These Easy Chicken Shawarma Meatballs have all the warm flavors of classic chicken shawarma you love in the convenience of a bite-sized meatball. Quick to prepare, they’re great to serve as a crowd-pleasing appetizer or with your favorite side dishes for a flavorful main course!
What Is Chicken Shawarma?
Shawarma is both a dish and a cooking method. Common in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, it can be made with lamb, beef, chicken, or any animal protein of your choice. You can even find vegetarian shawarma recipes!
No matter what protein you choose, the most fundamental part of making shawarma is the marinade. It is key to developing the depth of flavor that is characteristic of the dish. Historically, shawarma is slow roasted over multiple days, rotating on skewers over a fire pit. However, most homemade versions, like these chicken shawarma meatballs, use the oven or
Is Shawarma the Same as Gyro?
Although similar, shawarma and gyro meat is not the same. The primary differences come down to their origins and flavor profiles.
- Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish that is known for its warm, savory spices.
- Meanwhile, gyros are a Greek dish with bright, herbaceous flavors.
Why These Meatballs Are Absolutely Marvelous
Baked in less than 30 minutes, they come together with the help of our trusty food processor for a quick dinner or appetizer that’s absolutely bursting with flavor. Tender and juicy and center, they’re crisp on the outside and perfect for serving with all your favorite sides.
You’ll be in and out of the kitchen fast, but they taste like you spent hours assembling and baking!
What’s In Chicken Shawarma Meatballs?
Unlike other meatball recipes, you won’t find any breadcrumbs here! This recipe is completely grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and still holds its shape!
Here’s everything you need:
- Chicken – We recommend using boneless, skinless breasts as they take on the flavors of the spices the best. If preferred, chicken thighs can be used instead.
- Parsley – This adds a bright, herbaceous taste that balances out the warmth of the spices. Buy a big bunch, and learn how to store parsley to use in all your meals throughout the week!
- Aromatics – Whole garlic cloves and red onion add a punchy flavor, a bit of crunch, and a satisfying tang.
- Chickpeas – This is our secret weapon to hold the meatballs together without the need for bread! Plus, they’re a great way to add extra protein and fiber.
- Tomato Paste – This contributes to the deep tomato flavor and red hue shawarma is known for.
- Spices – Include smoked paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Or, opt for a pre-made shawarma spice blend instead.
How to Make Easy Chicken Shawarma Meatballs
Thanks to the use of our favorite chicken tool, this recipe comes together in minutes!
- Combine the Ingredients. Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until they are well blended and a cohesive mixture is formed.
- Shape. Portion the mixture into equal-sized balls, roughly the size of a golf ball, and roll each portion between your palms to form a ball.
Tip! Use a cookie scoop to portion the meat mixture out evenly.
- Bake. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet that has been lined with
parchment paperor lightly greased. Lightly spray the shawarma meatballs with cooking oil spray. Bake in a heated oven until they’re golden brown on the outside and a meat thermometer can be inserted into the center and reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve. Once baked, remove the chicken shawarma meatballs from the oven, and set them aside to cool slightly before digging in.
How to Store
These chicken shawarma meatballs are great to make in bulk and keep on hand for meals and snacks.
- To Store: Once cooked and cooled, leftover meatballs can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to four days.
- To Freeze: These meatballs can be frozen for up to three months. For the best results, we recommend freezing them before baking. This helps prevent them from drying out.
To do so:
- Prepare the meatballs according to the recipe instructions.
- Arrange them on a baking sheet, and transfer them to the freezer for one to two hours or until they’re solid.
- Transfer them to a sealable bag, and keep them frozen.
- To serve, allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight. Or, bake from frozen, adding extra time as needed until they’re cooked through.
- To Reheat: Warm your cooked meatballs in the microwave. Or transfer them back to the oven at 350 degrees until heated through. Be careful not to burn!
More Meatball Recipes
Looking for more meatball recipes? Take a look at the options below!
- Beef Kofta Meatballs
- Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)
- Air Fryer Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken Meatballs
- Easy Chicken Kofta Meatballs
Easy Chicken Shawarma Recipe
- 2 chicken breasts trimmed
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
- In a food processor, combine the chicken breasts, parsley, red onion, chickpeas, garlic cloves, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Process until the mixture is well blended and forms a cohesive mixture.
- Roll the mixture into meatballs, shaping them to the desired size.
- Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray.
- Lightly spray the meatballs with cooking spray to help them brown and prevent sticking.
- Bake the chicken shawarma meatballs in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are cooked through and golden brown on the outside.
- Once baked, remove the meatballs from the oven, and let them cool slightly before serving.
- Serve the chicken shawarma meatballs as a delicious appetizer or main dish. They can be enjoyed on their own, with pita bread, or in a salad.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.