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You Don't Have To Travel Thousands Of Miles For The Best Chicken Shawarma

You could travel to Turkey, or you could just make your own.


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slices of seasoned meat

Photo by Parker Feierbach 

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!

Cal/Serv: 330
Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 15 mins
Total Time: 3 hours 15 mins


For the chicken
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
1 large onion, thinly sliced

For yogurt sauce
1/2 c. Greek yogurt  
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
Kosher salt
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

For serving
Pitas, warmed
Chopped romaine
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Cucumber, thinly sliced


  1. Make chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425° and grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Add onion to marinade and toss to coat. Remove chicken and onion from marinade and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until chicken is golden and cooked through, 30 minutes. Let chicken rest on cutting board for 5 minutes, then thinly slice.
  3. Meanwhile, make yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, oil, and garlic. Season with salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. To serve as a pita, top warmed pitas with chicken, onion, romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, and yogurt sauce.

Nutrition (per serving): 330 calories, 28 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 4 g fat, 21 g saturated fat, 480 mg sodium

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This post originally appeared on Delish and was published May 27, 2021. This article is republished here with permission.

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