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Making Chicken Shawarma at home is a lot easier than you think. You only need a handful of ingredients and you’ll have this juicy and flavorful chicken in no time. No fancy equipment needed, all you need is a large cast iron skillet! Learn how to make it at home with just a few simple ingredients!

A platter of chicken shawarma with dip and sides.
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If you’ve ever walked past a shawarma restaurant, then you would have seen the giant shawarma machine with the meat rotating on it. To serve, they’ll shave off thin slices off the meat. It might make you think you need something similar to make restaurant quality shawarma at home but you can actually make homemade Chicken Shawarma very easily!

If you’d like to try more authentic and delicious Lebanese recipes like this recipe, here are a few that my family loves for me to make: Kafta and Potato Stew, Vermicelli Rice, and my Baba Ghanouj. They’re super easy to make and are so delicious!

Why You’ll Love This Easy Shawarma Recipe

  • It uses pantry staples. The ingredients used to marinate the chicken thighs are what’s always in my kitchen! It’s a great last minute meal! 
  • It’s so easy to change up. You can eat this on it’s own, you can make it into a chicken shawarma sandwich, or you can stuff the chicken shawarma into a pita bread!
  • It’s freezer friendly. Make a large batch and freeze half for later so if you’re suddenly craving a shawarma sandwich, you can pull some out and enjoy!

Chicken Shawarma Ingredients

Ingredients needed to make homemade chicken shawarma.
  • Chicken thighs — use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for ease
  • Dry cilantro-adds a little flavor and color to the chicken
  • Salt-to taste
  • Black pepper-fresh cracked tastes best.
  • Yogurt — use full fat yogurt, it works as a tenderizer for the chicken
  • Garlic-always use fresh minced garlic. It gives the best flavor.
  • Olive oil-extra virgin works best.
  • Shawarma spice– you can find this spics online or at your local Middle Eastern stores.
  • Lemon juice-important ingredient, add a zesty flavor to the chicken. Be sure to use only fresh lemon juice.

How To Make Chicken Shawarma Recipe at Home

  • Marinate the chicken: Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and trim off any fats if needed. Transfer to a bowl. Combine the dry cilantro, yogurt, garlic cloves, lemon juice, black pepper, salt and shawarma spices. Add the marinade to the chicken thighs and coat well with the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes if you have time.
  • Sear the chicken: Bring a large cast iron skillet or non stick skillet over medium heat and add in 2 tbsps. of olive oil. Pan sear the chicken thighs on each side for 6-8 minutes or until the thighs are fully cooked. Cook time will depend on the thickness of the thighs. Remove from heat and cover with foil wrap. 
  • Cut it up: Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut the chicken thighs into thin slices.
Chicken shawarma on a cutting board, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • Serve: Serve with some Middle Eastern pickles, pickled turnips, garlic sauce, onion and parsley salad and some tomatoes. Serve with your favorite side dish or bundle it up into a delicious sandwich using pita bread.
Close up of a platter of chicken shawarma recipe.

Tips to Make the Best Chicken Shawarma

  • Use a digital cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should be at 165 F.
  • When you rest the chicken before cutting, it allows the juices inside of the thighs to redistribute. This way you don’t lose all the juices when you cut into it!
  • It’s important to marinate the chicken before you cook it. The yogurt specifically helps tenderize the meat.
  • You can use chicken breasts if you prefer but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time. Also, chicken breasts are thicker so you’ll have to keep that in mind as well for cook time.
  • Cut the chicken thighs against the grain to keep your meat tender. Usually this means you shouldn’t slice the thighs on the “long” side.
A platter of lebanese chicken shawarma to be served.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s in shawarma spice?

Typically, shawarma spices include ground coriander, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and black pepper. You can make your own by combining 1 to 2 tsp of each spice or purchase it at your local grocery store. 

How do I store leftover shawarma?

Shawarma is best enjoyed right away. If you’ve made a lot, it’s best to not slice the chicken you’re not planning on eating. This keeps it from drying out when you reheat it. Leftovers can be stores in an airtight container for up to 5 days, again, it’s best when it’s not sliced! You can freeze this as well. Simply freeze the cooked chicken in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months and then thaw and reheat before enjoying.

What to serve with homemade shawarma?

You can serve shawarma with anything you want! Mostly at the sandwich stations, there is always a mixture of parsley, onion and sumac. They also always have pickles and pickled turnips. Some stations have hummus as an option, tahini sauce and garlic sauce of course, and sliced tomatoes. We love pairing Vermicelli Rice and Tabbouleh Salad with it as well.

What’s the difference between a shawarma and a gyro?

Despite the similarities, gyros and shawarma are different sandwiches. A gyro is traditionally a Greek dish that is typically served on a pita. Usually made with beef or lamb beef that has been somehow grinded (ground beef) and that’s why the texture is different. It also uses less spices than a shawarma does. Shawarma is made of slices of whole meat. Gyros are served with tzatziki sauce and while shawarma is served with garlic or tahini sauce.

More Lebanese Recipes You’ll Love

I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you, including this delicious Chicken Shawarma recipe. I hope you try it, enjoy it, rate it and share it with your friends and family!

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5 from 3 votes

Homemade Lebanese Chicken Shawarma

You won’t believe how easy it is to make Chicken Shawarma at home. You only need a handful of ingredients and you’ll have this juicy and flavorful chicken in no time. No fancy equipment needed, all you need is a large cast iron skillet!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time (optional): 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 10 large chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 1 tsp. dry cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ cup yogurt, full fat
  • 6 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsps. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. shawarma spice
  • 3 tbsps. lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel and trim off any fats if needed. Transfer to a bowl.
  • In another bowl, add in the dry cilantro, yogurt, garlic cloves, lemon juice, black pepper, salt and shawarma spices. Mix well to combine.
  • Add the marinade to the chicken thighs and coat well with the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes if you have time.
  • Bring a large cast iron skillet or non stick skillet over medium heat and add in 2 tbsps. of olive oil.
  • Pan sear the chicken thighs on each side for 6-8 minutes or until the thighs are fully cooked. Cook time will depend on the thickness of the thighs. Use a digital cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should be at 165 F.
  • Remove from heat and cover with foil wrap. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut the chicken thighs into thin slices
  • Serve with some Middle Eastern pickles, pickled turnips, garlic sauce, onion and parsley salad and some tomatoes. Serve with your favorite side dish or bundle it up into a delicious sandwich using pita bread.

Notes

  • Use a digital cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should be at 165 F.
  • When you rest the chicken before cutting, it allows the juices inside of the thighs to redistribute. This way you don’t lose all the juices when you cut into it!
  • If you want to change things up, try my Beef Shawarma!
  • It’s important to marinate the chicken before you cook it. The yogurt specifically helps tenderize the meat.
  • You can use chicken breasts if you prefer but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time. Also, chicken breasts are thicker so you’ll have to keep that in mind as well.
  • Cut the chicken thighs against the grain to keep your meat tender. Usually this means you shouldn’t slice the thighs on the “long” side.

Nutrition

Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 187mg | Sodium: 473mg | Potassium: 435mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg
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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was in Detroit Michigan and I went to a place where they served chicken swarmas and when I say delicious I mean just that always wanted to know what that sauce was and what kind of pickles and I thought it was breast chicken but it not it’s thigh of the chicken I think it was a creamy chaser

  2. Mariam, what an easy and delectable recipe! I used skinless chicken thighs, which were considerably juicier, as suggested. However, instead of yogurt, I prepared the mixture with tahini sauce, and the result was terrific. I served it with rice and salad. I’ll keep you updated the next time I prepare shawarma with meat.