Chicken Shawarma Recipe

So, let’s talk about shawarma for a minute. If you’ve ever had a shawarma restaurant in a strip mall, you’ve probably had it before. It’s like a big skewered meat sandwich wrapped up in a kebab-style brioche bun. There’s usually a range of toppings that include pepperoni, cucumbers, tomato, onions, lettuce, garlic sauce, and the hot sauce of your choice.

You’ll see a lot of this type of shawarma in suburban strip malls. Even though I live on the East Coast, I can say I’ve probably had shawarma from nearly every chain restaurant in this region. There are two things you should certainly know about chicken shawarma. First, when I say “meat,” it’s usually ground lamb or beef. You can get lamb shawarma, but usually, the meats come from either beef or turkey.

chicken shawarma with lettuce

How is Shawarma Sauce Made?

Shawarma sauce is made from garlic, yogurt, and a bit of lemon juice. It’s a delicious, fresh, and light yogurt sauce that adds a slight tang to shawarma.

Shawarma sauce recipe

  • Here’s how to make the garlic yogurt sauce. You can also make your own mayo if you’re not allergic to dairy or an egg.
  • Dump the yogurt into a medium-sized bowl and add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Whisk until the sauce is smooth and creamy but not too thin or too thick.
  • Keep the sauce in the fridge until ready to serve.

Shawarma Serving Size

The easiest way to keep track of how many shawarmas you need is to divide the chicken by the gram. The bird is 150 grams, and you should make enough shawarma to fill up a soup pot with 3/4 of the bird (to get around cooking time). Divide 150 grams into 100 grams for single shawarma or a double portion (or whatever amount you need). Then add the required sauce, a bit of olive oil, bell pepper, onions, and a bit of tahini and serve with rice.

Shawarma History

Traditionally, shawarma is made in Morocco by marinating sliced lamb or beef (or sometimes chicken) in a unique blend of herbs and spices. Before grilling it on a vertical rotisserie.

Shawarma in the U.S. usually uses a rotisserie. Still, this sauce is used as the basis for a flavorful version of shawarma in the U.S. You can also add a little olive oil to the sauce if you want it to be a little hotter. You can see how I did it in the video at the end of this post.

If you use olive oil for cooking the meat, the sauce will likely still be pretty hot by the time you serve it. If that’s the case, you may want to serve it slightly chilled, so the meat can finish cooking a little bit (it shouldn’t be too gooey).

chicken shawarma with cheese on pita bread

Shawarma Recipe

Learning the best shawarma recipe takes a bit of gambling. Luckily, this recipe is sure to impress your family by how authentic it tastes! Bring our major flavors by following our easy shawarma recipe instructions.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 270kcal


  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 chicken thighs skinless
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 pita pockers
  • Tahini sauce


  • In a bowl, mix together cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, cloves, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  • Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt. Slice into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a large bowl, place chicken and add the spice mix from above. Add in onions, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss mix and cover for at least 3 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken from fridge and start to fill up a baking sheet. Make sure to lightly oil the sheet. Roast for 30 minutes on the top rack.
  • Prepare pita pockets, add in tahini sauce and desired condiments.
  • Once chicken is ready, serve with pita pockets and add in chicken shawarma, arugula and pickles.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 900mg | Potassium: 45mg
cooked food on black ceramic plates

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