Chicken Shawarma

This chicken shawarma is made with marinated spiced chicken thighs and tender roasted onions and couldn’t be easier. Serve with an array of sides for a DIY customizable weeknight meal that everyone will love.

Cooked pieces of chicken shawarma and wedges of red onion on a rimmed baking sheet.

This chicken shawarma sheet pan dinner just might change your go-to dinner rotation. Forever. The contrasting flavors and textures of crisp spiced chicken thighs and sweetly tender roasted onions meld in exquisite fashion and the finished dish makes an absolutely splendid centerpiece, whether or not you take an extra few minutes to set up an always popular do-it-yourself array of toppings.–Jenny Howard

Chicken Shawarma

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 25 M
  • 3 H, 5 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Ingredients

  • For the chicken shawarma
  • For serving (optional)

Directions

Make the chicken shawarma

In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes and whisk to combine.

Add the chicken to the bowl and toss well to coat. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Slick a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil.

Add the onion wedges to the chicken and marinade and toss to combine.

Place the chicken and onions in a single layer on the baking sheet, letting any excess marinade drip back into the bowl. Discard the marinade.

Roast until the chicken is evenly browned, crisp at the edges, and cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.

Cut the chicken into 1/2- to 1-inch (1- to 2.5-cm) pieces.

Tester tip: Like things extra crispy? In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil. Toss in the roasted chicken pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is extra crispy at the edges.
Serve the chicken shawarma

Arrange the chicken in a large bowl or on a platter. Scatter the parsley over the top, if using.

If desired, arrange small bowls of extras alongside the chicken and let everyone customize the chicken shawarma to their liking.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

From the moment I tasted the marinade, I knew this recipe was going to be a winner. The heat was present without being overbearing and the lemon juice was bracingly fresh.

I found 4 hours of marinating perfect for infusing flavor without diminishing the texture of the meat. Resist the temptation to spoon some of the marinade over the chicken before roasting as the chicken thighs will release plenty of their own liquid while cooking and this extra liquid can keep them from getting the proper browning.

This base recipe would also work great during grilling season and the leftovers lend themselves to a great grain bowl!

I did not brown the chicken in a skillet. Served it with lavash, tahini-garlic sauce, a tomato-cucumber-mint salad and crumbled feta. makes about 6 servings (1 thigh a person) but depending on how hungry people are and the method of serving, it would make less.

Thoughts: I'd recommend the onion be cut in half and then cut in thirds or quartered. I found the full onion quarters were too thick and steamed rather than really roasted.

I found the heat quite manageable, so those who really like a burn will want more red pepper flakes and/or hot paprika.

This recipe was all around terrific. It produced a wonderfully spiced delicious meal, which was easy to then customize with a variety of serving options. The contrasting taste of the spicy meat paired well with the sweet roasted onions, adding a welcome complexity of flavors. The preparation and cooking methods used here are practically foolproof and allow for plenty of flexibility in timing. That all the ingredients are affordable and easily sourced is a plus.

A couple of my chicken thighs were quite large, so I cut them to flatten a bit in order to provide more surface area on the pan, thus avoiding the optional re-frying technique at the end. My chicken marinated for 8 hours and was well browned on a sheet pan at 35 minutes.

I served it all with warmed pita and a large platter of diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta crumbles for my people to customize to their liking, along with a bottle of hot sauce. A simple sauce, made with plain full fat yogurt, a grated garlic clove and a generous squeeze of lemon juice, topped it all off. I took advantage of the hot oven to roast another pan of cauliflower which provided a nice accompaniment to the meat.

I am happy to add this dish to my regular rotation of tasty yet easy dinner options!

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Comments

  1. Excellent. Wow. Only thing I skipped is the cumin because I am not a fan. I could also have put a little bit more salt than indicated (because I am a salt lover) but I think amount indicated is perfect. We ate it with Indian bread. Definitely also good with rice or pita bread….Thanks
    for sharing.

  2. This recipe is a definite winner! Made it last week and couldn’t believe how much flavor it had for something so simple and easy. I didn’t even plan ahead to do a 2 hour marinade, so I cheated and only did for one hour and it was still SO good. This with some couscous and/or pita and some labneh went so well together!

    1. Thanks Johnisha! We’re so glad you loved it. Can’t wait to hear what you try next.

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