Chicken Shawarma

The marinade for this Chicken Shawarma has to be the very best marinade that I’ve ever made. The marinade was so good that I might even use it as a sauce in the future. The flavor is an interesting mix of savory garlic, sweet spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, and tangy yogurt and lemon. It’s pure magic. Next time I’ll probably cut the chicken into strips before marinating to increase the surface area and magnify the flavor saturation.

I made this chicken with the intention of eating it in these sandwich wraps but then I started topping salads with it and eventually just snacked on it plain. It’s just that good. You could really use this flavorful chicken for anything. I divided the ingredient list to show just the chicken & marinade in case you want to use it for something other than the sandwich, because even if you don’t want the sandwich, you NEED to at least try the chicken.

If you’ve had chicken shawarma in a restaurant, this is a bit different. Real chicken shawarma is cooked slowly on a rotisserie with fattier bits of chicken. The result is an uber-moist, somewhat greasy delight. Also, when you buy a chicken shawarma sandwich, the lettuce is usually tossed in an oregano vinaigrette, feta and red onion. Well, I had some feta and red onion but forgot both when building my sandwich. A total tragedy… but it was still magically delicious.

Chicken Shawarma

A Chicken Shawarma wrap sandwich on a plate with beans.

Print Recipe
4.78 from 40 votes

Chicken Shawarma

A magical blend of yogurt, lemon, and mediterranean spices makes this homemade chicken shawarma mouthwateringly delicious. 
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 4 hrs
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4



  • 2 large chicken breasts (1.25 lbs) ($2.48)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt ($0.25)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced ($0.36)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.32)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves ($0.03)


  • 7 oz cup plain greek yogurt ($1.59)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic, minced ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)


  • 4 homemade naan, pita or flatbread ($0.64)
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce ($0.80)
  • 1 medium cucumber ($0.69)
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes ($0.63)


  • In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove). 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 and stir in the garlic, dill, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • After marinating the chicken, grill until cooked through (I use a George Foreman, cooked for about 7 minutes).
  • 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.

Front view of a chicken shawarma wrap on a plate with beans.

Pictured with Marinated White Beans

Step By Step Photos

shawarma marinade
shawarma marinade
To make the marinade, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove. This is a seriously magical mix of herbs and spices. I can’t explain it, you just have to try it.

marinate chicken
Combine the chicken and marinate, cover (or seal) tightly, and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. My chicken breasts were frozen so I just added the marinade to the freezer bag (after they were thawed, of course) and marinated them in there.

grill chicken
Grill the chicken until cooked through. It may be time for me to upgrade my 10 year old, single-serving sized George Foreman! I need more grilling capacity!

slice chicken
After it’s grilled, let it sit for a few minutes to let the juices redistribute and then slice it into strips. Like I said, next time I’ll probably slice it *before* marinating to let more of that glorious flavor get in.

dill yogurt sauce
To make the yogurt sauce for the sandwich, I just stir some dried dill, minced garlic, and salt into a container of plain greek yogurt.

dill yogurt sauce
Honestly, I don’t even measure them, I just sprinkle some in, taste it, and add more if needed. I like to let the sauce refrigerate for a while to allow the flavor to soak into the yogurt.

prepare veggies
Prepare the veggies for the sandwich. Wash and slice up the cucumber and tomato (and maybe red onion, if you’re so inclined). Chop and wash the lettuce, then let it drain in a colander until mostly dry.

chicken shawarma
Then, just build your sandwich! I have the yogurt sauce on top in the photo but you’ll probably want to spread it right on the bread. It will add more moisture there plus it will be easier to eat without getting white yogurt sauce all over your face!