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Chicken Shawarma

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© 2011 Helana Brigman
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It should come as no surprise to readers of Clearly Delicious that along with the massive amounts of hummus I eat daily, I (sometimes) eat equal parts Shawarma. Yes, Shawarma.  Chicken Shawarma.Originally an Arab fast food dish, Shawarma is available today in many American Lebanese Restaurants where food items are prepared in a hurry (yes, Shawarma is technically a fast food meal).

But this doesn’t mean Shawarma can’t be made at home quickly and as deliciously as it is at a restaurant.

So here are my tips: the key to a good Shawarma recipe is the combination of smokiness desired in the meat (usually accomplished through grilling) and simultaneous “juciness,” also accomplished from the olive oil and lemon juice marinade it is soaked in.

Follow my below variation for a Clearly Delicious spin on one of my favorite chicken-style dishes.  With the right preparation and ingredients, homemade Chicken Shawarma never tasted so good outside of a restaurant.

Chicken Shawarma

This recipe is adapted from Food Network Kitchens although my version changes more than 3 ingredients.  The original can be found here.


* 10 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

* 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

* 1/2 cup olive oil

* 1 teaspoon cumin

* 4 teaspoons curry powder

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 4 teaspoons pepper

* 10 drops yellow food coloring

* 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

Serve with: hummus, pita bread, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and other Lebanese fare

1.) Add chicken to a large mixing bowl and season with garlic, cumin, curry powder, salt, and pepper.

2.) In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil.  Pour mixture over chicken and stir till fully coated and combined.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to refrigerate overnight so that the flavors really sink in.  This particular recipe will keep up to several days so long as it’s refrigerated.

3.) When ready to cook and serve warm a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until well-done.  To get that really smokey taste, you may wish to grill the chicken on an open grill, but both techniques work well.

Serve on a bed of hummus and pita bread and garnish with fresh vegetables like cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes.  Enjoy! Makes 6-8 servings.

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Chicken Shawarma, 5.0 out of 5 based on 6 ratings
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  1. Posted May 23, 2011 at 8:46 am | #

    I’m so glad I ran across your blog on the Louisiana Blogger’s Network page. I’m always looking for new recipes to try, and I love Schwarma! Looking forward to trying this later this week!

  2. Posted May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am | #

    You’re welcome Jude! I love this Schwarma recipe so very much. Please let me know if you try it or any other Clearly Delicious dish!

  3. Posted June 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm | #

    This one is recipe of the week for show #129. Delish!

  4. Posted June 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm | #

    Russ–That’s awesome! I can’t wait to hear the episode and you plug the Schwarma recipe :). Have you made it yet? It is definitely one of my favorites!

  5. Posted June 22, 2011 at 8:41 am | #

    I found you through listening to Fat 2 Fit Radio. I’m looking forward to making this for my family this week. We love chicken but I get tired of fixing it the same three ways all the time.

  6. Posted June 22, 2011 at 10:10 am | #


    If you’re looking for a really *flavorful* way to make chicken that isn’t the same old / same old, then I think you’ll be really happy with this recipe! It’s low-fat and sooo good. Try pairing it with hummus and pita! Let us/me know what you think!

  7. Dean
    Posted June 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm | #

    You could also substitute Turmeric instead of yellow food dye. It will only slightly affect the flavor (turmeric has a little flavor but not much. I can’t wait to try this though!

  8. Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:57 am | #

    Great suggestion Dean! Turmeric does have a yellow coloring…I bet that’s what the “professionals” use in real Schwarma at restaurants….

  9. kim
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm | #

    Hi, do you grill the chicken breasts whole and then shred them, or cut up the chicken into strips and then grill? I can’t wait to try this.Kim

  10. Posted June 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm | #

    Hey Kim-

    Great question. Long-ish Answer: Usually, I either grill or boil or roast the chicken breast whole (boiling a chicken may not sound so clearly delicious, but I promise it yields the most amazing chicken broth). Then, I wait for the chicken to cool enough to the touch and pull the meat off the bone however it may fall. This removing chicken from the bone process does result in a kind of “shredding,” but you can obviously tear it up a little bit more before adding the marinade if the chunks are too big.

    Short answer: always tear chicken up after cooking.

    I hope you enjoy the recipe!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Recipe of the Week: Chicken Schwarma […]

  2. By Clearly Delicious » Tom Kha Soup with Tofu on May 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    […] eater.  Or, perhaps it’s because I had eaten chicken on everything from savory salads to hummus and pita that I couldn’t find a craving for the stuff at all.  In the past I had been quite happy […]

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