Shawarma refers to the Middle Eastern method cooking where thin slices of meat, most traditionally lamb, are stack on a vertical spit and slowly rotate in front of a fire or other heat source. The outside meat is slowly cooked and then shaved off to serve. It's a common street food and the result is tender, juicy, well spiced meat. Our version, since it's cooked in the oven, varies greatly from traditional shawarma, but mimics the flavor and tenderness you would find and makes it possible to make at home. Shawarma refers to the meat and is most commonly served with pita and veggies like lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. Use the chicken in a salad, on a pita, or over rice. However you serve it, you're going to love it. Cooking the chicken with the onions adds extra moisture to the pan and helps it further tenderize the chicken and produces some pan sauce that is great tossed in with the cut chicken!
This easy, healthy homemade chicken shawarma is a huge fan-favorite around here, for good reason! The secret is in the simple shawarma spice mixture, which makes all the difference. My step-by-step tutorial and video show you exactly how to make this delicious chicken! Serve it in pita pockets with tahini sauce and this lazy salad, and call it dinner!
Traditional chicken shawarma is basically well-marinated chicken, layered on a vertical rotisserie or spit where it’s slow-roasted for days–in its own juices and fat–until perfectly tender and extra flavorful! To serve it, the joint owner would typically shave a layer of shawarma off the spit and pile it up into a pita pocket, jazz it with tahini sauce and heaps upon heaps of fresh toppings!
The true Middle Eastern way to serve chicken shawarma is in pita pockets or wraps with heaps of veggies and a good deal of sauce. I like the idea of loaded pita pockets. And for the veggies, peppery arugula and my simple 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad. As with beef shawarama, you can serve chicken shawarma with a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. It’s also common to use a white yogurt-based sauce like Greek Tzatziki.
Yes, you can prepare and bake the chicken ahead of time–one or two nights in advance– and then assemble into pita pockets when the time comes. Refrigerate in tight-lid container until ready to use. Warm chicken up in a skillet over medium heat, adding a little bit of liquid and tossing the chicken pieces until warmed through. The liquid will help it so it doesn’t dry up.