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A close up picture of a chicken shawarma wrap placed on a awhite countertop with a lemon wedge on the side.
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5 from 21 votes

Chicken Shawarma

Homemade chicken shawarma recipe is a Middle Eastern chicken recipe with delicious flavors. Tender chicken with warm spices makes a great, better than fast food, dinner for busy nights.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Marinate for8 hrs
Total Time9 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Diet: Halal
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 406kcal
Author: Amira


  • 1 (100g) Small onion, quartered.
  • 5 (12g) Large garlic cloves.
  • 1/2 (70g) Large red bell pepper .
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise.
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste.
  • 1/2 cup (120g) plain yogurt.
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest.
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
  • 1/4 cup Orange juice freshly squeezed no sugar added.
  • 2 Lemons juiced about 6 Tablespoons.
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper optional or add to your liking.
  • 2 teaspoon salt or to taste.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs.

Quick shawarma white sauce

  • cup mayonnaise.
  • cup plain full fat yogurt.
  • 1 Large garlic clove, minced.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


  • In the food processor add onion, garlic and red bell pepper. Pulse twice.
  • Add mayonnaise, tomato paste lemon zest, orange zest and yogurt then pulse until combined.
  • In a deep bowl, pour lemon juice, orange juice, vinegar, olive oil and all the spices crumble bay leaves on top and mix.
  • Add the ingredients in the food processor and mix well.
  • Add thighs and toss to coat well.
  • Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or better overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 430F.
  • Divide chicken into two equal piles.
  • Fold one piece of chicken in half and thread it into two metal skewers. Repeat with the remaining chicken until you are done with one pile. Note1
  • Repeat with the second pile of chicken.
  • Choose a pan or a baking sheet that is smaller than the skewers but can contain the drippings from the chicken while being cooked. Line with tin foil.
  • Arrange the metal skewers over the pan as shown above.
  • Place chicken skin over the skewers to cover chicken.
  • Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
  • Remove skin and brown the chicken for about 10 minutes each side.
  • Remove pan from oven, cover with foil, make a vent and let it set for 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove skewers and cut chicken into thin slices. Note2
  • In a small bowl. mix the sauce ingredients well
  • Serve with rice or as a wrap with white sauce, cucumber slices, thinly sliced ice berg lettuce, pickles, onion rings, hummus and much more.


  • Use Orange juice. The slight sweetness I told you about actually comes from the use of orange juice and not sugar as I was thinking. I've heard a lot about this before but was hesitant to try.
  • Use zests. Orange and lemon zests helped also in flavoring the dish giving it the desirable tartness without the need for more vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Use chicken skin is possible: This was genius guys. If you can find lamb fat then by all means use it. Or else do as I just did, use the fat dripping from chicken thigh skin. I simply skinned some organic chicken thighs.
  • For the onion, you can use yellow or red onion.
  • You can also try layering chicken on wooden skewers that has been deeply inserted into a large half onion with a flat side set on a baking dish. I saw this on a facebook video before that I could not find unfortunately. Worth noting that I've tried this method several times and it did not work for me but worked wonders for many of my readers, who also recommended not throwing that onion away as it came out so flavorful.
  • You might want to brown the sliced chicken more in a pan on stove top for more color.
  • Serve with: Serve this shawarma as wraps or over a bed of rice. These sides goes great with the chicken shawarma as well:
  • Make ahead:
    • You can leave the chicken to marinate overnight but if you are planning to leave it longer, I recommend you freeze the chicken immediately with the marinade. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.
  • Storage:
    • Refrigerate leftover in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Freeze if you are going to leave them for longer, take them out to defrost in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove top.


Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 177mg | Sodium: 1149mg | Potassium: 630mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 347IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2mg