Beef Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

4.18 stars average

The most flavorful shawarma you'll ever have! Yogurt, lemon and warm spices tenderize the beef to create a delicious and succulent Middle Eastern dish. 

Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time2 hours 20 minutes

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The most flavorful beef shawarma you’ll ever have! Yogurt, lemon, and warm spices tenderize the meat to create a delicious and succulent Middle Eastern dish. 

Beef shawarma with cucumber yogurt sauce.

In my Middle Eastern family, we are no strangers to adding spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg to savory meat dishes. In fact, these warm spices are one of the many reasons I love Lebanese food so much! Today I’m sharing my version of the street-side classic: beef shawarma. Lean sirloin gets a major flavor boost from a marinade full of various warm spices, plenty of lemon and garlic, and of course plain yogurt to ensure a tender, delicious meat.


  • Beef sirloin: A sirlion steak is a cut of beef that isn’t very fatty, but has enough marbling to still add great flavor.
  • Plain yogurt: Yogurt slowly and gently tenderizes meat, making for steaks that you can almost pull apart.
  • Lemons: The acidity aids in tenderizing the meat, while also adding bright flavor.
  • Cinnamon: Warm, sweet, and also spicy flavor, a little goes a long way in balancing out rich flavors.
  • Allspice: Also known as Jamaican pepper, it’s a warm spice that is often compared to that of nutmeg, fennel, cloves, and cinnamon.
  • Nutmeg: Another warm and nutty spice that blends well with the others to create a delicious, savory flavor.
  • Garlic: Spicy and nutty, garlic goes well with anything and adds delicious, pungent flavor to the meat.

How to Make Beef Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

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Start your beef shawarma by cutting your sirloin into thin strips.

pouring yogurt into bowl

Then in a medium to large bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, garlic, and salt & pepper.

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Once yogurt marinade is mixed well, add the sirloin. Cover and let marinate for at least two hours in the fridge, but preferably overnight. You could also put it all into a resealable bag.

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Once you’ve let the beef marinate, either grill or pan-fry over medium-high heat.

Adding lemon juice to yogurt sauce

While the beef is marinating or cooking, mix up your cucumber yogurt sauce.

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Serve together, paired with some pita bread, and enjoy your Beef Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce!

Frequently asked questions:

What is the origin of shawarma?

It’s a popular Middle-Eastern dish that originated in Lebanon.

Do I have to cook the meat on the grill?

You can also cook the meat under the broiler in your oven, or on the stove.

What is traditionally served with shawarma?

It’s usually served as a wrap using pita bread. I’d recommend serving it with a chickpea salad or tabbouleh.

More Lebanese Recipes

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Did you try this shawarma recipe? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your meal.

Liz stirring beef shawarma with cucumber yogurt sauce.

An easy dish to prepare days in advance, or make day of, my Beef Shawarma is sure to please you and your family.

Your fork is waiting.


Beef Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

4.18 stars average
The most flavorful shawarma you'll ever have! Yogurt, lemon and warm spices tenderize the beef to create a delicious and succulent Middle Eastern dish. 
PREP: 2 hours
COOK: 20 minutes
TOTAL: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 20 ounces beef sirloin (cut in thin strips)
  • 2 cups whole milk plain yogurt
  • 2 juiced lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cloves garlic (grated)
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Place sirloin strips in a glass bowl or resealable plastic bag.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients (yogurt through pepper) and pour over the beef strips.
  • Marinate 2 hours or overnight if possible.
  • Grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.


Serving: 4ounces beefCalories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 9.9gProtein: 35gFat: 6.7gSaturated Fat: 2.7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 983mgFiber: 1.2g

40 thoughts on “Beef Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce”

    1. Unfortunately, most things have some sodium. You can cut it down by checking how much sodium is in the brand of plain yogurt and allspice you use, as well as not add any extra salt.

  1. This was a great recipe and everyone loved it. They said it was as good as the shawarma they had in Qatar. Thanks

  2. Hey,

    Thank you for shawarma recipe, I really really like the way you explained it, Me and my family like shawarma when we ate it in asian restaurant so i’m going to try this one in upcoming weekend where we set together once in a week so this will be amazing can you please tell me if i use persian saffron in it ? Because i have purchased saffron in good saffron price that is why thinking to make a twist in it, this will be perfect or not give me some suggestion


  3. Hello, I tried making this beef shawarma recipe and it turned out very bitter and dry, almost like bitter beef jerky. Could you tell me what you think I did wrong? I feel like it might have been the lemon juice and yogurt in the marinade that made it so bitter and I may have definitely overcooked it on the grill adding to the beef jerky consistency. I am wondering what will happen if I omit the lemon juice and/or the yogurt in the marinade. What would that do to the flavor of the beef? Thanks.

    1. Hi Angela,

      Thanks so much for writing in! I just made this last week and my boys and husband devoured it so I’d love to help you troubleshoot where you may have gone wrong. To be clear, the lemon and yogurt acts as tenderizers breaking down the muscle tissue which is why it always turns out super tender. Did you make any substitutions to the recipe? Perhaps the type of meat or amount or type of ingredients? Let me know and we can go from there! xo Liz

  4. Too much cinnamon, I would cut it back by at least half a tablespoon if not more, you don’t want your shawarma meat to smell like a cinnamon bun. Didn’t work out for my family and I, search continues.

    1. Hi AJ,

      I’m so sorry this didn’t work out for your family! We make this all the time and my kids love it. Did you make any other changes to the recipe? For example, did you use two cups of yogurt? Would love to make this a win for you!

  5. Lots of times I eat beef shawarma with different kind of sauces. 3 weeks ago I tried beef shawarma with cucumber yogurt sauce which gives a unique taste to the dish. From that day I only eat beef shawarma with this sauce. Thanks for telling this sauce combination.

  6. Crazy question. But do you wash off the yogurt mernera before grilling or just grill with all of the yogurt on it?

  7. Hi.. I’m from Indonesia. I like this food very much when I lived in Manchester for a year. I’m very surprised when i find this recipe from you. I really do wanna try it but there’s one thing that I would like to ask you, what the meaning of all spice. Pls let me know. Thank you

  8. My husband was so happy when I found this recipe….he LOVES shawarma! And it’s so easy and he is so happy when I get this together….. This is so yummy…. Thanks you!!!!

  9. Thank you for this recipe, we just had it for dinner & it was perfect.i didn’t have enough yoghurt for sauce so served it with homemade hummus & tabouli.will check out your recipes if this is anything to go by.thanks again

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