Chicken Shawarma recipe | How to make Shawarma at home
Chicken shawarma recipe – Shawarma or shawurma is a Arab dish that is prepared by grilling meat on a spit. It is most popular in many parts of the world and is served almost everywhere from restaurants to the fast food chains.
Shawarma is prepared by stacking strips of marinated meat and fats alternately on a vertical spit, resulting in a large block of meat & fats.
The block of meat is grilled slowly while the spit rotates. Grilled meat is shredded off from the spit when needed and served as an appetizer or used to make shawarma wraps or rolls.
I have come across few places serving these shawarma in Bangalore and in Singapore. I thought making these at home was just impossible since it needs a spit.
When I was looking for alternate ways to make at home, I found this recipe on New York Times and loved it for its simplicity.
I also felt this is much healthier than the shawarma made on spits as they are grilled for long hours (as long as for a day) and the usage of heavy fats.
Chicken shawarma done on the spits taste very delicious due to the slow grilling on low heat which actually keeps it tender & juicy.
This simple recipe will give you the best flavorful shawarma at home with only a handful of ingredients.
You may also like these 70 chicken recipes.
How to make shawarma at home
1. Cut chicken breasts and thigh to 1 ½ inch pieces. Set this aside
2. Preparing the marinade: Add the following ingredients to a mixing bowl.
1 ½ garlic clove minced about 1 large
1 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp cumin powder / jeera
¼ tsp all spice powder
½ tsp chilli powder / paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
Salt as needed
1/8 tsp pepper
3. Mix all the ingredients. I also added 2 tbsp greek yogurt / hung curd (fresh, not sour).
4. Add lemon juice only if needed to give a slight tang. I use about 1.5 tsps. Mix everything well and check the salt.
5. Marinate chicken well. The marinade must be thick and not runny.
6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. I prefer 24 hours. The longer we rest, it turns more tender and flavorful.
Grilling chicken shawarma
7. As I mentioned earlier, my experience with grilling this in a oven did not yield me very good results. So I do it in a pan. If you have a grill pan, go ahead and use it.
8. Turn on the flame to the highest. Heat a non stick pan with half tbsp oil. When the pan turns really hot, place the chicken pieces separately with out crowding. Flip them to all the sides for even cooking. Note that I grilled the 300 grams chicken in 2 batches. Do not crowd the pan, chicken begins to release moisture if crowded.
9. When the marinade almost begins to caramelize then put the flame to medium high . Continue to cook until the marinade completely dries up and the chicken is completely cooked. Since the chicken is marinated well in yogurt, it cooks fast.
10. You will have to control the flame else it might char the meat and turn it hard. So i switch off the stove for a while. Quickly with a wooden spoon cut the chicken further.
I cook further for one to 2 mins to make sure chicken is cooked well. Set the chicken aside. Add quartered layers separated onions and quartered deseeded tomatoes to the pan and toss for few mins on a high flame.
Chicken shawarma is great to serve as a party appetiser or even as a meal if you wrap it up in pita bread, tortillas, naan or roti.
I have also shared how to make shawarma rolls. I made pita bread the same day to make the rolls.
You can also learn how to make 2 kinds of dips which you can either use as a dip or as a spread. Both have been loved by my kids at home.
For the rolls I spread the garlic yogurt sauce then placed lettuce and then the chicken shawarma. Wrapped it up to a shawarma roll. It tastes yum and no less than any shawarma you get in a good Middle Eastern restaurant.
Serve it as a appetizer or make a wrap. It can be served with a variety of sauces like Toum, Yogurt garlic sauce or Tahini sauce. I have shared the recipes of Yogurt garlic sauce & Tahini sauce below.
Making the garlic yogurt sauce. (Roughly adapted from food). This can be used as a dip or to spread on the wrap.
Add ¼ cup greek yogurt / hung curd, 1 tbsp minced garlic,salt, 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil and lemon juice (optional). Skip lemon if using sour yogurt. Mix everything well.
Making Tahini sauce
You will have to make tahini from here or use store bought. If buying from store, prefer the one that is packed in glass jars and is made from organic sesame.
Add ¾ cup tahini, 1/4 to 1/2 cup luke warm water, 2 large garlic cloves minced, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, salt only if needed to a processor and process until it turns light and creamy.
Next add 2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley to it. Tahini sauce is ready to use.
Spread the sauce generously on a pita bread. Will share the recipe of pita bread soon.
Then place lettuce, chicken shawarma, then grilled onions and tomatoes. You can also use any of your hot sauces.
Wrap and enjoy chicken shawarma rolls.
Chicken shawarma recipe | How to make shawarma
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 250 grams chicken breast or thigh (half lb)
- 1 ½ garlic clove minced – about 1 large
- 1 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp cumin powder or jeera
- ½ tsp chilli powder or paprika
- ¼ tsp all spice
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
- Salt as needed
- 1/8 tsp crushed pepper
- 1 onion quartered layers separated
- 1 tomato quartered deseeded
- Cut chicken to small 1½ inch size pieces. Keep it aside.
- Mix all the ingredients for marinade. Add lemon juice only if needed. Taste the marinade and add more salt if needed.
- Marinate chicken with the mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 to 24 hours.
Grill in oven
- Preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F for at least 15 mins.
- Prepare a grilling tray by spreading a foil and greasing it.
- Place the chicken over the tray along with onions and tomatoes. Space them apart.
- Grill for 15 to 20 mins depending on the size of the pieces. After 10 mins flip them to the other side.
- Move to the top rack and broil for 2 to 3 mins.
- Shred the chicken in the tray and serve.
How to make chicken shawarma on stove top
- Heat a pan with half tbsp olive oil on a high heat.
- When the pan is hot. Place the chicken and flip to cook on all the sides evenly.
- When the chicken is tender cooked, shred it on the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Cook further for 1 to 2 mins. Set this aside and use the same pan to grill quartered layered onions and deseeded tomatoes.
- Serve chicken shawarma as a appetizer with yogurt garlic sauce (recipe in step by step pics section).
making shawarma wrap/ roll
- Spread sauce on the pita bread, place lettuce and then chicken, grilled onions, tomatoes and roll it up.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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I am planning to start a shawarma outlet. Will be very helpful if you can provide me your suggestion on Shawarma.kindly provide your suggestion in the provided e-mail ID
I love your recipe on chicken shawarma preparation.
I will give it a trial.
Thank you so sharing it.
Hi am indian am going to open shawarma business and Irani tea can you help me by your suggestion my mail id
Hi Swasthi, hope you are doing great. Feeling excited to find shawarma recipe here. Surely will give it a try next weekend. You have written that you have prepared pita bread on the same day. I’m not finding the recipe but. Have you mentioned it somewhere else? If not, will you please let me know how to make the bread/ wrap at home ? My daughter is on a restricted diet. She can’t consume readymade food from outside, hence can’t use store bought pitas. But she will surely disapprove the idea of wrapping the delicious chicken with our home made chapati.
Oh Yes! Doing fantastic! Thank you. It is always good to make any food at home. I haven’t made a separate post for pita bread. Making the dough for pita bread is the same as we make pizza dough. For 2 cups flour you will be able to make 6 to 7 pita breads. Follow the same pizza recipe and make the dough. After punching, divide the dough and roll them like we roll the roti. The dough will spring back, you should keep rolling until you get the desired size. They are supposed to be slightly thick like naan. While toasting them do it on a very hot tawa. Use a cloth or wooden spatula to puff them up like we do for the phulka. They should puff like poori. Since you are a first timer all of them may not puff. Even if they don’t puff they will be still edible. Hope this helps. Hope you all enjoy the shawarma wraps.
Hi Swasthi, prepared chicken shawarma with pita bread tonight. No words can do justice to the excellent taste. Hence keeping it short and simple.
Chicken was flavorful and succulent. Garlic yogurt dip was exactly like the one we get in Mediterranean restaurants.
Prepared pita bread at home combining your pizza base recipe and your suggestion above. Puffed like roti but not puri. But taste was heavenly.
Couldn’t stop appreciating you throughout our dinner time.
Keep your good work up, dear and stay blessed.
Thanks for sharing the outcome. So glad it turned out good.I always feel puffing pita bread correctly needs a bit of practice. I will try to make a video if I can.Thanks a lot dear!
This turned out so yummy. Thank you very much for the recipe. You saved us from eating out.
Glad it came out good.
I’m on diet, is oil important for grilling??
You can skip oil if you are grilling in oven. If you are doing on stove, pan may get damaged if you don’t grease.
Hi there Swasthi,
Just to let you know I tried this recipe with salmon fillet and it worked out wonderfully. I made my wraps with homemade tortilla, guacamole, salad and hot sauce. Boy, they were so good! Will definitely make them again.
Wow! That’s great!. Thanks a lot for sharing the outcome. Would love to try your combo or guacamole and salmon fillet. Thanks again
Hi Swasthi,wanted to know if you could share the recipe to make shawarma wraps
I haven’t posted the recipe for pita bread yet.
Hi,wanted to make the shawarma pita bread at home
Could you please share the recipe.thanks
Hi, is there any substitute for all spice? I wanted to make this today but don’t have all spice.
Just use any other spice powder you have. If using garam masala you can use upto 3/4 tsp
Love this super simple recipe of yours. I make it quite often especially when I am not making your awesome tandoori chicken or chicken tikka. Though I usually use chicken fillet and not even bother to add oil to the pan and it turns out great every single time.
Well, I wonder if I can use fish fillet instead of chicken. Would be wonderful to have a fish wrap from time to time.
Thank you v much.
Happy to see your comment after a long time. Thank you so much for trying the recipes. Yes you can use fish instead of chicken. Love the idea of using fish. I will have to try this soon.
Hello there again,
Thank you for your quick reply. I dont come here as often as before cuz I’ve written down the recipes on my book. Hehehe… Now I will also try your garam masala and tahini recipes. Cant wait! Thanks again and keep up the good work! Your are simply the best!
Yes do try the garam masala and tahini. Thank you so much
Today did the chicken shawarma was ultimate delicious.thanks for the receipe and tips.
last week I tried this recipe at home with my family. It was really good. I eat variously shawarma recipes but this one was unique. I feel it is very easy to make because of your instructions. Thanks.
Welcome John Fyn
Thanks for trying and sharing the outcome. Glad you liked it
Hello, I’d like to make this recipe but I can’t find the chicken’s weight and which parts I should use.
Also if I were to add some oregano gow much would you add?
Thank you, Didi from Italy
It is 200 to 250 grams of boneless chicken thigh or breast. It is good to use tender meat. You can use about 1/4 tsp of dried oregano or handful of fresh oregano chopped finely. Hope this helps
I made it today according to your instructions, it was very simple, very tasty and still pretty light which doesn’t hurt. I served mine with extra lemon and a bit of sumak, my sister wrapped hers with yogurt sauce and said “delicious”. I will certainly look forward to more of your recipes. Thank you, Didina
Glad to know you both enjoyed it.
Your recipes are awesome and your cookware too.
Please give the recommendations and descriptions (like size,material, weight) of your cookware. I’ve seen you using the T-fal Titanium Pro Pan, WMF SS pan, Cast iron Skillet and so many which are highly safe for cooking.
Please suggest the cookware which are safe and unsafe for cooking.
And Please mention the cleaning and maintenance tips of the cookware in your blog.
Thanks a lot.
I am surprised you have noticed a lot.
Yes i will try to share them soon in a seperate post
I made a slight change over here as I added 1 tesapoon dried oregano,20 grams of ground nutmeg and 1 cup cheddar cheese to add its taste.I need to say that its one of the tastiest dishes which i had till now. I had tried almost all your raggi recipes and my son Ryan who is not fond of raggi loved all the dishes which I made as per your instruction .We loved your biryani too. I have shared this website with my best friend slyvia who justs try out all sorts of recipes.she once gave me a levantine dish recipe website.it wsa also a good one. I wish y0u could ry out those and come up here with some alterations…
Thanks a lot for trying. Liked your midifications too. Will try them some time. So glad to know you have been following my recipes.
Due to comment moderation the link is not displayed in your comment. I have book marked it. Will surely try some of them and will share on the blog
Hii….thanks so much for this recepies
Made it and everybody loves it at home. Was going thru Tahini recipe and it said it is used in making shawarma but in this shawarma recipe it has not been used.
Thanks for trying. Yes tahini is used to make shawarma wraps, i.e in the sauce for spreading. But however for these wraps I have shown a easy sauce with hung yogurt assuming many readers wouldn’t have tahini at home. To make tahini sauce, ¾ cup tahini, 2 large garlic cloves minced, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 to 1/2 cup warm water, salt if needed, 2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley will be used. You will have to process tahini with other ingredients except parley until it turns uniform and pale in color. Thanks for mentioning, I will update it here. Hope this helps
Wow that was a quick turn around. Appreciate it
EXCELLENT SITE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR EASILY MADE TASTY RECEIPES
Welcome Anu. Glad to know you liked it
Thank a lot for this post that was very interesting. keep posting like those amazing posts this is really awesome 🙂