Chicken Shawarma


I’ve been making chicken shawarma for years but the recipe that originally appeared in my blog was not a recipe at all.  It was “a pinch of this” and “a little of this,” which is all well and good for me, but probably not all that helpful to most readers.  I’ve since revamped the ingredient list a bit, too, and wanted to highlight it since it’s really one of my favorite things. (Unfortunately I didn’t realize until looking at the pics that I accidentally used a flash. Oops.)

I prefer making this with chicken thighs because they taste richer and are much juicier.  But, you can certainly use chicken breasts, which I’ve also done many times (particularly when I’m making this as a topping for a salad).   Whenever there is yogurt in a marinade, it’s a pretty good sign that the meat will be very tender, and with all these delicious spices, it’ll taste great on any cut of meat!

I usually make this with tahini-yogurt sauce and serve it in pitas, but this time we had it with some fattoush salad and grilled pitas with hummus.

Chicken Shawarma

  • My kind of meal! Looks delicious.

  • I make chicken thighs more than any other cut of poultry because of the reasons you mentioned. This sounds like a lovely recipe for the summer! And I love the cinnamon…

  • Yoghurt based marinades are my favourite! Love the fattoush salad as well.

  • I am always looking for new ways to grill chicken. Thanks for the inspiration Elly:D

  • I think we all make the same mistake when we cook…a little pinch here or a glug there. We assume everyone knows what we are talking about!!
    Looks yummee to me!

  • Grace

    This is the BEST chicken shwarma recipe I have found to date! I didn’t expect it to be so flavorful! I was totally surprised at how all the spices melded together. Thanks for posting this! This will be a repeat very soon!

    • So glad you liked it, Grace!

  • This sounds so good Elly! I haven’t had chicken shwarma in way too long!

  • I love all the spices and have saved the recipe – it looks fabulous!

  • Kelly

    If I can’t find sumac, is there a suitable substitute until I can get some? I called up my Michigan people after reading your fattoush salad recipe..I have them on the lookout! 🙂

    • Hi Kelly. Sumac tastes sort of lemony and a little…fruity? I can’t really think of a good substitute. You could maybe add a little lemon zest to the mix. If you’re not opposed to ordering online, you can get it from The Spice House (, I buy from them locally) or Penzey’s.

  • Kelly

    Thanks, Elly. I was thinking of ordering from The Spice House. I actually just moved away from Chicago, and I miss that place tremendously! Thank you.

  • Susan

    are you using green cardamom ?

    • I’m not sure, actually. It’s Guatemalan cardamom, if that helps.

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