This easy Chicken Shawarma brings the flavors, big time! Marinated with vibrant and aromatic spices, it can be your easy weeknight dinner, or a big crowd pleaser for company nights.
You can grill it, cook it in a skillet, or bake it. Whichever way you choose, you’re in for one delicious dinner.
Make a big batch, this one is a great meal prep contender!
Middle Eastern food is known for its generous use of herbs and spices. Maybe that’s why we love it so much!
But there’s something special about shawarma. It’s iconic. And once you try it, you’ll see why!
What is Shawarma?
Shawarma is a popular street food consisting of thin slices of meat stacked into a cone and roasted on a vertical rotisserie. The technique was developed in the 19th century Ottoman Empire.
The preparation is similar to gyros, doner kebab and al pastor.
Traditionally, shawarma is made of lamb, but it can also be made from a variety of other meats, like beef or chicken. After roasting, the meat is carved off of the cone into thin slices.
We assume you don’t have a vertical rotisserie, but that’s okay, you can still cook a cracking good chicken shawarma in your own kitchen!
Why We Love this Easy Chicken Shawarma Recipe
- It’s super easy. After marinating the chicken, it cooks up in under 30 minutes (a little longer for the oven method).
- The flavors are out of this world delicious. Like seriously addictive.
- It’s perfect for meal prep. Make a big batch and have quick and easy lunches or dinners for days. (Note that the seasoning mixture in the recipe is enough for about 5-6 pounds of chicken).
- You can cook it on the grill, stovetop, or in the oven. The choice is yours!
Chicken Shawarma Ingredients
- Chicken – We prefer boneless skinless thighs. They come out tender, juicy and succulent. That being said, you can use breasts if you prefer.
- Shawarma seasoning – Paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, turmeric, oregano, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, salt and pepper.
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
How to Make Chicken Shawarma
1. Make the marinade: Mix together all of the seasoning ingredients in a bowl. If you don’t have ground versions of some of the individual spices (for example, we did not have cardamom powder or ground cloves), simply use whole spices and grind them in a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder.
Add olive oil and lemon juice to 1/4 cup of the seasoning, and combine until well mixed.
2. Marinate the chicken: Place chicken thighs in a large ziploc bag, then pour in the marinade. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal the bag and massage it the make sure all of the chicken is coated in marinade. Marinate at least 4 hours, or better yet overnight.
3. Cook the chicken: Our preferred cooking method is grilling, but see recipe card for oven and stovetop methods.
Preheat grill to medium high heat. Grill the chicken 8-10 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 185-190°F (or 165°F if using chicken breast).
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
How to Serve Chicken Shawarma
The most common way to serve shawarma is in pita bread along with veggies like lettuce and tomato, along with some type of sauce, which varies by region.
If you don’t want to go the handheld route, shawarma is great alongside some Saffron Rice and a simple salad of tomatoes and cucumbers.
For more great ways to get those shawarma flavors going, check out our Shawarma Seasoning recipe.
Leftovers and Storage
You can refrigerate the leftover chicken shawarma in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
It also freezes well. Place cooled chicken in a freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze 2-3 months.
Chicken shawarma is one of our favorite meal prep recipes. If the chicken is cooked ahead of time, it’s so easy to just throw together a quick pita sandwich.
To make plenty for the whole week, or if you’re feeding a large crowd, simply double the recipe.
Give your taste buds a treat, and make this easy chicken shawarma recipe. The flavors and aromas from the amazing blend of spices are Just Too Good. Trust me, I’m a food blogger.
We love bringing you all of these amazing recipes from around the world. Be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, to make sure you don’t miss them. Until our next culinary adventure…
Chicken Shawarma, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 3 Tbsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp fennel
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup of the above shawarma seasoning
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken (thighs or breasts)
- In a bowl, mix together dry herbs and spices (see note 1).
- Mix 1/4 cup of the seasoning mix with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Place chicken thighs in a large ziploc bag, then pour in the marinade. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal the bag and massage it the make sure all of the chicken is coated in marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
- Preheat grill over medium high heat to 425-450°F.
- Grill the chicken 8-10 minute per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 185-190°F.
- Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- Heat 2 Tbsp coking oil in a large non stick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- Cook the chicken 8-10 minute per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 185-190°F for thighs or 165°F for breasts.
- Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place marinated chicken on greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 185-190°F for thighs or 165°F for breasts.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- If you don’t have ground versions of some of the individual spices (for example, we did not have cardamom powder or ground cloves), simply use whole spices and grind them in a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 330Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 153mgSodium 881mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 34g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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