Grilled Chicken Shawarma

4.34 stars average

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A traditional Middle Eastern street food, grilled chicken shawarma is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and marinated in warm Lebanese spices. It’s delicious over a Syrian salad or wrapped in pita bread with creamy tahini sauce.

Grilled chicken shawarma

If you’ve been following my recipes for a while, you know how much I love making Lebanese food. The familiar flavors take me back to my childhood and countless family memories.

close up of grilled chicken shawarma

If you’re new here and you’ve never had Lebanese chicken shawarma, get ready for your taste buds to start dancing. By definition, “shawarma” means roasted meat and is usually cooked on a revolving spit around a fire then shaved for serving in pitas, salads or sandwiches.

grilling chicken

My boys love anything served in sandwich form so I was recently inspired to create a grilled chicken shawarma recipe. Ideal for meal prepping and making in large batches ahead of time, chicken shawarma is super versatile and easy to make. We love it served over Lebanese Rice Pilaf, on top of a Syrian Salad, wrapped in pita bread or served with grilled veggies.

marinade for grilled chicken shawarma

To make sure I’m never too far away from a healthy dinner, I always keep a few packs of Smart Chicken® thighs on hand, which is the star of this recipe. Go ahead and add some to your cart to make sure you always have it too.

About Air-Chilled Smart Chicken

One of the many reasons I’m a fan of Smart Chicken® is because they take the utmost care and discretion in how they process and package their chicken. From start to finish, Smart Chicken® is committed to the right approach and they use state-of-the-art air chill technology to deliver a tasty product.

grating garlic for a marinade

Create Shawarma Marinade

To get started with grilled chicken shawarma, first, take a medium-sized bowl and combine whole milk yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Grate cloves of garlic over the spices.

adding lemon to grilled chicken in a bowl

It’s true: Adding lemon to this marinade enhances the profile. Lemon brings out the flavor of just about any food.

adding lemon juice to marinade in a bowl

With this in mind, squeeze two tablespoons of lemon juice into the marinade.

seasoning for grilled chicken shawarma

Next, add salt and pepper for additional seasoning. Salt and pepper pair well with just about everything!

marinade for grilled chicken shawarma with a package of chicken on the side

After you’ve added all the ingredients, whisk the marinade together in a large bowl. Take out your package of Smart Chicken® once you’ve finished making the marinade.

marinating grilled chicken shawarma

How to Make Grilled Chicken Shawarma

First, cut open your package of Smart Chicken® and coat the chicken thighs in the delicious marinade you’ve created.

close up view of marinating raw chicken

Make sure the chicken is coated in the marinade. Trust me, you want every part of the chicken to have this delicious flavor party! Marinate your chicken in yogurt for 15 minutes. You really don’t need more time but you can marinate it overnight or up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to cook, pre-heat your grill to high heat.

chicken sizzling on a grill

Next, grill chicken thighs for 6-7 minutes per side, flipping once. In addition to the mess-free nature of grilling, one of my favorite things is the smell of tasty chicken cooking!

chicken on a grill

Three Grilling Reminders

  1. Make sure the grill grate is clean before grilling chicken.
    • If you’re using charcoal, follow the directions for how much you’ll need and how to build the charcoal pile.
    • For gas grills, refer to your owner’s manual and set the grill to medium.
  2. Take advantage of an instant-read thermometer to monitor doneness.
  3. Rest the meat for at least five minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute and prevents the tasty juices from draining onto your plate.
serving grilled chicken shawarma

Remove the grilled chicken from the heat once the chicken thighs reach an internal cooking temperature of 165 degrees or higher.

grilled chicken shawarma with lemon

After the chicken rests, thinly slice and add optional fresh herbs and lemon to serve. This recipe is great topped with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce or Tahini Sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs?

Yes! The cook time will vary. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook in about 15-20 minutes in a 400-degree oven. As always, if you use bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces the cooking time will be higher.

Can grilled chicken be a little pink?

Color doesn’t always indicate doneness. Sometimes, fully cooked poultry can show a pinkish tinge in the meat and juices. The best way to know if the meat is done is to use an instant-read meat thermometer.

How long will grilled chicken last in the fridge?

Grilled chicken shawarma will last in the fridge for 3 days in an airtight container.

Grilled chicken shawarma

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Kale Salad on a fork

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close up of grilled chicken shawarma

Grilled Chicken Shawarma

4.34 stars average
A traditional Middle Eastern street food, chicken shawarma is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and marinated in warm Lebanese spices. It's delicious over a Syrian salad or wrapped in pita bread with creamy tahini sauce.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 14 minutes
TOTAL: 24 minutes

Recipe Video


  • 4 Boneless skinless Smart Chicken® thighs

Shawarma Marinade

  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Whisk together marinade in a large bowl and add chicken thighs. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  • When you're ready to cook, pre-heat grill to high heat. Grill chicken thighs for 6-7 minutes per side, flipping once. Remove from heat once they reach internal cooking temperature of 165 degrees or higher.
  • Let rest before thinly slicing to serve.

Last Step:

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Serving: 6ouncesCalories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 24gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 1002mgPotassium: 400mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 97IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 110mgIron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Post a pic and mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl!

Disclosure: This recipe was developed in partnership with Smart Chicken®. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. All thoughts are my own.

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