Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce

A quick and easy chicken shawarma marinade – lemon and yogurt tenderize the lean chicken breasts while fresh garlic, parsley, and spices add tons of flavor. Served on pita bread with a tahini garlic sauce.

Chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

My maternal grandparents emigrated from Syria and settled in West Michigan, so although I grew up eating Middle Eastern food, there are only a handful of Lebanese restaurants on this side of the state. As such, I grew up learning from my mother and grandmother how to make and perfect Lebanese recipes. This Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce is a result of my family’s culture and my childhood. We decided to wrap it into a pita with our favorite tahini garlic sauce, but it is great on its own served with rice pilaf and a green salad as well!


  • For the Shawarma marinade: lemon juice, plain yogurt, parsley, garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  • For the sauce: tahini, lemon juice, garlic, warm water, salt and pepper.
  • For the wrap: pita, chicken shawarma, tahini garlic sauce, with any combo of lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, and red onion.

How to Make Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce

Adding yogurt to bowl

Start your Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce by making the shawarma marinade.

Liz adding seasoning to marinade

Add the plain yogurt to a medium sized bowl with the cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne.

Liz grating garlic into bowl 1

Followed by freshly grated garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a touch of salt.

Liz dicing parsley

Add some freshly minced parsley and stir until a creamy sauce is formed.

Marinating chicken shawarma

Add cubed chicken to the marinade and mix until evenly coated. Let marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.

Cooking chicken shawarma

Then set the chicken out on a prepared baking sheet and broil in the oven for 4-5 minutes on high, or throw it on the grill (my preferred method).

Adding tahini to bowl

While the chicken is marinating or cooking, make the tahini garlic sauce. Pour tahini into a small bowl.

Liz grating garlic for tahini sauce

Add lemon juice, grated garlic, and a touch of salt and pepper.

Adding warm water to tahini sauce

Slowly stir in warm water until you’ve reached desired consistency.

Putting tahini sauce on pita

Now you’re ready to assemble the Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce. Start by spreading the sauce onto some pita.

Liz adding ingredients to pita

Follow with the chicken shawarma, and desired toppings of lettuce, tomato, onion, or bell pepper.

Liz grabbing chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

Wrap it all up, and enjoy this delicious lunch or dinner!

Easy Substitutions

  • Make it vegetarian. Instead of chicken, use chickpeas! Or tofu, or vegan “chicken.”
  • No dairy? No problem. Luckily this meal already has very little dairy, but you can replace the yogurt with coconut yogurt, or a bit less conventional, apple sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you tenderize lean chicken breasts?

Plain yogurt is a healthy way to tenderize lean chicken breasts while also adding an addictive tanginess. Plain yogurt is also packed with protein as well as magnesium and potassium.

What else can I use the Tahini Garlic sauce with?

It tastes great on white fish or drizzled over roasted potatoes.

How do I store leftover chicken shawarma?

Kept in an airtight container, it’ll keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

More Lebanese Delights

Like It, Eat It, Share It!

Did you try this Lebanese dish and love it? 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 eating chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

This Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce is not only easy and delicious, but brings with it a sense of home and comfort (at least for me). I love it, my husband loves it, my kids love it, and I know you will, too.

No fork required.

Chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce

Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce

4.53 stars average
A quick and easy chicken shawarma marinade – lemon and yogurt tenderize the lean chicken breasts while fresh garlic, parsley, and spices add tons of flavor.
PREP: 30 minutes
COOK: 10 minutes
TOTAL: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


Chicken Shawarma

  • 1 pound boneless (skinless chicken breasts – cut in 2 in cubes)
  • 1 juice of lemon
  • ½ cup plain low fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley (minced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon cayenne

Tahini Garlic Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pitas
  • slices lettuce (tomato and red onion to serve)


  • In a small bowl whisk together chicken marinade: lemon juice, yogurt, minced parsley, grated garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  • Pour marinade over chicken breast cubes in a resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  • While chicken is marinating, whisk together tahini garlic sauce in a small bowl. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
  • To cook chicken, pre-heat grill or broiler to high heat. Spray grill or foil-lined broiler pan with non-stick spray. Grill or broil for 4-5 minutes per set or until chicken is cooked through.
  • To serve, spread a quarter of the tahini garlic sauce down the center of each pita. Top with cooked chicken pieces, lettuce, tomato, and red onion slices. Wrap tightly and slice in half before serving.


Remove chicken from the refrigerator 10-15 minutes before you plan to grill or broil to help remove the chill.


Calories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 27.7gFat: 5.4gSaturated Fat: 0.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4.8gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 1008mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 3g

69 thoughts on “Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce”

  1. Liz,
    This looks yummy! My favorite Lebanese butcher in Falls Church, VA, just down the road from Saturday morning wheelchair basketball practice, served their chicken shawarma with slices of pickled turnips, too. I loved the whole thing, but especially those turnips. I’ve attempted to recreate my own, but I’d love to find a real pickled turnip recipe, as I’m starting to get turnips in the fall farm share.


  2. Hi Liz! I’m really excited to try this recipe. I think I got into liking middle eastern food because I had a Lebanese boyfriend who taught me how to make hummus, and introduced me to tahini, pitas and string cheese. I don’t have any tahini in the house right now, but I have everything else. And I’ve already warned my husband that it’s coming. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing more recipes from this part of the world, because they really know how to cook!

  3. I love me some good shawarma pita! When we were living in Paris we used to go at least once a week to this delicious Lebanese spot that had delicious pita sandwiches and now that we’ve moved, I totally miss Lebanese food! Your recipe sounds delicious, I’ll try it sometime soon!

    1. Oh I had some of my best Lebanese food when I lived in London!! Europe knows how to do it!! I hope you enjoy this!!

  4. I just ran across your blog today for the first time and love it! I also love the looks of this recipe. We just moved to the country of Georgia, and I am not sure I would be able to find tahini…do you have another sauce to suggest that would also complement this recipe? Thanks!

  5. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to try the tahini garlic sauce. I’m pretty sure I would put that on everything. Our local Lebanese restaurant closed, but luckily we have a Middle Eastern market nearby and I’m able to buy all the ingredients to cook at home.

    1. I totally make extra of the tahini sauce and put it on everything. It’s really good as a dipping sauce for roasted cauliflower or raw crudite. Ok you’re making me hungry – haha. I’m so glad you have a Middle Eastern market available!!

  6. I love your site! I live in Michigan and was wondering what are the restaurants you visited in Dearborn? I’d love to try them as well!

  7. Liz, I share your love of middle eastern foods. Just looking at warm pita makes my heart sing and discovering we’re almost out of tahini terrorizes me. We make hummus & muhammara frequently and I’ve made chicken shawarma before, but it’s been so long I’d almost forgotten. We’ll be giving your recipe a shot very soon. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. So funny I’m almost out of tahini too and I’m so worried I’ll forget to buy more! I love that you love Middle Eastern food as much as I do!! There’s really nothing better than warm pita. Do you have a muhammara recipe?

      1. Why do people think it’s acceptable to use “freaking”, as in “it’s so freaking good”? These placeholders are just as offensive as the words they replace. Think before you speak.

    1. I do too!!! Like the time I went to Seattle and had the best king crab legs and wild salmon of my life!! xo I hope you make this!! So good and easy.

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