Authentic Middle Eastern Chicken shawarma at home

I will keep this post short and sweet (or actually savory!)

Shawarma has got to be one of the most popular middle eastern sandwiches, right next to falafel and arayes . The combination of the perfectly spiced, juicy and aromatic chicken with the creamy yet tangy tahini sauce paired with some tomatoes, pickles, and (if you feel like it, some)fries..the very definition of the perfect sandwich!

Shawarma,  is actually one of the simplest and easiest Middle Eastern recipes in my book. It requires very little active working time. All you have to do is prepare the marinade (which you probably already have most of the ingredients for in your pantry), toss the chicken in it and leave it in the fridge. and you’re done! All you have to do the next day is cook it.


Simple as it may be, this recipe has 3 secrets that will guarantee that you’ll get an amazing, authentic, and juicy shawarma every time and these three secrets are:

  1. Homemade spice blend
  2. Orange and lemon peel in the marinade
  3. The smoking technique

If you follow the recipe as written and serve it with some homemade toum sauce, sumac onion slices and some fresh tomatoes, I promise it will be a meal you won’t forget.

Chicken shawarma chef in disguise.jpg

This recipe is actually from a dear friend of mine, her name is Sohad and she is a master baker and a talented cook! I got this recipe from her years ago and it has been my go to shawarma recipe ever since.

The ultimate middle eastern chicken shawarma

1 kg skinless boneless chicken  cut into thin strips(a 50:50 mixture of breasts and thighs works best)

For the marinade:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 heaping tablespoon of shawarma spice blend (recipe follows)

1 medium onion cut into strips

3-5 cloves garlic minced

Peel of one orange cut into strips

Peel of one lemon

Shawarma spice blend

3 Cardamom pods

3 Cloves

5 all spice or pimento berries

5 Black pepper berries

2 Bay leaves

2 small cinnamon sticks

3 beads Mastic

2 teaspoons salt

Sumac onion strips

1 medium onion cut into strips

1 tablespoon sumac

3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons parsley leaves


Prepare the shawarma spice blend by grinding  all of its  ingredients together. Set aside

In a bowl place the chicken, onions,garlic,spice blend, olive oil , vinegar. orange and lemon peel and toss till all the chicken is coated

Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably over night
Chicken shawarma.jpg

To cook the shawarma

Place a pot on a medium high flame, when it gets hot add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the chicken

Stir over high heat for 2-3 minutes

Remove the orange and lemon peel and remove most of the onion strips

Continue to cook while stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and you don’t see any fluids in the pan

Adding a smoky flavor to your shawarma

For the ultimate shawarma flavor,  heat a small piece of coal till the edges are glowing

Fold a couple of layers of foil into a rough saucer shape

Place the coal in the tinfoil saucer and then place it in the shawarma pot

Add a small slice of butter on top of the coal, immediately cover the pot

Leave for 7 to 10 minutes


Note: you can use whole chicken breasts and thighs, marinated them and then cook them in the oven or on the grill. When they’re done you can cut them into strips.
(I personally find that cutting the chicken intro strips before hand allows it to absorb more flavors from the marinade and the shawarma ends up tasting better)

Shawarma sandwiches

10 to 15 minutes before making the sandwiches add the sumac and vinegar to the onions strip, toss to coat.

Allow to marinate for 10- 15 minutes

drain off the vinegar
Sumac onions for shawarma.jpg

Add the parsley

To make the ultimate shawarma sandwich spread a loaf of pita bread with a thin layer of toum, top it with the chicken shawarma,onion slices, tomatoes and pickles

Wrap and enjoy


كيلو من صدور و افخاذ الدجاج مقطعة شرحات طويلة 

1/4 كوب زيت زيتون

ملعقه كبيره من بهار الشاورما (الوصفه في الاسفل)

ربع كوب خل

بصله مقطعه شرائح كبيرة

 3 -5 فصوص من الثوم

قشرة ليمون  مقطعه

قشرة برتقال مقطعه


تخلط جميع المقادير معا وتقلب جيدا ونظل نقلب فيها حتى تتغلغل التتبيلة داخل شرائح الدجاج والافضل ان تترك في الثلاجة حوالي 12 ساعة 

قبل اعداد الشاورما بنص ساعة نخرجها من الثلاجة ونزيل شرائح البصل وفصوص الثوم و قشر البرتقال والليمون

نضيف القليل من الزيت لمقلاة سميكة ونتركه يسخن قليلا

نضيف شرائح الدجاج على نار عالية نوعا ما ثم نهدي النار الا ان يجف ماء الدجاج و تتحمر قليلا

قبل ان نطفئ النار نضيف شرائح طماطم و نبخر المزيج بفحمة لاضفاء نكهة الشواء

عادة تقدم شاورما الدجاج مع صلصة الثوم و المخلل و البندوره

بهارات الشاورما

عبارة عن
 3 حبات هيل
 3 حبات مستكة
 3 حبات مسمار او قرنفل
 5 حبات بهار حلو
5 حبات فلفل اسود
ورقتين غار
عودين قرفة صغار
ملعقة طعام ملح غير ممتلئة
نطحن كل المكونات معا  بمطحنة البهارات