Main Course

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Get hungry because I’m about to show you how to make traditional Lebanese-style chicken shawarma. This is such an easy recipe.

It mimics the traditional recipe of having chicken shawarma on a spit, but it’s so much easier to make it home with just a few spices, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and a nice oven. This is a great recipe to make any time of the year, and my family goes crazy.

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How to make chicken shawarma

Preparing the marinade

So the most important part of making chicken shawarma is to marinate the chicken at least one hour before or preferably 24 hours before.

We will need many different spices, some lemons, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix everything, add the chicken to it, and then marinate it.

We’ll start with the fourth cup of olive oil, and then you need two tablespoons of lemon juice. Usually, it’s about one lemon.

Plus, I like my chicken shawarma to be extra lemony.

Now add six cloves of garlic. You heard that right. The garlic is really important in the chicken shawarma marinade. That’s gonna give it so much flavor.

So make sure to use fresh garlic if possible. You can mince the garlic, or I like just to use a garlic press to make it easier.

And now for the seasoning. So you’ll need salt, cardamom, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and crushed red pepper. And we’re just gonna whisk it all together.


It smells so good, and I just love how beautiful the color is.

Preparing the chicken

Now, all we have to do is add the chicken to it.

We will need about two and a half pounds of chicken thighs. I recommend using one pound of chicken thighs and one pound of chicken breast.

But if you don’t have one or the other, you can just use both of them.

The chicken thighs just make it juicier and more tender, and the chicken breast helps balance it out so that it’s not too fatty, but chicken thighs only work perfectly fine.

Cut these in half, though, because they are somewhat big, and then just drop them right into the marinade.

Marinating the chicken

Okay, and we will mix everything together to ensure the marinade gets all over the chicken.

So, as I mentioned earlier, the marinade process is really important.

If you can, marinate this for 24 hours or overnight. If you don’t have much time, you can just marinate it for one hour.

If it’s only going to be marinated for one hour, you can leave it at room temperature, otherwise, pop it in the fridge.

Baking the chicken

After we’ve let the chicken marinate, it’s time to go ahead and bake it in the oven. So, traditionally the way shawarma is made is on a spit.

So it’s like a large stick; a lot of meat is piled on top of it and then shaved. Because it’s really hard to mimic that at home, what I like to do is I like to bake the shawarma first, take it out of the oven, then slice it up, and then sear it on a cast iron skillet.

So, that makes it the closest as possible to restaurant-style chicken shawarma. So the first step is to go ahead and bake this in the oven.

We’ve got nice, thick pieces of the chicken thighs that we just cut in half earlier.

So go ahead and use a rimmed baking sheet, and I like to use parchment paper for easy cleanup.

You don’t have to use parchment paper. And there is a little bit of fat on these chicken thighs, but that’s going to make it so flavorful and juicy.

You can cut that off if you want to after it’s marinated, but I just leave it on and then let it cook off in the oven.

Searing the chicken

All right, we’re gonna pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, flipping it halfway through.

It looks so juicy and flavorful.

What I like to do at this point, though, is I like to slice it and sear it on the cast iron skillet, as I mentioned before.

That gives you more of that charred taste to shawarma. And there is no need to add oil to the skillet. We are just gonna use some of the juices.

And because we’ve got over two pounds of chicken in this recipe, we’re gonna cook them in batches, so they don’t get overcrowded in the skillet.

This way, they’re not steaming in the skillet but getting nice and seared.

All right, we gonna remove the first batch and set it aside on a platter. And I’ve just got some pickles, tomatoes, and parsley so we can make lovely shawarma sandwiches.

All right, here’s the final product.


This is one of my favorite recipes ever. I love ordering this when I go to Lebanese restaurants, but it’s easy to make it home.

It all comes down to the marinade and then searing it perfectly on that cast iron skillet. So you can have this by itself.

Serving the chicken shawarma

You can also throw it on top of salads, put it in sandwiches, and even make pitta pizzas with them, which is what I like.

Here’s one way I like to make a sandwich. So we’ll take some of the chicken, add a couple of slices of tomatoes, a couple of slices of Arabic-style pickles, and then a drizzle of this homemade Lebanese-style tahini sauce.

You can also use garlic sauce, which is very popular in a chicken shawarma recipe. So just roll it, tuck it in, tuck in the sides. It’s gonna be a nice beefy sandwich.

Mm. This chicken shawarma recipe is so good. It’s tender, juicy, and flavorful and goes so well with the pita bread, veggies, and tahini sauce.

I hope you guys try the recipe and love it.

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Homemade Chicken Shawarma

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  • Author: Howard Land
  • Total Time: 25 minutes


This oven-roasted Chicken Shawarma is easy to make at home with just a few spices, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil. This is a great recipe to make anytime ..



1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

6 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

¾ teaspoon cardamom

¾ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

¼ teaspoon cinnamon


Place the marinade ingredients in a large bowl: ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cardamom, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper and cinnamon; and whisk to blend.

Add the chicken into the large bowl with the marinade and stir with a spoon to evenly coat the chicken with the marinade. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Roast the chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Remove the chicken from the oven and use a sharp knife to thinly slice the chicken into thinly sliced pieces. If you’d like to give the chicken shawarma seared edges, you can transfer it to a skillet with its juice and saute until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the skillet though.

Serve with rice or in a pita with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and garlic sauce or tahini sauce.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 2-3 days in the fridge.


Make Ahead Tips: You can make the marinade up to a week in advance, and you can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours in advance.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: Main Course


  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 265
  • Sugar: 1
  • Sodium: 933
  • Fat: 14
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 2
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 31
  • Cholesterol: 120

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