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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s true: Adding lemon to this marinade enhances the profile. Lemon brings out the flavor of just about any food.
With this in mind, squeeze two tablespoons of lemon juice into the marinade.
Next, add salt and pepper for additional seasoning. Salt and pepper pair well with just about everything!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Three Grilling Reminders
- 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.
- Take advantage of an instant-read thermometer to monitor doneness.
- 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.
Remove the grilled chicken from the heat once the chicken thighs reach an internal cooking temperature of 165 degrees or higher.
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.
If you made this recipe, make sure to tag @theLemonBowl on Instagram to be featured! While you’re here, I recommend checking out these recipes too:
- Lebanese Chicken Tawook
- Lebanese Baked Chicken Breasts
- Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma Pitas
- Lebanese Hushwee Rice with Chicken
- Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce
- Sheet Pan Lebanese Chicken Shawarma
Your fork is waiting.
Grilled Chicken Shawarma
- 4 Boneless skinless Smart Chicken® thighs
- 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.
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.