Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma (Sawsan Abu Farha).jpg

 (Sawsan Abu Farha)

  • Prep Time


  • Cook Time


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  • Servings


Chicken shawarma is a popular sandwich in the Middle East. It is basically a wonderful roasted chicken that has been marinated in an amazing yogurt spice mix, wrapped in pita bread with some pickles, fries, and tahini or garlic sauce. 


For the marinade

  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon tahini sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mastic*

For the chicken

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, sliced**
  • 1 1/2 yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 1-2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • Tahini sauce, for serving
  • French fries (optional)
  • Sliced pickles (optional)


For the marinade: Step 1

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the ingredients together and set aside.

Step 2

  • Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight

Step 3

  • Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat.

Step 4

  • Drain the chicken and add it to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally until he chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear (a meat thermometer inserted into the center without touching the bone should register 165 degrees).

Step 5

  • Move the chicken to the edge of the pan, add the onion, and sauté for 2 minutes.

Step 6

  • Move the onion aside and add the tomatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then stir the chicken, onions, and tomatoes together and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 7

  • Open up the pita bread to form a pocket, and spread some tahini sauce inside. Add the chicken, onion, and tomato mixture. Add some french fries and sliced pickles, if using. Roll the pita bread and serve.


  • Mastic is an essential part of the spice mix for this recipe, and can be found in Greek and Middle Eastern grocery stores as well as online.


  • I prefer mixing both; the fat in the thighs adds flavor and keeps the chicken moist.