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This Middle Eastern chicken shawarma is packed full of flavorful chicken that is seasoned with a delightful array of spices. It makes a great lunch or dinner that everyone will go crazy for!

I love a good chicken dish, and this shawarma is no exception! Try out some other chicken dishes like this garlic mushroom chicken, this delicious baked honey sesame chicken, and one of my all-time favorites; this marry me chicken!

Chicken shawarma wrapped in a pita with some vegetables.

What is Chicken Shawarma?

If you have never had (or heard of) chicken shawarma before, then you are in for a delicious meal! I season this chicken with my delicious shawarma seasoning. The seasoning mixture is filled with garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and a few others that make a delicious flavoring blend. You can use the spice as a rub or a marinade on vegetables or any kind of protein. My favorite way to use it is on chicken!

I blend the seasoning up with lemon juice and oil to make a marinade. I soak my chicken for at least an hour (if you have the time, then soaking it overnight really infuses the flavor into your meat!). Then, I grill the chicken (making this the perfect recipe to kick off summer grilling season!), and I put it in a pita along with some other vegetables. The combination of the cooked chicken mixed in with fresh, crunchy vegetables is heavenly! Make this for lunch or dinner! But whatever you choose, double this recipe so that you can enjoy the leftovers all week long!

Ingredients in this Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Once you have all of the ingredients to make this chicken shawarma, then you will come back to this recipe again and again! Making your own spices at home gives you total control of the flavors, and this recipe is definitely one that you don’t want to miss. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Chicken Thighs: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are the best to use becuase they are so juicy and tender. You can also use chicken breasts if that’s what you have on hand!
  • Cumin: This is a rich and heatry spice with a subtle hint of citrus flavoring. 
  • Paprika: You can use smoked paprika or regular paprika in this recipe.
  • Ground Coriander: Did you know that coriander seeds are what cilantro comes from? The leaves and stem of coriander are called cilantro! 
  • Tumeric: Tumeric is a classic flavor in chicken shawarma.
  • Dried Oregano: This deep and earthy flavor adds a delicious touch to the overall taste.
  • Cardamom: The flavor of cardamom is minty with a hint of pepper. 
  • Cinnamon: This sweet flabor brings a delicious contrast to the seasoning. 
  • Salt and Black Pepper: These will wnhance all of the other flavors in the mix.
  • Olive Oil: This is the base that you make the marinade out of.
  • Lemon Juice: This adds a bright flavor to the seasoning.
  • Garlic: You can use garlic cloves or minced garlic from your fridge! I used garlic powder when I prepared my seasoning ahead of time.

How to Make Chicken Shawarma

This recipe is so simple and easy, and yet it’s infused with intense and delicious flavor. You can even make this super easy on yourself and add this to a rotisserie chicken and top a salad with this flavored chicken!

  1. Add chicken to bag: Place the chicken in a sealable plastic bag and set aside.
  2. Prepare the seasoning: To prepare the shawarma seasoning, add the cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, cardamom, and salt and pepper to a large bowl. Then, stir to combine.
  3. Make the marinade and marinate chicken: To make the marinade, add the olive oil, lemon juice, and minced garlic to a bowl. Whisk in the seasoning mixture. Pour over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag and then marinate it in the refrigerator for at least one hour or as long as overnight.
  4. Cook: Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear and the meat is fully cooked. Slice into thin slices of meat if you plan on putting it in some pita bread or a salad.
4 pictures showing how to make the marinade and grill the chicken.

How to Serve This

This chicken shawarma is so versatile and can be used in so many different meals! Here are some more ideas on how to use this chicken!

  • On a salad: I am always looking for flavorful and delicious protein to serve up on a bed of greens and this chicken is perfect for that. It has a lot of flavor on it’s own so you can keep it simple with just some baby spinach or mixed greens along with maybe some carrots and cucumbers. Mix it all up and then you have yourself a salad that will actually fill you up!
  • Main course: If you want to grill up this chicken shawarma as your main course then you can do that too! Serve it alongside a salad, some flat bread and maybe even add in some rice!
  • In a sandwich: I love adding this chicken to some pita bread and then topping it with some veggies. Some that I like to use are red onions, lettuce and tomatoes. Make it your own, it really goes with just about everything!
A platter of cooked chicken shawarma.

How to Store Leftovers

If you have leftovers, then you can store them in an airtight container in your fridge. They will last about 3-4 days. When you are ready to eat it you can heat it up in the microwave on high for about 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

A pita on a plate topped with veggies and chicken shawarma.

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Chicken Shawarma

5 from 9 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
This Middle Eastern chicken shawarma is packed full of flavorful chicken that is seasoned with a delightful array of spices. It makes a great lunch or dinner that everyone will go crazy for! 
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Place the chicken in a sealable plastic bag and set aside.
  • To prepare the shawarma seasoning, add the cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, cardamom, and salt and pepper to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • To make the marinade, add the olive oil, lemon juice, and minced garlic to a bowl. Whisk in the seasoning mixture. Pour over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour or as long as overnight.
  • Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear and the meat is fully cooked.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 22gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 393mgPotassium: 324mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 284IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Middle East
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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31 Comments

  1. I take it you put the spices in the bag with chicken. Not sure if I just missed that step in your recipe. Thanks it sounds good

    1. You can try baking it at 425 degrees in a 9×12 baking dish for about 40 minutes. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and the juices are no longer pink!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night for my boyfriend. It’s perfect for Keto dieters. Instead of using pita (which I personally prefer), we used low-carb wraps. I served it with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, sweet red onions (diced), and a sauce (Mayo, Greek yogurt, minced garlic and fresh lemon juice)
    He had 3 PACKED TO THE GILLS wraps.

    We will be making this an every other weekly staple for dinner.

  3. 5 stars
    I made it tonight and let me tell you… there was NO leftovers to store. Husband loves it! Thank you!

  4. I purchased a shwarma seasoning which has all the ingredients mentioned in your recipe. Can you tell me how much of this purchased seasoning I should use for 2 lbs. of chicken thighs.

    1. I would use 4-6 Tablespoons of seasoning for 2 lbs of chicken thighs! But feel free to adjust that to your liking.

    2. Hello from Edmonton, Canada!
      Really looking forward to trying this recipe. assuming I can bake this….we’re at -20 degree right now. Not the best bbq weather. Also, can I use other chicken pieces or thighs the best?
      Thank you

      1. You can use other chicken but if it’s thinner then just keep an eye on your it so that you don’t cook them for too long! Also, -20 degrees? Brrr!! Hope it warms up soon!!

      1. Try baking it at 425 degrees in a 9×12 baking dish for about 40 minutes. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and the juices are no longer pink!

  5. Tried this for dinner last night. Wrapped chicken in warm naan bread.My husband and I loved it, loaded with amazing flavour.
    Debbie

    1. Yes! Once marinated, preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Place chicken in a greased baking dish and bake until golden brown and cooked through. Time will depend on how thick the chicken is. About 20 minutes. In the last minute or two of cooking switch the oven to Broil. Cook chicken for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

      1. I didn’t change anything in the original recipe. I just gave additional instructions in case someone wanted to bake this recipe in the oven instead of using the grill.