This chicken shawarma is going to blow you away. Pantry spices + chicken = magic!

This chicken shawarma is going to blow you away. Pantry spices + chicken = magic!

Shawarma is all the good things: crispy charred spiced meat wrapped up in a fluffy pita with fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumbers.  It’s one of the best combinations on earth, especially at 2 in the morning. Heck, it’s one of the best combinations at any time of the day really. There’s a reason why humans have been grilling meat since the beginning of time and the deliciousness of shawarma is one of them.

What is shawarma?

Shawarma as we know and love it, is a staple street food of the Middle East. Traditionally, shawarma refers to a Levantine way of preparing meat: thin cuts of marinated meat are stacked in a cone on vertical rotisserie and grilled. The word shawarma itself means “turning.”

How to make shawarma

Shawarma can be made with lamb, beef, chicken, or turkey. In our case, we’re going to be using chicken thighs.

  1. Make a spice mix: I n a small bowl, mix together cumin, paprika, garlic powder, coriander, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, aleppo peppers, cinnamon, and ground cloves to make a spice mix.
  2. Marinate:  Add the spice mix, along with olive oil and lemon juice to a bowl with the chicken thighs. Marinate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken:  You can do this in the oven, on the stove, in the air fryer, or on the grill. When it’s done, let it rest, then slice.
  4. Serve:  enjoy hot on a platter with shawarma sauce, salad, and a pita; or place everything in a pita and wrap it up, street food style.

    Shawarma ingredients

    Shawarma is all about the spice, so aside from chicken thighs, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil, you will need: cumin, paprika, garlic powder, ground coriander, ground cardamom, ground ginger, turmeric, aleppo pepper, cinnamon, and ground cloves.

    • Aleppo pepper – These little dried pepper flakes are amazing. The aleppo pepper in this recipe is optional, so leave it out if you’re spice adverse. But if you’re adventurous, please give it a try. It’ll add just a hint of heat and so much deliciousness. They’re about as half as spicy as regular crushed red pepper flakes but so much more flavorful: earthy, with a fruity tang.