Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma is loaded with flavor, as well as being tender and juicy. Plus, it's easy to make at home with no special equipment!
Chicken shawarma is one of the foods that I would often order from restaurants. I've heard it said that Edmonton has the most donair restaurants per capita in all of Canada, and most of those places serve chicken shawarma as well.
Many of them are fast, affordable, and delicious. But when I lived in Wisconsin, chicken shawarma wasn't readily available from nearby restaurants, so I had to learn how to make it myself when I wanted to eat it.
What is Shawarma?
Shawarma is traditionally prepared by layering thinly sliced, seasoned meat (in this case, chicken)on a vertical rotisserie and shaving off thin slices as it roasts. However, that method is not practical in many homes. Instead, I turned to the oven to replicate the slow-roasted flavor of Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma.
This chicken is very flavorful thanks to lemon juice, garlic, and loads of spices like cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cinnamon. It definitely doesn't need any additional seasoning when you serve it, but a little bit of tzatziki sauce or Lebanese garlic sauce makes it even more mouthwatering.
How to make Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma:
Making your own mouthwatering chicken shawarma starts with marinating boneless chicken thighs in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and several spices.
The chicken is then removed from the marinade and roasted on a baking sheet in the oven.
Your finished shawarma is ready to serve straight from the oven. To give it even more "fresh off the rotisserie" flavor, you can slice it up, then sauté it in a non-stick pan with a little bit of olive oil. Serve it in a pita wrap, with rice or other grain, or on top of salad.
Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma Ingredients:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is best, but bottled juice will work fine too
- Ground cumin
- kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- smoked paprika
- Paprika: paprika that is labeled as either "hot" or "sweet" will both work here
- Cayenne pepper: this recipe uses only a pinch of cayenne, but if you don't want your shawarma spicy at all, feel free to omit it.
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: I prefer using chicken thighs for this recipe as they are juicier, and because they're smaller, have increased surface area for maximum marinade absorption. However, chicken breasts will work too.
What to serve with Chicken Shawarma:
Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition information in the recipe below assumes that ¾ of the marinate is absorbed, or left coating the chicken after marinating as there will be a small amount of marinade discarded.
The nutrition information includes only the cooked chicken and does not include any additional sauces or meal components (eg. pita bread or rice) that you might include with the chicken.
Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (see note)
- ½ teaspoon paprika (see note)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken thighs and coat well. Place the bowl in the fridge and marinate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
- Heat oven to 425°F and move oven rack to middle position. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack in the sheet. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off any excess. Place the chicken on the cooling rack.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer should read 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken) and browned at the edges. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.