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Delicious Chicken Shawarma Recipe: A Flavorful Middle Eastern Delight

Chicken Shawarma

Are you looking to add some Middle Eastern flavors to your culinary repertoire? Look no further than the tantalizing and mouthwatering Chicken Shawarma. This article will guide you through an easy-to-follow recipe to create your very own homemade Chicken Shawarma. From marinating the chicken to assembling the perfect sandwich, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and embark on a flavorful journey!



Chicken Shawarma is a delectable dish that traces its origins back to the Middle East. This culinary masterpiece has a rich history steeped in the traditions of the region.

The roots of Shawarma can be traced back to the 18th century in the Ottoman Empire, which encompassed modern-day Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East. Initially, Shawarma was made with lamb or mutton, which was seasoned with various spices and roasted on a vertical spit called a “shawarma machine” or “shawarma grill.”

Over time, the popularity of Shawarma spread beyond the Ottoman Empire, reaching other parts of the Middle East and even countries in North Africa. As the dish gained popularity, variations emerged, with different regions putting their own unique spin on the recipe.

Chicken Shawarma gained prominence as an alternative to the traditional lamb or mutton Shawarma. The shift towards chicken was influenced by dietary preferences and the availability of poultry in different parts of the region. Chicken Shawarma quickly became a favorite among locals and visitors alike due to its tender and flavorful meat.

The art of making Chicken Shawarma involves marinating thin slices of chicken in a blend of aromatic spices and herbs, such as garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and lemon juice. The marinated chicken is then cooked on a vertical rotisserie, allowing the meat to slowly cook and develop a succulent texture.

In the traditional preparation method, the chicken is sliced from the rotating spit and served in a warm pita bread or flatbread. It is often accompanied by a variety of condiments, such as tahini sauce, garlic sauce, pickles, and fresh vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. This combination of flavors and textures creates a harmonious balance that has made Chicken Shawarma a beloved street food and a staple at Middle Eastern restaurants around the world.

Today, Chicken Shawarma has gained global popularity, with its unique blend of spices and tantalizing flavors delighting taste buds everywhere. Whether enjoyed as a street food on the bustling streets of Beirut or savored as a gourmet dish in a fine dining establishment, Chicken Shawarma continues to captivate food enthusiasts with its rich history and irresistible taste.


Marinating the Chicken2 hours
Preparing the Shawarma Sauce15 minutes
Grilling or Baking the Chicken20-25 minutes
Assembling the Chicken Shawarma10 minutes

Please note that the cooking and preparation times provided are approximate and may vary based on individual preferences and equipment used. It is always recommended to follow the recipe instructions and adjust the times accordingly to achieve the desired results.


Boneless, skinless chicken breasts2
Garlic cloves3
Olive oil3 tablespoons
Ground cumin1 teaspoon
Paprika1 teaspoon
Turmeric1/2 teaspoon
Ground coriander1/2 teaspoon
Salt1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper1/4 teaspoon
Greek yogurt1/2 cup
Tahini2 tablespoons
Pita bread or flatbread2
Lettuce4 leaves
Red onion1/4
Fresh parsley or cilantroFor garnish

Please note that these ingredient quantities are for a 2-person serving and can be adjusted according to personal preferences and desired portion sizes.


Marinating the Chicken:

  1. Prepare the Marinade: In a bowl, combine the minced garlic, juice of half a lemon, olive oil, ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, ground coriander, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Marinate the Chicken: Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish or zip-top bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring it is evenly coated. Cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing the flavors to infuse.

Preparing the Shawarma Sauce:

  1. Create the Sauce Base: In a small bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, tahini, juice of the remaining half lemon, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined. Adjust the consistency by adding water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed.

Grilling or Baking the Chicken:

  1. Grill the Chicken: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip off. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 10-12 minutes per side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Remove from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  2. Bake the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the marinated chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Assembling the Chicken Shawarma:

  1. Prepare the Bread: Warm the pita bread or flatbread in a microwave or oven for a few seconds to make them more pliable.
  2. Slice the Chicken: Cut the grilled or baked chicken into thin slices.
  3. Build the Shawarma: Spread a generous amount of the Shawarma sauce on the warmed pita bread or flatbread. Layer the sliced chicken, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, red onion, and pickles (if desired). Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish.
  4. Wrap and Serve: Fold the bread tightly around the filling, creating a wrap. Cut in half if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Nutrition InformationAmount Per Serving
Serving Size1 Shawarma
Total Fat12g
– Saturated Fat2g
Total Carbohydrate42g
– Dietary Fiber4g
– Sugars3g
Vitamin D2mcg

Please note that the nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary depending on specific ingredients used and any customization or variations made to the recipe. It’s always recommended to refer to the specific ingredients and calculate the nutritional values based on your preferred brands and portion sizes.


  1. For maximum flavor, allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours. If possible, marinate it overnight for even more intense flavors.
  2. If you don’t have a grill or oven, you can also cook the marinated chicken in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through.
  3. To achieve tender and juicy chicken, avoid overcooking. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  4. Experiment with different spices and herbs in the marinade to suit your taste preferences. You can add a pinch of cinnamon, allspice, or sumac for additional depth of flavor.
  5. Don’t skip the Shawarma sauce! It adds a creamy and tangy element to the dish. Adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding water gradually until you achieve your desired texture.
  6. Warm the pita bread or flatbread before assembling to make it more pliable and easier to fold.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Bursting with flavorful Middle Eastern spices❌ Requires marinating time of at least 2 hours
✔️ Versatile recipe, can be customized with different meats or vegetables❌ Cooking time may vary depending on the cooking method
✔️ Healthy protein option with lean chicken breast❌ Requires access to a grill or oven for best results
✔️ Can be enjoyed as a delicious and satisfying meal❌ Preparation may involve multiple steps and ingredients
✔️ Offers a unique and exotic taste experience❌ Pita bread or flatbread may not be readily available for some


In conclusion, Chicken Shawarma is a tantalizing Middle Eastern dish that brings together a harmonious blend of spices, tender chicken, and flavorful toppings. With its rich history and exotic flavors, it offers a culinary experience that is sure to delight your taste buds. Whether you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine or simply looking to explore new flavors, Chicken Shawarma is a must-try recipe.

By marinating the chicken in a fragrant blend of spices and herbs, grilling or baking it to perfection, and assembling it with a creamy Shawarma sauce and fresh vegetables, you’ll create a mouthwatering meal that is both satisfying and wholesome. The burst of flavors, the juicy chicken, and the combination of textures in every bite will transport you to the vibrant streets of the Middle East.

Don’t be intimidated by the multiple steps or ingredients involved. Embrace the process, as the rewards are well worth it. Whether enjoyed as a quick lunch, a casual dinner, or even a crowd-pleasing party dish, Chicken Shawarma is versatile and customizable to suit your preferences.

So, take a culinary adventure and embark on a flavorful journey with Chicken Shawarma. Try out this recipe, make it your own with personal touches and variations, and savor the delectable flavors it offers. Gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and indulge in a Middle Eastern delight that will leave you craving more.


  • 1. The Shawarma Dance 💃
    • 🕺 Did you know that the rotating spit used to cook Shawarma inspired a popular dance move? The mesmerizing motion of the rotating meat led to the creation of the “Shawarma Dance” in the Middle East. So, next time you enjoy a delicious Shawarma, feel free to bust a move!
  • 2. A Gift from Outer Space 🚀
    • 🌌 Chicken Shawarma gained unexpected fame in 2012 when it became the food of choice for the superheroes in the Marvel movie “The Avengers.” In the post-credit scene, the heroes celebrated their victory with a Shawarma feast. The scene was unplanned and added at the last minute, making Shawarma a star in its own right!
  • 3. Shawarma vs. Tacos 🌮
    • 🌯 Shawarma and tacos may seem unrelated, but they actually share a historical connection. Shawarma’s origins in the Middle East influenced the creation of tacos al pastor in Mexico. Lebanese immigrants brought the concept of vertical spit-roasting to Mexico, leading to the flavorful and beloved tacos we know today.
  • 4. Shawarma: A Nutritional Powerhouse 💪
    • 🥙 Chicken Shawarma not only pleases your taste buds but also offers nutritional benefits. It is a great source of lean protein, essential vitamins, and minerals. Packed with flavorsome spices, it adds depth to your diet while providing a balanced and satisfying meal.
  • 5. Shawarma Goes Global 🌍
    • 🌐 Chicken Shawarma’s popularity has spread far beyond the Middle East. It has become a beloved street food in many countries worldwide, from Europe to North America, Asia, and beyond. Its delicious combination of flavors and portable nature have made it a go-to choice for food enthusiasts around the globe.


Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for Chicken Shawarma?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs as an alternative to chicken breasts. Keep in mind that the cooking time may vary slightly, and the texture may be slightly different due to the higher fat content in thighs.

Can I make Chicken Shawarma ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the marinated chicken ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Cook the chicken and assemble the Shawarma just before serving for the best taste and texture.

Can I freeze leftover cooked Chicken Shawarma?

Yes, you can freeze leftover cooked Chicken Shawarma. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in a skillet or microwave before enjoying.

Can I use store-bought Shawarma sauce instead of making it from scratch?

Absolutely! If you prefer convenience, you can use store-bought Shawarma sauce. However, making your own sauce allows you to adjust the flavors to your liking.

Can I use a different type of bread for the Shawarma wrap?

Yes, you can use different types of bread or wraps such as lavash, naan, or even tortillas if you prefer. The choice of bread can add unique flavors and textures to your Shawarma.

Can I grill the chicken indoors if I don’t have access to an outdoor grill?

Yes, you can grill the chicken indoors on a stovetop grill pan or an electric grill. Just make sure to preheat the grill and cook the chicken over medium-high heat until it reaches the desired doneness.

Can I omit certain spices if I don’t have them on hand?

Yes, you can adjust the spices according to your preference or based on what you have available. While the spices contribute to the authentic flavors, you can still create a delicious Shawarma with the spices you have on hand.

Can I make a vegetarian version of Shawarma?

Absolutely! You can make a vegetarian Shawarma by substituting the chicken with grilled or roasted vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Marinate and cook them similarly to the chicken.

Can I use the Shawarma marinade for other meats or proteins?

Yes, the Shawarma marinade can be used with other meats like beef, lamb, or even with tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian option. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose.

Can I add additional toppings or condiments to my Chicken Shawarma?

Absolutely! Feel free to customize your Chicken Shawarma with additional toppings such as sliced avocado, feta cheese, or a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce. Get creative and add flavors that you enjoy!