This Chicken Shawarma recipe is marinated in a delicious oriental mixture of spices, then grilled until perfectly cooked. Loaded with flavor, serve chicken shawarma in a wrap, topped with yogurt sauce, and your favorite vegetables for the best culinary experience.
I’ve always wanted to make shawarma recipe at home and tried many recipes, but none were that great to be shared on the blog. However, over time I’ve perfected the chicken shawarma recipe and replicated the taste of Shawarma meat I love so much when eating out. The chicken is super juicy, full of flavor, and ready in just 20 minutes.
What Is Shawarma?
Chicken shawarma is one of the most popular street food dishes in the world, and its recipe dates back to the 19th century, originating from the Middle East. It was traditionally made with lamb or mutton, then layered on a vertical rotisserie, slowly roasted, and thinly sliced. Now Shawarma can be made using any cut of meat such as chicken, turkey, beef, or veal.
Usually, Shawarma is served tucked inside a piece of pita bread and topped with tahini, yogurt sauce, and fresh vegetables.
The classic spices in Shawarma may include cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, cumin, or cardamom.
Shawarma is the Arabic name for “turn,” referring to the rotating block of meat for grilling.
Don’t worry, you can get the same Arabic flavors at home with this easy chicken recipe!
Is Shawarma Keto-Friendly?
No, traditional Shawarma is not keto-friendly since it’s with a wheat tortilla, and in the Middle East is served with fries and pickles.
However, the shawarma meat is completely keto-approved as it’s just meat, fat, and tons of spices. Skip the bread and enjoy shawarma meat with vegetables.
To make a keto chicken shawarma use low carb wraps that you can get from the store or make at home.
Reasons this Chicken Shawarma is The Best
- Replicates the taste of traditional Shawarma meat.
- Easy to make at home in just 20 minutes.
- No need for a special rotisserie as we grill the chicken.
- The Shawarma spice mixture includes cumin, paprika, cloves, garlic powder.
Ingredients in Chicken Shawarma
You’ll be surprised to discover that you can prepare deeply delicious chicken shawarma with just a few ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Here’s a note on the ingredients:
- Chicken Thighs – I used boneless skinless chicken thighs as they tend to be tender and juicier than the chicken breast. However, chicken breast or turkey breast are both fantastic options.
- Onion – yellow onion is used to marinate the chicken and makes it super tender. You can discard it after marinating, but I choose to keep it as I really love onion.
- Cumin – It gives an earthy, warm, rich, and hearty flavor, adding a bittersweet taste.
- Turmeric – is an authentic ingredient for Lebanese chicken shawarma.
- Paprika – use smoked paprika for an intense flavor. Replace with chili powder for an extra kick.
- Garlic Powder – you can also use fresh garlic.
- Ground Cloves – give a mildly spicy taste.
- Salt&Pepper – to taste.
- Lemon Juice – helps the meat become tender while marinating.
- Oil – I recommend using avocado or olive oil.
How To Make This Delicious Chicken Shawarma
The hardest part of making chicken shawarma is marinating the chicken overnight. You can prep it the night before cooking to allow the flavors to develop. But don’t worry if you’re short on time; the flavors are incredible if you cook the meat just after adding the spices.
Prepare the marinade
Begin by preparing the marinade. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and mix them thoroughly. Ensure that each chicken thigh is well coated by adding the chicken thighs to the bowl and tossing them until they are evenly covered. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let the chicken marinate for a minimum of 3 hours to enhance the flavors.
Cook the chicken
Next, it’s time to cook the chicken. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and cook the chicken thighs for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can opt to cook the chicken in the oven at 425°F for approximately 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking process for even browning.
Make the Sauce
While the chicken is cooking, let’s prepare a delicious sauce. To make the sauce, combine yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined, adjusting the seasonings according to your preference.
Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, it’s time to assemble your shawarma. Start by slicing the chicken into thin strips. Take low-carb wraps and place the sliced chicken on top. Drizzle the yogurt sauce generously over the chicken, and then add a layer of fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and finely sliced onions. To ensure that everything stays in place, wrap the tortilla tightly, creating a flavorful and satisfying wrap.
This recipe makes enough meat for 6-8 people, so it’s a great meal if you’re looking to serve a larger hungry crowd.
Feel free to get creative with additional toppings or add-ons such as avocado slices, grated cheese, or a squeeze of lime juice. Serve your deliciously assembled wraps and savor the delightful combination of flavors.
Tips For Making The Best Chicken Shawarma
- After you assemble your Shawarma, you can put it on the grill you used to make the chicken thighs. In this way, the tortilla will have a great flavor.
- IΩ`f you’re working with larger chicken thigh or breast fillets, here’s a tip to ensure they cook evenly. Give them a good pounding to make sure they’re all the same thickness. This way, you won’t end up with some parts undercooked while others are overdone. It’s all about achieving that perfect, juicy chicken in every bite.
- Here’s a little secret to make your chicken even juicier. Let it rest for a few minutes after cooking before you start slicing. This allows all those flavorful juices to redistribute and really infuse the meat, ensuring every bite is incredibly tender and succulent. Trust me, it’s worth the extra few minutes of patience.
- One thing you want to avoid, though, is overcooking the chicken. If you leave it on the grill for too long, it can turn dry and tough. Keep a close eye on the cooking time and make sure to check for doneness. You can use a meat thermometer or simply cut into the thickest part of the chicken to ensure it’s cooked through but still moist and flavorful.
- Don’t limit yourself to low-carb tortillas; you can try using pita bread, naan, or even lettuce wraps as alternative options for your Shawarma wraps.
- To add a refreshing element, consider adding a dollop of tzatziki sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top of your assembled Shawarma for an extra burst of tanginess.
Can I Make This Recipe Ahead?
This is a great chicken recipe for making ahead for those busy days. This make-ahead option is a game-changer, saving you time and effort on those hectic days. All you need to do is follow the recipe instructions and prepare the chicken according to your liking. Once cooked, let it cool down and store it for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Fridge: You can store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Freezing the leftovers is another great option. Allow the chicken to cool completely, and store it in the freezer for one month.
This chicken shawarma can be reheated in the microwave or in a skillet for a few minutes.
Alternatively, cold Lebanese chicken shawarma can be served on salads.
What Can I Serve With This Chicken Shawarma?
- Hummus and Pita: Serve your Shawarma with a side of creamy hummus and warm, fluffy pita bread. The combination of the tender chicken, tangy sauce, and the rich hummus is simply irresistible.
- Fresh Salad: Prepare a crisp and refreshing salad to serve alongside your Shawarma. A classic Mediterranean salad with cucumber, tomato, red onion, and a lemony vinaigrette would be a great choice. You can also add some chopped parsley or mint for extra freshness.
- Roasted Vegetables: Roast a your favorite colorful vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, or cherry tomatoes. The caramelized flavors of the roasted veggies pair wonderfully with the seasoned chicken.
- This chicken shawarma can also be served with cauliflower rice.
Looking for More Chicken Recipes? Try these:
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
- Marry Me Chicken with Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
- Bacon Wrapped Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Chicken Shawarma Seasonings
- ¾ tbsp ground cumin
- ¾ tbsp turmeric powder
- ¾ tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cardamon
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Low Carb Wraps
- Tzatziki Sauce or Yogurt Sauce
- Tomato slices
- Sliced lettuce
- Onion slices
- In a large bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, all the chicken shawarma spices, and the onion slices.
- Add the chicken into the bowl, and mix well to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side or until crispy on the edges. You’ll have to cook chicken in batches if your pan isn’t large enough to fit all the chicken pieces.
- Remove the chicken from the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then slice the chicken into strips.
- Serve with low carb wraps, topped with lettuce, yogurt sauce, tomatoes, or your favorite vegetables. Enjoy!
How do we calculate the nutrition info?
These nutrition facts listed are determined using nutrition information from the USDA Food Database. Our nutrition facts are accurate, but if you are using different products, please make your calculations. Net carb count is calculated by subtracting both fiber and sugar alcohols because they don’t raise blood sugar.
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