Chicken Shawarma
Chicken Shawarma
5 from 1 vote
Indulge in the irresistible flavors of tender, marinated chicken infused with aromatic spices. This Middle Eastern delight promises a mouthwatering experience that will transport your taste buds to a world of exotic cuisine.
Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma is a tantalizing Middle Eastern dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of food enthusiasts around the world. With its rich history, intriguing origin, and mouthwatering flavors, it’s no wonder that this recipe has become a beloved staple in countless households.

Dating back centuries, the roots of Chicken Shawarma can be traced to the vibrant streets of the Levant region, encompassing countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. The word “shawarma” itself is derived from the Turkish word “çevirme,” meaning “turning,” which perfectly describes the cooking method used to prepare this delectable dish.

Traditionally, Chicken Shawarma is made by marinating thin slices of chicken in a blend of aromatic spices, such as cumin, coriander, paprika, and garlic.

The marinated chicken is then stacked onto a vertical rotisserie, known as a “shawarma spit,” and slowly roasted to perfection. As the meat rotates, the juices infuse every slice, resulting in tender, succulent chicken with an irresistible smoky flavor.

While the traditional method of cooking Chicken Shawarma may require specialized equipment, fear not! With a few adjustments, you can easily recreate this culinary masterpiece in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Whether you choose to grill it on a barbecue, roast it in the oven, or even pan-fry it, the end result will still be a mouthwatering delight.

Despite its incredible flavors, Chicken Shawarma is surprisingly simple to make. With just a handful of ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can achieve restaurant-quality results that will impress even the most discerning palates.

What Ingredients To Use

Boneless Chicken Thighs: This recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs, which are known for their tender and juicy texture. They are perfect for grilling or pan-frying, as they retain their moisture and flavor. The dark meat of the chicken thighs adds richness to the shawarma.

Red Onion: Red onion is used to add a mild and slightly sweet flavor to the chicken shawarma. It also provides a vibrant color and a crunchy texture when thinly sliced. Red onions are commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Garlic: Garlic is a staple ingredient in many dishes, including chicken shawarma. It adds a pungent and aromatic flavor to the marinade, enhancing the overall taste of the dish. Garlic also has various health benefits and is known for its immune-boosting properties.

Ground Cumin: Ground cumin is a spice that adds a warm and earthy flavor to the chicken shawarma. It has a slightly nutty taste and is commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Cumin also offers digestive benefits and is rich in antioxidants.

Ground Paprika: Ground paprika is made from dried red peppers and adds a mild and slightly sweet flavor to the shawarma. It also provides a vibrant red color to the marinade. Paprika is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Ground Turmeric: Ground turmeric is a bright yellow spice that adds a warm and slightly bitter flavor to the chicken shawarma. It also gives the dish a beautiful golden color. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is widely used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Ground Coriander: Ground coriander is made from the seeds of the cilantro plant and has a citrusy and slightly sweet flavor. It adds a refreshing taste to the shawarma marinade and complements the other spices. Coriander is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian cuisines.

Ground Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon adds a warm and sweet flavor to the chicken shawarma. It provides a hint of spiciness and enhances the overall aroma of the dish. Cinnamon is a versatile spice used in both sweet and savory recipes.

Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper is a hot spice that adds heat and spiciness to the chicken shawarma. It gives the dish a kick and can be adjusted according to personal preference. Cayenne pepper is commonly used in various cuisines around the world.

Olive Oil: Olive oil is used as a cooking and marinade oil in this recipe. It adds richness and a subtle fruity flavor to the chicken shawarma. Olive oil is a healthy fat and is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is used to add acidity and brightness to the marinade. It helps tenderize the chicken and adds a tangy flavor to the shawarma. Lemon juice also provides a refreshing element to the dish.

Salt: Salt is an essential ingredient that enhances the flavors of all the other ingredients in the chicken shawarma. It helps balance the taste and brings out the natural flavors of the dish.

Black Pepper: Black pepper adds a mild heat and a subtle spiciness to the chicken shawarma. It complements the other spices and adds depth to the overall flavor profile of the dish.

Pita Breads: Pita breads are used as a traditional base for serving chicken shawarma. They are soft and slightly chewy, making them perfect for wrapping the flavorful chicken and toppings. Pita breads are commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is a creamy and tangy ingredient that is often used as a sauce or dip in Middle Eastern cuisine. It adds a cooling element to the chicken shawarma and balances the spices. Greek yogurt is known for its high protein content and probiotic benefits.

Fresh Parsley: Fresh parsley is used as a garnish in this recipe. It adds a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the chicken shawarma, enhancing its overall taste. Parsley also provides a vibrant green color to the dish.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Chicken Shawarma is a delicious and flavorful Middle Eastern dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are some serving suggestions and pairings to enhance your dining experience:

  • Pita Sandwich: Serve the chicken shawarma wrapped in warm pita bread along with fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Add a dollop of creamy tahini sauce or garlic sauce for extra flavor.
  • Rice Bowl: Create a hearty meal by serving the chicken shawarma over a bed of fluffy basmati rice. Top it with a generous drizzle of tahini sauce and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
  • Mediterranean Salad: Toss together a refreshing salad using crisp lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and Kalamata olives. Add slices of chicken shawarma on top and dress it with a lemony vinaigrette.
  • Mezze Platter: Arrange an assortment of small dishes on a platter, including chicken shawarma, hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and warm pita bread. This allows everyone to create their own combination of flavors.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Serve the chicken shawarma alongside a medley of grilled vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and mushrooms. The smoky flavors complement the spices in the dish.
  • Yogurt Sauce: Prepare a cooling yogurt sauce by combining Greek yogurt, minced garlic, lemon juice, chopped mint, and a pinch of salt. Serve it as a dipping sauce for the chicken shawarma or as a condiment.
  • Roasted Potatoes: Accompany the chicken shawarma with crispy roasted potatoes seasoned with herbs like rosemary or thyme. The combination of tender chicken and flavorful potatoes is simply irresistible.
  • Fruit Salsa: Create a unique twist by making a fruity salsa using diced mangoes, pineapples, red onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a hint of chili powder. Serve it alongside the chicken shawarma for a burst of tropical flavors.

These serving suggestions and pairings offer a range of options to enjoy your Chicken Shawarma. Whether you prefer a classic pita sandwich or want to explore different flavors with mezze platters or fruit salsas, there’s something for everyone to savor!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Chicken Shawarma?

Chicken Shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from marinated chicken that is slowly roasted on a vertical spit. The chicken is typically thinly sliced and served in a pita bread or wrap, along with various toppings and sauces.

What are the key ingredients used in Chicken Shawarma?

The key ingredients used in Chicken Shawarma include boneless chicken, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt, spices (such as cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cinnamon), and salt. Additionally, various toppings and sauces like tahini sauce, garlic sauce, pickles, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce are commonly added.

How is Chicken Shawarma cooked?

To cook Chicken Shawarma, the marinated chicken is stacked on a vertical spit and slowly roasted for several hours. As it rotates, the outer layer of the chicken gets crispy and flavorful while the inside remains juicy and tender. Once cooked, the chicken is thinly sliced off the spit and served in a pita bread or wrap.

Can I make Chicken Shawarma at home?

Absolutely! Chicken Shawarma can be made at home with relative ease. Marinate the chicken with the desired spices and ingredients, then either grill it on a barbecue or roast it in the oven until fully cooked. Thinly slice the cooked chicken and assemble it in a pita bread or wrap with your favorite toppings and sauces.

Popular toppings and sauces for Chicken Shawarma include tahini sauce (made from sesame paste), garlic sauce, pickles, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and sometimes even French fries. These additions add a variety of flavors and textures to the dish, enhancing its overall taste.

Is Chicken Shawarma spicy?

The level of spiciness in Chicken Shawarma can vary depending on the recipe and personal preference. While it is traditionally seasoned with a blend of spices, it is not necessarily spicy. However, some recipes may include chili powder or cayenne pepper to add heat. You can adjust the spice level according to your taste.

Can I substitute chicken with other meats in Shawarma?

Yes, you can substitute chicken with other meats like beef, lamb, or even a combination of different meats. Each variation will have its own unique flavor profile. Beef Shawarma is particularly popular and is often made using thinly sliced beef cooked in a similar manner to Chicken Shawarma.

Is Chicken Shawarma gluten-free?

The core ingredients of Chicken Shawarma, such as chicken, spices, and vegetables, are naturally gluten-free. However, some commercially prepared sauces or marinades may contain gluten. It is important to check the labels or make your own gluten-free versions of the sauces if you have dietary restrictions.

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Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma

by Nabeela Kauser
Indulge in the irresistible flavors of tender, marinated chicken infused with aromatic spices. This Middle Eastern delight promises a mouthwatering experience that will transport your taste buds to a world of exotic cuisine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Turkish
Servings 4
Calories 361 kcal


  • 500 g Chicken Thighs thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 4 Pitta Breads
  • Greek Yoghurt for serving
  • Parsley for garnish


  • In a bowl, combine the minced garlic, ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to create a marinade.
  • Add the thinly sliced chicken thighs to the marinade, making sure each piece is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing the flavors to meld.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers or use a grill basket.
  • Grill the chicken for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally until it’s cooked through and has a nice char.
  • While the chicken is cooking, warm the pita bread on the grill or in a dry skillet.
  • To assemble, place a generous portion of the grilled chicken on a warmed pita bread, top with sliced red onion, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and garnish with fresh parsley.
  • Serve your delicious Chicken Shawarma immediately and enjoy!


You can add your favourite toppings such as sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles for extra flavour and texture.
Adjust the level of cayenne pepper to your preferred spice level.
This recipe can also be made with beef or lamb if you prefer different proteins.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 361kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 21gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 682mgPotassium: 362mgFibre: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 297IUVitamin C: 8mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 41mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken, Eid, Food, Healthy, Ramadan, Recipe, Sandwich, Wrap
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!



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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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