Chicken Shawarma

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Shawarma is a traditional Middle Eastern food dish consisting of meat cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit. Originally made with lamb, mutton or chicken, today’s shawarma may also be turkey, beef, or veal.

What is Shawarma? Traditional shawarma is basically well-marinated chicken, layered on a vertical rotisserie or simply grilled as it is in this recipe. This recipe is the homemade “street food” you need in your life. This recipe is sure to take you to the Mediterranean from the first bite. 

This grilled chicken in the shawarma style is simple to throw together, full of fresh ingredients, colorful, super flavorful, and so delicious. The perfect summer grilling recipe to serve any night of the week…or at your next backyard BBQ. This easy shawarma chicken recipe will become your summer staple.

Shawarma is a classic middle eastern style street food. Traditionally, it is thinly sliced, stacked on a rotisserie, and roasted. But today we’re making it at home and on the grill. If you are unfamiliar with Chicken Shawarma, it is a simple middle eastern dish that can be made using either poultry, beef, or lamb and is served in or on a pita with a savory yogurt sauce. The chicken is marinated in a mix of middle eastern spices, garlic, lots of lemon, and simple olive oil. Inside the pita, foods like hummus, tahini, pickles, vegetables, and even french fries can be added.


Chicken Shawarma

chicken shawarma  scaled

This Shawarma recipe is going to knock your socks off! Just a handful of every day spices makes an incredible Chicken Shawarma marinade that infuses the chicken with exotic Middle Eastern flavors.

  • Author: Recipe Tin Eats
  • Prep Time: 24:10
  • Cook Time: :10
  • Total Time: 24:20
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


2lb /1 kg chicken thigh fillets, skinless and boneless


1 large garlic clove, minced (or 2 small cloves)
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground cardamon
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (reduce to 1/2 tsp to make it not spicy)
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt
Black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper

To Serve

6 flatbreads (Naan or pita bread)
Sliced lettuce
Tomato slices


  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag (or bowl).
  • Add the chicken and use your hands to make sure each piece is coated. If using a ziplock bag, I find it convenient to close the bag then massage the bag to disperse the rub all over each chicken piece.
  • Marinate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • Combine the Yogurt Sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix. Cover and put in the fridge until required (it will last for 3 days in the fridge).
  • Heat grill/BBQ (or large heavy based pan on stove) on medium high. You should not need to oil it because the marinade has oil in it and also thigh fillets have fat. But if you are worried then oil your hotplate/grill. (See notes for baking)
  • Place chicken on the grill and cook the first side for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely charred, then turn and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes (the 2nd side takes less time).
  • Remove chicken from the grill and cover loosely with foil. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

To Serve

  • Slice chicken and pile onto platter alongside flatbreads, Salad and the Yogurt Sauce.
  • To make a wrap, get a piece of flatbread and smear with Yogurt Sauce. Top with a bit of lettuce and tomato and Chicken Shawarma. Roll up and enjoy!


MAKE AHEAD: Pop the marinade and chicken in a ziplock bag and freeze straight away. Then as it defrosts, it will marinate!  This also works well made ahead, which I recently did when I made this for 50 people as part of a multi-course meal. I grilled it in the morning and cut it up. Then prior to serving it was just heated up in the microwave. Toss it with the juices pooled at the bottom of the dish and no one will guess it was cooked earlier in the day!

BAKING: Cooking on a BBQ or stove is best to get the caramelization. Baking doesn’t yield quite the same flavour – but still very good! Bake at 425F/220C for 20 – 25 minutes until a browned.

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