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 #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 #shawarma #shawarmarecipe #chickenshawarma #mediterraneanrecipe #mediterraneandiet

Chicken Shawarma

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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.



To Serve 


  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!


  • 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

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 #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 #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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  1. Lizz says:

    I really wanted to like this recipe but the ground cloves was too overwhelming and drowned out the other spices.

    I'm confident I put in the correct amount because I used the same measuring spoon for the cayenne and it wasn't very spicy. 🙁

    1. Suzy says:

      I'm sorry, Lizz. Hope you give it another shot... you can always reduce the amount of cloves next time to better suit your taste.

    2. Barbara says:

      Same thing happened to me and I even backed off on the cloves. Overwhelmed the entire dish. I made a cooling sauce to pour over the chicken and that didn’t help. Very disappointed. Looking for a yummy easy summer meal for two

  2. Lindsay says:

    This recipe was SO delicious! My husband kept saying "Mmm" each time he took a bite, lol!
    I used chicken breast instead of thighs, other than that followed recipe as written. Served it with your tzatziki and Mediterranean salad recipes. This is a keeper and will be on regular rotation in our house! Thanks 😊

    1. Suzy says:

      Yay! Thanks, Lindsay!

  3. Becky Reid says:

    I was wondering if there's any other type of a sauce that you can buy that would work with this meal. I'm making this meal tomorrow and I'd really like to know if there's a different type of a sauce.

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Becky. Besides tahini sauce, we also like tzatziki sauce with this one.

      1. Becky Reid says:

        So are these both homemade and is there any store bought one's that would be good? Thank you

      2. Suzy says:

        Hi, Becky. You can make these sauces from scratch if you'd like. They are both pretty easy to do. Here are my recipes: Tahini Sauce and Tzatziki Sauce. These sauces are usually readily available at local grocery stores or international markets, as well. I don't really have favorite brands for these as I usually make my own.

  4. Janna says:

    What type of paprika do you use? Sweet, smoked or Hungarian?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Janna. I used sweet paprika here.

  5. Cazza says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I'm plant based and I made it using firm tofu on a grill pan. Super delicious!
    Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Adrian says:

    Why have I only just discovered this recipe,, it’s absolutely fantastic, and have made it 3 times already ,….. now my #1 favourite…. The combination of spices is unbelievable… soooo tasty …

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Adrian!

  7. Sarah says:

    So good. Also good with subbing tofu for chicken.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

  8. Em says:

    I didn't let it sit to marinate and it was still really delicious. I bet the leftovers will be sooo good! Also, I air fried it for 15 minutes at 425°F, tossing halfway through. Onions were a little under done this way but the chicken was perfect. Thanks! ❤️

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing your air fryer experience, Em. 🙂

  9. Mark Deweese says:

    This is the 4th time making this. Chicken was on sale this week and I bought 3 family packs! What was I thinking?! 🙂 Ended up with about 13# and put it in 1# seal-a-meal bags for camping dinners this summer. It is always so good. I shared it with someone who had never heard of it and is now a big fan.

    Cooked it outside on a wok-style bowl/burner in 5 separate batches. I felt like a street cart vendor. The smells are fantastic. I have used pre-mixed Shawarma spice but this recipe beats any mix I have found.


    1. Suzy says:

      What a great idea, Mark! This recipe is perfect for that. So glad you loved it!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Family and I loved it! Plan on making it again. First time making it too and it turned out great! The only thing I did differently was cook the chicken for an hour at 300F, then another few minutes at 325F to make it crispy to my taste. I like to cook my chicken slow so that it's not rubbery or chewy.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth!

  11. Sophia Brant says:

    This recipe was great! Family loved it but I didn’t add any Cayenne pepper. Made some homemade pitas with it too. Absolutely delicious 😋

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks so much, Sophia!

  12. Susan Soroka says:

    First time making this tonight. Note that in the recipe ingredient list, it states 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper. Yet, in the video "a pinch" of cayenne is suggested. I had already mixed all of the spices and was afraid would be too hot/spicey, so had to start over again. The chicken was delicious. I only had time for the chicken mixture to sit for 1/2 hour. I would like to try this again and marinate overnight. Made the Meditteranean salad as well- very easy; and also made the tahini dressing/sauce as well. All very good. Thank you for such a delicious recipe!

  13. Evalyn says:

    Made this recipe on Tuesday and my family loved it so much I made it again Thursday. The taste is wonderful. I let the chicken and onions marinade in the refrigerator all day and served it with Israel salad, Nan bread and tzatziki sauce. I see a lot of Chicken Schwarma in my future. Can't wait to try more of your recipes.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Evalyn!!

  14. Theresa Martinez says:

    Hi Suzy, i want to know what is the difference between the private reserve olive oil and early harvest olive oil. I use the private reserve right now. By the way I love your channel you make it so easy to follow your recipes I am no stranger to Mediterranean food my husband has always worked cooking this kind of food one from Syria and the other from Palestin. Keep up the recipes coming Take care❤👍

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Theresa! I'll share the links for both oils below. They are both from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives. They come from two different estates, but each from a single estate. The one major difference is that with Early Harvest, the olives are picked earlier in the season while still green to produce the prized ‘early harvest’ oil, known in Greece as ‘agoureleo.’ Once harvested, the olives are crushed within hours to preserve the quality, taste and aroma of the olives. Hope that helps!

      Private Reserve:
      Early Harvest:

  15. Julie M Bowman says:

    I've made this recipe twice, once on flatbread and once in a spinach wrap. It is so delicious! it have quickly become a favorite of my boyfriend and I! The seasoning is flavorful! There is nothing better than healthy food that tastes amazing!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thank you, Julie!!

  16. Mags says:

    Hi! I’m looking to try this recipe today. May I ask is one pita pocket considered a serving for the nutritional information?

    Thank you!

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Mags. Yes, the nutritional info includes the pita pocket. Please note we use a very basic nutritional calculator. It really just gives us a best estimate for each recipe's nutritional information.