Chicken Shawarma (sort of)

Every cuisine has a version of tacos, burritos, empanadas, enchiladas, tortas, and tostadas. Two of my favorites from mediterranean cuisine are gyros and shawarma.

This recipe is not authentic. None of my recipes are authentic. They’re just mine.

I took a dozen or more shawarma recipes and kind of merged and mingled them to get this. Give it a try.

This recipe requires the pounded brined chicken recipe and the tzatziki recipe.

Chicken Shawarma

A mediterranean inspired chicken dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mediterranean


  • 1-3 chicken skewers or wires I prefer wires, read the notes section below for why
  • 1 two-prong skewer or strong tongs
  • 1 large glass or metal baking dish to hold the chicken for serving
  • 1 flat tortilla pan or warmer


Chicken ingredients

  • 1 preparation of Pounded Brined Chicken read the additional instructions, you're modifying this recipe slightly
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice + pickle juice blend
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chicken Better than Bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper or cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Minced parsley to taste

Serving Ingredients

  • Tomato slices
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Feta or sirene cheese
  • Tzatziki sauce recipe on this site
  • Tortillas or similar
  • French fries, already cooked preferably fast-food style thin-cut fries


Start the pounded brined chicken recipe

  • But, after pounding the chicken, cut it into strips or squares
  • Do not add water to this version

Prepare the vegetables

  • Mince the garlic
  • Sliver half the onion, and cut the other half into large portions

Skewer chicken

  • Take the portions of chicken and slide them onto the skewer
  • Add the large pieces of onion between the pieces of chicken, but not the slivers

Marinade the chicken

  • Take the skewered chicken-and-onions, place them in the marinade bag
  • Add all the olive oil to the marinade bag, seal it, and shake it up so the chicken and onions get coated
  • Add the lemon juice and all the other spices, including the minced garlic, slivered onions, and Better than Bouillon, to the bag
  • Seal and shake the bag well to ensure the spices evenly coat all of the chicken and onions. You may need to work it a bit to get the BTB to dissolve in the olive oil and lemon/pickle juice combo.
  • Marinade for at least 4 hours, preferably 1-3 days

Grill the chicken

  • Grill over medium-high heat, lightly charring the outside of the chicken
  • If desired, baste with the marinade, but don't baste in the last 10 minutes to make sure that any marinade gets cooked thoroughly
  • Reposition the chicken as it grills to ensure all sides get evenly cooked and charred

Rest the chicken

  • After grilling, let the chicken rest 5-10 minutes
  • Use a tool to push the chicken off the skewer and into a a glass or metal baking dish

Prepare for serving

  • Warm a tortilla on a flat tortilla pan
  • Place tomatoes, grilled onions, pickles, olives, and fries on the tortilla
  • Add chicken portions over the veggies
  • Add cheese and tzatziki over the chicken
  • Roll up the tortilla and serve


Skewering the chicken when it’s been brined is a huge messy pain. Don’t use straight steel rod skewers, use steel cable skewers. If you use cable skewers, you can skewer it before it’s brined, then brine it in the bag with the skewers already inserted. This makes it way easier to prepare and grill.