Homemade Chicken Shawarma

This iconic Mediterranean meat style is traditionally seasoned, then roasted on a vertical spit, with thin pieces sliced off the edge to serve with tahini or tzatziki sauce and vegetables on pita bread.

But you don’t have to have one of these at home to bring the same experience to your table — the spices are the secret!

  • ¾ tbs Cumin, ground
  • ¾ tbs Turmeric powder
  • ¾ tbs Coriander, ground
  • ¾ tbs Garlic powder
  • ¾ tbs Paprika
  • ½ tsp Cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp Cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 8 Chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 1 lg Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lg Lemon, juiced
  • ⅓ cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

For serving:

  • 6 pita pockets
  • Tahini sauce or Greek tzatziki sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • Baby arugula
  • Pickles or Kalamata olives (optional)


  1. In small bowl, mix the cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, sweet paprika and cloves, then set aside.
  2. Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt on both sides, then thinly slice into small bite-sized pieces.
  3. Place chicken in a large bowl. Add spices and toss to coat. Add the onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss everything together again. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight (you can reduce or skip the marinating time)
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take chicken out of refrigerator and let it sit in room temperature for a few minutes.
  5. Spread marinated chicken with the onions in one layer on a large, lightly-oiled baking sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes in oven. For a more browned, crispier chicken, move the pan to the top rack and broil very briefly. Remove from the oven.
  6. While the chicken is roasting, prepare pita pockets. Make tahini or tzatziki sauce or have store-bought on hand.
  7. Open pita pockets up. Spread a little tahini sauce or tzatziki sauce, add chicken shawarma, arugula, and pickles or olives. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 | Prep Time 40 mins, not including marinating time