Shawarma Shenanigans: A Love for Lebanese Delights

There’s nothing quite like getting your whole crew together for a feast, am I right? And when it comes to cooking the perfect crowd-pleaser, believe me, I’ve got it on lockdown: Chicken Shawarma always wows the tastebuds and leaves everyone asking for more, wink wink. So, let’s dive right into the secret sauce of making this Lebanese delight as scrumptious as it can be!

First things first, you guessed it, marinating the chicken. Here’s where the magic really happens! I usually opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs because, let’s be honest, flavors and tenderness are the name of the game. I mix up a concoction of yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic (lots of it, because who doesn’t love garlicky goodness?), and a fragrant blend of spices such as cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and coriander. Don’t forget that sprinkle of cayenne for a little kick!

Once I rub those chickens with the marinade like they’ve never been rubbed before, I send them into the fridge for a delightful spa day – you know, just chilling and soaking up those delish flavors for at least four hours, or even better, overnight. Alrighty, time to get these babies off their lazy butts and onto some heat!

Of course, an actual shawarma spit isn’t part of my humble kitchen repertoire (though Christmas is around the corner, hint hint!), so I opt to grill, bake or sauté these marinated darlings. The key here is to achieve that beautiful caramelization without drying them out. It’s like walking a tightrope, but once you’ve nailed it, the satisfaction is unparalleled!

While the chicken takes center stage, let’s not forget its trusty sidekicks: That fluffy basmati rice or warm, toasty pita bread, that refreshing cucumber, tomato and onion salad, and of course, my personal favorite, the oh-so-creamy garlic sauce. I’m feeling verklempt just thinking about it!

With all those flavors mingling and jiving on your plate, it’s no wonder this dish has become one of my go-to’s for gatherings. So the next time you’ve got loved ones at your table, give Chicken Shawarma a whirl — you can thank me later! Bon appétit!

Gather the following ingredients:

  • For the marinade:
    • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For assembly and serving:
    • Pita bread
    • Tomato, cucumber, and onion salad
    • Garlic sauce
    • Cooked basmati rice (optional)


  • Whisk together Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and spices in a large bowl.
  • Add chicken thighs to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, ideally overnight.
  • Preheat a grill, oven, or skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Remove chicken from the marinade, allowing excess to drip off.
  • Grill, bake or sauté chicken for about 6-8 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through.
  • Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes, then slice into thin strips.
  • Prepare the tomato, cucumber, and onion salad along with garlic sauce.
  • Warm pita bread in the oven or microwave.
  • Assemble your Chicken Shawarma by layering chicken strips, salad, and garlic sauce on a warm pita bread. Serve alongside cooked basmati rice, if desired.
  • Enjoy your homemade Chicken Shawarma with family and friends!

That was fresh!