Middle Eastern

How to Make Shawarma at Home, No Equipment Required

March  9, 2016

My stomach immediately rumbles at the thought of crispy golden chicken roasting slowly on a giant spit, smelling of fragrant spices and dripping with chicken fat.

Chicken shawarma isn't an easy food to walk away from: the thinly sliced chicken stacked high on a fluffy pita and topped with an assortment of herbs, pickles, sauces, and shredded vegetables.

The good news is that you don't have to have a large rotisserie to mimic chicken shawarma at home. By tossing chicken thighs in spices and roasting the meat a high temperature, you can have crispy, flavourful chicken in less than an hour.

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Round out your shawarma with a combination of toppings like pickled turnips, cabbage, fresh herbs, tahini sauce, yogurt, olives, and feta.

In a large bowl, combine coriander, allspice, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, pepper, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Place in a large zip-top bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and as long as overnight.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a large baking tray with aluminum foil. Place chicken in one layer on prepared tray. Bake until golden brown, crispy around the edges, and no longer pink in the middle, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes.

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Top Comment:
“You can use the same ingridients to make beef shawarma just use beef instead of chicken”
— BJ

Slice chicken into thin pieces. For extra crispy chicken heat an extra tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan. Crisp chicken in the pan, stirring often, until golden brown and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve chicken shawarma in pita topped with sliced red onion, chopped parsley, shredded cabbage, pickled turnips, and tahini.

Photo by Miranda Keyes
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • spinninggriller
  • Shannon Powers
    Shannon Powers
  • BJ
  • Philip Barone
    Philip Barone
  • Two Trays Kitchen
    Two Trays Kitchen
Freelance food stylist & recipe developer


spinninggriller January 22, 2020
This is exactly what I’ve been craving. This looks like a great recipe for my family. It was effortless and nothing less than spectacular! I ate every single bite of it. I will also give it a try in the upcoming weekend.
Miranda K. January 23, 2020
Amazing - so happy you enjoyed the recipe! It's definitely one of my faves!
Shannon P. April 5, 2016
The directions mention cinnamon, but it is not listed in ingredients. Should I be using it and if so, how much? Thanks!
BJ March 13, 2016
You do not need the turnlps or the onions they will take away from the original taste.Take it from a Lebanese that knows. Shawarma in Lebanon is like hamburgers here. There is a shawarma stand on every corner. You can use the same ingridients to make beef shawarma just use beef instead of chicken
Philip B. March 13, 2016
Where do you get pickled turnips?
Two T. March 9, 2016
Love this! Sam Sifton did a similar thing in the Times last year and we love it: http://salvegging.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-comfort-of-your-own-oven.html?m=1