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Chicken Shawarma Recipe

This Easy, Healthy Chicken Shawarma recipe is incredibly tender and scrumptious! It’s a hit every time we serve this flavorful dish. (It happens to be Whole30 and Paleo approved.)

Chicken Shawarma on a plate with dressing and salad
Chicken Shawarma is healthy, flavorful, and easy to make right at home.

The Best Homemade Chicken Shawarma

This chicken shawarma fascination might have started with my first dreamy bite at our local Middle Eastern restaurant. That adoration was further was cemented with the amazing Mediterranean street food I sunk deeply into while eating my way through NYC.

Chicken Shawarma became an irrevocable obsession with the realization that I could recreate similar flavors at home. With only the ingredients we love and want; nothing else. And it wasn’t even hard.

I’m not sure how it started precisely, but it’s here to stay: my undeniable infatuation with healthy, tender, ultra flavorful chicken shawarma.

This is a contagious kind of shawarma fondness, as the rest of my family and food-loving friends can’t seem to get enough of this chicken shawarma recipe, which has since been frequently shared and re-shared.

Watch Chicken Shawarma in Action

How to make irresistible chicken shawarma

Chicken Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish that’s loaded with aromatic spices that make your mouth water. Traditionally, shawarma consists of paper-thin slices of meat from a vertical rotating slow-roaster. The result is a deliciously tender, flavorful plate of chicken, beef, or other protein.

Wild guess: most of us don’t own a monster-sized rotating spit at home. Despite that tidbit, you can absolutely make tantalizing homemade chicken shawarma. All you need is a great dry rub for your chicken to marinade in, an oven that reaches 400F and doubles as a broiler for the great finish.

Key Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs are essential here; boneless, skinless thighs are your friend when it comes to tender and flavorful shawarma
  • Extra-virgin olive oil is used to bind seasonings to the chicken. You can opt to use a bit more oil if needed, but don’t omit it
  • Dry rub seasonings are what makes all the difference in this chicken shawarma’s big bold flavors. As always, use the freshest seasonings/spices because you probably already know that the older those pantry spices are, they less flavor they hold.
  • Smoked paprika, cumin, allspice, cayenne, garlic and onion powders, ground tumeric, and cinnamon are all included in this powerhouse dry rub mixture. Skip nothing, if at all possible, as each spice adds its own unique flavor profile to the finished dish.

Pro Tips for the best chicken shawarma

Giant cone-shaped spit aside, we home cooks can still make some outrageously rockin’ chicken shawarma at home.

  • Even if you’re normally a die-hard white meat cooker, go with chicken thighs here. Skinless, boneless chicken thighs are actually quite lean and turn out so much more tender (translation: they’re harder to mess up.)
  • Rest the chicken in an aromatic dry rub marinade at least 3-4 hours, preferably overnight in fridge.
  • Speaking of which, double check that all your spices/seasonings are fresh and haven’t lost their zing.
  • Be sure the oven is well preheated to 400F when ready to cook. Use the preheat time to let your chicken come close to room temperature. Better results will happen if your chicken isn’t super cold. Roast the chicken in a single layer for even browning.
  • Slice just-cooked chicken as thinly as you can, arrange slices in a single layer on sheet pan, and broil to perfection.

Note: Using the grill or skillet for cooking chicken is always an option, but oven-roasting is by far the easiest.

Chicken Shawarma in a dish
Serve chicken shawarma with pita bread, salad, or rice.

Chicken Shawarma
Commonly Asked Questions

What ethnicity of food is Chicken Shawarma?

Chicken Shawarma is a Levantine Arab method of cooking meat. Thin shavings are cut off a large block of meat. Because most home cooks don’t have access to machinery used by restaurants, we achieve a similar effect by thinly slicing with an ultra sharp knife.

Is Chicken Shawarma healthy?

We definitely include chicken shawarma as part of a healthy diet. Lean, skinless chicken, olive oil, and plenty of fresh spices means this dish is both nutritious and delicious.

Can I meal prep Chicken Shawarma?

Absolutely. Chicken Shawarma is excellent for meal prepping, as it keeps well in the fridge, and can be served up multiple ways throughout the week. Try it with rice, salad, or pita.

Why do I have to towel-dry the raw chicken pieces?

This part is actually imperative for nicely browned chicken. If excess moisture is not removed from the surface of chicken pieces, they’ll tend to steam in the oven, rather than brown.

More to Cook and Eat

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

Chicken Shawarma with Sliced Tomatoes and Cucumber

Chicken Shawarma (Easy & Healthy)

4.99 from 184 ratings
This Easy, Healthy Chicken Shawarma is waist-friendly and incredibly scrumptious! It’s a hit every time we serve up this flavorful dish. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Amy Dong


For the Chicken:


  • In a large bowl, whisk together all the spices to combine well. Add 2 TB olive oil and mix into a paste. Set aside.
    chicken shawarma seasonings
  • Thoroughly towel-dry the boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Slice each thigh into quarters, and coat with 1 TB olive oil. Add chicken into the bowl with marinade. Use tongs or clean hands to thoroughly coat all pieces of chicken evenly, on all sides. Cover tightly with cling wrap and chill overnight (at least 3-4 hours.)
    towel dry chicken shawarma chicken pieces
  • Let chicken come to room temp as you preheat oven to 400F, with rack on upper middle position. Once oven is heated, place chicken pieces in a single layer on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Take care not to overlap or overcrowd the pieces. Roast 15 min or until just cooked.
    chicken shawarma in baking pan
  • Let chicken cool enough to handle. Slice all chicken into thin slices. Place back onto the baking sheet in an even layer. Broil on high for 7-10 minutes or until edges are nicely browned. Serve immediately with pita bread, basmati rice, or green salad.
    Chicken Shawarma on cutting board


  • Chicken thighs are highly recommended in this recipe, as it’s much more forgiving and stays tender even if slightly over-cooked. If you prefer to use chicken breasts, you may need to cook a bit less time to avoid the meat becoming dry. 
  • Chicken Shawarma can be served bowl-style with basmati rice and your choice of toppings, or wrapped in a pita with toppings. It’s delicious with garlic hummus and any Mediterranean style salad. Garnish ideas include cilantro, red onions, or pickles.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂 

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.2g | Protein: 42.9g | Fat: 7.6g | Saturated Fat: 1.4g | Cholesterol: 137.9mg | Sodium: 294.3mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 0.2g
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Diet: Gluten Free, Halal, Low Calorie, Low Lactose
Method: baking, Oven

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Marie
    • 5 stars

    I’d never thought of making chicken shawarma at home but your recipe made it so easy! The meat was incredibly flavorful, this was an exciting lunch for the whole family. Next time I’ll make a double batch so we have leftovers!

    • Tammy

    Oooh this is sooo flavorful! It looks juicy and delicious..perfect with some flatbreads and a cool dressing or dip. Cannot wait to give this a try!

    • veenaazmanov
    • 5 stars

    Burst of flavor. This dish is perfect for any meal type. Perfect as a snack box option. Make a bigger batch and store it for anytime meal too. Love this presentation too.

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you!

    • Linda
    • 5 stars

    I’ve never tried any type of Shawarma recipe so this was a first. It was a big hit with all those wonderful spices just creating so much flavor and that last step to make the chicken crispy was the big winner.

      • Amy Dong

      SO happy you loved it!

    • Heather
    • 5 stars

    I had no idea I could cook such wonderful chicken schwarma at home! So easy and so flavorful.

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Heather!

    • Jessica
    • 5 stars

    I am so impressed with this recipe and so was everyone else that had it too. I think I’m going to make this again next week when we have people over for dinner!

      • Amy Dong

      It’s great for serving guests! 🙂

    • Paige
    • 5 stars

    Our family loves this recipe even the picky eaters, I make for my kids away at university freeze it they take it out and cook it can be eaten so many ways on a salad, in rice bowl, over fries, or pita

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, so glad they all liked this, Paige 🙂

    • Mom of picky eaters
    • 5 stars

    My family loves this recipe. I get the lavash bread from Trader Joe’s, Mediterranean hummus, garlic spread, and add thinking sliced cucumbers and tomatoes and a little sambal oelek sauce- delish and easy! Thanks

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, so happy they all loved this!

    • Megan
    • 5 stars

    I’ve made this many times and love it every time! So good!

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Megan!

    • Larissa
    • 5 stars

    Amazing! My family of picky eaters loves this! Made it for the second time tonight. Thank you!

    • Joel

    It looks great, but I’m not seeing any nutritional info. As someone who tracks their food, that’s pretty essentialnwhen trying new recipes.

    • Mary
    • 5 stars

    Wow! This is sooooo good! Followed the recipe and directions to a T. Unbelievable flavor. I especially love the crispy bits caused by broiling it after cooking. Will definitely make this again…and again. 😉

      • Amy Dong

      So happy to hear that, Mary!

    • LavenderBee
    • 5 stars

    Fabulous recipe, we love Chicken Shawarma and make it often. You would never call it boring chicken with all the warm spices. It’s great with an Israeli salad, hummus, pita and homemade pickles. Definitely a keeper!! Thanks Amy. PS: If I’m feeling lazy, I get the Trader Joe’s packaged chicken shawarma and cook it according to your directions. That two part cooking method mimics the spit roasting perfectly. It’s essential….

      • Amy Dong

      Aww, thank you so much, Debra 🙂

    • SC
    • 5 stars

    I’ve made this many times throughout the years and it’s been a hit with everyone I’ve served it to!

    • Rebecca
    • 5 stars

    Honestly hands down the best at home chicken shawarma recipe on the internet! Super easy instructions clean ingredients !

      • Amy Dong

      This makes my day, Rebecca!

    • Michelle
    • 5 stars

    Use this recipe all the time. so easy and soooo good.

    • Marc P
    • 5 stars

    Have made it several times.
    I do not add any salt, low sodium diet. It is still great.
    The main reason I gave it 5 stars, is I could not give it 6.

      • chewoutloud

      That’s super helpful for our low sodium friends! Thanks, Marc.

    • Marc
    • 5 stars

    On a low sodium diet. Tried without the salt. It was excellent.

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you; our low-sodium eaters here appreciate it 🙂

    • Jen
    • 5 stars

    Absolutely bangin! Perfect recipe, I’ve ben looking for a while as the school I work at makes gorgeous wraps but it come pre prepared and just called ‘Theos Chicken’! This is exactly the same! I really don’t like thighs normally either! THANK YOU!!!!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re so welcome, Jen!

    • Candice Estrella
    • 5 stars

    Five Stars! I made this tonight for the third time! Its delicious! I followed the recipe perfectly! I even used the thighs, even though I normally dont care for the cut, and they were perfect!

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you all liked this, Candice! 🙂

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