Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Chicken Souvlaki Wrap
LauriPatterson / Getty Images
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings
Ratings (51)

Shawarma is like the ultimate on the go meal. Thinly sliced meat, wrapped in a pita bread with veggies and sauce is a delicious quick meal. Before attempting a shawarma recipe, please read "Shawarma 101: Tips for Making Authentic Shawarma."

If you have never had shawarma, you are truly missing out on a Middle Eastern delight! Thinly sliced seasoned meat that is cradled in piping hot pita, topped with crisp veggies or onion rings is the ultimate fast food. Like a fast food burger with it's ketchup and mustard, shawarma is not complete unless it has a sauce to go with it.

Sauces for Shawama
There are several sauces that go well shawarma. You can squeeze the sauce on like ketchup with a condiment dispenser or as a dip, au jus style. Here are my favorite shawarma sauces:

  • Tahini Sauce: This sesame based sauce is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. It is commonly served with shawarma.
  • Falafel Hot Sauce: Yes, it says falafel, but I love it on shawarma. Be careful, it is definitely spicy.
  • Tarator Sauce: This is the secret sauce that Middle East restaurants won't tell you about. Well, the secret is out and this sauce is just as easy to make as it is delicious! Tarator combines tahini with garlic to make a fantastic sauce.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (thinly cut)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • ___________________________
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • ___________________________
  • PITA FILLINGS:
  • 8 loaves of pita bread or 4 large
  • thinly slice cucumbers
  • thinly sliced onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • thinly sliced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • pickle slices (optional)

How to Make It

Combine all ingredients except for chicken, fillings, and sauce ingredients to make marinade. If it seems a little dry, add a little olive oil (a tablespoon at a time). Here is an excellent tahini recipe, if you do not have some handy.

Add chicken, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

In a stockpot or large saucepan, cook chicken over medium heat for 45 minutes or until done.

Be sure not to overcook! If chicken becomes a little dry, add a few tablespoons of water throughout cooking duration.

While chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. Combine sauce ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Take the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and sprinkle with sumac. Add other filling ingredients in a large bowl and combine well.

When the chicken is done, you can shred it, slice it, or leave into large pieces. As long as it it thinly cut, there is not much difference. I prefer to cut mine into wide strips.

Prepare the Pita

Place enough chicken on pita that cover 1/4 of the loaf. Add veggies and pour sauce. Roll like a soft taco or burrito and you have shawarma! You can also stuff the pocket of the pita if you like. I prefer to roll large pitas (this is where making your own pita comes in handy), but it is hard to find large loaves of pita at the supermarket.

Serving Shawarma

You can serve shawarma with fries, falafel, hummus, or with a salad like tabouleh.