This chicken shawarma recipe is an easier way to make the Middle Eastern dish. It’s a tasty, anti-inflammatory meal made on one pan and with no refined sugar!
It’s no secret that for busy people, one-pan meals are a fantastic time saver. The benefits go beyond the quick cooking and clean up too. Simply put, oven roasted foods tend to have better flavor.
A quick marinade followed by dry heat cooking will help to keep any meat juicy, even a protein like boneless skinless chicken!
Traditionally, chicken shawarma meat is prepared on a vertical rotisserie, similar to how gyro meat is cooked. Popular toppings include cucumber, pink pickled turnips, and a creamy yogurt-based sauce.
If you don’t eat Middle Eastern cuisine often, or maybe haven’t tried it at all, I still think this meal will become a new favorite.
Aside from providing amazing warm flavors, the ground spices that are most often found in Middle Eastern dishes offer some great health benefits.
That being said, if you want a similar easy one-pan meal but with a different flavor profile, you could always make my Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Chicken. Or, swap the protein and make one of my other favorite sheet pan meals, Sweet and Spicy Broiled Shrimp.
Chicken shawarma recipe – ingredients and nutrition
This meal fits into the plan for a lot of different diets. It is:
- Gluten free
- Dairy free
- Low carb
- Refined sugar free
As for the ingredients in shawarma, there are health benefits galore!
- Boneless Skinless Chicken– this is a heart healthy, lean source of protein
- Garlic– may help to strengthen the body’s immune system (goodbye common cold!), lower blood pressure, and improve memory. Plus, it’s a good source of Vitamin C, B6, and manganese.
- Cardamom– the aroma of cardamom is heavenly, and so are its benefits! It has antioxidant properties, is an anti-inflammatory, and may be helpful with digestive problems like ulcers.
- Cinnamon– this is another anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich spice. It may even help to lower cholesterol levels, which can lead to a stronger heart.
- Cumin– this gem packs 17% of the recommended daily intake of iron! If your doctor says that your iron counts are low, start eating more spinach artichoke hummus dip, and sprinkle a little cumin on top!
- Cayenne Pepper – like other spicy peppers, cayenne has an antioxidant-rich compound known as capsaicin. It may help boost metabolism, lower blood pressure, and help reduce hunger pains.
- Turmeric – ahh, turmeric, how I love your golden glow! This spice has anti-inflammatory properties, and I use it often. It’s delicious in shawarma, but try it in a Cold Busting Orange Turmeric Tea Latte. It’s SO good!
Chicken shawarma sauce
There is something special about a creamy cool sauce that makes everything taste better.
The yogurt sauce is easy to throw together. It can be made with plain Greek yogurt, the solid portion of chilled coconut cream, or unsweetened dairy free yogurt.
If you can handle dairy, mix together Greek yogurt and sour cream; it’s divine! But don’t worry, we’ve given you a dairy free option for the dipping sauce as well. See recipes notes.
Want to know how to make shawarma sauce? There’s nothing to it! Just add the ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Garnish with some cilantro or parsley and you are DONE.
Recipe video and instructions
For a summary of how to make the dish, check out this quick video to see the process from start to finish.
- Marinate the chicken.
The longer you marinate the chicken thighs, the more flavorful your shawarma will be. Anywhere from 90 minutes to 12 hours is perfect.
Any longer than that won’t do much for the flavor, and the proteins in the chicken will begin to break down.
- Slice the onions and arrange everything on a sheet pan.
I usually flip my oven on to preheat before I prep the onions, too.
Roast for 22 minutes, and then if you want, you can place the pan under the broil for a minute. Allow the chicken to rest on the pan for 5 minutes, then slice it into thin strips.
How to serve chicken shawarma
Personally, I like to place it on a serving platter with shawarma sauce, pink pickles, and salad. Then I serve it family style. YUM YUM!
You could also serve it as a wrap with grain free naan bread or place it on top of salad greens.
This chicken shawarma recipe is an easier way to make the traditional rotisserie chicken dinner. Make this nourishing meal in your oven!
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (4–5 thighs)
- 2 shallots or 1 small red onion, sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp minced garlic (1 large clove)
- 3/4 tbsp cardamom
- 1/8 tsp pinch of cinnamon
- 3 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne, plus more if desired for spicier flavor
- 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes (OPTIONAL)
- Fresh chopped cilantro, divided (2 tbsp in marinade and 2 tbsp + to garnish,)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsps olive oil
Shawarma Sauce (Optional)
- 1/2 cup full fat plain yogurt or see notes for dairy free option
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, scallion) to garnish
- Add marinade ingredients to a bowl or plastic food storage bag large enough for the chicken to fit into, then whisk to combine. Add chicken to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place marinated chicken on a sheet pan along with onion slices. *Note* For extra flavor, toss onion slices n 1 tsp lemon juice or reserved marinade before roasting. Optional
- Roast for 22 minutes, broiling for the final minute, if desired. Allow the chicken to rest on the pan for 5 minutes, then slice into thin strips.
- If serving with shawarma sauce, add all sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Serve with pickled turnips, cucumber, yogurt sauce, and fresh cilantro. Great with gluten free naan bread.
Dairy Free Yogurt Sauce
- 1/3 cup chilled coconut cream or milk (canned, solid portion)
- 2 tbsp non dairy milk
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Garnish with fresh herbs of choice.
- Category: Main
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keywords: chicken shawarma recipe, shawarma sauce, low carb, unrefined sugar, gluten free
Alright my friends, let me know if you have any questions about shawarma. If you have a favorite shawarma marinade or sauce recipe, do share!