This Chicken Shawarma recipe is an updated spin on one of my favourite Middle Eastern dishes. The chicken is marinated in a rich blend of spices and then cooked on a sheet pan in the oven. The chicken is served on a creamy lemon tahini sauce garnished with pomegranate seeds and radishes for a bit of crunch. This chicken shawarma platter is a great dish to serve a crowd Chicken Shawarma

Chicken shawarma is one of my favourite middle eastern dishes. While traditionally it is enjoyed as a street food, I love serving it as a platter garnished with tahini sauce plus pomegranate seeds and radishes for a fancier spin. Chicken shawarma is traditionally cooked on a rotating spit, but to make this recipe easy for anyone to make at home, I created this sheet pan version. 

Chicken Shawarma

Why You Will Love This Chicken Shawarma

  • With a creamy tahini sauce base, tender spicy strips of chicken, onion and toppings of pomegranate seeds, thin slices of radish, parsley and more tahini, every bite is packed with so much flavour.
  • The spice mixture is the perfect balance of warm spices and heat that really makes this flavorful chicken resemble classic chicken shawarma that you would find at any mediterranean restaurant. 
  • Marinate the chicken ahead of time so on a busy night all you have to do is arrange it on a baking sheet and cook in the oven. It’s the perfect quick dinner option for nights when you are short on time. 
  • This easy chicken shawarma recipe is practically foolproof to make and is a great dish for anyone new to cooking. 


Chicken Shawarma

What Is Chicken Shawarma

Shawarma is a popular street food originating from the middle east. It dates back to the Ottoman Empire in the 18th or 19th century, and the word Shawarma means “turning” in Arabic, a reference to the method of preparation where the meat is turned on a vertical spit while cooking. Chicken, lamb or beef is seasoned in a blend of warm spices and then stacked in a cone-like shape on a rotating spit and cooked. The meat is then shaved into thin strips and served as a wrap or over rice pilaf or a salad. The thin slices of meat are often served with garlic yogurt sauce, tahini or toum. 


Ingredients You Need To Make This Chicken Shawarma Recipe

  • Chicken Thighs: I find that chicken thighs are best for this recipe but breasts can also be used. 
  • Onions: thinly sliced onion isn’t an ingredient used in traditional chicken shawarma but I find that it helps to bulk up the chicken and adds nice flavor to the dish. 
  • Shawarma Seasoning: Ground cumin, Paprika, ground turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, kosher salt, black pepper. 
  • Garlic: Lots of minced fresh garlic cloves add a nice kick to the marinade. Feel free to add less if you are garlic adverse. 
  • Olive oil: I recommend using a high quality extra virgin olive oil 
  • Lemon: Both lemon juice and lemon zest add a wonderful freshness to the dish. The acid from the lemon helps to balance out the flavors from the spice and also helps to marinate the chicken. 


How To Make This Chicken Shawarma Recipe

  1. Start by cutting the boneless skinless chicken thighs into strips and placing them in a ziploc back or large bowl along with the sliced onion. Add all of the other ingredients for the marinade in with the chicken (spices, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil) and stir to ensure all of the chicken is well coated. Transfer to the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 2-3 hours but ideally overnight. 
  2. Arrange all of the chicken, onions and any excess shawarma marinade on a large sheet pan. Use a fork to ensure everything is spread out in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown in color. 
  3. While the chicken is cooking prepare the sauce. In a high speed blender combine the tahini, red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice and water and blend until completely smooth and fluffy in texture.
  4. To prepare the chicken shawarma platter arrange shredded lettuce on the plate and then place the chicken and onions overtop. Drizzle the tahini sauce over the chicken and then garnish with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds and thinly sliced radishes. 

You can find full step-by-step instructions in the recipe card below. 



Can I Use Chicken Breasts Instead of Chicken Thighs?

You can! I find that boneless chicken thighs have a richer flavor and remain moist after baking, but chicken breasts are also a great option. I recommend cutting the boneless skinless chicken breast horizontally into to flat cutlets and then thinly slicing those chicken pieces into strips.



How Long To Marinate The Chicken  

I recommend marinating the chicken for a minimum of a couple of hours, but the longer the marinating time, the more flavorful the chicken will be. I do not recommend leaving it to marinate for more than 24 hours as the acid from the lemon juice will begin to change the texture of the chicken and it will become mushy. 


The Tahini Lemon Sauce

The tahini lemon sauce pairs so incredibly well with the spice-marinated meats. It has a very light and fluffy texture and is fantastic served drizzled over the chicken, or served on the side for dipping. The sauce is very easy to make and can be modified depending on your personal preference by adding more garlic, lemon juice or red wine vinegar. You can also add more tahini to make the sauce thicker, or more water if you would like a thinner consistency. 


Garnishes For This Chicken Shawarma

Garnishes really elevate this chicken shawarma platter and garlic lemon tahini sauce to a show stopper meal and are a great way to make the dish your own. My favorite garnishes to add to the chicken shawarma platter include pomegranate seeds, thinly sliced radishes which add a nice crunch and sharp flavor, and chopped parsley or fresh mint. Other ingredients that can be sprinkled overtop include crumbled feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion, pine nuts, chopped kalamata olives or dollops of tzatziki. 

What To Serve With This Chicken Shawarma

Some of my favorite dishes to serve alongside this chicken shawarma platter include Greek Salad or Fattoush Salad, a big bowl of creamy hummus and tzatziki sauce, fresh pita bread, rice pilaf or roasted lemon potatoes. 


Chicken Shawarma Platter

Ways To Serve This Chicken Shawarma

  • This chicken shawarma platter is fantastic served with warm pita bread. You can either cut the pita into wedges and use it to scoop up the chicken, enjoy the chicken stuffed inside pita pockets or as a wrap
  • For a wrap use a large pita or lavash bread and fill it with shredded romaine lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes, the shawarma chicken, lots of the tahini sauce and any other toppings of choice. 
  • Serve this chicken shawarma over rice pilaf or any prefered choice of rice. I like making rice bowls with a base of shredded romaine lettuce and rice, lots of the shawarma chicken and then chopped tomatoes, red onions and feta.
  • As a Whole30, Keto or Paleo option, serve this chicken shawarma with lettuce cups. Pack the lettuce cups full of the chicken and onion mixture and drizzle with the tahini sauce for a filling meal



Chicken Shawarma Platter


Can I Make This Chicken Shawarma Platter In Advance?

Absolutely! You can marinate the chicken and then bake it in the oven up to 2 days in advance. The tahini garlic sauce can also be made a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Before serving, transfer the chicken to a baking tray and cook for 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the chicken is warmed through and ready to serve.

What About Leftovers

I recommend storing any leftover chicken shawarma separate from the tahini sauce. The chicken mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I recommend reheating any leftovers in the microwave until warmed through, arranging them in a baking dish and reheating them in the oven at 300 f degrees for 10 minutes or adding them to a large cast iron skillet or grill pan and heating them on medium-high heat until hot. 


Chicken Shawarma

Here are a few more Middle Eastern inspired recipes that you might enjoy:

If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!

Chicken Shawarma

Every Last Bite
This Chicken Shawarma is such a tasty dish! The marinated chicken is baked in the oven and topped with tahini. Serve it as a salad, in a rice bowl or wrapped in pita.
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Diets Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Keto, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30
Servings 4
Calories 607 kcal



  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 medium onions cut into slices
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Tahini Sauce

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Shwarma Platter

  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds


  • Cut the chicken thighs into thin strips and place them in a resealable bag along with the onion. Add in all of the remaining chicken marinade ingredients and squish it with your hands to ensure that the chicken is evenly coated in the marinade. Place in the fridge for 4 hours but ideally overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit and empty the contents of the marinating chicken bag out onto a large baking tray. Use a fork to ensure everything is spread out evenly and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes until all of the chicken is cooked.
  • While the chicken is cooking, in a blender or nutribullet container combine all of the ingredients for the tahini sauce and blend until completely smooth. The consistency should be fluffy.
  • Arrange the shredded romaine on the platter and then lace all of the chicken overtop. Drizzle some of the tahini sauce over the chicken and place the slices of radishes overtop, along with the pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.
Calories: 607kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 49gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 229mgPotassium: 956mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gCalcium: 120mgIron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!

This post was originally published on May 4, 2019. It was updated with new photos and copy on June 5, 2024.