Chicken Shawarma

Are you excited for the 4th of July? Eric and I are getting ready for some classic ribs and homemade ice cream. And of course fireworks in the backyard. Setting off fireworks always reminds me of one 4th of July when I was a teenager. I taught swimming lessons at a public pool that summer. I would go days at a time without showering because I was in the pool so much, and apparently thought that getting wet and drying off just one more time everyday would drive me to insanity. My hair actually started to get crusty, no joke.

I had to work a full 12 hour shift that 4th of July, and my coworkers and I were trying to jazz up our boring day of yelling at kids to stop running. So one of my coworkers decided it would be a really good idea to set off fireworks in the bathroom. Nothing crazy happened, but with the fire department literally across the street from the pool, I am definitely glad they were not paying attention to the smoke rising 100 yards from their station. I bet there are still scorch marks on the floor of that boys bathroom.

Have you guys had Chicken Shawarma? I’ve never ordered it in a restaurant, but this homemade version is dang good. It’s got the sweet and tangy Greek spices paired with crunchy cucumber and tomato…yum. The marinade is the best part. I’m convinced that Greek yogurt makes everything better. Maybe it’s just Greekness that ameliorates everything.

I think I would make a good Greek. I love that part on My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the girl tells her family that her boyfriend doesn’t eat meat, and after a shocked silence her aunt says That’s okay, I make you lamb. These sound like my kind of people.

Chicken Shawarma

Source: Budget Bytes

For the chicken:

1.25 lbs chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Yogurt Sauce:

1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or one 7 ounce container)
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

4 pitas, naans, or flatbreads
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1 medium cucumber, sliced thin
2 medium roma tomatoes, sliced thin

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and cloves). Add chicken to the marinade, coat well, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. If desired, slice the chicken into strips before marinating to maximize the flavor.

Prepare the yogurt sauce for the sandwiches. Open a 7 oz. container of plain greek yogurt (or put about 1 cup in a bowl) and stir in the garlic, dill, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use. The longer it sits the better.

After marinating the chicken, grill until cooked through (a George Foreman works great).

Prepare the vegetables for the sandwich. Chop, rinse, and drain the lettuce in a colander. Wash and slice the cucumber and tomato.

Build the chicken shawarma sandwiches. Spread the yogurt sauce on your flat bread, top with the chicken and vegetables. Roll the sandwich closed. You can wrap the sandwich in foil to help it stay closed as you eat.





  1. says

    This is my husband’s new favorite and he asked me to put in my meal rotation. It’s pretty easy on the pocketbook, and the hardest part is remembering to thaw the chicken to marinade it. That’s reeeeaaally hard for me for some reason. I use our Foreman grill to get the nice grill marks since we don’t have a bbq yet. :D I also warm my bread on the stove with a light brush of olive oil so it’s extra soft and rolls nicely. I love the fresh veggies and tart sauce with the tender chicken. Plus, it makes me think of the extra scene at the end of the Avengers whenever we eat it. I feel like I’ve just saved the world because I’m eating shawarma. Nice.

    • says

      Haha. I just looked this up because I am making it for dinner tonight and saw your comment. I’m so glad that Shawarma makes you feel like you saved humanity from imminent destruction! Now that’s a meal.

  2. Doreen says

    OMG! I’m so glad you put this recipe up! This was my daily go to for street food in school! (It helped they were always parked in front of my building too! I was too busy to go elsewhere!)

  3. Michelle says

    Hi there! I just discovered your site and am LOVING it! Can’t wait to try out all your yummy looking recipes. Question: Did you use Pita, Naan or Flatbread in your photos? It looks so delicious and crispy. Almost like a Taco Bell Chalupa (but undoubtedly more delicious!) Thanks!

  4. Angela says

    Love this recipe. A pet peeve for any greek is calling a greek pita a “shawarma.” A shawarma is lebanese. Not greek. Hopefully you consider changing the name of this to “chicken Pita.” or “greek pita.”

  5. says

    I’m Greek, I live in Greece and I found this recipe in an American blog after searching in a bunch of Greek ones. I’m totally excited about it. You go girl!!!!! I’m going to try this one. I’m totally sure that it’s going to be amazing.


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