Shawarma is a beloved Middle Eastern dish known for its succulent, marinated meat and vibrant flavors. Traditionally cooked on a vertical rotisserie, shawarma has made its way into kitchens worldwide, thanks to its delicious taste and adaptability. Whether you're new to Middle Eastern cuisine or a seasoned food enthusiast, this easy and delicious shawarma recipe will bring the rich, savory flavors of shawarma straight to your home.

Shawarma Recipe


For the Shawarma:

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs or lamb, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of one lemon

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to taste

For Assembly:

  • Pita bread or wraps
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Pickled turnips (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


Marinating the Meat

  1. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, yogurt, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, salt, minced garlic, and lemon juice.
  2. Add the sliced chicken or lamb to the bowl and mix well to ensure the meat is fully coated with the marinade.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.

Preparing the Garlic Sauce

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the plain yogurt, tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
  2. Mix well until smooth and creamy.
  3. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use.


Slicing and Preparing the Vegetables

  1. Slice the tomatoes, and cucumbers, and shred the lettuce.
  2. Chop the fresh parsley.
  3. Set aside the vegetables and parsley for assembling the shawarma.

Assembling the Shawarma

  1. Lay a pita bread or wrap it on a flat surface.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the garlic sauce on the pita or wrap.
  3. Add a portion of the cooked meat on top of the sauce.
  4. Layer the sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded lettuce, and pickled turnips (if using) over the meat.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  6. Roll up the pita or wrap tightly, folding in the sides as you go.


Cooking Options


  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Cook the marinated meat on the grill for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked and slightly charred.


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add a bit of oil to the skillet and cook the marinated meat in batches, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan.
  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked.


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Spread the marinated meat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the meat is fully cooked and slightly crispy.

Tips for Perfect Texture and Flavor

  • Ensure the meat is thinly sliced for even cooking.
  • Do not overcrowd the cooking surface to achieve a nice char and avoid steaming the meat.
  • Let the meat rest for a few minutes after cooking to retain its juices.


Shawarma is best enjoyed with sides that complement its rich flavors. Consider serving it with:

  • Hummus
  • Tabbouleh
  • Baba Ghanoush
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Freshly made salads


Making shawarma at home is easier than you might think! Follow these steps to create a delicious and flavorful shawarma that will impress your family and friends. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different ingredients to make the recipe your own. Enjoy the process and savor every bite!

Additional Tips

Customizing the Recipe

  • Spice Levels: Adjust the spices in the marinade to suit your taste. Add more cayenne pepper if you prefer a spicier shawarma.
  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute the meat with marinated and grilled vegetables or tofu for a vegetarian version.
  • Bread Choices: Use whole wheat pita or gluten-free wraps if you have dietary preferences.

Storing Leftovers

  • Store any leftover meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat the meat on the stovetop or in the oven before assembling your shawarma.
  • The garlic sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Enjoy your culinary journey into the world of shawarma!

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