Follow this step-by-step recipe to make chicken shawarma

Some things are just better when they're made from scratch—and making something with your own two hands provides such satisfaction. When you cook from scratch, you know exactly what ingredients go into your meals, and it offers you the flexibility to adjust your recipe for dietary or taste preferences.

Chicken shawarma is surprisingly easy to make, and while it’s not the same experience as getting it freshly sliced off a rotating spit, it's also nice to make and enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

To serve, either portion it into wraps yourself, or do what I did and create a large platter with all the fillings and toppings (pictured above) so that everyone can customize their own pita.tomatoes and cucumbersChristine McAvoy


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Chicken marinade

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, this is the heat)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of one lemon

Greek yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice (more to taste/to thin)
  • Pinch of cumin (more to taste)

To serve

  • Pita bread (whatever your favourite kind is)
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Cucumbers, chopped
  • Pickled turnips (homemade is best and easy)
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • Hummus (optional)
  • Tahini sauce (optional)


  1. Blend the marinade ingredients together and place in a container or bag with the chicken, mixing until it’s completely coated. Let sit in the fridge for 24 hours, occasionally mixing it again.
  2. To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, adjusting seasoning to taste, and place in the fridge covered until ready to use.
  3. If you’re making a shawarma platter, you can pre-chop the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, turnips and place them into individual bowls.
  4. To cook the chicken, you can either do so on the BBQ or in a hot skillet on the stove for about 4 minutes on each side depending on the size of the thighs.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked through, let it rest on a plate covered with foil while you prep the platter with the vegetables and sauces.
  6. Slice the pitas in half or leave them whole, and let your guests choose which fillings they want. Enjoy!