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Homemade Shawarma


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Homemade Shawarma


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Homemade Shawarma

Shawarma is a classic Middle Eastern fast food. Piles of meat are layered on a spit with fat and spices, and cooked surrounded by heat. When you order a portion of shawarma, the chef will shave off the exterior layer of meat, which is dripping with spices and flavor. The heat creates a crunchy, juicy bite of meat. As the roasted dark meat is shaved, a layer of pale chicken, not yet exposed to heat is revealed. After rotating one or two times around the heat source, the once pale chicken becomes golden and roasted perfectly, ready for the next individual purchasing a quick bite of Middle Eastern goodness. Shawarama can be made using turkey, lamb, beef or chicken. To recreate the texture and taste of authentic shawarma it is best to use the meat of chicken legs as this meat is fattier and has more flavor than chicken breast. You can use chicken breast, but know that it will not taste as authentic. Double or triple the spice rub recipe for multiple uses. You can also use the spice rub for chicken or turkey kebobs as well.


  • Prep Time : 10 min
  • Cook Time : 16 min
  • Ready Time : 26 min




  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken legs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Slice chicken into thin strips. Combine the oil and spices and mix into chicken. You can marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge to intensify the flavor. Heat a frying pan on medium/high heat and place spiced chicken strips in pan. Cook in pan for about sixteen minutes – about eight minutes per side. Make sure chicken gets a nice crunchy exterior. Remove from pan and leave as is or chop chicken into even smaller pieces. Serve with chopped fresh vegetables, hummus and hot peppers in a pita or laffa.

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine – Subscribe Now.


About Shifra Klein


Editor-in-Chief of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine. Shifra originally founded the Bitayavon magazine with her husband Shlomo and they live in Brooklyn with their 2 boys.




12 Responses to Homemade Shawarma

  1. can i use boneless chicken thighs? also if i want to use beef or lamb, how do i do it?

  2. avatar says: annette

    can i use boneless chicken thighs instead? also if i want to use beef or lamb, what is the recipe?

  3. avatar says: leora

    looks delicious !!
    what about turkey – can i use turkey thighs? should i use the same recipe or the recipe you have for turkey leftovers? this recipe seems more flavorful as the turkey thighs i have are raw and not flavored. also – the turkey recipe calls for onions and this one does not. thoughts?

  4. avatar says: Debbie

    OMG, please don’t use canola oil. Do a google search on it. It’s probably the most unhealthy oil out there. Use sunflower or olive oil.

  5. avatar says: Deborah

    This is the most fabulous combination of spices.We served traditional Israeli laffas using this recipe at our Chanuka party and they were an absolute hit. Authentic, original and very delicious! Thanks Jamie.

    • This is a recipe I developed for my kids and it was always a hit – glad you enjoyed!

      Ps Jamie has a different shwarma recipe

  6. avatar says: Joyce

    What is Laffa?

  7. avatar says: jraphi

    Shwarma is authentically made with lamb. Chicken is a new form of this dish. As for the fat; usually lamb fat is used after it has been rendered. Canola is certainly not a
    usual oil and did not exist in the early times when shwarma was first introduced. If yoyu must use chicken, then use schmaltz as your oil.

    • Correct, this is a recipe that best “mimicks” an authentic shwarma you would buy on the streets of Jerusalem :)

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