Master the Art of Cooking Chicken Shawarma

Are you ready to elevate your cooking skills and impress your family and friends with a delicious Middle Eastern dish? Look no further, because you’re about to master the art of cooking Chicken Shawarma! This flavorful and aromatic dish is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, known for its succulent marinated chicken, fragrant spices, and creamy garlic sauce. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe will guide you through the steps to create a mouthwatering and authentic Chicken Shawarma that will transport you straight to the streets of Lebanon. So put on your apron, grab your ingredients, and let’s get started on this culinary adventure! Take a look at the image below to get a visual idea of what your Chicken Shawarma could look like:

Master the Art of Cooking Chicken Shawarma | Bistro Le Crillon
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Understanding Chicken Shawarma

Chicken shawarma is a popular dish originating from the Middle East. It is made with thinly sliced marinated chicken that is typically cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The delicious flavors and unique cooking method have contributed to its worldwide popularity.

The History of Shawarma

The origins of shawarma can be traced back to the 19th century in the Middle East, specifically in present-day Turkey and Lebanon. It was originally made with lamb, but over time, chicken became a popular alternative due to its milder taste. The cooking technique was influenced by the Ottoman Empire, which spread the dish to other parts of the region.

Shawarma gained further popularity in the late 20th century when it started to be sold in street food stalls and restaurants all over the world. Its rich flavors and unique preparation method intrigued people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Essential Ingredients for Chicken Shawarma

Chicken shawarma requires a few essential ingredients to achieve its authentic taste. Here are the key components:

  1. Chicken: The main protein source in chicken shawarma, it is important to choose boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the best flavor and tenderness. Thinly sliced chicken ensures even cooking and maximum flavor absorption.
  2. Spices: A blend of aromatic spices gives chicken shawarma its distinctive taste. Common spices used include cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic powder. These spices not only enhance the flavor but also contribute to the beautiful golden color of the cooked chicken.
  3. Yogurt: Yogurt is used in the marinade to tenderize the chicken and add a subtle tanginess. It also helps to keep the chicken moist and juicy during the cooking process.
  4. Oil: A small amount of oil, such as olive oil or vegetable oil, is added to the marinade to prevent the chicken from sticking to the cooking surface and to aid in browning.

The Role of Seasonings and Marinades

The seasonings and marinades play a crucial role in developing the flavors of chicken shawarma. The spices used in the marinade infuse the chicken with their aromatic qualities, creating a depth of flavor. The yogurt acts as a natural tenderizer, resulting in tender and succulent chicken.

To marinate the chicken, you can simply combine the spices, yogurt, and oil in a bowl or zip-top bag. Ensure that each piece of chicken is well-coated with the marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. This process allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and delicious final dish.

Once marinated, the chicken can be cooked on a grill, stovetop skillet, or even in the oven. The goal is to achieve a slightly charred exterior while maintaining a juicy and flavorful interior. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken slices and the cooking method chosen.

Note: It is important to handle raw chicken with care to prevent foodborne illness. Always follow proper food safety practices, such as washing hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw chicken.

By mastering the art of cooking chicken shawarma, you can indulge in the rich flavors and culinary heritage of the Middle East. Whether you enjoy it wrapped in a warm pita bread or served alongside fresh vegetables and flavorful sauces, this dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Purchasing and Preparing the Chicken

When it comes to cooking delicious chicken shawarma, one of the most important steps is to start with high-quality chicken. Whether you prefer white or dark meat, it’s crucial to choose a cut that will result in tender and flavorful shawarma. Here’s how to select the right chicken and prepare it for cooking:

Choosing the Right Cut of Chicken

There are several cuts of chicken that work well for shawarma, each with its own unique qualities. Here are three popular choices:

  1. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs: This cut is often recommended for making chicken shawarma due to its rich flavor and moist texture. The dark meat of chicken thighs holds up well to the long cooking process, ensuring juicy and tender shawarma.
  2. Chicken Breasts: If you prefer a leaner option, chicken breasts can be used for shawarma. However, they tend to be less juicy than thighs, so be mindful not to overcook them.
  3. Whole Chicken: For a more traditional approach, you can use a whole chicken and cut it into pieces. This option allows you to incorporate different cuts of chicken, balancing the flavors and textures in your shawarma.

Note: Regardless of the cut you choose, it’s important to remove any excess fat or skin before marinating the chicken.

Marinating the Chicken

Marinating the chicken is a crucial step in creating flavorful shawarma. The marinade infuses the meat with a delicious blend of spices, herbs, and tangy flavors. Here’s how to make a basic shawarma marinade:

  1. Ingredients: Mix together yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Coating the Chicken: Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag or a covered container, and pour the marinade over it. Ensure that each piece of chicken is well-coated.
  3. Marinating Time: Refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat. The longer you marinate, the more flavorful the shawarma will be.

Note: For an extra hint of flavor, you can add chopped onions, fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro, or even a touch of lemon zest to the marinade.

Proper Storage and Thawing Techniques

Once you have purchased and prepared the chicken for shawarma, it’s essential to store it properly and follow correct thawing techniques to ensure food safety. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Refrigeration: If you are not planning to cook the chicken immediately, store it in the refrigerator at 40°F (4°C) or below to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Freezing: If you don’t intend to use the chicken within a couple of days, it’s advisable to freeze it. Place the chicken in a freezer-safe container or wrap it tightly in freezer-safe plastic wrap.
  • Thawing: When thawing frozen chicken, it’s best to do it in the refrigerator. Allow enough time for the chicken to thaw completely before marinating and cooking. If you’re short on time, you can use the defrost function on your microwave, but be sure to immediately cook the chicken afterwards.

By following these guidelines for purchasing, preparing, marinating, and storing your chicken, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of cooking chicken shawarma. Enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of this beloved Middle Eastern dish!

The Art of Cooking Chicken Shawarma

Mastering the art of cooking chicken shawarma is all about understanding the cooking process to create tender and flavorful chicken right in the comfort of your own home. Whether you prefer grilling or pan-frying, achieving the perfect texture and taste requires careful consideration of temperature and cooking time. Additionally, there are a few secrets that can help you achieve juicy and tender chicken every time. Let’s dive into the details and master the art of cooking chicken shawarma!

Grilling vs. Pan-Frying: Which Method to Choose

When it comes to cooking chicken shawarma, you have two main options: grilling or pan-frying. Both methods have their merits and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Grilling imparts a smoky flavor and is perfect for those who enjoy a charred exterior. On the other hand, pan-frying allows for more control over the cooking process and can result in a juicier and more tender chicken.


  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Marinate the chicken in a flavorful blend of spices and herbs.
  • Place the chicken on the preheated grill and cook for 6-8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing.


  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Marinate the chicken as desired.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • Rest the chicken for a few minutes before slicing.

Temperature and Cooking Time Guidelines

Regardless of the cooking method you choose, it’s important to ensure that the chicken is cooked to the appropriate temperature to ensure both safety and optimal flavor. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C).

When grilling or pan-frying chicken shawarma, cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts or thighs. As a general guideline, aim to cook the chicken for 6-8 minutes per side on the grill or 4-6 minutes per side in the skillet over medium heat. Using a meat thermometer can help you accurately gauge the internal temperature and prevent overcooking.

Secrets to Achieving Juicy and Tender Chicken


The key to achieving juicy and tender chicken shawarma lies in the marination process. For optimal flavor and tenderness, marinate the chicken in a mixture of yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and a blend of aromatic spices. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least a few hours, or overnight for enhanced flavor.


If you want to take it a step further, consider pounding the chicken breasts or thighs to an even thickness. This helps the chicken cook more evenly and ensures that you end up with uniformly tender pieces.

By mastering the art of cooking chicken shawarma, you can savor the delicious flavors of this Middle Eastern dish right in your own kitchen. Whether you choose to grill or pan-fry, adhere to the temperature and cooking time guidelines, and follow the secrets to achieving juicy and tender chicken. Get ready to impress your taste buds and elevate your culinary skills!

Preparing the Shawarma Accompaniments

Enhance your chicken shawarma experience by preparing delicious side dishes and toppings. These accompaniments will take your Shawarma from good to extraordinary.

Making Homemade Pita Bread

Pita bread is an essential component of chicken shawarma. Making your own pita bread will elevate the flavors and add a personal touch to your dish. Plus, who can resist the aroma of freshly baked bread?

You will need basic ingredients such as flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and warm water. Start by combining the flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Gradually add warm water and olive oil while kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Let the dough rise for about an hour until it doubles in size. Divide the dough into small portions and roll them out into circles. Bake the pitas in a preheated oven until they puff up and develop a golden brown color. Voila! You now have soft and fluffy homemade pita bread to serve with your chicken shawarma.

Creating Flavorful Tahini Sauce

A tangy and creamy tahini sauce is the perfect accompaniment for chicken shawarma. It adds a delightful depth of flavor and enhances the overall taste of the dish.

To make the tahini sauce, you will need tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic, salt, and water. Simply mix these ingredients together until you achieve a smooth and pourable consistency. Adjust the flavors by adding more lemon juice or salt as per your preference. Drizzle the tahini sauce generously over your chicken shawarma or use it as a dipping sauce for the pita bread. Yum!

Additional Toppings and Garnishes

To complete your chicken shawarma experience, don’t forget to add some extra toppings and garnishes. These will add freshness, crunch, and a burst of flavor to your dish.

Consider adding lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, onions, and fresh herbs such as parsley and mint. These ingredients not only provide a vibrant visual appeal but also offer a refreshing contrast to the savory chicken and creamy tahini sauce. Chop the vegetables into small pieces or slice them thinly, allowing each bite to showcase a perfect combination of textures and tastes. Sprinkle some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of salt for an extra kick of tanginess. Your tastebuds will thank you!

In conclusion, mastering the art of cooking chicken shawarma goes beyond the main ingredients and cooking techniques. It’s about creating a complete experience with delicious accompaniments. Homemade pita bread, flavorful tahini sauce, and additional toppings will bring out the best flavors and make your chicken shawarma truly unforgettable. So why wait? Gather your ingredients, put on your chef’s hat, and embark on a culinary adventure to impress your friends and family with your chicken shawarma skills! ✨

Serving and Enjoying Chicken Shawarma

When it comes to serving and enjoying chicken shawarma, there are a few crucial factors to consider in order to have a memorable dining experience. From assembly and presentation tips to pairing shawarma with complementary dishes, as well as tips for leftovers and reheating, here’s everything you need to know to master the art of serving and enjoying chicken shawarma.

Assembly and Presentation Tips

️ Once you have cooked your delicious chicken shawarma, it’s time to assemble and present it in an appealing manner. To create a visually pleasing platter, arrange the chicken pieces neatly and evenly. You can add a pop of color by garnishing with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro. Additionally, you can squeeze some tangy lemon juice over the chicken for an extra burst of flavor.

To elevate your chicken shawarma experience, consider serving it in warm pita bread or flatbread. This not only adds a delightful texture but also allows for easy handling and enjoyment. You can lightly toast the bread before serving to enhance its taste and ensure a perfect balance of flavors.

Paring Shawarma with Complementary Dishes

To enhance the flavor profile of your chicken shawarma, it’s essential to serve it with complementary dishes. One popular option is to serve it with a refreshing and tangy side of tzatziki sauce. The coolness of the sauce complements the spiciness of the shawarma perfectly. You can also include a variety of fresh and crisp vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers to add a refreshing touch to the overall meal.

Another delicious accompaniment to chicken shawarma is a side of fluffy and fragrant basmati rice. The aromatic flavors of the rice pair beautifully with the rich and savory taste of the shawarma. You can also include some pickled vegetables or olives to provide contrasting flavors and textures.

Tips for Leftovers and Reheating

If you happen to have leftovers of your chicken shawarma, don’t worry! You can still enjoy it the next day with a few simple tips. Store the leftover shawarma in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. When reheating, it is best to use an oven or a skillet to preserve the texture and flavors. Avoid using a microwave, as it may result in a soggy consistency.

To reheat the chicken shawarma, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the shawarma on a baking sheet or in a skillet and warm it for about 10-15 minutes until heated through. This method helps restore the crispiness and maintains the juicy tenderness of the chicken.

Serving and enjoying chicken shawarma is an art that can elevate your dining experience. By following these assembly and presentation tips, pairing it with complementary dishes, and knowing how to handle leftovers, you can create a memorable and delicious meal each time. So, go ahead and master the art of cooking and serving chicken shawarma to impress your family and friends!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about cooking chicken shawarma:

No. Questions Answers
1. What is chicken shawarma? Chicken shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish made with marinated chicken that is roasted and then thinly sliced. It is usually served in flatbread with various toppings and sauces.
2. Can I use other types of meat for shawarma? Yes, you can use other types of meat like beef or lamb for shawarma. The cooking method and marination will vary slightly, but the concept remains the same.
3. How long should I marinate the chicken? It is best to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
4. What are some common toppings for chicken shawarma? Common toppings include pickles, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and tahini sauce. You can also add hot sauce or garlic sauce for extra flavor.
5. Can I grill chicken shawarma instead of roasting it? Yes, you can grill the marinated chicken instead of roasting it. This will give it a smoky flavor and slightly different texture.
6. What side dishes go well with chicken shawarma? Some popular side dishes to serve with chicken shawarma are hummus, tabbouleh salad, and roasted vegetables. You can also serve it with rice or flatbread.

Thanks for Reading!

Thank you for taking the time to read our article on how to cook chicken shawarma. We hope you found the information useful and that it inspires you to try making this delicious Middle Eastern dish at home. If you have any more questions or would like to share your cooking experience, feel free to leave a comment below. Don’t forget to visit our website again for more tasty recipes and cooking tips. Happy cooking!

Master the Art of Cooking Chicken Shawarma | Bistro Le Crillon

Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Learn how to cook delicious chicken shawarma at home with this easy recipe. Marinated chicken is roasted to perfection and served in a warm flatbread with flavorful toppings and sauces.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4 servings
Calories 350 kcal


  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large flatbreads
  • Toppings: pickles tomatoes, cucumbers, onions
  • Sauces: tahini sauce hot sauce, garlic sauce


  • In a bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken thighs and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and place it on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and slightly charred on the edges.
  • Take the roasted chicken out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the chicken into strips.
  • Warm the flatbreads in the oven or on a stovetop. Place the sliced chicken on each flatbread and add your desired toppings and sauces.
  • Fold the flatbread and serve the chicken shawarma immediately. Enjoy your homemade Middle Eastern delight!
Keyword chicken shawarma recipe, Middle Eastern cuisine, homemade shawarma, cooking tips, recipe

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