Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma

January 9, 2018

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

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:

Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma
5 from 14 votes

Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma

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
Prep20 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 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

  • 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. 

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*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 215mg72%
Sodium 786mg34%
Potassium 600mg17%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 480IU10%
Vitamin C 5.9mg7%
Calcium 31mg3%
Iron 2.6mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

Categorized:

Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

39 Comments

  • Pauline lloyd

    Loved this recipe it’s defiantly going into my rotation. I served it over brown rice with a Greek salad.

  • Kathrin

    It’s so tasty! So glad that I found this page. Everyone is asking for the recipe ????

  • Natalie

    AMAZING! My whole family loved it, and that says something. I made the pita bread as well as it was so light and fluffy. Wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Louise

    This is the third time that I’m making this recipe since it was first posted – that’s how much we all love it here. It is as tasty as any of the chicken shawarma I’ve had from any restaurant in our area. And given that we live in Toronto there are tons of them! The yogurt tahini sauce is a must – I also add sriracha sauce to spice it up. And I have served it over a bed of basmati rice with lentils each time, sauce drizzled on top of the chicken with a bowl on the side for those who want extra. Yum!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so happy to hear you’ve been enjoying this recipe Louise! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  • Polly M

    As usual you did not disappoint with this one. We just did Shawama over rice which I put 1/4 tsp Turmeric in the water before I cooked it, very pretty yellow rice! Rice, chicken strips and condiments on top with the dressing. I think my guys would like more of a yogurt dressing than the humus so I will try that next time. Forgot the feta but did not think I needed it. Could not believe the left overs! I also was not a fan of chicken thighs but I use them in a lot of my recipes now. So much more flavor the the boneless chicken breasts which tend to dry out.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Im’ so glad you and your family liked this Chicken Shawarama Polly! Love your addition of yellow rice! Thanks so much for your review!

  • Justine

    We loved this so much, we’re putting it in the regular dinner rotation!

    We didn’t follow the recipe exactly, first of all. There was no coriander in our grocery store, so instead, I did a half measure of poultry seasoning, and another half of cumin (I think?). It marinaded overnight and through the day. I also winged the olive oil on the pan rather than measuring out a TB, and might not’ve spaced it “evenly” on the sheet. It was still delicious.

    We did 4 chicken breasts instead of leg meat. I also cut up the chicken before marinading, not after oven baking, but it still turned out tasty. To get it golden brown in the cookie sheet, we went the whole 40 minutes at 425 deg. It was not dried out!

    We did naan bread from Costco instead of pita. I regret nothing! We also made the tahini yogurt sauce at the bottom of the recipe with parsley, and kind of winged it again because we just got 2 cups of yogurt from the grocery store (10 oz, not 8 like the recipe called for). You can kind of play that by taste rather than as strict to the recipe– we were eating that as a dip while waiting for the chicken to cook, so it definitely didn’t suck. We also got cilantro hummus for the shawarma naan tacos and TOTALLY FORGOT the feta cheese. Oops! Thank goodness for leftovers, right??? Not that there’s anything to improve, but next time I think I’ll try making pickled turnips for the toppings. :)

    Thank you for this awesome recipe!!

  • Miriam

    Looks delish! My husband hates lemon, do you think i could substitute red wine vinegar???