Chicken Shawarma


Chicken Shawarma

This chicken shawarma is tender chicken thighs coated in a flavorful marinade, then grilled or roasted to golden brown perfection. Slice the chicken and serve it with flatbread for a hearty and delicious meal.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma
Homemade chicken shawarma

Traditionally, making shawarma involves cooking meat such as chicken/lamb/beef on a vertical spit for a hours, then serving it in a flatbread topped with some salad and sauce.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a spit at home but going to the dollar store near gave me some ideas hot to make one. If you have no chance with a spit, you can roast it in your oven on a pan, use a cast iron griddle or grill, instant pot or even your crock pot to make your very own shawarma.

How I Made My Own Spit For The Oven

This is so easy and honestly I will be using this to make other recipes. I went to the dollar store and grabbed a metal paper towel holder.

I used a metal wire cutter and cut the tip of the paper towel holder, Sharpen the top and then sanded of sharp metal. I washed it and let it dry. After I coated the homemade spit with olive oil. I used a tray to keep the drippings from the chicken but you can use a regular deep dish pan if you don’t have the one below.

The Ingredients

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: I love using chicken thighs because they’re pretty cheap and nearly impossible to overcook. And they’re perfect for flavorful recipes like this shawarma that uses a variety of bold flavors. However, you can use breasts, if you prefer.
  • Lemon Juice: This helps cut through the concentrated dry spices in the marinade and offers some bright bursts of fresh acidic flavor for the spiced chicken.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: To marry the spices in the marinade together and adhere them to the chicken thighs.
  • Garlic: Minced fine so they almost melt into the chicken thighs and other spices.
  • Dry Seasonings: Ground cumin, paprika (smoked, if possible), turmeric, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper are all you need to get the bold flavor of street-style Chicken Shawarma at home. Here is a link for the Shawarma Seasoning Rub
  • Fresh Parsley: Chopped for garnish.

How To Make Chicken Shawarma

Making Chicken Shawarma at home is a lot easier to make than you might think! All you need is a few minutes of prep time.

This recipe all starts with an awesome marinade comprised of olive oil, lemon juice, and lots of fragrant spices. The chicken can be marinated overnight or for at least 3 hours. Once the chicken has marinated, I preheat the oven to 425 degrees. A hot oven helps to crisp up the chicken and makes it perfectly golden brown. Skewer the seasoned chicken on the spit or lay it on a oiled pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.

The last minute of cooking you can turn on the broiler to get some extra crispness and browning.

Cutting Up The Chicken Shawarma


Chicken shawarma is often served with a creamy sauce, such as tahini sauce or yogurt sauce.

Tahini Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce


The biggest difference between gyro and shawarma is that gyro is always made with either beef, pork, lamb or a combination of the meats. Shawarma can be made with any type of meat and is often made with chicken. Shawarma meat contains more spices and flavorings than gyro meat. Gyro is often served in sandwich form, whereas shawarma can be served as a bowl and often contains more toppings and sauce than gyros.

How To Serve Chicken Shawarma

Serve this chicken in a warm pita with garlic sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions for your own homemade chicken shawarma! Or serve as an entree over rice or a salad. Hummus, tzatziki sauce, tahini, tabouli or Mediterranean salsa also make great toppings for this chicken! You can also make your own Mediterranean-style pizza with this on top!

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions

This Chicken Shawarma recipe is perfect for meal prepping ahead of a busy week or freezing to eat later.

  • Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze cooked and cooled chicken in a freezer-safe, airtight container or plastic bag for one month. You can also prepare the chicken through the marinade stage and then freeze the raw chicken thighs and marinade together for up to 3 months. Allow cooked or raw frozen chicken to thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter at room temperature.
  • Reheat thawed or chilled cooked chicken in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, until warmed through. Allow raw chicken to thaw completely before assembling to cook.

Chicken Shawarma

Recipe by Lucy ChesnaCourse: MainCuisine: Mediterranean


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time



This chicken shawarma is tender chicken thighs coated in a flavorful marinade, then grilled or roasted to golden brown perfection. Slice the chicken and serve it with flatbread for a hearty and delicious meal.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic minced

  • Dry Rub Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon all spice

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander

  • 1/2 tsp cardamon

  • chopped fresh parsley for serving if desired


  • Add chicken to a large ziplock bag along with all of the ingredients except the chopped fresh parsley. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 houre or overnight.
  • When you are ready to cook preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  • Place chicken in a greased baking dish or your very spit (if you made or have one already) and bake until golden brown and cooked through.
  • In the last minute or two of cooking switch the oven to Broil. Cook chicken for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing.
  • Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve the chicken in a pita or on top of a salad or over rice!

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