Chicken Shawarma

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Chicken Shawarma is perfect served with pita bread, lettuce, and sauce. It’s tender chicken flavored with sumac, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and more.

Chicken Shawarma is a delicious and easy Middle Eastern food perfect for a lunch or Dinner Recipe. Serve the chicken up in pita bread with your favorite vegetables and Classic Falafel on the side for the perfect meal!

Chicken Shawarma wraps in tin foil

CHICKEN SHAWARMA

Although a classic Middle Eastern Shawarma Recipe is made by stacking pieces of meat up and roasting them on a spit, this version is made easy with chicken thighs in the oven. It turns out just as delicious and flavorful and is ready in an hour. The chicken is marinated in classic Middle Eastern seasonings like sumac, turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin for the most flavorful chicken ever!

Chicken Shawarma collage of steps making sauce, marinating chicken, and placed on baking sheet

Once the meat is seasoned, marinated, and cooked you just slice it into thin chicken pieces to serve it with pita bread, your choice of veggies, and sauce. Either Tahini Sauce or yogurt sauce will taste great. It would also taste delicious with some Hummus.

Chicken Shawarma cooked chicken on baking sheet

This easy Chicken Shawarma is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Plus, if there are any leftovers, the chicken is great to keep in the fridge for an easy lunch. As long as you have the chicken, pita bread, and some sauce, the Shawarma Wraps are simple to assemble so the leftovers will be gone in no time at all!

MORE CHICKEN RECIPES

TIPS FOR MAKING CHICKEN SHAWARMA

  • Prep time: To start the Shawarma, preheat oven to 400°F. Then line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. This will make sure the chicken doesn’t stick to your pan and make for easy cleanup. 
  • Marinate: Put the chicken thighs in a large bowl with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 5 cloves garlic, lemon juice and zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sumac, 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, 1/2 allspice, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss the ingredients to coat the chicken, then cover the bowl and marinate for at least 20 minutes. If you have more time, keep the chicken in longer to make it more flavorful and tender. Up to an hour would be best.
  • Bake: Transfer the chicken from its marinade to the prepared baking sheet. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and crispy. For more crispy edges on the chicken pieces, increase the temperature to 425°F and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. 
  • Chicken Shawarma Wraps: Take the oven-roasted Chicken Shawarma from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before you slice it into thin pieces to make the Chicken Shawarma Wraps. Serve it with pita bread, yogurt sauce, shredded lettuce, fresh herbs, and lemon juice.

Chicken Shawarma on pita with tzatziki and pickles turnips

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VARIATIONS ON CHICKEN SHAWARMA

  • Chicken Breast: If you don’t have chicken thighs, try making Homemade Chicken Shawarma with chicken breasts. Just remember that chicken breasts cook faster than thighs, so you’ll want to decrease the time and keep your eye on the oven while they’re baking. 
  • Seasonings: There are plenty of ways you can experiment with the flavor of the chicken by adding different spices to the recipe. Try out ground coriander, sweet paprika, onion powder, red pepper flakes, ginger, or cayenne powder. 
  • Garlic yogurt sauce: Shawarma tastes amazing with a creamy yogurt sauce. To make a flavorful garlic sauce combine 16 ounces plain Greek yogurt, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Whisk the ingredients together and serve them in pita bread with the chicken. 
  • Vegetables: There are plenty of vegetables you can serve up with your chicken and pita bread. Try out sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, turnips, carrots, red onion, or zucchini. 

WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN SHAWARMA

HOW TO STORE CHICKEN SHAWARMA

  • Serve: Don’t leave your Chicken Shawarma recipe at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 
  • Store: To store leftovers, separate the chicken from the pita bread and fillings. You can put the chicken in an airtight container to keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  • Freeze: You can also seal and freeze the chicken for up to 4 months.

Chicken Shawarma wraps in tin foil

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Chicken Shawarma

5 from 1 vote
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Course: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Chicken Shawarma is perfect served with pita bread, lettuce, and sauce. It's tender chicken flavored with sumac, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and more.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 chicken thighs , boneless and skinless

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. In a large bowl or ziplock bag add the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sumac, paprika, cumin, salt, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and cinnamon and whisk well to combine.

  2. Add the chicken into the bowl or bag and coat well.

  3. Marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour, do not let it go too long as the lemon juice with begin to tenderize the chicken.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.

  5. Add the chicken (leave the marinade behind) to your baking sheet and cook for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked and browned.

  6. Cut chicken into 1/2" thick sliced and serve with pita bread, tzatziki, tomatoes, lettuce and pickled vegetables like Pickled Turnips.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: 205 calories, Calories: 205g, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 427mg, Potassium: 491mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 324g, Vitamin C: 16g, Calcium: 21g, Iron: 1g

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Chicken Shawarma collage

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Comments

  1. 1 tsp coriander? I think you are speaking of ground coriander seeds or coriander powder?

    I’ve seen some recipes from the UK that speak of coriander and they are meaning leaves of the cilantro plant.

  2. You are one of the best cooks I have ever come across and I love your recipes. I read recipes instead of reading books, that’s how much I love them. Your Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is one of my favorites and I have made it many times. I love just about everything you make. They are down to earth recipes for every day occasions. Thank you for sharing.

  3. What is sumac? I have never heard of this except as a tree. What is this & where is it found? All info please on this spice.

    1. Oh Linda! Sumac was a favorite of mine as a kid. It’s ground and it has a tangy lemony flavor. It was used as a lemon subsitute to add flavor when lemons were not plentiful. I struggle to eat Middle Eastern grilled meats without it because the flavor is SO good. I hope you do try it. Here is a good link to buy some, its a purple, soft, ground seasoning: Ground Sumac