Shawarma Chicken

Making shawarma at home is like bringing the restaurant to you!

When I was younger, my older brother came home from yeshivah in Israel and insisted we all had to try shawarma. It was all he could talk about — the intense flavors, the techinah dripping down your fingers as you work your way through the laffa, the flavor combination of the grilled eggplant and chicken — he was quite passionate about it. I remember he excitedly took us all out to a local Israeli-food eatery and promptly ordered shawarmas for us all. 

Um. The best part? The fries it came with. I wasn’t sold. The flavors were too funky for me; the laffa overstuffed with tons of condiments was overwhelming. I eagerly nodded, my mouth stuffed, telling my brother how amazing it was. But I put it down after a few bites, claiming it was extremely filling, and let him happily eat my leftovers. I did not touch shawarma for years after that. 

Fast-forward to me as a newlywed and I discovered that my husband had the same passion for shawarma (is it a yeshivah bachur thing!?). He took me to this tiny hole-in-the-wall gas station, insisting that they sold the best shawarma in the whole New Jersey. I politely nodded along, wondering how I was going to get out of this one. We sat in our car as we unwrapped the hot, steamy laffas (fyi car dates are the best!). I bit into mine, remembering what had happened with my brother and planning to offer it to my husband after a bite or two… but something else happened. It was good!! Very, very good! Like finger-licking, flavor-bursting good! It was exactly how my brother had described it all those years ago. And thus my love affair with shawarma began. (I don’t think I disliked it back when I was younger, I just think I needed to develop more of a taste for it.) 

While it’s fun to go out and buy a shawarma, I make it often for supper. I’m not gonna lie — the homemade version doesn’t have the same taste as the restaurant one, but it’s darn close!

I almost always serve it with homemade fries, fresh cut-up veggies and hummus, grilled eggplant, techinah, and of course, lots of schug for the spicy lovers in my family. You can make all these condiments yourself, but you can also make your life easier and buy them from the store. 

I like to have different bread options when serving, so I’ll put pitas, laffas, and wraps out on the table. Laffas are sometimes hard to come by, so I don’t always serve them. 

This is an excellent Chol Hamoed recipe; I make it every Pesach and serve it with fries and lots of salad. Just omit the cumin if you don’t eat kitniyos (there are some kosher-for-Pesach shawarma blends available, but make sure it’s a hechsher that you eat on Pesach – some brands DO contain kitniyos and may only be eaten by those who eat kitniyos on Pesach).

schawarma plate
schwarma wrap

Shawarma Chicken

Making shawarma at home is like bringing the restaurant to you!
Print Recipe


  • lbs. chicken cutlets, cut into small strips
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp shawarma spice
  • or
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • In a large frying pan, heat oil over low heat. Add onions and sauté for a good 20-30 minutes. (Yes!! You need to have patience but it’s sooo worth it! You get the most delicious onions that way!)
  • Raise flame to medium and add chicken and spices.
  • Cook without stirring for about 5 minutes (this allows the chicken to get crispy). Stir and then continue cooking until cooked through, about another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve with pita, fries, vegetables and your favorite condiments and sauces.


You can make the chicken in advance. It freezes and reheats very well.
This recipe makes anywhere from 4-8 servings, depending on what it’s being served in and how many other things are being put in each one.

Recipe by Faigy Murray | https://mykitchenmystudio.com/shawarma-chicken/

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