Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma

01.09.2018

Chicken Shawarma is all of my dinner dreams come true! This Middle Eastern-inspired chicken is bursting with a delicious blend of spices, plus it’s perfectly golden brown with a tender interior and crisp edges and it’s so easy to make.

Chicken Shawarma sliced and shown in a serving bowl with lemon wedges and parsley

What Is Shawarma?

Shawarma is one of my all-time favorite Middle Easter dishes. Essentially, it’s pieces of thinly sliced meat that have been stuffed inside a flatbread or pita. The pita is then topped with things like hummus, fresh veggies and yogurt tahini sauce.

Shawarma can be made from almost any meat (chicken, lamb, and beef are all popular choices). Traditionally, shawarma is made by placing a large piece of meat on a rotating cone. The meat is then cooked by a heat source at the back of the cone (think: rotisserie chicken style, sort of). 

This Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma recipe is an easy way to make this classic Middle Eastern dish at home. It starts out with a bright and earthy, well spiced lemony marinade. Meaning total flavor infusion, no boring chicken here!

Then it’s roasted to golden brown perfection and served over pita or rice along with all of your favorite toppings.

Chicken Shawarma shown here served in pita bread with a side of greek salad on a serving plate

Chicken Shawarma Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Spices (including cumin, paprika, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs

How to Make Chicken Shawarma

  • In a mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, salt and pepper.
  • Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag, pour marinade over chicken then seal bag while pressing out excess air.
  • Rub marinade over chicken, transfer chicken to refrigerator and allow to marinate at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a rimmed 18 by 13-inch, preferably dark coated, baking sheet with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and space evenly apart on baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven until cooked through and edges are crisp, about 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest 2 minutes then cut into bits. Serve in pita or with rice along with desired toppings.

Chicken Shawarma sliced and layered in a serving bowl

What to Serve with Chicken Shawarma

  • Healthy option: serve with brown basmati rice.
  • Low carb option: serve with roasted veggies.
  • Comfort food option: serve with homemade pita bread

Why Use a Dark Baking Sheet?

Like I mentioned in the recipe, a dark heavy baking sheet really does make a difference here. I don’t recommend using them for cookies and other baked goods because they over-brown things, but that’s what we want here – some browning. (You can get them on Amazon, of course).

A dark roasting pan should work well, too. If you don’t have either of those, a regular aluminum baking sheet works too, you just won’t get as much browning.

How to Make Tahini Sauce

I love topping my roasted chicken shawarma with a yogurt tahini sauce. It’s so simple to make, and it comes together in mere minutes. To make the tahini sauce, you need to combine the following in a bowl:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley, mint or cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

This tahini sauce will keep for up to a week in the fridge and is also a great dip for veggies!

Chicken Shawarma layered over pita bread with various toppings including lettuce, tomatoes, feta, red onion, and a tahini sauce

Tips for the Best Chicken Shawarma

  • The longer you let the chicken marinate, the more flavor it will have.
  • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after roasting before you slice it. This will give the juices time to redistribute and will make for more tender chicken.
  • Store the chicken and toppings separately to keep everything super fresh.

More Healthy Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

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Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma

5 from 13 votes

This Middle Eastern inspired chicken is boasting with a delicious blend of spices, it's perfectly golden brown with a tender interior and crisp edges and it's so easy to make! Great for making year round since no grill is required.

Servings: 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Optional serving suggestions

  • Warm pita bread* or flour tortillas or cooked rice
  • Tahini yogurt sauce**
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced cucumbers
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Chopped red onion
  • Feta cheese

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, salt and pepper.

  2. Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag, pour marinade over chicken then seal bag while pressing out excess air.

  3. Rub marinade over chicken, transfer chicken to refrigerator and allow to marinate at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. 

  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush a rimmed 18 by 13-inch, preferably dark coated, baking sheet with 1 Tbsp olive oil. 

  5. Remove chicken from marinade and space evenly apart on baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven until cooked through and edges are crisp, about 30 - 40 minutes. 

  6. Remove from oven and allow to rest 2 minutes then cut into bits. Serve in pita or with rice along with desired toppings. 

Recipe Notes

*For the pita bread you can find my recipe HERE, you'll only need 4 so halve the recipe and make 4 8-inch pitas.

**For the tahini yogurt sauce: add 2 Tbsp tahini to a small mixing bowl then use the back of a spoon to press tahini against bowl to smooth. Mix in 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 2 Tbsp minced parsley, mint or cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe source: Chicken inspired by my Grilled Moroccan Chicken and NYT

Nutrition Facts
Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 25%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 215mg 72%
Sodium 786mg 33%
Potassium 600mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Protein 38g 76%
Vitamin A 9.6%
Vitamin C 7.1%
Calcium 3.1%
Iron 14.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Chicken Shawarma
Calories: 343 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

36 comments

  • Karla: This recipe was delicious! It was my first attempt at homemade shwarma and thanks to this recipe it will now be a regular. Made it last night and making it again tomorrow. I didn’t have coriander so I substituted some chopped parsley and it was fine. I also thinly sliced an onion and marinated and baked them with the chicken and those were a tasty addition! I did use chicken breasts because that was all I had and they worked great! The final change I made was that I made double the marinade and after the chicken baked I sliced it up and did a quick fry with the marinade…it added an extra kevel of the shwarma flavor! Served it in tortilla wraps with rice, hummus, garlic and greens….the next day had it with avocado slices and red onion on leftover Rice! Thank you for the inspiration and the great recipe!!! February 16, 2019 at 4:27pm Reply

  • Raz Ali: Delicious! December 1, 2018 at 2:02pm Reply

  • Jocelyn: I made this for dinner tonight, and my family loved it! I used chicken breasts because that’s what I had on hand, and they worked fine. Thanks so much. April 22, 2018 at 8:13pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for leaving your feedback Jocelyn! April 24, 2018 at 11:40am Reply

  • Jessica Perrilleon: This was fantastic!!! The whole family loved it and devoured it! I always know I can count on your site for fantastic recipes! Thank you! March 14, 2018 at 8:25am Reply

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