Chicken shawarma at home? Yes! Season chicken thighs in a mouthwatering yogurt marinade, make some quick pickled cucumbers, and finish it off with a garlic yogurt sauce. Bring the flavors of your favorite take out or food cart home with this family pleasing recipe.
Chicken shawarma is one of those meals which gets enthusiastic thumbs up from the family whenever I put it on the table. And requests to make it when it’s been a while since we had it last.
I will admit that no matter how yummy recipes are, most of the time we move on to the next thing and only revisit them occasionally. There is only so much time and so many meals in a week after all! Chicken shawarma, though? A perennial favorite and an easy home run for dinner.
Not that the recipe is one of those easy, 20 minute meals! There are a few moving parts – chicken, sauce, cukes – and it’s so much better if you can marinate the chicken overnight. (Or at least in the morning for that evening.) But it’s all worth it, and I hope you agree. 🙂
And with summer just around the corner, it’s so nice having another grilling recipe in rotation. Less heating up the kitchen leads to a much happier food blogger.
How to Make Chicken Shawarma on the Grill
First up, you make the marinade. Whisk up yogurt and olive oil along with a pile of spices, garlic, and lemon juice. Then pour that over the chicken (I like to use a resealable bag to contain the mess.) and let it all marinate, preferably overnight.
Next, slice up the cucumbers. This goes really fast if you have a mandoline! I love my GSD mandoline since the blades snap in and there is no fiddling with adjustments. Just make sure you use the blade guard and keep those fingers safe.
Toss the sliced cucumbers with the pickling marinade and let them sit on the counter.
Now, make the yogurt sauce. Just mix together yogurt, mint, and salt, then microplane the garlic over it all and mix that in too.
Once everything is prepped, heat the grill and grill up the chicken and red onion slices (if you want them). Then thinly slice the chicken.
I like to set out all the ingredients and sauces – chicken, onions, cucumbers, yogurt, pitas, sliced tomatoes, and lettuce – and allow everyone to make their own wraps.
What to Serve with Chicken Shawarma
With the cucumbers, yogurt sauce, and veggies for the wrap, chicken shawarma is a meal onto itself. However, if you are serving a larger group, or just have a daughter who can’t live without regular infusions of hummus, you may want to add a few more dishes to the table.
- Chopped Greek Salad
- Israeli Hummus
- Fresh Made Pita Bread (if you really want to go all out)
- Chocolate Baklava
If you try my recipe for Grilled Chicken Shawarma, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
– Happy Grilling, Annemarie
Make your own shawarma wraps! My recipe for homemade grilled chicken shawarma features an intensely flavorful Mediterranean marinade, quick pickled cucumbers, and a tasty yogurt garlic sauce you'll want to put on everything.
- 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice, about 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 small thin skinned cucumbers
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2% or whole milk
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large red onion, cut into thick slices
- olive oil and kosher salt
- 4 pita breads
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 4 cups mixed lettuce
Put the chicken thighs into a large resealable bag. Mix together all the marinade ingredients until well blended. Pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure to coat the chicken and then seal the bag. Put the bag in a container to guard against leaks and into the refrigerator for at 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
About one hour before you want to eat, take the chicken out of the refrigerator, then make the pickled cucumbers and yogurt sauce
Using a knife or a mandoline, slice the cucumbers into 2 mm thick slices. Mix together the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Add everything to a medium bowl and stir together. Let the cucumber sit on the counter to marinate.
In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, mint, and salt. Then shave the garlic over the sauce using a microplane and mix it in. (Alternatively, finely mince the garlic and then sprinkle some salt over and scrape it with the flat of the knife.)
Preheat the grill.
Toss the red onion with some olive oil and salt, then put on the grill and grill on high until browned and soft, turning occasionally, for 7-10 minutes. You can grill the onions directly on the grate by putting a skewer through the middle of each slice or grill them in a grill basket.
Take the chicken out of the marinade and pat dry. Add the chicken to the grill, and cook 5-6 minutes per side, or until the chicken reaches 165F. Bring the chicken to a cutting board and slice thinly.
Set out all the shawarma wrap ingredients - chicken, onions, cucumber slices, yogurt sauce, pitas, tomatoes, and lettuce - and let everyone makes their wraps.