Chicken Shawarma is one of our favorite dishes to make! It’s hearty, bursting with flavor, and our take on this beloved dish is both easy and uncomplicated — trust us when we say that having this chicken recipe in your repertoire is a game-changer.

What is Chicken Shawarma

Shawarma is a traditional cooking method commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. You can make shawarma using lamb, beef, chicken, or any animal protein of your choice! You can even make vegan shawarma using mushrooms or plant-based meat alternative.

The fundamental part of making shawarma is the marinade. It is key to developing the depth of flavor that is characteristic of a shawarma. Historically, shawarma would be slow roasted over multiple days, rotating on skewers over a fire pit. But don’t worry, you won’t need more than a couple hours to cook our version of chicken shawarma!

The perfect spice blend

If you have been regularly making Food Dolls recipes, then you know we love a good spice blend. It is so fun to combine different flavors together to make a delicious seasoning!

For this recipe, we use:

  • Smoked paprika is one of our favorite spices! Ground paprika was originally developed in Hungary by smoking peppers over an open fire and drying them out. The combination of peppers along with amount of the smoke exposure determines the flavor of the spice. There are all sorts of flavors from spicy to smokey to sweet!
  • Cumin is an earthy spice that is made by grinding up the seed pod. It provides warmth to every dish and is oftentimes found in Indian curries. Cumin is said to have anti-inflammatory properties due to the high amount of antioxidants it has!
  • Onion powder is an underrated spice that we absolutely love! It is not meant to be used in place of onion, but it helps to bring out that classic oniony flavor without the intense bite.
  • Interestingly enough, coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant! It can be used in its whole seed form for a more potent burst of flavor, or it can be used ground up. We recommend ground coriander for this recipe as it lends itself well to the marinade.
  • Salt and Pepper are the two basics for any spice rub! Salt is the magic seasoning that helps bring all the flavors of a dish to life. It naturally enhances each flavor, while pepper brings in the warmth. Together they complete every dish!
chicken shawarma on a skewer.

What is the best kind of chicken to use for Chicken Shawarma

We strongly believe that there are no hard and fast rules with any of our recipes. We encourage you to get creative and use our recipes as a starting point. And that goes for ingredients – like the type of chicken to use for our chicken shawarma. You can really use any type of chicken for this recipe and it will turn out delicious!

For the very best result, though, we recommend using chicken thighs. Chicken thighs have a higher fat content compared to other parts of the chicken. This is why chicken thighs and drumsticks are so juicy! Because of their high-fat content, chicken thighs can retain more moisture than chicken breasts. They also tend to be thinner, and more uniform in shape and size. This means they will cook more evenly. Lastly, the fat structure of chicken thighs makes them so tender.

Really though, you can’t go wrong with any cut of chicken. Our main recommendation is to try your best to cut the pieces around the same size. This will ensure an even cook. Whether you choose chicken breast or thighs, it will turn out to be delish!

How to make Chicken Shawarma

  1. Place the chicken thighs in a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle seasoning on top of chicken. Follow by adding the yogurt, tomato paste, lemon juice, and olive oil. Rub everything together so that the pieces of chicken are thoroughly coated.
  3. Arrange the chicken thighs on skewers, pushing them together tightly.
  4. Prepare a deep baking dish by lining it with aluminum foil. You will want to make sure that the width of the dish is shorter than the length of the skewers. This will allow you to rest the skewers on the sides of the dish.
  5. Place the ends of the skewers on the rim of a deep baking dish. You want to make sure that the chicken is not touching the bottom.
  6. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees covered for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 25-30 minutes.
  7. Use a sharp knife to shave slices off the chicken and serve!

Alternative Method: As you can see in the pictures, we roasted our chicken on a vertical spit! This is a fun way to achieve more authentic chicken shawarma. Simply follow the recipe instructions. Then, instead of skewering the chicken and placing it on a baking sheet, layer it on the skewer, and bake as normal.

How to store Chicken Shawarma

Chicken shawarma makes the best leftovers! You can eat straight from the fridge as is, adding it to a salad or rolling it up into a wrap with some veggies and hummus. We recommend storing leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

How to eat Chicken Shawarma

This is such a great recipe because it focuses on a single component of dinner – the protein! Chicken Shawarma is a crowd pleaser, whether you are cooking for just yourself or for a large group.

Chicken Shawarma is a versatile protein. You can serve it over a bed of rice with some vegetables. You can also serve it as a part of a “make-your-own-pita” station with some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, tzatziki, and za’atar to sprinkle on top.

Here is a list of recipes that pair perfectly with our Chicken Shawarma:

If you love this recipe, we beet you’ll fall head over heels for our Oven Baked Chipotle Chicken Skewers.

Chicken Shawarma

4.64 from 11 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
This chicken sharwarma is marinated in yogurt and a lot of Middle Eastern spices. It’s so comforting and easy to make!

Ingredients  

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or 3 tbsp
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions 

  • Place the chicken thighs in a bowl.
    8 chicken thighs
  • Sprinkle the seasonings on top of chicken. Follow by adding the yogurt, tomato paste, lemon juice and olive oil. Rub everything together so that the pieces of chicken are thoroughly coated.
    1 cup yogurt, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon coriander, 3 Tablespoons tomato paste, 2 teaspoons salt, juice of 1/2 lemon or 3 tbsp, 1 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • Arrange the chicken thighs on skewers, pushing them together tightly.
  • Prepare a deep baking dish by lining it with aluminum foil. You will want to make sure that the width of the dish is shorter than the length of the
    skewers. This will allow you to rest the skewers on the sides of the dish.
  • Place the ends of the skewers on the rim of a deep baking dish. You want to make sure that the chicken is not touching the bottom. Or, stack the chicken on a vertical skewer.
  • Bake in the oven at 425 degrees covered for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 25-30 minutes.
  • Use a sharp knife to shave slices off the chicken and serve!

Video

Notes

If you have time, marinate the chicken overnight! The longer it marinates, the better!
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 860mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 502IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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Recipe Rating




25 Comments

  1. I am not understanding the cooking time.. This is taking almost 2 hours to cook.. so it reaches internal of 165 degrees..

    1. Sorry to hear this, Cindy! We’ve never had it take that long. Did it still taste okay?

      Xo,
      Alia & Radwa

  2. 5 stars
    I rarely comment on recipes but this one deserves it.

    Turned out exactly as expeceted on the vertical skewer/dish in the weber charcoal grill!

    Kids ate it like there was no tomorrow!

    Thanks!

      1. 5 stars
        Question – I just bought a vertices skewer, do I also cover with foil and take it off half way through? Also, when I put the vertical skewer on the grill outside – how long do you recommend grilling?

  3. 5 stars
    It’s difficult to find onion powder where I live in the UK (not in Lidl or Aldi). Should I use garlic powder or a bit of grated onion instead?

  4. Why do you have to skrewer the chicken? Wondering if you could just bake it in the pan. I would like to try this out some time. Just don’t like using wooden skewers and don’t own metal ones. Will rate once I make it.

    1. We do our best to mitigate the ads but don’t always have on control over them. They’re how we’re able to continue providing free recipes! We hope you continue to enjoy the site.

      Xo,
      Alia & Radwa

  5. This looks delicious! We’re still melting in Texas and 50-55 min seems like too much time to have the oven on. Have you tried skewering the pieces individually and cooking for less time? If so, how long do you recommend? If not, might you have some recommendations? Thanks for the yummy recipes!

  6. 5 stars
    Super easy recipe! Taste was perfect. I felt like my coating was a little grainy after baking…any tips?