This super easy Chicken Shawarma recipe is a classic Mediterranean-inspired dish loaded with tons of spices and baked until golden brown. If you’ve ever thought chicken was boring, this is the recipe that will change your mind!
Homemade Chicken Shawarma
After a recent trip to Israel, I was on a mission to replicate the street-style chicken shawarma I enjoyed there. But instead of grilling the chicken in bite sized pieces on kabobs like they traditionally did in Israel, I kept the chicken thighs whole and baked them in the oven. After the chicken bakes, I broil them for a few minutes on each side. This helps to get the golden brown char on the chicken similar to grilling.
This dish is so fragrant with tons of spices. Your entire house will smell divine! And the chicken comes out moist and tender thanks to the marinating and broiling. If you’ve ever thought chicken thighs were boring, this chicken shawarma recipe will change your mind!
Serve this dish as an entree with sides like my Mediterranean quinoa, over some mixed greens as a salad, in a pita with some hummus as a riff on a gyro, or over crispy pita chips with some fresh veggies and tzatziki sauce for Mediterranean-style nachos!
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: I love using chicken thighs because they’re pretty cheap and nearly impossible to overcook. And they’re perfect for flavorful recipes like this shawarma that uses a variety of bold flavors. However, you can use breasts, if you prefer.
- Lemon Juice: This helps cut through the concentrated dry spices in the marinade and offers some bright bursts of fresh acidic flavor for the spiced chicken.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: To marry the spices in the marinade together and adhere them to the chicken thighs.
- Garlic: Minced fine so they almost melt into the chicken thighs and other spices.
- Dry Seasonings: Ground cumin, paprika (smoked, if possible), turmeric, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper are all you need to get the bold flavor of street-style Chicken Shawarma at home!
- Fresh Parsley: Chopped for garnish.
How To Make Chicken Shawarma
Making Chicken Shawarma at home is a lot easier to make than you might think! All you need is a few minutes of prep time.
This recipe all starts with an awesome marinade comprised of olive oil, lemon juice, and lots of fragrant spices. The chicken can be marinated overnight or for at least an hour. Once the chicken has marinated, I preheat the oven to 425 degrees. A hot oven helps to crisp up the chicken and makes it perfectly golden brown.
The last minute of cooking you can turn on the broiler to get some extra crispness and browning.
Can You Grill This Chicken Shawarma Recipe
Absolutely! This recipe can easily be made on the grill as full thighs or breasts, or skewered, after marinating of course. Grill until golden brown, and cooked through (about 10-15 minutes). You can also throw some sliced veggies like red onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms into your marinade and grill them, too. (Best for kebabs.)
How To Serve Chicken Shawarma
Serve this chicken in a warm pita with Garlic Sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions for your own homemade gyro! Or serve as an entree over rice or a salad. Hummus, tahini, or Mediterranean salsa also make great toppings for this chicken! You can also make your own Mediterranean-style pizza with this on top!
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
This Chicken Shawarma recipe is perfect for meal prepping ahead of a busy week or freezing to eat later.
- Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freeze cooked and cooled chicken in a freezer-safe, airtight container or plastic bag for one month. You can also prepare the chicken through the marinade stage and then freeze the raw chicken thighs and marinade together for up to 3 months. Allow cooked or raw frozen chicken to thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter at room temperature.
- Reheat thawed or chilled cooked chicken in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, until warmed through. Allow raw chicken to thaw completely before assembling to cook.
More Delicious Chicken Recipes To Try
- Chicken Katsu
- Easy Chicken Marsala
- Baked Teriyaki Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Caprese
- Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Thighs
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- chopped fresh parsley for serving if desired
- Add chicken to a large ziplock bag along with all of the ingredients except the chopped fresh parsley. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- When you are ready to cook preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Place chicken in a greased baking dish and bake until golden brown and cooked through. (Mine took about 15 minutes because the chicken was on the thinner side). In the last minute or two of cooking switch the oven to Broil. Cook chicken for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing.
- Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve the chicken in a pita or on top of a salad or over rice!