Chicken Shawarma

4 Servings

40 minutes

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Traditional Middle Eastern shawarma roasts spiced meat on a vertical spit; as the exterior cooks, slices are carved away while the meat slowly rotates. Our easy weeknight chicken shawarma uses the intense heat of the broiler to char chicken thighs and onion slices that have been tossed with spices, olive oil and a little tahini to help with caramelization. Shawarma isn’t complete without a creamy, cooling sauce—we make ours by combining yogurt, olive oil, tahini, lemon and herbs. Serve with pita, along with sliced cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce for making sandwich wraps. Alternatively, offer a rice pilaf alongside.




Don’t use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Thighs are best here, not only because they’re more flavorful, but also because they’re more resistant to overcooking, which is important when broiling.

40 minutes


  • 1

    tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1

    tablespoon ground coriander


Susan B.
February 6, 2023
Now a family favorite
I've made this a few times and absolutely love it. It's quick and pretty easy and you can prep all of it ahead of time if you need to. Milk Street recipes always pack in the full heat content of the original culture so I've learned to modify to our family's taste which tends toward medium heat, not super hot. I prepare this as written except I use half hot paprika and half sweet and that adds plenty of flavor for us. Since it's winter here, I've used fresh parsley from the store for the yogurt sauce but want to make it with mint when it starts growing again. Great with pita but last night we had it over brown rice and a nice chopped tomato/cucumber/red onion/parley salad on the side. I really recommend trying this since my daughter said it's almost as good as the Halal truck shawarma she bought frequently in college --- high praise!
Suhail A.
January 16, 2023
A family favorite
Mary L.
July 2, 2022
Cooked on the grill
I made this for visiting guests as an alternative to the usual cookout fair. So as not to have to heat up the kitchen, I cooked the chicken on the grill and served with a salad and pita bread. Some people turned these into pita sandwiches while others just ate the bread on the side with hummus. My daughter said this was one of the best meals I have ever made.
Jan B.
June 29, 2022
Easy and full of flavor
This easy week-night chicken dinner is so flavorful and fun to eat. Don't skip the yogurt sauce. The onions broiled with the chicken and marinade are delicious, but tend to burn a bit. Maybe tucking them under the chicken when it's turned half way through broiling might help.
Peter S.
June 28, 2022
Weekly staple
I make this just about once a week (usually without the mint, because it's not on-hand). Most ingredients are pantry staples, so it's become a favorite go-to the whole family loves. I could make it more often and nobody would object. Made it last night with lime since we had no lemon, worked out fine. We especially love the charred onions.
Joseph G.

Can you grill this?

Lynn C.

Hi Joseph -

Since the chicken and onion mixture is more of a wet, loose mixture it would be very challenging on the grill. We haven't tested it on the grill and do not recommend it.

The Milk Street Team

Michael F.

This is an amazing recipe. I think it is my favorite one from the new book. I have even quadrupled the recipe for a large group. Great in a pita or on a pilaf. Thank you so much!

Jennifer B.

Great shawarma. Easy prep and wonderful. I served with Flatbread and risotto.