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Chicken Shawarma

Did you know that Chicken Shawarma is not just a beloved Middle Eastern dish, but also a reader-favorite recipe that has taken the culinary world by storm? With its exotic spices and easy preparation, this recipe brings the vibrant flavors of the Middle East right to your kitchen.

Imagine indulging in tender, marinated chicken infused with aromatic spices like cumin, paprika, and cardamom. The result is a tantalizing explosion of flavors that will transport you to the bustling streets of the Middle East. And the best part? You can easily recreate this mouthwatering dish at home.

Whether you’re new to Middle Eastern cuisine or a seasoned food enthusiast, Chicken Shawarma is sure to tantalize your taste buds and impress your guests. It’s the perfect recipe to add some excitement to your weeknight meals or to showcase at your next gathering.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the simple steps of creating your very own Chicken Shawarma masterpiece. From the aromatic marinade to the various serving options, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to create a truly unforgettable dish that will leave everyone craving for more.

So, let’s dive into the world of Middle Eastern flavors and discover the wonders of Chicken Shawarma together!

Ingredient List & Possible Substitutions

To make flavorful Chicken Shawarma, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  1. Chicken Shawarma Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper*
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Possible Substitutes for Chicken Thighs:

  • Chicken breast or tenderloin can be used as an alternative to chicken thighs*

*Note: Chicken thighs are recommended for juiciness and flavor, but you can use chicken breast or tenderloin if you prefer.

The marinade for the Chicken Shawarma is a harmonious blend of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and a mix of aromatic spices like cumin, paprika, coriander, cardamom, and cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper adds a hint of spiciness to the dish, but you can adjust or omit it according to your personal preference.

For serving, you have the option to accompany your Chicken Shawarma with either tahini sauce or yogurt sauce. If you’d like to whip up a refreshing and tangy Lemon Yogurt Sauce, simply combine Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. It complements the flavors of the Chicken Shawarma beautifully.

To achieve the best flavors, it is recommended to marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours or overnight. This allows the marinade to penetrate the chicken, resulting in tender and tasty Shawarma.

How To Make It

Now that you have the marinade ready, let’s move on to the next step: making the Chicken Shawarma. It’s a straightforward process that anyone can master.

  1. Start by placing the chicken in a ziplock bag. This method makes it easy to evenly coat the chicken with the marinade and ensures maximum flavor infusion.
  2. Pour the prepared Chicken Shawarma marinade into the bag with the chicken. Seal the bag tightly, then gently massage it to distribute the marinade and make sure it coats the chicken completely. The aromatic mixture of Middle Eastern spices will instantly awaken your senses.
  3. Once the chicken is fully coated, marinate it for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. For the best results, I recommend marinating it for 12 to 24 hours. This extended marinating time will result in a more flavorful and tender chicken.
  4. After marinating, it’s time to cook the chicken. You have two options: stovetop or BBQ. Both methods yield delicious results, so choose whichever suits your preference and equipment availability.
  5. If you prefer using a stovetop, heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the marinated chicken for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). The marinade will create a beautiful crust on the chicken, ensuring each bite is packed with mouthwatering flavors.
  6. For those who opt for BBQ, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the marinated chicken directly on the grill grates and cook for approximately 4-6 minutes per side until fully cooked. The smokiness from the grill will add an extra layer of deliciousness to the Chicken Shawarma.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, remove it from the heat and let it rest for at least 3 minutes. This resting time allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring moist and succulent results.

And there you have it! Your homemade Chicken Shawarma is ready to be served. The intoxicating aroma and the explosion of flavors will undoubtedly impress your family and friends.

To serve the Chicken Shawarma, you can get creative with various toppings and accompaniments. Consider serving it with warm pita bread, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and a drizzle of tangy yogurt sauce. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to customize your Shawarma experience to suit your taste.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of making Chicken Shawarma, it’s time to enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor. Dig in and savor the Middle Eastern flavors that come alive in each bite.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving Chicken Shawarma, the options are endless! One classic way to enjoy this delicious dish is by stuffing it into warm pita pocket wraps. Fill it up with tender chicken pieces, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato slices, and a tangy yogurt sauce for a burst of flavors in every bite. The combination of the savory shawarma and the freshness of the toppings is simply irresistible.

If you prefer a more substantial meal, consider serving Chicken Shawarma as a Shawarma plate. Arrange the marinated and cooked chicken on a bed of fluffy rice and accompany it with a variety of vibrant salads. For a Middle Eastern touch, Mejadra, a tantalizing Middle Eastern lentil rice recipe, is an excellent choice. And don’t forget a refreshing Chickpea Salad with lemon and parsley to balance the flavors.

What’s great about Chicken Shawarma is its versatility. Whether you’re hosting a casual gathering or planning a themed feast, this dish is sure to impress your guests. Serve it as a main attraction for your Mediterranean-themed dinner party or as part of a larger spread for a backyard barbecue. The smoky aroma of the shawarma cooking will create an enticing atmosphere that will have everyone eagerly waiting to dig in.

So why not give Chicken Shawarma a try and let your creativity shine? Whether you choose to indulge in a traditional pita wrap or create a delightful Shawarma plate, the result is always a flavorful and satisfying experience. The combination of Middle Eastern spices and tender chicken pieces is a winner that never fails to please. So gather your ingredients, prepare the shawarma, and get ready for a delightful culinary journey!


Why should I try this Chicken Shawarma recipe?

This Chicken Shawarma recipe is packed with exotic Middle Eastern flavors that are achieved through a handful of everyday spices. The aroma while cooking is incredible, and it is a reader-favorite recipe that has been included in a popular cookbook. Not to mention, it requires minimal ingredients and preparation time but yields amazing flavors.

Can I use chicken breast or tenderloin instead of chicken thighs?

Yes, you can use chicken breast or tenderloin as alternatives to boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. However, chicken thighs are recommended for juiciness.

What are the key ingredients for the Chicken Shawarma marinade?

The key ingredients for the Chicken Shawarma marinade include fresh lemon juice, olive oil, cardamom for a unique flavor, and cayenne pepper for spiciness. The amount of cayenne pepper can be adjusted or omitted according to personal preference.

What are the options for serving the Chicken Shawarma?

The Chicken Shawarma can be served as pita pocket wraps with toppings like lettuce, tomato, onion, and yogurt sauce. It can also be served as a Shawarma plate with rice and salads. We recommend trying it with Mejadra (Middle Eastern lentil rice) and Chickpea Salad as side dishes.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

For best results, it is recommended to marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours or overnight. The marinade time can range from 12 to 24 hours for maximum flavor.

What are the cooking methods for the Chicken Shawarma?

The recommended cooking methods for the Chicken Shawarma are stovetop or BBQ. Both methods will result in a great crust and an intoxicating aroma.

Should I rest the cooked chicken before serving?

Yes, it is important to rest the cooked chicken for at least 3 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful chicken.

Can you suggest any other toppings or accompaniments for the Chicken Shawarma?

In addition to lettuce, tomato, onion, and yogurt sauce, you can experiment with other toppings such as pickles, cucumbers, or hot sauce. The Chicken Shawarma also pairs well with various types of flatbreads and can be enjoyed with tahini sauce or the Lemon Yogurt Sauce recipe provided.

jenny happy muncher
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.