Many are in search of an authentic Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma recipe. Well, this one is definitely worth your time! An absolute crowd-pleaser that your guests and loved ones will have a hard time resisting!
From tender, grilled chicken pieces infused with aromatic spices and marinated to perfection in a delectable yogurt marinade that make the flavor traditional yet mouth-watering, this chicken shawarma recipe will be in your dinner rotations for a while!
Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma
Originally a must-try street food in the Middle East, Lebanese Shawarma has become a popular go-to food worldwide. It’s a simple wrap made with juicy pieces of marinated chicken (or beef) that has been marinated overnight or for at least 6 hours in a blend of flavorful spices and seasonings.
This authentic dish captures the essence of Middle Eastern cuisine, delivering a harmonious blend of smoky char and rich seasoning.
Elevate your cooking experience with this easy shawarma recipe that guarantees a delectable and memorable dining adventure.
If you are a fan of beef meat, then you surely have to try my Tender Middle Eastern Style Beef Shawarma recipe.
Best Ways to Serve Chicken Shawarma
Apart from its traditional sandwich form, you can serve this family-favorite in various ways! Read on for some new and fun ways to serve up chicken shawarma.
Lebanese chicken shawarma is traditionally either served as a chicken wrap or as a chicken shawarma plate.
One of the most popular ways to serve shawarma sandwiches in the Middle East is on Shrak bread, also known as Markook bread. Layer your shawarma chicken on a spread of Garlic Sauce on the bread, then sprinkle diced pickles to add a sour crunch. You can also add fries to the sandwiches. Wrap it up and enjoy the differing flavor combinations!
Alternatively, opt for the chicken shawarma platter. Of course, it would be a game-changer to include shawarma side dishes like warm pita bread alongside crunchy French fries, fresh coleslaw, pickles, and a zesty garlic dip.
Embrace the versatile nature of grilled chicken shawarma by pairing it with an array of dips and sauces, such as hummus, tzatziki, or a tangy tahini sauce. Or, serve the chicken shawarma wrapped tightly in your bread of choice and dip them into the sauce or dip of your choice!
Enrich your chicken shawarma experience by pairing it with an array of roasted fresh vegetables. Roast a vibrant medley of red onions, cherry tomatoes, corn, bell peppers, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, or any preferred combination. The symphony of colors and flavors will harmonize seamlessly with your healthy chicken shawarma.
Another satisfying option is to pair homemade chicken shawarma with a bed of rice pilaf, cooked quinoa, or a salad. Tabbouleh and Fattoush are the leading Middle Eastern salads that will enhance the flavor of any Arabic style chicken shawarma. Try my Chicken Shawarma Bowl for a hearty and balanced meal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To make Middle Eastern chicken shawarma, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. In my recipe, I used chicken breast. I just love how easy it is to work with and how juicy the meat is after cooking.
Absolutely yes! However, you have to make sure that you defrost the chicken before marinating it so that the chicken is well coated with the marinade.
Store homemade shawarma leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2-3 days. You can also freeze shawarma leftovers for up to 3 months after popping them in a Ziploc bag.
Reheat chicken shawarma in a skillet or in the oven over low heat for about 5 minutes.
Absolutely! Instead of chicken, you can marinate firm tofu or even a medley of vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. The same marinade and cooking methods apply to a tasty vegetarian alternative.
I’d have to say the best review I received is from my 3-year-old who lays claim to my chicken shawarma literally being his favorite food 😂😎.
But, also, the fact that many people commented on my shawarma saying it was the closest thing to shawarma shops in the Middle East when I used to cater!
When you marinate chicken, make sure that it is well coated with the marinade.
It is better to marinate the chicken shawarma for 6-8 hours. The longer you marinate it, the juicier and more tender the shawarma will be.
Important tip: You marinate the chicken for up to 48 hours!
On the same note, don’t over-marinate because chicken breasts will break down.
The cooking time depends on the size of the chicken breasts. Large chicken breasts take about 30 minutes of cooking time. However, smaller ones will need less cooking time.
Don’t overcook the chicken to avoid dry shawarma. Cook until the internal temperature of the breast is 165°F. Use an internal thermometer to measure the inside temperature.
For the best chicken shawarma, let the cooked chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes before slicing them thinly to allow the juices of the marinade to redistribute throughout the flesh.
Cut grilled shawarma chicken breasts thinly after cooking them. A clever way to keep chicken juicy!
To make this delicious easy chicken shawarma recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
Chicken breast: Use fresh, good-quality chicken breast to get tender juicy chicken shawarma. Rinse chicken breasts well and remove the excess fat and skin. Chicken thighs work as well but cook time will vary.
Spices: To marinate the chicken breast, you will need the following spices: Aleppo pepper, shawarma spices, paprika, ginger powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.
Olive oil: Add olive oil to dilute the heat of spices and get a hearty Mediterranean flavor. You can use any other neutral oil instead. For example, avocado oil is a great substitution for olive oil.
Yogurt: The key factor to tenderizing chicken much more gently and effectively than regular marinades is to add yogurt.
Mayo: Mayonnaise will add fat, salt, and acidity to the chicken shawarma marinade.
Fresh garlic: Add finely minced fresh garlic for a huge kick of flavor to the shawarma marinade. You can also use garlic paste instead.
Tortilla wrap: The star of the chicken shawarma sandwich is the bread you use to wrap it in. In the Middle East, people usually use Shrak bread. Since I didn’t have any at the time, I served shawarma in Tortilla wraps.
Pickles: For a yummy tangy flavor, you will need to pair your authentic chicken shawarma with Middle Eastern cucumber pickles and turnip pickles.
Steps to Prep
First, make slits into full chicken breasts.
Now, in a large mixing bowl, add the spices and ingredients of the shawarma marinade (Aleppo pepper, chicken shawarma spices, olive oil, yogurt, mayo, salt, minced fresh garlic, paprika, ginger powder, garlic powder, black pepper). Mix until all combined. Marinate for a minimum of 6 hours in the fridge.
After that, cook the marinated chicken shawarma covered in a pan on medium heat until cooked through.
Next, set aside for 5 minutes before slicing each chicken breast thinly.
Then, layer your shawarma wraps by spreading garlic sauce on the tortilla and then adding the cut chicken on top.
Last but not least, add more garlic sauce and the different diced pickles.
Finally, roll the chicken shawarma pita up like a burrito and press it in a panini press or on the stove until golden. Enjoy!
Authentic Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma
For The Chicken Shawarma
- 1 pound chicken breast
For The Marinade
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1½ teaspoons shawarma spices any brand
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic or garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Tortilla or Shrak bread
- Pickled turnips
- Middle Eastern pickled cucumbers
- Make slits into full chicken breasts.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the spices and ingredients of the shawarma marinade (Aleppo pepper, shawarma spices, olive oil, yogurt, mayo, salt, minced fresh garlic, paprika, ginger powder, garlic powder, black pepper). Mix until all combined. Marinate for a minimum of 6 hours in the fridge.
- Cook the marinated chicken shawarma covered in a pan on medium heat until cooked through.
- Set aside for 5 minutes before slicing each chicken breast thinly.
- Layer your shawarma wraps by spreading garlic sauce on the tortilla and then adding the cut chicken on top.
- Add more garlic sauce and the different diced pickles.
- Roll up like a burrito and press in a panini press or on the stove until golden. Enjoy!
- It is better to marinate the chicken shawarma for at least 6-8 hours. The longer you marinate it, the juicier and more tender the shawarma will be. You marinate the chicken for up to 48 hours!
- Don’t overcook the chicken to avoid dry shawarma. Cook until the internal temperature of the breast is 165°F. Use an internal thermometer to measure the inside temperature.
- For the best results, let the cooked chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes before slicing them thinly to allow the juices of the marinade to redistribute throughout the flesh