Chicken Shawarma

5 from 615 votes

Make this oven-roasted Chicken Shawarma easily and quickly at home with my easy and authentic marinade recipe - it's perfectly spiced, tender & so flavorful

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This homemade Chicken Shawarma is made in the oven and is so wonderfully flavorful! The marinated chicken is one that I’ve perfected over the years of making this recipe for my family and trying to replicate the flavor from my favorite Lebanese restaurants. It’s full of flavor, juicy, and easy to make!

Chicken shawarma served in a plate with fresh vegetables and pickles

What is shawarma?

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish that consists of thin slices of meat that are then stacked together on a spit and then roasted on a vertical spit. Thin slices of the meat are then shaved off to serve as it roasts. One of the world’s most popular street foods, it was originally made with lamb, but is also made with chicken, turkey or beef.

If you like this recipe, be sure to try my Beef Shawarma recipe too!

Ingredients

  • Chicken: We use both chicken thighs and chicken breasts in this recipe for the best flavor and texture.
  • Oil: For marinating. I prefer to use olive oil, but a neutral oil like avocado or canola will work too.
  • Lemon juice: Use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled for the best flavor.
  • Seasonings: Garlic, salt, cardamom, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, cinnamon.

RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL

How do you make chicken shawarma

The homemade version is different than the restaurant version which is roasted on a spit. But this is the closest you can get to that version at home. This shawarma is roasted in the oven for ease and convenience, and it comes out tasting great!

Because it’s made by alternating strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat on a vertical spit, we try to emulate that at home by using two types of chicken types for best results: chicken breast and chicken thighs.

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a bowl, add the chicken and coat it. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate.

Chicken breast and thighs marinating in spices

When ready to cook, place the chicken pieces on a lined baking sheet and roast in a pre heated oven, turning halfway through cooking.

The marinated chicken on a sheet pan before and after roasting

Let the chicken rest before slicing. This helps to make them extra juicy.

Chicken shawarma in slices on a chopping board

You can then transfer the slices to a skillet, with its juices to brown the chicken and give it extra flavor. This is an optional step, but I highly recommend it if you have the time.

Close up of slices of Chicken shawarma

What do you eat with it?

I like to serve the oven roasted chicken shawarma street style, in pita with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and garlic sauce or tahini sauce. It’s also great by itself served with a rice dish like Lebanese Rice,  or try Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice for a low carb meal. And you can even just serve it as a Chicken Shawarma Salad. Add an extra pop of flavor with pickled turnips!

Chicken shawarma served in pita with fresh vegetables and sauce

Tips for making this recipe

  1. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour before cooking it. This not only helps to add flavor, but it also helps to breakdown the fibers so you have the most tender meat.
  2. Let the chicken breasts come to room temperature before putting them in the oven. Cold chicken breasts take longer to cook and you can risk them becoming too dry that way.
  3. Don’t overcook the chicken. If it overcooks it will dry out. If you have an instant read thermometer, the chicken should register at 160F. Alternatively, if you pierce the breast with a fork, the juices should run clear.
  4. Cut the chicken against the grain when you slice it. This way, you cut through the fibers so the chicken is tender. Be sure to let it rest before slicing it too so that they juices redistribute and the chicken is wonderfully juicy.

Frequently asked questions

What does chicken shawarma taste like?

This homemade version of one of my favorite street foods is marinated in spices, but it’s not overpowering. Because it is made from leaner chicken breast and fattier thighs, it’s so much more flavorful than if you just made it with chicken breast. Pairing it with tomatoes, pickles and other fresh veggies really helps to bring out all of the flavors.

How long does it keep?

The shawarma is best served straight away, when the chicken is at its juiciest. If you have leftovers they can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat the chicken in a skillet or in the oven or serve it cold on top of salads.

Can you use frozen chicken?

Yes, you can use either fresh or frozen chicken in this recipe. If you use frozen, ensure that it is fully defrosted before marinading it.

Chicken shawarma wrap with vegetables and sauce

I am totally in love with this homemade version of one of my favorite Middle Eastern street foods! It’s so easy to make in the oven and comes together so quickly! I can’t wait to hear what you all think of this!

More chicken recipes

If you try this healthy-ish feel good Chicken Shawarma recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then please come back to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Chicken Shawarma

Make this oven-roasted Chicken Shawarma easily and quickly at home with my easy and authentic marinade recipe – it's perfectly spiced, tender & so flavorful
5 from 615 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 265
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Place the marinade ingredients in a large bowl: ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cardamom, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper and cinnamon; and whisk to blend.
  • Add the chicken into the large bowl with the marinade and stir with a spoon to evenly coat the chicken with the marinade. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Roast the chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and use a sharp knife to thinly slice the chicken into thinly sliced pieces. If you’d like to give the chicken shawarma seared edges, you can transfer it to a skillet with its juice and saute until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the skillet though.
  • Serve with rice or in a pita with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and garlic sauce or tahini sauce.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 2-3 days in the fridge.
Make Ahead Tips: You can make the marinade up to a week in advance, and you can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours in advance.

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 120mg, Sodium: 933mg, Potassium: 492mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 230IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Chicken shawarma on a white plate with sliced vegetables and pickles

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Comments

  1. Another amazing recipe! I’ve never tried chicken shawarma before this – we served it with pita, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and tahini. So refreshing and delicious!!

  2. OMG! I just made this for dinner and everyone LOVED it. No more take -out shawarma for us! Searing the chicken at the end makes all the difference. Thx so much for sharing your Lebanese recipes ❤️

  3. I literally just finished eating this and I must say every single bite I took made me really happy. The chicken is so tender and flavorful and the recipe doesn’t take a lot of difficulty to make! Will definitely keep this for future gatherings and dinner nights!! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. This Chicken Shawarma is the best!
    We used to go to a place about 30 min away to eat Shawarma. Ever since I found this recipe, I make it once a week into wraps with garlic spread, pickled cucumbers, tomatoes. So easy to make n delicious
    My husband n boys love!
    A must try!
    Thank You!!!

  5. What a shame that your recipes use only amercizn measures. Here in Europe we use the metric system and having to convert from a cup to grammes is a pain in the ****
    How about using a tab that enables us to convert to metric for all new recipes. If yiou want global reach then this would be useful.

    1. Unfortunately this is not something we can provide on our site because it’s not what we use internally. So we can use an automated system to calculate them but we cannot guarantee that it is accurate since it is not completed by a member of our team who knows the metric system. I think using online unit conversions could be a good option. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.

  6. So obsessed with this recipe….I’ve been making it at least once a week for the past month lol! I do find it to be a little salty so I cut back to 1 tsp of salt. Otherwise, it’s perfection!!!! 🙂 thank you!

  7. loved it! I omitted the cardamom because I didn’t have any on hand. Not sure anyone missed it. Our family love Lebanese, Med, Middle East, etc. food. This was so easy to follow and so good. I’m enjoying all your recipes! Today is the creamy veg soup because it’s a soup kind of day!!

  8. Can I just say how good this turned out? I stayed faithful to the recipe and wow this will definitely be a recipe I come back to! Simple ingredients but such a tasty result. Thank you!

  9. Hi, I tried the shawarma recipe and it was delicious 🤩. I was surprised my two young boys 3 and 5 ate it and loved it, as they are picky eaters.

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately I have yet to use a cardamom substitute. Maybe you can try cinnamon or nutmeg?

  10. We LOVE Lebanese shawarma chicken so we can’t wait to try this at home. Are you sure about 6 cloves of garlic per pound of chicken? I don’t recall tasting that much garlic.

    1. So excited for you to try it! Yes, I am sure – we love garlic! However, you can definitely adjust the amount to fit your preferences.

  11. Another fabulous recipe, actually recipes from your site. Made the chicken and added hummus to it just because I could. Thanks Yumna.

  12. I’m not one to try new flavors but wanted to know what schwarma was and tasted like. I came across your receipe.

    This is so so GOOD and DELICIOUS! This is now my go to chicken dish. I have had it with rice, as a gyro and stuffed in a pita bread. I even made it with your tahini sauce.

  13. Followed the recipe exactly, the chicken was not fully cooked in the oven, and the only good thing about the recipe was the marinade blend.

    1. To make sure the chicken is cooked properly, if you have an instant read thermometer, the chicken should register at 160F!

  14. I give it a go but cooked it on the grill and it was amazinggg! I left it marinating overnight, brought it to room temp for an hour or so and put it in skewers and it turned deliciously good! Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes and tips for the perfect authentic flavor! Definetly doing it again

  15. I made this chicken shwarma recipe and it was amazing 👏 so easy peas. The only spice I didn’t have was cardamom. So delicious !! Thank you

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think if you give it a try with cardamom!

  16. Hi, I love shawarma personally as a Muslim/Arab, and it’s my favorite food. Could you tell me the serving size and servings per meal? Thank you, and I loved this recipe!

    1. Shawarma is the best! This recipe makes 6 servings. I recommend cooking the chicken and dividing the total by six to get the most accurate serving size. I would usually eat one serving per meal, but you can eat as many servings as you want!

  17. SO GOOD!! I made this shawarma chicken and also your Lebanese rice recipe for dinner tonight! Even my husband, Mr. Picky Pants, went back for seconds! I sliced the breasts and thighs before marinating, and then cooked them in the oven. Then I put half the chicken in my air fryer, and left the other half in the oven, on broil. Just for a few minutes. I liked the oven broiled best, but hubs liked the air fryer. I also made homemade toum today. I’ve been craving this dish and the closest restaurant is over an hour away. I also wanted fattoush salad, but can’t find a couple of the ingredients. I’ll look online. Thanks for wonderful recipes!!

    1. Thank you! So glad you both enjoyed. Sounds like it was the perfect meal. Be sure to check out the Lebanese Fattoush Salad recipe I have on my website!

  18. Hi Yumna,

    Just to let you know that you did it again! This recipe of yours chicken shawarma is another hit again, I use chicken cutlets and I add plain greek yogurt to the marinate for more tenderness of chicken and cook the chicken in the air fryer. I made some tabuleh and chopped the chicken in small pieces layered in the Lebanese bread with the sauces hommus, garlic sauce (your recipes of course) and added some thinly slices of lettuce, tomato, and onion wrapped it heat it up in the sandwich press. And then I serve yum.

  19. One of the best and simplest recipes I’ve ever made! I’ve already made them 3x this week and used the chicken differently each time (wraps, rice bowls, etc.)

    10/10!

  20. I made this for a friend that went to Egypt with me and we ate this in the street when we went to the Pyramids. They were absolutely delicious and we enjoyed our time eating them while we share fun memories of our trip. I will be making this recipe over and over again for every guest that comes to visit me.

  21. This was so easy & flavorful. It was super filling as well because I couldn’t eat lunch the next day. As always, great recipe

  22. This is one of the best things I’ve ever made for dinner. It DID take longer than 15 minutes to cook, but no one’s else seemed to have a problem with that. Maybe my Thermostat is off. I did look at all the other wonderful reviews!

  23. Used only chicken breasts (on a diet) and served on a tossed salad with your Fatouche Salad Dressing and with your Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad and Tahini Sauce. Everything was fantastic! My husband loved every bite. This will be a staple for us.
    Each of these recipes were 5 stars!
    Thanks for the wonderful food! Look forward to trying more or your recipes

  24. Excellent! Only had time for the minimum 1 hour marinade and it was still perfect! The seasoning was spot on and I loved the quick skillet sear at the end. Rave reviews from the whole family! First time on your blog. I saved this to my favorites and am looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  25. This recipe is a winner – so lemony and juicy!
    Searing them, as the last step, makes all the difference.
    SO GOOD!

  26. I love Chicken Sharma. I’m so excited to have a recipe that can be cooked in the oven and not on spiral gyro cooker. I have one question. I love the large wraps they come in usually. Do you have a recipe or what are they called. I know I’d have to order online from where I live.

  27. Dear Yumna,
    Your recipe was exactly how you described – ‘perfectly spiced, tender and so flavorful’ – followed your simple instructions and it is outstanding!
    Served on Sangak bread along with [your] humus and tabbouleh recipe; will never go back to the local donair joint again. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing.

      1. Ok thank you so much! I have learned the hard way not to necessarily double/triple salt in recipes lol so thought I’d ask. I will go with the 3tsp. Can’t wait to try this! 🙂

  28. FANTASTIC recipe! My friends and family love it! It’s quick, super flavorful, and easy! I serve it with Yumna’s tahini sauce and yogurt flatbread for a delicious, healthy meal! SO GOOD!!!!

  29. This is my favorite recipe right now! I make this on a weekly basis and for all my friends and family! I serve it with Yumna’s Yogurt Flatbread recipe! 🤤 SO GOOD!!!! It’s a MUST with tahini!

  30. Is there any reason that this marinade does not include yogurt like the Shish Tawook marinade? If it makes the chicken more tender, wouldn’t it only help to include it? (Another Michigan girl here, trying to recreate the restaurant tastes that I love so much at home!) Thanks!!

    1. There are many takes on this recipe and while there are some yogurt-marinated chicken shawarma recipes, I didn’t think it was necessary for this recipe!

  31. Finally got around to making this and Yumna, this is absolutely amazing! Such a quick and delicious meal – thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  32. Hi Yumna. Thank you for another fool-proof delicious recipe! I have a question: should the garlic cloves be added as whole, chopped, minced or smashed? I added as whole but was wondering..

    1. You’re welcome! And the garlic works any way. I do prefer to mince it though for best flavor. I updated the recipe card to mention minced.

  33. This is hands down the best chicken shawarma recipe I’ve tried. It became such a classic favourite in my family, thank you so much Yumna. Love from Pakistan!

  34. This is the third chicken shawarma recipe I’ve tried. I used all chicken thighs because I find them juicier. I think what’s different about your recipe is the use of cardamom powder! I loved the aroma it gave out while baking the chicken. Also, having roasted it for 15 mins and then searing it on a pan made the texture perfect. Thank you for the recipe!

  35. Just made this for the first time. I had all the ingredients at home already so I figured why not? It was AMAZING. The chicken was so flavorful and if you follow the recipe exactly you can make sure it stays juicy. One of my kids gobbled it up almost straight of the oven – I didn’t even have a chance to add it into a sandwich or rice. Definitely keeping this recipe for next time.

  36. I have whole green cardamom & whole black cardamom, which do you recommend?
    Is the cumin whole or ground?
    Thanks

      1. Thanks for the updates. I ended up going with green cardamom (oops), so I’ll have to try the recipe with black cardamom sometime. Tasty. I slightly overcooked the chicken in the oven. Out of laziness, I think I might just stir fry the chicken in a skillet on the stove top from the beginning next time.

  37. I have made this recipe at least 5 times over the last five weeks me and my family especially my fussy brother ABSOLUTEEEEEELY LOVEEE this chicken shawarma. Its tangy and spicy and just yummy…a lot of the recipes I’ve tried have been bland but this is spot on! Really you musttt try this! We just had the leftover shawarma from last night today for lunch we may or may not have been fighting over it! Lol must try!!

  38. Been learning so much from you in the lockdown. I love how this recipe is so simple to follow and still tastes so good. I’m from Mumbai India. So we used whole wheat chapati bread for the shawarma chicken!
    Keep the great posts coming😊

  39. I’ve been to a lot of shawarma places. Ottawa/Montreal Canada and this might actually be the best shawarma I’ve ever had!!! If only I had spit. Topped with pickles, your pickled turnip recipe, your toum recipe, tomato lettuce. Fantastic!

  40. Hi, I’d like to make this recipe this week, it looks amazing, but I want to clarify if the chicken breast is cut up into smaller pieces before putting in the oven or do you leave it whole then slice it after its cooked along with the thighs.

    1. It’s best to leave it whole and then slice it after it’s cooked. You can also cut it into smaller pieces if it’s super large.

  41. Really delicious!!! And easy to prepare.
    Will definitely repeat!! Thank you for the great recipes!!

  42. This is so delicous!!!!!!!!! And so easy to prepare!!! I served it with couscous and Greek yogurt with herbs….also it smells soooo good!!! I didn’t have exactly the same spices available so I took a wok spice mixture where some of the spices you mention are included.
    Will definitely do that again!
    Thanks for the great recipe

  43. This was soo flavorful! The chicken was just the best. I made mine with caulifower rice. I’m just loving your recipes. Thank you so much!

  44. This chicken is amazing. The marinade is truly flavorful and I felt like I was eating Mediterranean takeout. Super easy recipe.