Authentic Chicken Shawarma Recipe from Saudi Arabia

Chicken Shawarma

Authentic Chicken Shawarma Recipe from Saudi Arabia
Region / culture: Saudi Arabia | Preparation time: 12 hours | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 10


Chicken Shawarma
Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern dish made with marinated chicken that is grilled and then sliced. It is typically served in a pita or flatbread with various toppings and sauces.


Shawarma is believed to have originated in Turkey, where it was traditionally made with lamb or beef. Over time, the dish spread to other Middle Eastern countries and variations were made with chicken. Today, chicken shawarma is enjoyed all over the world for its flavorful and aromatic taste.


How to prepare

  1. Remove the skin from the chicken.
  2. Cut the chicken into quarters.
  3. Flatten the chicken pieces and marinate them with all the ingredients. Keep them in the refrigerator overnight (12 hours).
  4. Insert the meat onto a shawarma spike, stacking them on top of each other.
  5. Grill the meat on a shawarma machine or slice them and grill on a stovetop grill.
  6. Serve as sandwiches or on a plate, accompanied by garlic sauce, mint leaves, and pickles.


  • Use lamb or beef instead of chicken for a different flavor profile.
  • Add different spices to the marinade, such as paprika or turmeric, for a unique twist.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Marinate the chicken for at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to fully develop.

- Use a shawarma machine for the most authentic results, but a stovetop grill can also be used.

- Serve the chicken shawarma with traditional accompaniments like garlic sauce, mint leaves, and pickles for a complete meal.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the chicken shawarma in a pita or flatbread with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and tahini sauce.

Cooking Techniques

Use a shawarma machine for the most authentic results, but a stovetop grill can also be used to cook the chicken.

Ingredient Substitutions

Greek yogurt can be used instead of plain yogurt in the marinade.

- White wine vinegar can be used instead of white vinegar.

Make Ahead Tips

Marinate the chicken the night before and store it in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the chicken shawarma on a platter with a side of garlic sauce, mint leaves, and pickles for a beautiful presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Serve the chicken shawarma with a side of tabbouleh salad and hummus for a complete Middle Eastern meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover chicken shawarma in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on a stovetop grill until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Calories: 300 per serving


Carbohydrates: 10g per serving


Total Fat: 15g per serving

Saturated Fat: 3g per serving


Protein: 25g per serving

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin C: 10% of daily value per serving

Iron: 15% of daily value per serving


Contains dairy (yogurt)


Chicken Shawarma is a protein-rich dish that is moderate in carbohydrates and fats. It is a good source of iron and vitamin C.


Chicken Shawarma is a flavorful and aromatic Middle Eastern dish made with marinated chicken that is grilled and sliced. It is typically served in a pita or flatbread with various toppings and sauces for a delicious and satisfying meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I recall the feeling of curiosity that overcame me when I found this recipe for Chicken Shawarma. It was a cool autumn day, and I was rummaging through an old recipe box that belonged to my mother. As I flipped through the yellowed index cards, my eyes landed on a faded piece of paper tucked in between two recipes for apple pie. The title read "Chicken Shawarma - A Taste of the Mediterranean."

I had never heard of Chicken Shawarma before, but the ingredients listed sounded exotic and enticing. I could almost smell the fragrant spices and taste the tender, marinated chicken in my mind. Determined to recreate this mysterious dish, I set out to learn more about its origins and how to make it.

I reached out to a friend of mine who had traveled extensively through the Middle East and asked her if she had any tips or insights on making Chicken Shawarma. She was thrilled that I was interested in exploring new culinary horizons and invited me to her home for a cooking lesson.

As soon as I walked through her door, I was enveloped in a cloud of warm, aromatic spices. My friend had set up a makeshift kitchen in her backyard, complete with a grill and a large mortar and pestle. She explained that Chicken Shawarma is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that is typically made with marinated chicken, spices, and vegetables, all wrapped in a warm pita bread.

We started by marinating the chicken in a mixture of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and a blend of spices that included cumin, paprika, and turmeric. As the chicken soaked up the flavors, my friend showed me how to make a tangy yogurt sauce to accompany the dish. She mixed together Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice until it was smooth and creamy.

Once the chicken had marinated for a few hours, we threaded it onto skewers and grilled it over an open flame. The smell of the sizzling meat was mouthwatering, and I couldn't wait to taste the final product. After the chicken had cooked through, we removed it from the grill and sliced it thinly.

My friend handed me a warm pita bread and showed me how to assemble the Chicken Shawarma. I spread a generous dollop of the yogurt sauce on the bread and piled on the grilled chicken, along with some fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions. The combination of flavors and textures was incredible – tender chicken, tangy sauce, crunchy vegetables – all wrapped up in a soft, pillowy pita.

As I took my first bite, I was transported to a bustling marketplace in the heart of the Middle East. The medley of spices danced on my tongue, and I could almost hear the calls of vendors hawking their wares in the background. This was truly a taste of the Mediterranean, and I was grateful to have stumbled upon this recipe in my mother's old recipe box.

Since that day, I have made Chicken Shawarma countless times for family and friends, each time tweaking the recipe to suit my own tastes. I have added my own twist by incorporating additional herbs and spices, experimenting with different types of vegetables, and even trying out different cooking methods.

But no matter how many times I make it, Chicken Shawarma always brings back memories of that fateful day when I discovered the recipe in my mother's old recipe box. It reminds me of the joy of exploring new cuisines, the thrill of learning new techniques, and the pleasure of sharing a delicious meal with loved ones.

So, if you ever find yourself feeling curious about a new dish or a new recipe, I urge you to follow that curiosity and dive headfirst into the world of culinary exploration. You never know what delicious discoveries you may make along the way. And who knows, you might just stumble upon your own Chicken Shawarma moment.


| Chicken Recipes | Garlic Recipes | Lemon Juice Recipes | Saudi Arabian Meat Dishes | Saudi Arabian Recipes | Saudi Arabian Snacks | White Vinegar Recipes | Yogurt Recipes |

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