This homemade Chicken Shawarma recipe is one of my all time favorites! It has so much flavor. Shawarma spiced chicken thighs on a warm pita topped with homemade Schug, tzatziki, tomato, red onion, cucumber and kalamata olives.
I like to make up a batch of shawarma seasoning then have it on hand for whenever I need it. It makes things quick and easy.
Homemade chicken shawarma works for a crowd as well as weeknight dinner with the fam. It will be an instant favorite.
If you’re into the flavors in this chicken shawarma recipe then you’ll fall in love with my Falafel Pita too. It’s essentially the vegetarian version of this dish.
What is Chicken Shawarma?
Chicken Shawarma is a popular street food dish from the Middle East. It is well seasoned chicken that gets slow cooked on a rotisserie spit. It is shaved in thin slices from the vertical rotisserie then served on a pita, wrap or a plate with sides.
It’s then topped with a variety of different fresh toppings.
This recipe for Chicken Shawarma is cooked in the oven on a sheet tray to simplify things. Not everyone has a vertical rotisserie on hand. I use some traditional toppings and some not so traditional in my version of this recipe.
If you’re looking for more detailed information on where the recipe for chicken shawarma came from, this article has more detail.
- Chicken Thighs
- Kosher Salt
- Sweet Paprika
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Cloves
- Lemon Juice
- Greek Yogurt
- English Cucumber
- Fresh Dill
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Caraway Seeds
- Ground Cardamom
- Olive Oil
- Kalamata Olives
- Red Onion
- Feta Cheese
How to Make Chicken Shawarma
- Step 1 – Mix shawarma spices, fresh garlic and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken thighs, toss to coat, cover then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but up to 24 hours.
- Step 2 – Preheat the oven to 400°F, roast chicken thighs on a parchment lined sheet tray for 20-25 minutes, until they reach 160°F. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes then slice.
- Step 3 – While the chicken is cooking, whisk all tzatziki sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside until needed.
- Step 4 – Make schug sauce while chicken cooks. Add all schug ingredients to food processor then blend until mixture comes together but still has small chunks. Similar to a chimichurri.
- Step 5 – Warm the pitas, add sliced chicken, tzatziki sauce, schug, red onion, cucumber, tomato, olive and feta cheese. Serve immediately.
How to Serve Chicken Shawarma
Typically I eat my chicken shawarma on a pita but it can be served many different ways. Here are a few other ways I like to serve it:
- Over Rice – You can use all the same ingredients and just swap out the pita for rice. Chicken Shawarma Bowls are just as delicious and gluten free.
- In a Wrap – If you don’t have pita then you can use a tortilla for a wrap.
- With Naan – Sometimes I use naan instead of pita.
- Over Greens – Swap out the tortilla for a bed of greens and make yourself a chicken shawarma salad.
Chicken shawarma is best served fresh and warm. Although, you can definitely save the leftovers and either use them cold on a salad or reheat them and use them on a pita, wrap or rice bowl.
If you have leftover chicken then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave or briefly in the oven.
I often eat this chicken shawarma recipe with tabbouleh, Greek cucumber salad, fattoush, roasted veggies or a quinoa salad. Lemon cumin rice goes with this dish as well.
This is debatable. What certain people think is healthy may not be healthy for others. I think it lands somewhere in the middle because it is a good source for protein, veggies, and nutrients.
The chicken and seasoning itself isn’t very spicy. The schug sauce, however, is very spicy. It adds a lovely kick to the dish.
There are a variety of items that can be added inside a shawarma. This recipe for chicken shawarma has schug sauce, tzatziki, red onion, tomato, cucumber, olive and feta. More traditional items include hummus, pickles, tahini and fresh toppings.
- 1 food processor
- 1 set of mixing bowls
- 1 sheet pan
- 1 griddle pan or large skillet
- 1 sharp knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1¼ tsp kosher salt I use Diamond Crystal
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 4 6oz boneless skinless chicken thighs 24oz total
- 1 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup english cucumber shredded, drained in a towel
- 1 tbsp fresh dill rough chop
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp kosher salt Diamond Crystal
- ½ tsp caraway seeds toasted
- 1½ cups cilantro rough chop
- 1 cup parsley rough chop
- 5 fresh jalapenos rough chop
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and rough chop
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cumin
- ⅛ tsp cardamom
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup olive oil
Pita and Toppings
- 4 pitas griddled
- 1 vine ripened tomato sliced
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- 1 english cucumber thinly sliced into rounds
- 4 oz feta cheese crumbled
- ½ cup kalamata olives
Marinating the Chicken
- Mix all spices, garlic and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Add chicken thighs and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours
- Preheat the oven to 400°F when ready to make chicken. Roast for 20-25 minutes until chicken reaches 160°F
- Remove from the oven and let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice chicken for serving
Make the Tzatziki
- Whisk all tzatziki ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside until needed
Make the Schug
- Add all schug ingredients to a food processor and blend until combined. Sauce should be partially smooth with small chunks
Toppings and Pita
- Slice the toppings while chicken is cooking
- Once the chicken is out of the oven, warm the pitas on a griddle pan or large skillet with a small amount of oil
- Add the chicken, tzatziki, schug and toppings to the pita and serve warm
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