Easy Chicken Shawarma Recipe | Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


This easy chicken shawarma recipe is perfect when you want the delicious Middle Eastern flavors of a restaurant-quality dish at home! Served on flatbread with a tangy cabbage slaw and creamy yogurt sauce, and you have one of my favorite meals!

White platter with grilled chicken shawarma, cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage slaw.

Happy Monday, friends!

First up, I appreciate all of you who have chimed in on the last Friday Thoughts discussion!

I am slowly reading my way through the comments (had company through the weekend and was disconnected from all things internet, which is always kind of refreshing), and I am loving so much your insight, feedback, and hilarity as I get caught up today.

Second up, chicken shawarma! And even better, easy chicken shawarma!

That’s the recipe we are talking about today, and if you don’t know what shawarma is (or even how to pronounce it), no worries.

Just think of it as a flavorful, grilled chicken with Middle Eastern vibes that increases tremendously in deliciousness when paired with flatbread, yogurt sauce and chopped veggies.

White plate with slices of chicken shawarma, yogurt sauce, flatbread and vegetables.


I can eat meals with this flavor profile for days on end. I love them so much.

The chicken in and of itself is fairly basic (can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs) with a ton of smoky, delighful flavor.

But when you add in the creamy yogurt sauce, chopped veggies, cabbage slaw and flatbread, you have a colorful, delicious combo that is crazy delicious.

The great thing about this meal is that you can keep it low carb and eat the tasty chicken salad-style – with the creamy, lemony yogurt sauce acting as a simple dressing to bind everything together.

OR, you can pile everything in a piece of soft flatbread and die of happiness.

As I’ve mentioned 1,483 times already, this homemade flatbread is my favorite of all time in the history of ever. It is so simple to make!

You can see from the pictures in this post that thanks to some extra super helpers in the kitchen, our flatbread managed to be a bit…well…chubby. But guess what? Chubby flatbread is pretty great.

Pieces of grilled chicken shawarma with yogurt sauce and vegetables in flatbread.

The dark horse in this recipe is most definitely that red cabbage slaw. It is terrific! Like, surprisingly, astonishingly delicious.

My grandma used to make cabbage slaws all the time and serve them with just about everything (including her famous Swiss cheese + Spam casserole – don’t knock it til you try it :).

Her cabbage recipes (that weren’t actually recipes but just lots of ingredients thrown together like the majority of her amazing cooking) weren’t like coleslaw…no, no…they were purely tangy and a little sweet and not creamy (no mayo!) at all.

My sweet grams was born and raised in Switzerland, so there was absolutely no Middle Eastern influence going on in her cooking, but the red cabbage slaw in this chicken shawarma recipe today is nearly identical to the kind she used to make, and it is amazingly perfect with the smoky, flavorful chicken.

I am in love with this meal! Healthy and flavorful, it is perfect for any time of the year.

I prefer to grill the chicken for extra flavor, but I’ve included some simple notes for skillet-cooking or broiling the chicken. Versatile and delicious…easy chicken shawarma needs to make it on to your menu plan ASAP!

One Year Ago: Instant Pot Indian Vegetable Rice
Two Years Ago: Doubletree Hotel Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three Years Ago: Sweet Molasses Bread {Restaurant Knock-off}
Four Years Ago: Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta Cheese
Five Years Ago: Italian Lasagna Rolls

Yield: 6 servings

Easy Chicken Shawarma

Ingredients:

Chicken + Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I use coarsely ground black pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more if you want more heat)
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or chicken thighs)

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced, or a hefty pinch of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Quick Cabbage Slaw:

  • 5-6 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (1 small head of cabbage or 1/2 head of large cabbage)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • Pinch of black pepper

For Serving:

  • Flatbread or pita bread (storebought or homemade)
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced cucumbers

Directions:

  1. For the chicken, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, garlic, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Place the chicken in a shallow dish or in a gallon-size ziploc bag. Add the marinade and rub over the chicken to make sure each piece is coated. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. For the yogurt sauce, whisk together all the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use (can be made up to several days in advance).
  3. For the cabbage, place the cabbage and parsley in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar), salt and pepper. Pour over the cabbage and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve (can be made several hours in advance). Season to taste with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  4. Preheat an outdoor grill (see recipe note for cooking in an oven) to medium- or medium-high. Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees at the thickest part of the chicken. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes or so before slicing.
  5. Serve the chicken with the flatbread, yogurt sauce, cabbage slaw, diced tomatoes and cucumbers.

Notes:

This chicken could easily be cooked inside in a skillet on the stove or using an oven broiler (preheat to high, making sure an oven rack is 4-5 inches away from the heating element – place the chicken on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet and broil, watching closely, for several minutes per side until cooked through). 

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