Learn how to make this easy oven roasted chicken shawarma recipe with tahini sauce just like you get in the Middle East and make your own out-of-this-world chicken shawarma wraps.
In the many years I’ve lived in Middle East- Qatar and Dubai- shawarma wrap is our go to food. Shawarma was easily available and you’d find a shawarma joint in every street corner. It’s so cheap too, so I never attempted to make it at home. After I moved from Dubai I started making chicken shawarma at home and this is the closest I got to in recreating the authentic Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma recipe.
What is Shawarma
Shawarma is meat- chicken or lamb-marinated in spices and skewered on a spit- a long solid rod which holds the meat while it’s cooked- and grilled. You’d find vertical spits cooking the meat in all the shawarma resturants. The meat is then sliced off and placed it in a wrap or rice along with tahini sauce or garlic sauce. For us homecooks, the best way to cook the shawarma is to grill or cook in the oven.
You need a solid, flavorful shawarma seasoning to make the best chicken shawarma. The spices used are what you’ll find in your pantry mostly – cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and ground cloves. Ground cloves is easily available in the spice section in any supermarket.
How long to marinate the chicken
Can I make chicken shawarma if I have only an hour to get dinner on the table? Absolutely.
I tested the shawarma recipe in two ways. One is to slice the chicken and marinate overnight and the next is to marinate only for 30 mins without slicing the meat. I didn’t notice a difference and we actually like the 30 min marinated chicken.
How to make chicken shawarma in the oven
This is my quick and easy method for you to get dinner on the table pretty fast.
- Marinate the chicken in spices, olive oil, yogurt and salt.
- Leave for 30 minutes.
- Bake in high heat for 25 minutes.
- Broil for additional 4 minutes to get a charred, caramelised top.
What’s the best meat for shawarma
Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for maximum flavour. If you are using chicken breast cook until the inner temparature of the meat reaches 165F.
How to serve chicken shawarma
Once out of the oven and cooled, rest the chicken for 5 minutes. Slice and serve on top of a bed of lettuce on a pita bread or khubuz(Arabic flat bread). Top it with pickled onions or vegetables, fresh cucumber and tomatoes. Finish off with a drizzle of tahini sauce or hummus.
My kids love to press the wrap in a panini press for a warm crunchy wrap.
You can also serve the shawarma on a bed of rice with all the toppings.
How to make Tahini sauce
I love tahini sauce on top of my shawarma, just the way it’s served back in dubai. To make the Tahini sauce you’d need the following.
- lemon juice
- garlic powder
More easy chicken dinners you’ll love
Easy Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma
- 7 to 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs around 2.5 lbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder OR 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder OR a garlic clove minced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- Mix all the ingredients for the seasoning. In a large bowl toss the chicken thighs with seasoning, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and yogurt. Marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a sheet pan, arrange the chicken thighs and bake for 25 minutes. Broil for 4 minutes to char and caramelize the top.
- Take the chicken out of the oven, let it rest for 5 minutes and slice.
For the Tahini sauce
- Mix tahini, paprika, garlic powder and salt in bowl and whisk to combine.
- The sauce will thicken to be more like a paste. Add water bit by bit and whisk until you get a smooth consistency.
Chicken shawarma wrap
- Place the sliced chicken on a pita bread and top with your favorite toppings- lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, pickled onions and/or other vegetables and drizzle with tahini sauce.