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 Grilled Chicken Shawarma is bursting with Middle Eastern Flavors! Serve it up with Israeli Salad and Basmati Rice (or Naan Bread) with a side of Tzatziki or Baba Ganoush! The perfect combination of flavors. No grill? Try this Baked Chicken Shawarma! 
Grilled Chicken Shawarma
One of my favorite recipes on the blog- this Middle Eastern recipe for Grilled Chicken Shawarma is packed full of amazing flavor and turns out delicious every single time. It comes together easily and it’s one we use a lot at home and in our catering business. The flavors are out of this world! Serve it up in three different ways!

 How to Make Chicken Shawarma!| 60-sec video

What is Shawarma?

Shawarma originates from the Middle East and in essence, is deeply seasoned, marinated meat (typically lamb, beef or chicken) that has been stacked on a vertical spit, to roast low and slow for hours on end while slowly turning, nestled up to the gas-burning grill. Shawarma translates to “turning” in Turkish.  Once roasted, the meat is tender, juicy, and full of incredible flavor from the spices, and is often thinly sliced and folded into pita, or wraps, or made into a shawarma plate.

This EASY Grilled Chicken Shawarma skewers in a pita with tzatziki and tomatoes, cucumber and red onion.

Ways to Grill Chicken Shawarma:

Since most of us don’t own a rotisserie or a vertical turning spit, the next best way to mimic this technique is to grill the shawarma.  You can use a gas grill or charcoal grill. We can do this in two different ways:
  1. Grill whole chicken thighs, then slice.
  2. Make Kabobs or skewers!

Ways to serve Chicken Shawarma:

  1.  Serve as a Sandwich: Wrap the chicken shawarma in a pita or wrap with tzatziki sauce or tahini sauce with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions or pickled onions and serve as a flavorful sandwich or wrap.
  2. Serve as a Salad: Serve Chicken Shawarma over a bed of a chilled Israeli Salad – a salad made of very finely diced summer vegetables and fresh herbs. The combination of hot grilled juicy chicken, together with the chilled Israeli Salad is refreshing and delicious.
  3. Create a Shawarma “Plate” with Lebanese Slaw (or Israeli Salad), Basmati Rice, Tzaziki, or Baba Ganoush, or Hummus, or Labneh!
 Grilled Chicken Shawarma over Israeli Salad

Chicken Shawarma Marinade Spices:

Toasting whole spices gives the shawarma marinade a more intense flavor, but using ground spices is quicker and easier and works well too!  Use toasted whole seeds or ground spices, or a combo!

  1.  cumin
  2.  coriander
  3.  garlic cloves
  4. kosher salt
  5. cayenne pepper
  6.  turmeric
  7.  ground ginger
  8.  black pepper
  9.  allspice
Chicken Shawarma marinade spices
STEP 1: Make the Shawarma marinade, using whole or ground spices- and stir the spices with garlic and olive oil (or pulse in a food processor) to create a flavorful paste. Tip: if making a big batch, I often place in a food processor.
 Grilled Chicken Shawarma marinade
Step 2: Coat the chicken thighs well with the shawarma marinade, keeping in mind the longer you marinate the better the flavor. A minimum of 20 mins, or up to 48 hours in the fridge!
Tip: For this recipe, I use boneless, skinless thighs, as thighs end up being extra tender and juicy. Keep the chicken thighs whole or cut into bite-sized pieces for skewers.
 chicken shawarma marinating in a bowl.
Step 3: Grill the chicken either whole or on skewers over medium-high heat, until good grill marks appear.
Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Step 4: Once the chicken gets a nice char, either turn the heat down and cover, to cook through, or place into a 350 F oven until chicken thighs are cooked all the way through ( to 170F).

Grilled Chicken Shawarma skewers

Step 5: Cover the chicken shawarma with foil and let rest 5-10 minutes.
Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Step 6:  Thinly slice!

Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Israeli Salad.
Here I’ve sliced up the whole Chicken Shawarma to place over a big bowl or Israeli Salad. Light and refreshing!
This EASY Grilled Chicken Shawarma recipe is bursting with Middle Eastern Flavor! Serve over highly addicting Israeli Salad. |
I love the warm grilled chicken over the cool and refreshing salad, so good!
Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Israeli Salad.

What is shawarma sauce made of?

Shawarma is often served with a “White Sauce” that can be whipped up in a food processor or blender. It is typically made with garlic, lemon, salt and olive oil , similar to a creamy aioli (but without the egg).  More often than not, I prefer serving shawarma with yogurt-based Tzatziki, but I’ll include this white sauce in the recipe below.

shawarma sauce aka white sauce


What to Serve with Chicken Shawarma:

Pick any of the following!

 Grilled Chicken Shawarma skewers in a pita with tomato, cucumber, and tzatziki.
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This EASY Grilled Chicken Shawarma recipe is bursting with Middle Eastern Flavors! Serve it as a wrap, in pita bread with tzatziki sauce and Israeli Salad. | #shawarma #chicken #chickenshawarma #shawarmawrap

Grilled Chicken Shawarma Recipe


A simple delicious recipe for chicken shawarma that can be grilled or baked – full of Middle Eastern flavor. Serve with homemade pita bread and tzatziki or over Israeli Salad.


Units Scale
  • 2 lbs to 2 1/4 lb chicken thighs (boneless and skinless, or skin on- see notes)

Shawarma Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon allspice

White Sauce:

  • juice of one large lemon
  • 1215 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup olive oil, or grape seed oil


  1. Soak skewers in water if using.
  2. Place all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix, or pulse in a food processor to make a paste.
  3. Rub chicken on all sides with the marinade and let sit at minimum 20 minutes (or up to 24-48 hours refrigerated). You can also cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and marinate for skewers.
  4. Grill chicken on a pre-heated Grill, on medium-high heat, closing the lid to the BBQ, until all sides have nice grill marks, about 8 minutes each side. Move to a cooler part of the grill or finish cooking chicken in a 350 F oven until cooked all the way through ( 170F) , about 10 minutes.  (Alternatively, you can  bake the chicken thighs in a 375 F oven for 30-40 minutes)
  5. Enjoy the chicken shawarma over Israeli salad, tabouli, Lebanese Slaw, or with rice and veggies, or as a sandwich with tzatziki,  pita bread,  tomatoes, cucumber and red onion.
  6. To make the White Sauce, place garlic, lemon and salt in a blender or food processor and pulse until relatively smooth, scraping down the sides. Whilst the motor is going, very gradually drizzle in the olive oil to create an emuslion. Pour into a bowl or jar and refrigerate until serving. (This will keep 4 days, refrigerated.)


Feel free to use chicken breasts, understanding grilling time will shorten. I prefer thighs because they are pretty hard to overcook/dry out.

If using skewers: Make sure to soak wood skewers in water, at least 30 minutes so they don’t burn. Marinate the cubes of chicken in a bowl for at least 20 minutes, before skewering.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 314
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Sodium: 1088.3 mg
  • Fat: 18.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.8 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 32.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 149.1 mg

Keywords: chicken shawarma, grilled chicken shawarma, chicken shawarma recipe, chicken shawarma calories, chicken shawarma calories, chicken shawarma marinade, grilled chicken shawarma

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  1. I make this often for entertaining, it is as much a hit as it is for a week night dinner. I usually refer to the lamb version as well and add a few things, I love sumac and cardamom. We put two lemon halves on the grill to carmelize and pour it over the chicken when cooked. It is tented in foil for a few minutes and brings it to another level—I think that idea came from Sylvia too?

  2. I have made this recipe so many times, but as we are heading into Summer in the southern hemisphere, I made it tonight for the first time in ages.. My husband said “What did you do to make the chicken sooo good??” It’s relatively simple but so much flavour and easy to put together. Always one of our favourites. Thank you.

  3. I’m not kidding when I say this is my go to dish, whether entertaining or weeknight. Gorgeous flavours and the meat is always really tender and juicy. I normally always use chicken thighs, pack them on a skewer and marinate overnight and oven cook and thinly slice on the day- works every time and fully recommend 👌 I love this with the Lebanese slaw, tzatziki and Israeli salad.

  4. Delicious, and enjoyed by all. Did use whole coriander and cumin seed, since I had them, and otherwise rushed the project a bit – used all breast meat, marinated about 4 hours. Not dry, and very flavorful! Bonus – the basmati rice technique was GENIUS – had heard of that method but never tried – did not rinse before cooking (forgot) and still had fluffy, individual grains of rice from a brand that regularly gives me glue-y rice in my rice cooker. Extra bonus – the tempering oil (ghee). Perfect with the meat. Winner recipe overall, with the salad!

  5. Really easy and delicious. All the family loved it & I had all the spices in the cupboard! Made the Lebanese slaw and Israeli salad to go with it 😀

    Since you mention ISRAELI SALAD… Most Israelis don’t eat DAIRY with MEA, so no CACIK – Turkish yogurt w cucumbers..(TSATSIKI is the Greek, but the origin is Turkish..) and besides, SHWARMA is served with thin mixture of THINA – the sesame paste dip.. [TAHINI is the Greek word, but THINA is Arabic/Hebrew in its origin… means GROUND (the sesame seeds are ground)]

  7. I made this with half chicken breasts and half chicken thighs. Everyone loved it and went back for more! This includes 4 teens, my mother and her friend! I served it with basmati rice and your Israeli salad. Yum!

  8. Another 5 Star, amazingly delicious recipe from FAH! Love the fresh veggies and perfectly spiced grilled chicken. Since I discovered FAH, I prefer making FAH recipes to eating out.

  9. This looks delish! There is a lot of sodium listed though, where is it coming from? A family member has high blood pressure and needs to cut down on sodium. I’d really like to make this.

  10. My first visit to your site and I will be back! This recipe is so good and easy to make. The combination of spices on the chicken was perfect- all of my favorites plus allspice! Oh, my! We made the Israeli Salad and the Tzadiki to go with the chicken. I never made Tzatziki before but my husband, who loves his sauces and dressings, said it was exceptional! Had a nice healthy glass of cucumber juice while preparing dinner, too! The salad is so fresh and the combination of herbs and lemon was sublime. Thank-you for posting this recipe!

  11. My husband grilled the thighs after they had been marinated about 24 hours. I had some concerns the chicken would be over-seasoned for my 88 year old mother in law, but she loved it as much as we did! My 20 year old daughter just asked me for a suggestion for chicken thighs….guess what she will be making tonight? Another wonderful recipe. Thank you!

  12. I love this recipe. I have made it several times for company and everyOne always loves it 🙂 I am notorious to adding my own flair or doctoring to make things better but this simply doesn’t need it. LOVE THIS

  13. This recipe is a keeper! I have made it MANY times. I always double the recipe to be sure to have leftovers. We love it for lunches or just as a yummy snack in the upcoming few days!

  14. Made this for dinner and it was a HUGE hit! The only thing I will change for next time is less coriander and cumin. I also made the israeli salad, pickled onions and zhoug. Wrapped it all in a tortilla with hummus (didn’t have tahini) and WOW, DELICIOUS! Your recipes are by far my favorite for the the whole family!! Thank you so much for sharing these!

  15. This recipe is absolutely fantabulous. I made it along with the Israeli Salad – (perfect), tzadiki (perfect) and Basmati rice – the combination was sublime. Every recipe of yours I have tried has been absolutely amazing – thank you for sharing.

  16. Sylvia, this is a good recipe. The whole family loved it and I love when I can say that.
    We had it with Lebanese bread, lettuce, grated carrot, sliced tomatoes and radishes, tabbouleh and garlic sauce. I only made 500g but next time I will make more for planned leftovers. Soooo wonderful, thank you.

  17. Usually I make shwarma as a kebob on sticks. This was new and so easy and delicious with the Israeli salad.

Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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