This easy, healthy homemade chicken shawarma is a huge fan-favorite around here, for good reason!  The secret is in the simple shawarma spice mixture, which makes all the difference.  My step-by-step tutorial and video show you exactly how to make this delicious chicken! Serve it in pita pockets with tahini sauce and this lazy salad, and call it dinner! 

Homemade baked chicken shawarma in pita pockets with salad and greens

I grew up in Port  Said, Egypt, where the streets are filled with small stands and joints selling delicious, super fragrant Middle Eastern foods. Fresh fried falafel. Bowls of Mujadara (lentils and rice) or Koshari. Skewers of Kabobs. And yes, shawarma, both beef and chicken options.

Chicken shawarma is one of my absolute favorite Middle Eastern street foods. You may or not be familiar with it, so let's start with what is chicken shawarma.

What is Chicken Shawarma?

Traditional chicken shawarma is basically well-marinated chicken, layered on a vertical rotisserie or spit where it's slow-roasted for days--in its own juices and fat--until perfectly tender and extra flavorful! To serve it, the joint owner would typically shave a layer of shawarma off the spit and pile it up into a pita pocket, jazz it with tahini sauce and heaps upon heaps of fresh toppings!

I'm telling you, Chicken shawarma is the epitome of seductive Middle Eastern flavors. And the good news is, I've found an easy way to make it at home with the same authentic flavors!

 

Chicken shawarma in pita pockets, served next to a side of tahini and Mediterranean salad

For my easy homemade chicken shawarma version, you do not need a special rotisserie or spit. You just need a sheet pan to make it right in the oven!

The secret is in the shawarma spice mixture, including warm spices including cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika and a pinch of cayenne. SO MUCH FLAVOR!

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

1. Make the shawarma spice mixture. Simply add the spices into a small bowl and mix to combine.

Shawarma Spice Mixture

2. Cut up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs into small bite-size pieces (you can use chicken breast if you like, this is just my personal preference.)

Boneless chicken cut up into small pieces

3. Spice the chicken up, make sure to coat the chicken well with the spice mixture. Add onions, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. If you have the time, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight (if you don't, you can skip the marinating time, it'll still be delicious)

Chicken pieces, combined with shawarma spices, lemon juice and olive oil.

4. When ready, lay the chicken shawarma on a large sheet pan and bake in 425 degrees heated oven for 30 minutes or so (you can check a bit earlier as ovens do vary.)

Baked chicken shawarma on baking sheet

How to Serve Chicken Shawarma?

The true Middle Eastern way to serve chicken shawarma is in pita pockets or wraps with heaps of veggies and a good deal of sauce. I like the idea of loaded pita pockets. And for the veggies, peppery arugula and my simple 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad. 

As with beef shawarama, you can serve chicken shawarma with a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. It's also common to use a white yogurt-based sauce like Greek Tzatziki. 

This chicken shawarma recipe can serve 4 to 6 people. But if you're looking for a fun way to serve a larger crowd, think of doing shawarma sliders!

Homemade Chicken Shawarma | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, healthy chicken shawarma recipe! With earthy spices, and an olive oil marinate. Recipe comes with sauces, salad etc. This flavorful shawarma is a hit every single time! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com #shawarma #shawarmarecipe #chickenshawarma #mediterraneanrecipe #mediterraneandiet

Can you make this shawarma in advance? 

Yes, you can prepare and bake the chicken ahead of time--one or two nights in advance-- and then assemble into pita pockets when the time comes. Refrigerate in tight-lid container until ready to use.

Warm chicken up in a skillet over medium heat, adding a little bit of liquid and tossing the chicken pieces until warmed through. The liquid will help it so it doesn't dry up.

Watch the Video for Chicken Shawarma Recipe

 

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Homemade Chicken Shawarma | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, healthy chicken shawarma recipe! With earthy spices, and an olive oil marinate. Recipe comes with sauces, salad etc. This flavorful shawarma is a hit every single time! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com #shawarma #shawarmarecipe #chickenshawarma #mediterraneanrecipe #mediterraneandiet

Chicken Shawarma


Description

You don't need a special rotisserie to make this easy homemade chicken shawarma recipe! Chicken pieces, tossed in warm Middle Eastern spices, then baked until perfectly tender. Serve it in pita pockets with Mediterranean salad and sauces. Be sure to check out the video and step-by-step above.


Ingredients

Scale

To Serve 


Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, sweet paprika and cloves. Set aside the shawarma spice mix for now.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt on both sides, then thinly slice into small bite-sized pieces.
  3. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the shwarma spices and toss to coat. Add the onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss everything together again. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight (if you don't have time, you can cut or skip marinating time)
  4. When ready, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit in room temperature for a few minutes.
  5. Spread the marinated chicken with the onions in one layer on a large lightly-oiled baking sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes in the 425 degrees F heated-oven. For a more browned, crispier chicken, move the pan to the top rack and broil very briefly (watch carefully). Remove from the oven.
  6. While the chicken is roasting, prepare the pita pockets. Make tahini sauce according to this recipe or Tztaziki sauce according to this recipe. Make 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad according to this recipe. Set aside.
  7. To serve, open pita pockets up. Spread a little tahini sauce or Tzatziki sauce, add chicken shawarma, arugula, Mediterranean salad and pickles or olives, if you like. Serve immediately!

Notes

  • Cook's Tip: If you have time, marinate the chicken for 3 hours or overnight in the fridge. Otherwise, you can skip the marinating time as indicated in the instructions. It will still be delicious!
  • Cook's Tip: Because ovens vary, be sure to check chicken at about 25 minutes or so of roasting/baking and go from there. Chicken is ready when internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Make Ahead Option: You can prepare the chicken ahead of time, one or two nights in advance, if you like. Warm up in a skillet over medium heat, adding a little bit of liquid and tossing the chicken pieces until warmed through. Assemble pita pockets as instructed.
  • Serving Ideas: Chicken shawarma is best served in pita pockets with salad and sauces, like I mentioned already, but it can be served as an appetizer to a larger crowd. In that case, you can serve it in smaller slider buns with just a little sauce and fresh arugula.
  • Recommended for this recipe from our all-natural and organic spice collections: cumin; turmeric; coriander; and Spanish paprika. And our Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives)
  • SAVE! Try our Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle or create your own 6-pack from our all-natural and organic spices! Try our Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil Bundle!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Entree/Meat and Poultry
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: Shawarma, Chicken Shawarma, how to make shawarma

 

 

 

 

Homemade Chicken Shawarma | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, healthy chicken shawarma recipe! With earthy spices, and an olive oil marinate. Recipe comes with sauces, salad etc. This flavorful shawarma is a hit every single time! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com #shawarma #shawarmarecipe #chickenshawarma #mediterraneanrecipe #mediterraneandiet

Homemade Chicken Shawarma | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, healthy chicken shawarma recipe! With earthy spices, and an olive oil marinate. Recipe comes with sauces, salad etc. This flavorful shawarma is a hit every single time! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com #shawarma #shawarmarecipe #chickenshawarma #mediterraneanrecipe #mediterraneandiet

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. The reviews led me to believe that this was good. They were wrong: it was AMAZINGLY AWESOME! I followed the recipe exactly, even using boneless, skinless chicken thighs over the chicken breasts that I usually prefer. This was so good that I am putting together a seasoning packet along with the recipe to mail to my daughter for her picky family in Nebraska. I can't wait to make it again - I'm thinking that tomorrow is probably not too soon. Thank you for this new favorite!

  2. I made my first recipe from your website, chicken shawarma. From the moment I opened the oven door my entire apartment was filled with the most amazing aromas. It was absolutely delicious! I had it marinating since last night . I was so surprised how simple it was to make but it tastes like I spent hours in the kitchen. I’m so excited to try my next recipe from your site.

  3. We’ve made this recipe many times and love it! I found a shawarma seasoning mix at the Arabic store that contains all the same spices as this recipe so I use that to make things easy.
    Has anyone made the chicken in the instant pot? I love my ip in the summer so I don’t heat up the whole house by turning on the oven. Was hoping to adapt this recipe to the IP 🙂

    1. Hi, Veronica. I have not, but hopefully someone who has will chime in :). I know some readers have had success making this in a slow cooker, so I think it would be great in an Instant Pot as well.

  4. Suzy... this is a wonderful recipe! I've made it for relatives in Boston, Canada and Cincinnati. Everyone absolutely loved it. Especially with your Tzatziki sauce. I enjoy making all your recipes.

  5. I make this a lot and it is always delicious. I made it last weekend and to make the chicken go further added a can of well drained chickpeas and roasted them with the chicken mixture - they took on the spices and it tasted great.

  6. Was recommended the recipe by my sister, and it was worth it! Served with your tzatziki recipe on homemade naan. Wonderful taste, easy to throw together. The boyfriend raved about them and then asked for the recipe.

  7. My family and I really enjoyed your chicken shawarma. When I baked the chicken, however, a lot of the juices were rendered out. Is this normal? Did I do something wrong? I saved the juice as it was delicious with all the seasoning and used it over rice. Could I saute it in a pan? Also can you recommend a good pita? Seems it is always to stiff and falls apart. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Pat. That is pretty normal... you didn't do anything wrong. As for the pita, I always try to find them freshly baked locally or make them myself using this recipe.

      1. Hello, I have a tip for the frustration of dry, hard commercial pita bread - rub each side with some oil, or spray with Pam. Then heat on dry frying pan over medium heat a few moments on each side.. they'll lightly puff up and turn quite flexible.. hope this helps, works great when you don't have fresh!

  8. I’ve made this recipe at least a dozen times and it’s always a favorite in my house. I started tracking my portion sizes in order to loose weight and was wondering if you can tell me what the serving size is in oz or grams. I checked the nutrition facts it just says a serving. Thanks!

  9. Hi. I have tried several of your recipes from lemon rice to Greek meatballs. Thank you so muck for having wonderful mediterrran recipes,

  10. Yours is the absolute best Mediterranean cooking channel by a landslide! Thank you so much for all your delicious recipes.

  11. My husband hates cloves! If I leave that spice out how much will the flavor change? Is there a recommended substitute?

  12. Suzy, my husband, David made this on Sunday and it has been amazing! He had the spices in a bowl and it smelled like a perfume. You and you recipes have been a godsend to us. Now I have to go review another recipe of yours that we made last night.

  13. Hi Suzy! I love your blog and YouTube channel! I have a quick question about the shawarma seasoning.....do you use all of it for the recipe or does it make extra? This is my first time making this recipe and it seems like it would be way too much seasoning for the amount of meat, but....I’ve never even had this before, so I’m not sure how strong the seasoning should be. My chicken thighs were a little over 2 1/2#. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes with us! I CANNOT WAIT for your cookbook to be released!!

    1. Hi, Joann! I do typically use it all up in this recipe. The chicken really does need to be coated well! This is one of our most popular recipes, so I hope that you love it! 🙂

  14. Absolutely love this recipe! There are lots of shawarma recipes online but I decided to go with yours as it seemed the most authentic and came out delicious. I’m always making Pakistani dishes so delicious recipes like this are really broadening my cooking skills - so thank you!

  15. If you only have 1 recipe in your recipe box, make it this one. This is such a great recipe. I love how versatile it is. No matter what you make this dish with, it comes out delicious.
    My family loves the recipe as written but they also like when I use ground chicken or Turkey in a skillet (taco style). I sometimes I use cauliflower for a meatless option. Sometimes I use Ras El Hanout seasoning (depending on the veggies I’m using).
    The sauces & greens can be changed up to compliment anything you choose to make this recipe with.
    One recipe so many possibilities!