinate the Chicken Thighs
A marinade prevents the meat from drying out. It also adds flavor to the meat and makes them more tender and juicier.
In this recipe, I personally marinated the chicken for 24 hours.
- Place the chicken thighs and spice into a large zip-lock bag. Massage the spice onto the chicken thoroughly.
- Marinate the chicken thighs for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Step 3. Cook the Meat
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and remove the marinated meat from the fridge.
- Put the marinated chicken thighs and chopped onions on a large sheet pan, and mix well. Spread everything across it evenly.
- Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the meat has a nice crisp on the edge and is fully cooked.
Step 4. Crisp the Meat
- Option 1. Set the oven to broil then crisp the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to watch it carefully, do not burn. Or,
- Option 2. Slice the chicken, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, then sauté until crisp.
How to Serve Chicken Shawarma:
Shawarma is commonly served as a sandwich or wrapped, in a flatbread such as a pita. You can also serve it on a plate along with rice pilaf, and salads on the side.
My husband always prefers Shawarma wrap but I personally enjoy building my own Shawarma plate that consists of rice vermicelli pilaf, tomato-cucumber salad, hummus, tzatziki sauce, garlic sauce, or tahini sauce, and garnish with tomatoes, pickles, onions, and chopped lettuce.
Check Out More Middle-Eastern Recipes:
- Red Lentil Soup
- Lamb Kofta Kebabs
- Easy Za'atar Roasted Chicken Breast
- Moroccan Couscous
- Carrot and Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Lamb Stew and Apricots
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and share it with friends! If you try it and don’t mind, please leave me a comment and give this recipe a rating.
- a large sheet pan
- 3 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs
Shawarma Spice Seasoning Mix:
- ¼ cup olive oil, (for Instant Pot users only, use ½ cup of olive oil)
- 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1½ tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground paprika, (regular or smoked)
- 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1½ teaspoons ground allspice , (or use ground cardamom)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, (or use less of it for a milder taste)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, (or use less of it if you are salt-sensitive)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 large red onion
- ½ cup Greek whole milk yogurt
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 small cucumber, (seeded, finely grated and drained)
- ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped dill , (or use a small pinch of dried dill)
- salt, (to taste)
- black pepper , (to taste)
- Optional: ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- In a bowl, mix all shawarma spice seasoning mix until combined. Place the chicken thighs and spice into a large zip-lock bag. Massage the spice onto the chicken thoroughly.Transfer the chicken and spice mixture into a fridge. Marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and remove the marinated meat from the fridge.
- Add onion onto the chicken marinade, mix well. Transfer the mixture to a large sheet pan. Spread everything across it evenly. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the meat has a nice crisp on the edge and is fully cooked.For a crispier meat (optional), broil the cooked chicken for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to watch it carefully, do not burn. Or, slice the chicken, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, then sauté until crisp.
- Tzatziki Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together all Tzatziki sauce ingredients until combined. Serve and enjoy!
To Cook on the Grill:
Preheat the grill pan over medium heat. Dip a paper towel in a little oil, using tongs, and wipe the oil evenly over the grate.
Remove from the heat and serve with pita bread or on a plate. Enjoy!
To Cook in an Instant Pot:
- Transfer the marinated chicken with marinade sauce, and onion into the Instant Pot. Give a quick stir. Follow the manufacturer's guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook or manual on high for 8 minutes.
- After the cooking cycle is finished, wait and let pressure inside the pot come down on its own (natural release).
- Carefully open the lid and transfer the chicken onto a plate.
- You can broil the chicken in the oven for about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to watch it carefully, do not burn.
- Or you can crisp the chicken on a large pan over high heat. Simply slice the chicken, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, then sauté until crisp.
My dad is Middle Eastern and the recipe rocks!!!!! I have made it several times but want to try it on beef… thoughts? Thanks for this amazing recipe btw…
Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. I am glad that you liked this chicken shawarma recipe, especially as someone with middle eastern roots. You can use flank steak that you can cut into thin slices, then marinate for 1-2 hours (or up to overnight), then cook. After that, you can cook the beef strips in a skillet for about 8-10 minutes. Please note that I haven't personally tried this recipe using beef, so the number of spices that go into the beef may need to be adjusted. Please let me know how it goes.
This is so delicious! and the recipe plays out just as it says. Great left over the next day in a pita!!!
Thanks for trying and sharing your feedback. I am glad that you liked it.