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.
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 Ingredients
- Olive oil
- 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.
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!
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:
- Greek Chicken Kebabs with Tzatziki Sauce
- Greek Grilled Chicken and Hummus Wrap
- Slow Cooker Chicken (Whole Rotisserie Style)
- Tandoori Chicken (Grill or Oven Method)
- One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies
Follow Cooking Classy
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.
- 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
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 F. 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.
*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.