Learn how to make the best homemade Chicken Shawarma Plate or Platter.
Our quick & easy recipe offers a healthy take on traditional chicken shawarma, roasted in the oven or on a barbecue rather than a rotisserie.
If you’re having a large group over for dinner build an eye-popping Chicken Shawarma Platter to enjoy buffet-style, topped with fresh salads, Middle Eastern dips, olives and pita.
Save this story to Pinterest!
What Is Shawarma?
The word shawarma is an Arabic interpretation of the Turkish çevirme, which translates to ‘turning’, referring to the slowly rotating rotisserie grill.
Shawarma is a popular dish in Middle Eastern cuisine consisting of meat cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie.
Although roasting meat on horizontal spits has an ancient history, the technique of grilling a vertical stack of meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks first appeared in the 19th-century Ottoman Empire, present day Turkey, in the form of doner kebab (which is now considered the signature dish in Berlin).
Both Greek gyros and shawarma are derived from the ingenuity of ancient Turkish cooks. By the early 20th century, shawarma’s popularity led to the development of the contemporary Mexican dish tacos al pastor when it was brought there by Lebanese immigrants.
Today, shawarma is considered one of the world’s most popular street foods, especially in Egypt and countries in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula.
Travel to the Middle East by Making a Chicken Shawarma Plate at Home
I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East feature fragrant Shawarma platters.
I ate shawarma with flat bread at a traditional Moroccan riad, Turkish take covered in fresh herbs in Istanbul and Bodrum, nibbled on a Nile Cruise and in bustling markets in Cairo, memorable late night wrapped meat feast in Amman, tahini drizzled mid-afternoon grilled meat snack at bustling markets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and a massive Chicken Shawarma Platter in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.
Where To Eat a Chicken Shawarma Plate
Haven’t traveled to the Middle East before? It may be helpful to first sample from a Shawarma Platter at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired crispiness of the meat and intensity of spices in the marinade. You’ll also find inspiration on what to pair with your spiced grilled chicken, such as fresh salads, creamy dips and flat bread.
In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants that may offer traditional Chicken Shawarma Plate’s include Ali Baba’s, Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen and Paramount Fine Foods.
My Family Loves a Shawarma Plate Dinner
When my family moved to Oakville the first restaurant we visited was a local Egyptian and Lebanese restaurant called Agabi. Ranked as one of the best restaurants in Oakville, Agabi, became our family’s go-to Mediterranean take out joint.
We’ve been eating at Agabi for years and have tasted almost every dish on the menu. Each member of my family has discovered a favourite dish, that we always seem to consistently order.
My father loves the Creamy Chicken, muddled with mushrooms and onions. My mother is a fan of the Lamb Shashlik, grilled to perfection with green pepper and mushroom. My sister always orders the Chicken Pineapple, marinated boneless chicken served with crispy bacon and juicy pineapple. I’ve always had a heart for Agabi Oakville’s signature Chicken Shawarma Plate, best served alongside a Greek Salad, aromatic rice and a pungent puddle of Lebanese toum garlic sauce.
After discovering the perfect Chicken Shawarma Platter at Agabi, my family would always seek out the next best thing. We’ve traveled to Israel, Jordan, Egypt and beyond…always keen to experience a new and fresh take on the authentic Middle Eastern spiced chicken dinner.
How To Make Homemade Shawarma
It’s easy to make homemade chicken shawarma in your own kitchen by using a hot oven or barbecue, so don’t worry if you’ve never bought a rotisserie as they aren’t absolutely necessary.
Shawarma is defined by its crispy texture thanks to its slow roasting and marination in Middle Eastern spices such as cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and paprika.
You can mimic the flavour and texture of chicken shawarma roasted on a rotisserie grill by baking thin slices of chicken in a hot oven with our traditional mix of Middle Eastern spices.
Make sure to only use chicken thigh meat, as it has a higher fat content, helping transform the final product into the crispy texture you’re looking for. You can use chicken breast meat but the texture will be off and the meat will dry out when baking in the oven.
If you’re making this recipe during the warmer months of the year and have a barbecue at home we suggest grilling the chicken thighs to enjoy a smoky flavour and charred exterior. Grill the marinated chicken thighs on a flaming barbecue and slice them on your cutting board once they’ve rested for 5 minutes at room temperature. This helps retain the juices.
We love to double the recipe and freeze half of the marinated chicken thighs in a ziplock bag. When you’re planning a last minute dinner party or have a busy week at work, an already prepared bag of spiced chicken shawarma offers a quick & easy Middle Eastern meal.
Best Ways to Serve Chicken Shawarma
Once you’ve fallen in love with the Middle East’s favourite street food you’ll likely want to find creative ways to include it in your family’s meal plan. Here are our 4 favourite way to enjoy homemade Chicken Shawarma:
- Chicken Shawarma Wrap: spiced grilled chicken is shaved and served inside flatbread (such as pita) with chopped iceberg lettuce, tomato slices, red onions, tahini and garlic sauce. Throughout the Middle East popular regional variations may also include hummus, spicy chili sauce, pickled vegetables and French Fries.
- Chicken Shawarma Plate: our favourite dinner idea features a plate piled high with all the fixings such as grilled chicken, spiced rice, tabbouleh salad, falafel, olives, pickles and dips like hummus and tahini.
- Chicken Shawarma Bowl: transform flavourful Middle Eastern grilled chicken into a healthy lunch bowl with your favourite mixed greens and healthy grains such as faro or pearl barley.
- Chicken Shawarma Salad: deconstruct the classic Chicken Shawarma wrap by combining lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and a tahini lemon vinaigrette. Garnish with grilled spiced chicken and a dollop of Lebanese garlic sauce. Toast pita triangles for a fun take on Middle Eastern croutons.
Homemade Toum Shawarma Garlic Sauce
Toum, also known as Lebanese Garlic Sauce, is a popular Middle Eastern garlicky vegan mayonnaise. The thick spread is traditionally served as a topping or dip on a Chicken Shawarma Plate. You’ll also find toum enjoyed with Middle Eastern falafel and mixed grill platters.
Homemade vegetarian toum is easy to make in a blender at home. The sauce is essentially a thick emulsion, like mayonnaise or hollandaise, where a mountain of garlic cloves, vegetable oil and lemon juice slowly combine to create a thick mixture.
When building a Chicken Shawarma Platter, we love to add a few dollops of toum over the crispy shaved grilled meat. If you’re making a shawarma pita wrap, slather the garlic sauce on the flatbread and top with spiced chicken, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles.
Store leftover Shawarma Garlic Sauce in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Chicken Shawarma Plate Tips
After consuming endless Chicken Shawarma Platters, I think I’ve finally found my favourite culinary combination.
When preparing a homemade Chicken Shawarma Plate, it’s important to ensure you’re contrasting flavours and textures so the overall meal experience is well balanced.
The following are my favourite items to scoop and serve on a Chicken Shawarma Plate. You’ll notice we’ve included soft, crunchy and creamy items that contrast with bright acidity, smoky undertones and fiery spice.
- Spiced Chicken Shawarma with Toum: Crispy spiced chicken thigh meat contrasts nicely with an addictive garlic infused creamy sauce.
- Fresh Salads: Middle Eastern salads are known for featuring plenty of fresh herbs. We love heaps of bitter parsley in Tabbouleh or a crunchy and juicy Greek Salad featuring farm fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onions and olives.
- Middle Eastern Dips: Traditional chicken shawarma plates feature creamy hummus and smoky Baba Ghanoush. We also enjoy tahini, labneh and tzatziki.
- Tiny Appetizers: Spruce up your platter adorning each plate with crunchy falafel or warak enab, Lebanese stuffed grape leaves.
- Finger Foods: Treat your guests to pluck-worthy treats such as plump olives and a selection of spicy pickled vegetables.
- Carb Craving: Each plate should feature a starch such as fragrant rice pilaf or freshly grilled pita flatbread.
What To Serve on a Shawarma Platter
If you’re looking for a quick on the go lunch or dinner, grilled chicken shawarma is often stuffed in a pita with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, onions, pickled vegetables, garlic sauce, tahini and sometimes even crispy French fries. Shawarma is most often enjoyed as an on-the-go meal served like a sandwich or wrap.
Visit a new Middle Eastern restaurant each week and you’ll find every chef serves their signature Chicken Shawarma Plate with a unique selection of homemade salads and dips. Rather than eating on the go, a Chicken Shawarma Plate or Platter offers as a well rounded meal meant to be enjoyed with friends and family.
The best Chicken Shawarma Plate’s feature grilled spiced meat, selection of Middle Eastern dips (hummus, melitzanosalata, tahini, baba ghannouj, labneh, tzaziki), a starch like grilled pita or spiced rice, olives, stuffed grape leaves and salads like tabbouleh.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party we suggest serving a Chicken Shawarma Platter, buffet-style, rather than building a individual plate for each of your guests. We find folks love a DIY culinary challenge and it’s especially fun for families with kids. You might want to include other Middle Eastern dishes such as Lebanese Kibbeh or Afghan Kafta Kebab.
Set your kitchen counter up with bowls of pickles, olives, creamy dips, fresh salads, shawarma sauce and freshly chopped herbs like mint and parsley. Each guest can create their very own Chicken Shawarma Plate from the platter you masterfully create!
You May Also Enjoy Reading…
- Roasted Beetroot Salad with Grapefruit, Pistachio and Herbed Cream
- Mizeria Creamy Polish Cucumber Salad Recipe
- Goi Xoai Vietnamese Mango Salad Recipe
- Quick & Easy Indian Onion Salad Recipe
- Guasacaca Sauce: Venezuelan Guacamole Recipe
- Easy Creamy Warm Orzo Lemon Salad
- Easy Healthy Homemade Goi Ga Vietnamese Salad
- Easy Healthy Roasted Vegetable Couscous Recipe
- How To Make Healthy Sweet Potato Rice
- How To Make The Best Canadian Salad Recipe
- Healthy Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad
- Easy Healthy Vegetarian French Onion Soup Recipe
- Cajun Louisiana Cream of Shrimp Soup Recipe
- Lebanese Lentil Soup Recipe: Healthy Adas Bil Hamod
- Ajiaco Cubano Recipe: Healthy Cuban Soup with Chicken
- Traditional Polish Sour Rye Zurek Soup Recipe
- Swedish Sandwich Cake: Easy Homemade Smorgastarta Recipe
- Chinese Ginger Garlic Soup Recipe for Colds
- Easy Citrus “Rojak” Singapore Salad Recipe
- Easy Homemade Jamaican Chicken Soup with Dumplings Recipe
- Vegetarian Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad with Beetroot & Pine Nuts
- Healthy Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup Recipe
- Healthy Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup Recipe
- Healthy Homemade Carrot and Leek Soup Recipe
Best Chicken Shawarma Platter Recipe
Homemade Chicken Shawarma Plate
- baking sheet
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- French knife
- Mixing bowls
- Wooden spoon
Roast Chicken Shawarma
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
- 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 Large Cooking Onion sliced
- 1 Lemon juice and zest
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 2 cups Hummus
- 2 cups Baba Ghanoush
- 2 cups Greek Salad
- 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives
- 6 Pita
- 1 cup Fresh mint chopped
Roast Chicken Shawarma
- In a large mixing bowl combine the cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and cloves. Set aside the shawarma spice mix as you'll need it later.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry and season generously with salt on both sides. Thinly slice chicken meat into small bite-sized strips.
- Dump the chicken strips into the mixing bowl and toss in shawarma spices until the raw meat is fully coated.
- Add the onions, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. Toss again until the mixture is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight to allow the chicken to marinate.
- Before you're ready to eat, preheat the oven in your kitchen to 425 degrees. Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature as the oven heats up.
- Spread the marinated chicken with the onions in one layer on a large oiled baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing the chicken shawarma after they've been in the oven for 15 minutes.
- For a more browned, crispier chicken, move the pan to the top rack and broil very briefly for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove roasted chicken from the oven and get ready to prepare a healthy shawarma plate or platter for a large group.
Chicken Shawarma Plate
- If you're serving a large group family-style at the table prepare an eye-popping Shawarma Platter featuring roast chicken shawarma topped with garlic sauce and chopped mint. Place individual bowls of Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Greek Salad, Pita and Kalamata Olives at the table so guests can serve themselves.
- Serving individual shawarma plates at a dinner party? Decorate each plate with generous helpings of Middle Eastern spiced roast chicken, Baba Ghanoush, Hummus, Greek Salad, Olives and warm pita. Top each shawarma plate with sliced mint and serve.
Some of the links in this story use affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through our site, Dobbernationloves will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps us to produce comprehensive content.
Save this story to Pinterest!