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Chicken shawarma kebab recipe

Chicken shawarma kebab recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Chicken thigh

I love junk food and love a good kebab but you can easily make your own and not feel as guilty! I made a batch of these on New Year's Eve and people have been asking for the recipe ever since.

33 people made this

IngredientsServes: 2

  • olive oil, as needed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Maggi® seasoning cube, crumbled
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • To serve
  • 2 naan breads, pittas or chapattis
  • yogurt mixed with mint sauce, or mayonnaise
  • shredded cabbage and sliced onion
  • chilli sauce

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:17min ›Extra time:1hr marinating › Ready in:1hr27min

  1. Mix together all the spices and seasoning cube. Stir in oil to make a paste. Smear all over the chicken thighs and leave for a few hours – preferably overnight.
  2. In a griddle pan heat some oil and cook the thighs for a few minutes each side and then finish in the oven for about 10 minutes until fully cooked through.
  3. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then thinly slice up in 2cm strips. Toss the strips back into the roasting tray to soak up all the juices.
  4. Splash the naan breads with water and warm in the oven for a few minutes – be careful not to let them get crispy though, you want to be able to roll them up.
  5. Smear the naan with yoghurt sauce or mayo, and add the shredded cabbage and onion then top with chicken strips and finish off with chilli sauce!

See it on my blog

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Middle Eastern-Style Grilled Chicken Kabobs

One of my favorite recipes for warm-weather entertaining, these chicken kabobs are marinated in a tangy blend of Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic and spices and then grilled until golden brown. They’re wonderful over a bed of golden basmati rice pilaf with dried fruit and almonds (pictured) or on top of a Greek salad. Just be sure to make extra — the first time I made these kabobs for a crowd, I actually ran out of food!

The only time-consuming part of the recipe is threading the meat and onions onto skewers. If you’re in a time crunch, feel free to skip the skewers and grill the chicken thighs whole (the red onions can be cut into large wedges and placed directly on the grill as well).


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C and lightly grease a 900g loaf tin.

For the shawarma, mix together the cornflour, salt, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cloves, cayenne and cinnamon.

Put the oil into a bowl, then add the chicken and stir it around. Add the dry spice mix and stir to coat all the chicken pieces well. Layer the pieces of chicken in the loaf tin and press down, then bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the slaw. Put the broccoli into a large bowl.

Put the yoghurt into a second bowl and heat the oil in a small pan. As soon as the oil is hot, add the mustard powder and seeds – when the seeds begin to pop, pour the oil and seeds over the yoghurt, add the salt and stir. Pour this dressing over the broccoli, then mix in the parsley.

When the shawarma is ready, leave it in the tin for 10 minutes so that all the juices can go back into the chicken.

Tip it out of the tin and slice your shawarma. We like to eat this piled into flatbreads with the slaw. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge, or frozen for the next time you need your shawarma fix.

Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup malt vinegar
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 8 pita bread rounds

In a glass baking dish, mix together the malt vinegar, 1/4 cup yogurt, vegetable oil, mixed spice, cardamom, salt and pepper. Place the chicken thighs into the mixture and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, 1/4 cup yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, taste, and adjust flavors if desired. Cover and refrigerate.

Cover the chicken and bake in the marinade for 30 minutes, turning once. Uncover, and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove from the dish, and cut into slices.

Place sliced chicken, tomato, onion, and lettuce onto pita breads. Roll up, and top with the tahini sauce.

The Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Once the chicken shawarma is grilled, place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and shred into thin slices as per the photo above. Spread those slices along the diameter of a pita bread, add a bit of Lebanese Garlic Paste (check recipe) , some salty cucumber pickles, a bit of roasted tomatoes, french fries, roll it and voila.. you’ve got yourself a nice chicken shawarma sandwich, made at home! The image below is of our Chicken Shish Tawook sandwich just for illustration purposes, so you can see the chicken pieces are similar to kabobs where as in the Shawarma they’re shredded.

If you like beef try our Beef Shawarma Recipe as well. Now on to the recipe…

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thin cut/ butterflied), cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, grated or squeezed through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons safflower or light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 10 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
  1. In a small bowl combine the garlic, salt, cardamom, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar. Whisk to combine and set off to the side.
  2. Place the cube chicken into a large re-sealable bag. Pour the marinade over top and drop in the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise. Seal the bag and shake the bag, massaging the marinade into the chicken. Place the bag into a shallow bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high. Slide the marinated chicken onto the soaked skewers. Working in batches, grill the chicken on all sides until the chicken is opaque and fully cooked.
  4. Serve immediately.

Grilling the Shish Tawook

I know that we all tend to overcook chicken for fear of contamination, but since we’re grilling smaller chunks, and especially if you’re using metal skewers, chicken cooks much faster that way. And the longer you marinate the chicken the quicker it grills. The recommendation here is to grill on medium heat between 12-18 minutes max.

How to Make Chicken Shawarma at Home

Master the steps for sizzling spit-roasted shawarma at home.

The sight of sizzling, vertically spit-roasted meat, slowly turning and basting in its own juices, is enough to stop any hungry person in their tracks. Sold on street corners from Istanbul to Los Angeles, this slow-cooked meat is shaved to order and often wrapped in flatbread. This method of preparing meat originated in Istanbul, in kebab form, travelled to the Levant, where it became known as shawarma (literally “to turn” in Arabic), then jumped the Atlantic with Lebanese immigrants to Mexico, where it evolved as al pastor. All three variations on spit-turned meat𠅊nd dozens more riffs𠅊re found across the globe today.

Famously affordable, shawarma has kept me well-fed throughout my life. Doner kebab nourished me as a broke student in Spain shawarma carts 
sustained me as a broke intern in New York City years ago. To this day, the aroma of cumin-and-chile-scented meat remains a profound comfort.

It was with this taste memory in mind that I set out to make shawarma at home. Instead of a vertical spit, 
my method involves triple-skewering 
thin slices of marinated chicken to create a tight horizontal roast­𠅊 sort of shawarma-kebab hybrid. Searing the stacked chicken over hot coals before finishing it over low heat ensures the right ratio of crispy charred outside to tender, super-juicy inside. Paired with grilled marinated mushrooms, fresh vegetables, pita, and a creamy tahini sauce, the result is a gorgeous spread perfect for early-summer eating.

What is Doner Kebab meat made of?

While the chicken kebab meat does actually look like meat, the lamb and beef kebab meats have a uniform texture that’s a dead giveaway that there’s plenty of non-real-food fillers in them!

As for seasonings / preservatives / additives…. who knows?? (She says, with an exaggerated shrug of her shoulders)

And therein lies the greatest upside of homemade doner kebabs:

You know exactly what’s in this.

So. This teeny homemade doner kebab scores big points in this field – you know this is made with all real ingredients!

Marinate, thread onto skewers, prop on edges of baking pan and bake.

Then carve up that meat, just like at the kebab shop!

Well, a teeny version of it.(Remember, for today, the rule is that size doesn’t matter!)

What’s the difference between Doner Kebab and Shawarma?

Shawarma and Doner Kebabs are prepared and used in similar ways (ie cooked on a vertical spit, shaved and served wrapped in flatbread) but they have different spice flavourings. Shawarma originates from the Middle East whereas Doner Kebabs originate from Turkey.

What does Chicken Shawarma Taste Like?

The combination of cumin, turmeric, paprika, garlic and lemon juice, plus a very small amount of cloves, give this chicken shawarma recipe a distinctive warming spice flavor that’s quite unique.

If you love grilled chicken in general but are looking for something not too spicy then you’ll love the taste of this recipe.

I prefer to use chicken thighs for my chicken shawarma as they have a higher fat content than chicken breast and fat=flavor.