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Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Say hello to my hearty, rich, and delicious Chicken Shawarma. This is sure to become your new favorite dinner. Traditionally, this is served on a pita with a creamy yogurt sauce and your choice of toppings.

If you love Middle Eastern cuisine and you’re looking for a great new recipe to try – this is it! Our guide to making chicken shawarma is the perfect way to kick off your cooking adventure.

Chicken Shawarma is seriously one of the most delicious and satisfying dishes out there. If you’ve never tried it or even heard of it, let me tell you a bit about what makes it so amazing.

Chicken Shawarma – a culinary experience you won’t want to miss.

Chicken Shawarma: First, Chicken Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish that’s become incredibly popular around the world. It’s basically a flavorful, marinated chicken that’s slow-roasted on a vertical spit and then thinly sliced to be served in a wrap, pita, or on a plate. Trust me, once you’ve had a bite, you’ll understand why it’s gained such a following.

Marinade: Now, let’s talk about the marinade. It’s an essential part of what makes the chicken in Shawarma so mouthwatering. The recipe can vary, but it usually includes a mix of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and a blend of spices like paprika, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. The chicken is left to marinate for a few hours, or even overnight, letting all those flavors really soak in.

Customize: You can customize your Chicken Shawarma with a variety of fresh veggies, like tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce, as well as pickles and onion.

Sauces: The real magic comes with the sauces. A classic choice is a creamy garlic sauce, also known as toum, which adds a whole new level of flavor. Some people also like to drizzle tahini sauce, a sesame-based sauce, or even hot sauce for a little kick.

Sides: Let’s not forget about the sides! You can’t go wrong with a side of warm pita bread, hummus, or even some tasty, golden-fried falafel. It’s like a feast in itself, and you’ll be left feeling full and satisfied.

Whether you find a local Middle Eastern restaurant or try making it at home, it’s a culinary experience you won’t want to miss.

What is chicken shawarma?

Chicken Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish made from marinated, slow-roasted chicken served in a wrap or pita with vegetables and tahini sauce. It’s similar to other dishes like gyros or doner kebab, but it’s more popular in the United States than those two options.

Chicken Shawarma can be served on a plate with rice and salad, but it’s usually wrapped up in pita bread or flatbread (like naan). The chicken is sliced very thin so that you can easily bite through it when eating your shawarma sandwich!

Ingredients for making Chicken Shawarma at home

Now, let’s dive into the recipe. This chicken shawarma recipe is easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chicken: For this, I used skinless and boneless chicken thighs; you could use another cut of chicken. I prefer this recipe with darker meat because they are more tender than other cuts.
  • Marinade: A delicious yogurt-based marinade.

What’s in the Marinade?

  • Yogurt: You can use your favorite yogurt brand as long as it is unflavored.
  • Lemon juice: for a bit of tartness, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garlic, minced or crushed (you can also use garlic powder)
  • A blend of spices like paprika, cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
  • Olive oil: I used olive oil because it pairs well with seasonings and aids in coating the chicken with the marinade.

How to make chicken shawarma at home (Step by step)

  • Create a marinade by mixing Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, spices, and seasoning in a bowl.
  • Coat chicken thighs and let them marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Cook the chicken using either the stovetop or oven method until fully cooked and golden brown.
  • Prepare toppings and warm pita or flatbread. Let the cooked chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Assemble the shawarma by spreading tahini or garlic sauce on the warm bread, adding chicken and toppings, and wrapping the filling.
cutting homemade shawarma chicken into bite size.

What To Serve With Chicken Shawarma

There are plenty of options for what to serve with chicken shawarma. Whether you’re looking for something healthy and refreshing, or something a little more indulgent, there’s a side dish out there that will perfectly complement your chicken shawarma.

  • Pita Bread or flatbread: Both the pita pocket and flatbread styles work beautifully. You can either make your own or pick some up at the store.
  • Fresh veggies: A few good options are cucumber, tomato, lettuce, and onion.
  • Onion: thinly sliced red onion adds a nice bite to the sandwich.
  • Rice: Another great option is to serve chicken shawarma with rice. You can make a simple rice pilaf,
  • Tabouli: Tabouli is a Middle Eastern salad that’s made with parsley, tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat. It’s a refreshing and healthy side dish that’s perfect for serving with chicken shawarma.
  • Salad: A fresh salad is a great accompaniment to chicken shawarma. You can make a simple salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. You can also add some feta cheese, olives, or even some chopped parsley for extra flavor.
  • Creamy garlic sauce: is an essential ingredient for shawarma sandwiches. It’s made from yogurt and garlic cloves that are blended together with salt and pepper. You can make your own at home or buy it ready-made at the store in a jar or tub.
  • Hummus and tahini sauce pair great with any kind of Middle Eastern dish–and they’re easy to make at home too!
  • Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers are a great side dish for chicken shawarma. Simply chop up the vegetables, toss them with some olive oil and seasonings, and roast them in the oven.
  • Fries or chips: If you’re looking for something a little more indulgent, you can serve chicken shawarma with fries or chips. This is a great option for kids, or for when you’re just in the mood for something a little more casual.
  • Hot sauce: If you want something spicy, try adding hot sauce to your chicken shawarma before serving it up!
Delicious homemade Chicken shawarma served with rice, fresh tomatoes and red onions

How to store shawarma chicken?

Any leftover chicken should be stored in an airtight container for maximum freshness. This will stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat it, just add a little oil to a skillet and saute it until it’s hot.

Can you make this shawarma in advance?  

Yes, you can marinate the chicken the night before. If you want to prepare it several days ahead, I suggest you freeze the chicken after it has marinated overnight.

What vegetables go with chicken shawarma?

I top my easy Chicken Shawarma with tomatoes, and onions, you could also add sliced peppers or lettuce, but that is up to you.

Tips for Making the Perfect Chicken Shawarma

  • Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Use a mixture of spices to achieve the perfect blend of flavors. Don’t be afraid to adjust the spice levels to your liking.
  • If you have a grill, you can also cook the chicken on it for a smoky, charred flavor.

Other easy wraps you can try:

Homemade Chicken Shawarma wrapped in pita bread

Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma Recipe

This recipe teaches you how to make delicious chicken shawarma with a flavorful marinade and yogurt sauce, served with pita bread, vegetables, and optional hot sauce.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: middle eastern
Keyword: chicken, shawarma
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 358.9kcal



  • 2 lbs boneless boneless skinless chicken thighs


  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice about 2 lemons
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Topping Ideas: sliced tomatoes cucumber, lettuce, pickles, tahini sauce, or garlic sauce



  • In a large bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to create the marinade.
  • Add the chicken thighs to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight for maximum flavor.


  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off.
  • Stovetop: Heat a large non-stick skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, and let it heat up. Add the marinated chicken. Sauté the chicken for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked and golden brown. If needed, cook the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Oven method: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the chicken thighs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the edges are slightly charred.
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare your desired toppings and warm up your pita or flatbread.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Chop into bite-size or slice the chicken into thin strips.


  • To assemble the shawarma, spread a layer of tahini or garlic sauce onto the warm pita or flatbread. Add the sliced chicken and your choice of toppings.
  • Wrap the filling with the flatbread, and enjoy your delicious homemade chicken shawarma.
  • Don’t forget napkins—this tasty dish can get a little messy!


Calories: 358.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.1g | Protein: 30.1g | Fat: 24.8g | Saturated Fat: 7.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13.3g | Cholesterol: 89.6mg | Sodium: 103.4mg | Potassium: 610.3mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 0.7g | Vitamin A: 369IU | Vitamin C: 5.1mg | Calcium: 36.9mg | Iron: 4mg

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Recipe Rating


Thursday 25th of May 2023

This was delicious thankyou

Lola Osinkolu

Friday 26th of May 2023

You are welcome A.A. Glad it turned out well for you:)