Chicken Shawarma

There’s 2 recipes here. If you want to go crazy, or if someone else is washing the dishes, or you’re like me and just enjoy spinning meats, the first one’s for you. If you just want maximum shawarma with minimal cleanup, skip down to the second, Good Enough recipe.

I heard recently that ten or more bulbs of garlic is called a “halitosis” Between the marinade, Toum (which is literally just pureed garlic), Harissa, and Tabbouleh, I’ll be repelling vampires and women for at least a week.

Lessons Learned TLDR:

  • The rotisserie makes the meat juicier and the vertical carving gives you that tell tale small pieces look and feel, but we can probably get a Good Enough approximation in an oven.
  • The vertical carving may not be necessary, but damn if it doesn’t feel cool.

Worth it (if you have a vertical rotisserie).

Surprisingly, the vertical spit doesn’t play as big a part in the flavour as I thought. The meat is definitely juicier, but as long as you do the full 24 hour marinade, it will be insanely flavourful. The various sauces and chopped veg ingredients also play a big part for the flavour, so do yourself a flavour and pick up a jar of pickled turnips.

The leek pea soup was pretty inconvenient, but this was next level- for cleanup anyway. I’d blow my brains out before I press root-marm through a sieve again. Busting out the rotisserie is annoying enough, but I also had to use and clean the processor twice! And if I’m making pitas the panini press is a must as well.

the cleanup after the platter shoot

My big take away is that, for the most part a good shawarma is easy to make, but there’s a lot of different things to make. On the bright side it makes for amazing leftovers! This recipe made 5 lbs of meat- I’ve since had 3 meals and still have 2 lbs.

This has been a pretty tiring 72 hour ordeal to make this, so I’m gonna pass it off to Taylor for the version that doesn’t require a professional kitchen’s worth of gadgets.

Toum and Tabouleh Recipes

Hummus Recipe (or fancy edamame hummus)

Chicken Shawarma Meat

This is just for prepping and marinating the meat. How you cook it is up to you
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Marinade1 day
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Lebanese
Servings: 5 lbs
Calories: 466kcal


  • 5 lbs Chicken thighs boneles, skinless
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp oregano dried
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp coriander ground (not cilantro)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric
  • .5 tsp cinnamon
  • .5 tsp cayenne pepper


For The Rotisserie

  • Slice each thigh in half horizontally, optionally hammer it even thinner
  • Place everything in a zip lock bag, press out any extra air, seal and massage until all the chicken is thoroughly coated in marinade. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • Layer the chicken on the spit, folding it over on itself as needed if pieces are too big
  • Cook times depend on your spit, but the outer layer will be ready to start shaving after 90 minutes or so, or if a meat thermometer inserted shallow in the meat cone registers above 155F and / or a test slice is no longer pink. The cooking process is an interactive one done over the course of 90 mins after the initial 90. Continue to let it cook, shaving off the outer layer every 20 minutes or so once it crisps up some. Continue this process until all that's left is the core of the cone, then you can pull that off the skewer and chop it up on a cutting board.


  • Sides / filler aren't included in this recipe, but common ones include
    Toum (recipe above)
    Harissa (recipe above)
    Hummus (recipes above)
    Red cabbage, thinly sliced
    Onion, thinly sliced
    Pickled Turnip
    Pita bread



Serving: 150g | Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 506mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 157IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg

Good Enough Version

Rotisserie, and carving? Fuck that noise.

You can make a perfectly cromulent Shawarma in half the time, with half the effort and its perfectly good enough

Ive even included a garlic sauce and tahini spread to compliment the meat which also take half the effort but still leave all of the bad breath

Good Enough Shawarma At Home

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Lebanese
Servings: 5 lbs
Calories: 698kcal


  • 12 chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika (smoked)


  • Preheat oven to 325F
  • Mix all the spices together in a bowl
  • Place chicken in an oven safe dish, toss with olive oil spice mix, saving approx 1 tbsp of the spice mix for later
  • Roast chicken for approx 25 minutes
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and let cool approx 5 minutes
  • In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan
  • Once chicken is cooled enough to handle, chop into small bit sized pieces
  • Add the chicken pieces and remaining spice mix to the pan, and sauté on high heat for approx 5-10 minutes
  • Make sure to not mix too often as you want some of the chicken to get good'n'crispy
  • Use a spoon to scrape off any goo that might stick as you cook. It is important to you do NOT deglaze the pan. Drink the wine instead
  • Remove from heat one desired crispiness is achieved and serve with rice and sauces


Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 266mg | Sodium: 1633mg | Potassium: 680mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1410IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 4mg

Garlic Sauce

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Lebanese
Servings: 16 tbsp
Calories: 33kcal


  • 8 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp salt


  • Blend or process all ingredients together until desired consistency is reached.


Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 437mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Tahini Sauce

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Lebanese
Servings: 12 tbsp
Calories: 32kcal


  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp paprika smoked


  • Blend or process together until desired consistency
  • Drink….?


Calories: 32kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 291IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg