I like to eat lighter foods in the summertime because it’s uncomfortable to walk around full and sluggish in hot weather. So I eat lots of salads, wraps, and fruit. This weekend I was craving chicken shawarma and decided to just make it myself.

Chicken shawarma is traditionally prepared on a vertical, rotating spit over open flames. As a result, it can be challenging to prepare an authentic version of this dish at home. Fortunately, this tasty recipe delivers great shawarma flavor using tools you probably already have in your kitchen.

Tip: For quick make-ahead meals, double or triple this recipe and prepare several freezers bags with chicken and marinade at once. Then, place each bag in the freezer until ready to use. Pull out a bag the night before preparing to give the chicken a chance to defrost and marinade at the same time.

Chicken Shawarma
Cook Time
18 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 4
Marinade Ingredients:
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Greek Yogurt Dressing
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
To Serve
  • Bibb or Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Tomato slices
  • Cucumber slices
  1. In a medium bowl, combine garlic, spices, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and whisk to combine. 

  2. Place chicken thighs in a large, sealable plastic bag and pour marinade mixture on top. Seal the bag and gently turn to thoroughly coat chicken. Place in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight. 

  3. To prepare the yogurt sauce, combine all ingredients in a glass or other non-reactive bowl and stir to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from bag and discard remaining marinade. Add the chicken to the hot skillet and brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired.

  5. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, approximately 6-7 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes. 

  6. Slice chicken and arrange on lettuce leaves and top with tomatoes and cucumbers. Drizzle with Greek yogurt dressing and serve immediately. 

If you’re not a fan of lettuce for your chicken shawarma, eat it on some naan bread. Trader Joes has a really good frozen garlic naan that would be perfectly paired with this recipe.  You can also pair this recipe with rice or cauliflowered rice if you’re trying to cut down on carbs.
Hope you enjoy!


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