The marinade for this Chicken Shawarma has to be the very best marinade that I’ve ever made. Ever. The marinade was so good that I might even use it as a sauce in the future (spoiler, I did). The flavor of this shawarma marinade is an interesting mix of savory garlic, sweet spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, and tangy yogurt and lemon. It’s pure magic
How to Serve This Grilled Chicken Shawarma
I made this grilled chicken shawarma with the intention of making these sandwich wraps, but then I started topping salads with it and eventually just snacked on the chicken 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.
Rotisserie vs. Grilled Chicken Shawarma
If you’ve had chicken shawarma in a restaurant, this is a bit different. Chicken shawarma from restaurants is cooked slowly on a rotisserie with fattier bits of chicken. The result of the slow roasting is an uber-moist, somewhat greasy delight. But hey, on a busy night, this grilled chicken shawarma does just fine!
What Kind of Chicken is Best for Chicken Shawarma?
I used two chicken breasts in the recipe below, but this marinade also works wonders with chicken thighs. Chicken thighs will also give you some fattier bits, which will make it a little more like the rotisserie-style chicken shawarma you get at restaurants. This amount of marinade will also work for about 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
CHICKEN & MARINADE
- 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.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos.
Pictured with Marinated White Beans.
How to Make Chicken Shawarma – Step By Step Photos
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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 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.
Then, just build your sandwich on top of a piece of naan! I have the yogurt sauce on top in the photo but you’ll probably want to spread it right on the naan. It will add more moisture there plus it will be easier to eat without getting white yogurt sauce all over your face!