If you frequent your local shawarma joint (and who doesn’t), you know the secret to the flavor of the slowly roasted meat is in the magical combination of spices. Made with plenty of warming spice, including allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, and garlic, you’re going to want to keep a jar of this on hand at all times for marinating and massaging into meats, sprinkling on spice-roasted carrots, tossing with potatoes, or coating broiled tofu.

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for shawarma spice blend--allspice, cayenne cumin, coriander, garlic powder, cloves, paprika, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, and black pepper.
  • Allspice–Although this may seem like a lot of allspice, this gives the shawarma spice its signature depth and warmth.
  • Cayenne pepper–If you prefer a milder spice mix or are sensitive to heat, reduce this to 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Paprika–I recommend using a mild-flavored Spanish paprika so that it doesn’t overwhelm the other spices.

How to Make This Recipe

A person mixing shawarma spices together in a bowl.
  1. Combine all of the shawarma spices in a small bowl and mix well. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.

Common Questions

How should I use this spice blend?

This homemade shawarma seasoning is fantastic on spiced beef tenderloin. I also recommend using it to flavor roast chicken and roasted potatoes or as a seasoning for grilled flank steak. Consider adding a teaspoon to your favorite citrusy vinaigrette or to a veggie shakshuka.

What is Shawarma?

Shawarma, originally from the Ottoman Empire, refers to the classic dish of slices of meat slow-roasted on a vertical spit and generously seasoned with spices. It’s enjoyed in Turkey, throughout the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and the rest of the world.

Helpful Tips

  • Store the spice blend in a sealed container and keep it in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
  • For best results, use fresh spices purchased within the past three months.
  • The shawarma spice blend recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.

More Superb Spice Blend Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A spoonful of Shawarma spice blend on a wooden surface with some of the spice mix scattered nearby.

Shawarma Spice Blend

5 / 2 votes
This homemade shawarma seasoning is made with a combination of spices, including, allspice, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom. It's perfect for rubbing into slow-roasted meats or sprinkling over potatoes or vegetables.
David Leite
CuisineMiddle Eastern
Servings10 teaspoons
Calories6 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes



  • Combine all of the spices in a small bowl and stir well.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.


  1. Use fresh spices–For best results, use fresh spices purchased within the past three months.
  2. Dietary–The shawarma spice blend is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
Flavors of the Sun

Adapted From

Flavors of the Sun

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Serving: 1 teaspoonCalories: 6 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 0.2 gFat: 0.2 gSaturated Fat: 0.04 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1 gSodium: 1 mgFiber: 0.5 gSugar: 0.1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Christine Sahadi Whelan. Photos © 2023 David Leite. All rights reserved.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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