Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (2024)

Published by Sheena Strain, last updated

Recipe

My Chicken Shawarma is packed full of warming spices and Middle Eastern flavors! It’s not hot and spicy but we have added a small amount of cayenne pepper so you can adjust the amount up or down to suit your tastes.

This recipe for Chicken Shawarma is naturally low carb and keto friendly with the main flavors coming from a small amount of lemon juice, garlic, and a mixture of warming spices including cumin, coriander, a little ground cloves, and the wonderfully healthy turmeric which gives it such a fabulous color too.

Coming in at only 3g net carbs per serving this low carb chicken Shawarma is a perfect healthy addition to your low carb dinner menu rotation.

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Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (1)

The best way to make Chicken Shawarma

So the first thing you need to do is ensure that the chicken is evenly coated in the marinade, and that you leave enough time for the marinade to infuse all its wonderful flavors into the chicken.

I’d say an hour minimum if you’re in a rush, but the longer the better for a more flavorful final result.

Then you need to decide how you are going to cook it.

In my opinion the very best way to cook Chicken Shawarma is over a grill, but I realize that’s not alway convenient so my second choice method, and actually the one I used to cook the chicken you see in these photographs, is with a cast iron grill pan.

I have a cast iron grill pan and I’ve used it for years, it will give you these lovely grill marks on the chicken and you don’t even need to go outside! my quick tip for using it is to scrape out any cooked chicken and marinade bits that collects in between the ‘grills’ on the skillet as they can start to burn after you’ve cooked a couple of batches of chicken.

Don’t have a grill pan or an outdoor grill? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered too! This recipe for Low Carb Chicken Shawarma is equally easy to cook in the oven. Simply line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up and then add the chicken thighs.

You’ll find all the cook times for each of these methods in my recipe card at the end of the post.

Where does Chicken Shawarma Come from?

Chicken Shawarma is a middle eastern meat dish based on a doner kebab that would originally have been made with lamb or mutton.

Traditionally the pre-seasoned meat is pushed onto a skewer and cooked over hot coals or on a spit.

Chicken Shawarma is one of the world’s most popular street foods and is particularly common in the Arabian Peninsula.

What’s best to serve with Chicken Shawarma?

Chicken Shawarma is most often served as a wrap inside some sort of flatbread. If you’re looking for a low carb bread to serve this with you can use myLow Carb Keto Coconut Flour Tortillas which are the same tortillas pictured in the recipe photos above.

It’s also delicious if you serve it alongside a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions for a fantastic flavor combination, you can either add them inside your chicken shawarma wrap with a little natural yoghurt, or serve them on the side with a little oil and vinegar dressing.

Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (2)

What does Chicken Shawarma Taste Like?

The combination of cumin, turmeric, paprika, garlic and lemon juice, plus a very small amount of cloves, give this chicken shawarma recipe a distinctive warming spice flavor that’s quite unique.

If you love grilled chicken in general but are looking for something not too spicy then you’ll love the taste of this recipe.

I prefer to use chicken thighs for my chicken shawarma as they have a higher fat content than chicken breast and fat=flavor.

Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (3)

More Low Carb Chicken Recipes

Keto Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken | Keto Low Carb Chicken Stir Fry | Chicken Korma | Low Carb Chicken Spaghetti | Keto Low Carb Chicken Fried Rice | Keto Low Carb Chicken Lettuce Wraps | Keto Low Carb Chicken Divan | Keto Low Carb Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (4)

Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (5)

Chicken Shawarma Recipe - Middle Eastern, Low Carb, Keto, Paleo

Chicken Shawarma recipe with warming spices & Middle Eastern flavors, it's naturally low carb, keto, Paleo, whole30, a healthy grilled chicken recipe.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes

Total Carbs: 3 g

Net Carbs: 3 g

Protein: 29 g

Servings: 6

Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (6)

5 from 17 votes

Print

Ingredients

  • 2lbsboneless skinless chicken thighs, 907g

Chicken Shawarma Marinade

Instructions

  1. Add the chicken shawarma marinade ingredients to a large ziplock bag along with the chicken thighs.

  2. Marinate chicken for 1 - 8 hours, or overnight.

How to Cook Chicken Shawarma on a Grill

  1. Remove the chicken from the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking and allow to come to room temperature.

  2. You'll need a hot gas or charcoal grill. Place the chicken thighs onto the hot grill grates and close the lid and let them cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the chicken thighs and cook the other side for a further 3-4 minutes or until they are fully cooked

    Using a thermometer check that the thickest part of each chicken thigh has an internal temperature of 165F

How to cook Chicken Shawarma on the Stove

  1. I prefer to cook boneless Skinless chicken thighs in a well seasoned cast iron skillet, if you can get the cast iron grill pan that will give you lovely grill marks on your chicken.

  2. Cook the chicken thighs for about 4-6 minutes per side, and until fully cooked at the thickest part of each chicken thigh.

  3. Using a thermometer check that the thickest part of each chicken thigh has an internal temperature of 165F

How to Cook Chicken Shawarma in Oven

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up, don't use foil as the chicken will stick to it.

  2. Preheat oven to 400F

  3. Bake for about 25 - 35 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked at the thickest part of each chicken thigh.

  4. Using a thermometer check that the thickest part of each chicken thigh has an internal temperature of 165F

Recipe Notes

3g net carbs per serving

Nutrition Facts

Chicken Shawarma Recipe - Middle Eastern, Low Carb, Keto, Paleo

Amount Per Serving

Calories 258Calories from Fat 117

% Daily Value*

Fat 13g20%

Saturated Fat 2g13%

Cholesterol 143mg48%

Sodium 914mg40%

Potassium 463mg13%

Carbohydrates 3g1%

Protein 29g58%

Vitamin A 515IU10%

Vitamin C 5.8mg7%

Calcium 39mg4%

Iron 2.7mg15%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information on Noshtastic is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.

Author: Sheena Strain

Course:main

Cuisine:Middle Eastern

Keto Coconut Flour Tortillas
Low Carb Italian Wedding Soup

About Sheena Strain

Sheena Strain is the proud owner of Noshtastic, a gluten free website that specializes in easy family meals including Low Carb, Keto, Paleo, Whole30, and many pressure cooker recipes.

Reader Interactions

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  1. Erin says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (7)
    Marinade came out more like a paste but was super flavorful! We used chicken breasts and cooked in air fryer. Everyone agreed this recipe is a keeper! ❤️

    Reply

  2. Cyndi says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (8)
    sounds amazing. going to make this

    Reply

  3. Barbara says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (9)
    Absolutely delicious and so easy to make. It’s a definite keeper

    Reply

  4. Joy D says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (10)
    My family love this!! It has fantastic flavor without the spicy hot. It has become a favorite in my house.

    Reply

  5. Alba says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (11)
    Amazing recipe! I have to make it once a week, because is a family favorite 🙂
    As almost everybody, I have also made some changes just to make the process easier for me. I use breats, cut them in cubes, marinate them, and then to the pan they go in High. We eat the shawarma with garlic sauce, too
    Thank you for a delicious dish!

  6. Roger says

    The cumin was over strong flavor but I didn’t have 2 of the other spices.

    Reply

  7. Heather says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (12)
    Marinated about 3 lbs of chicken, with a bit of extra lemon, for about an hour. Cooked under the broiler. Served with naan, cucumber, tomato and red onion. Sooo good and so easy.

    Reply

  8. Kyle says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (13)
    My husband and I enjoyed this immensely.

    Reply

  9. Miriam Kook says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (14)
    This is delicious!! Thank you so much! I’m adding to my favorites!

    Reply

  10. Eileen says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (15)
    Loved this!! We will be fixing this again!

    Reply

  11. Kathy H says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (16)
    Made this dish for friends since we are discussing the Exodus.

    Reply

  12. Mary says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (17)
    Enjoyed this dish a lot!

    Reply

  13. Donna says

    Sounds great, I want to try when I get home, traveling right now. Sure hope I can save it.

    Reply

  14. Sheila says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (18)
    Great recipe! I had no idea what Shawarma was but it was mentioned in The Marvel
    movie Avengers so I figured since my daughter is a huge marvel fan I’d make it. I will definitely be making this again.

    Reply

  15. Barbara McNichols says

    This sounds delicious but I am not allowed turmeric as it messes with a necessary medication. Is there another spice/herb you’d suggest as a substitute?

    Reply

    • Sheena Strain says

      Just omit it

      Reply

  16. Carmen says

    We have eaten chicken shawarma at an eastern restaurant and it was cut in very shaved, thin slices. I’m wondering how it would be cooked this way.

    Reply

    • Sheena Strain says

      I think restaurants like that cook it on a large spit over hot coals and then cut off thin slices.

      Reply

    • Kev says

      You can place the chicken (pounded to thin slices) on top of each other and put a skewer in the middle to hold in position. Cook and then slice yourself as you would see in a kebab restaurant.

      Reply

  17. Liza says

    Does the fresh lemon juice not start to break down the chicken while it’s marinating? I am looking to make this but have always been of the understanding that fresh lemon juice can only be used in a chicken marinade for no more than three hours.

    Reply

    • Sheena Strain says

      I’ve never had a problem with it

      Reply

  18. Janet says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (19)
    Delicious! My whole family liked it, which is no small feat at my house. One question: if I make this with just a pound of chicken thighs, would I half the marinade amounts or keep them the same? Thank you so much for such a delicious recipe that I have added to our rotation. 🙂

    Reply

    • Sheena Strain says

      I’d half it as I don’t think you’ll need it all. What I usually do is make up a batch of the dried spice mix (so it’s the marinade minus lemon juice, oil, and garlic) and just use what I need and keep the rest for next time in an airtight container or little ziplock bag.

      Reply

      • Janet says

        Thank you!

        Reply

  19. Jessalyn says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (20)
    This recipe is delicious! It’s become a regular for me, I make it about once a week because it’s my husband’s new favorite. I use chicken breast tenders and bake it in the oven. Soooo good!

    Reply

  20. Todd says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (21)
    My whole family really enjoyed this! Super versatile as well.

    Reply

  21. Emily Ann says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (22)
    I modified this recipe a bit – only because I didn’t read the ‘let marinade’ part. ha! Doused my chicken breasts in the seasoning mixture, transferred to the cast iron. 7 minutes on each side, took out, cut up and returned to the pan with lemon juice and garlic.

    I’m actually eating it as I type this. PHENOMENAL recipe. 13/10 would recommend!

    Reply

    • Sheena Strain says

      So glad you liked it Emily Ann!

      Reply

  22. Kulwinder says

    Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (23)
    This recipe is amazing! Simple ingredients and I made it so many times without a fail. I gave this recipe to my friends who tried my cooked chicken. Even made vegan version of it for a party. Today I revisited to double check on my ingredients and thought why didn’t I write a review about it. So here you go, 5 stars! Believe me it’s worth it. To make it more simple I use garlic powder and onion powder (I am big fan of onions). I even throw vegetables in marinations and cook one pan meal. Sometimes my dish leaves water after cooking so I mix some cooked rice in it to make another dish out of it. I love Mediterranean food. Thanks Sheena for sharing it!

    Reply

  23. Kristina says

    Have you tried this using chicken breasts?

    Reply

    • Sheena Strain says

      Yes, you can cut them small like chicken tender size and it will work best that way 🙂

      Reply

Chicken Shawarma - Middle Eastern Style, Healthy, Low Carb Recipe (2024)

FAQs

Can you eat shawarma on a low carb diet? ›

In this chicken shawarma recipe, I use chicken breast as the main ingredient. Chicken breasts are a great option for those following a keto diet. They have low carb content, high protein content, versatility, and nutrient-rich profile making them a healthy and delicious addition to any keto-friendly meal plan.

Is shawarma healthy for weight loss? ›

A: Sharwama can be high in calories, fat, and sodium, so it is not the best choice for someone trying to lose weight. It is important to be mindful of portion sizes and choose healthier options when trying to reach weight loss goals.

How many carbs are in a chicken shawarma? ›

Ingredients and Nutritional Information
Amount/Serving%DV*Amount/Serving
Total Fat 4.8g12%Tot. Carb. 5.2g
Sat. Fat 1.1g4%Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Trans Fat 0gSugars 2.2g
Cholesterol 64.6mgProtein 15g
2 more rows

Is a chicken shawarma kebab healthy? ›

Shawarma can be part of a healthy diet when prepared with lean meats, fresh vegetables, and served in moderation. However, traditional shawarma may be high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium, depending on the ingredients and cooking methods.

What is the healthiest shawarma? ›

We definitely include chicken shawarma as part of a healthy diet. Lean, skinless chicken, olive oil, and plenty of fresh spices means this dish is both nutritious and delicious.

Can shawarma spike blood sugar? ›

Shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern dish often high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, which can significantly impact glucose metabolism. The high glycaemic index score of shawarma can cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels.

What are the disadvantages of eating chicken shawarma? ›

Also, if the meat is unclean, the bacteria can easily cause food poisoning, while the chutneys given along with this dish may have some preservatives that can further aggravate the issue.” Also, some shawarma preparations may contain high levels of sodium, particularly if the meat is heavily seasoned or marinated with ...

Is falafel or shawarma healthier? ›

In essence, the ingredient profile of falafel is in the least unhealthy. In fact, compared to other counterparts of the food, including chicken shawarma, falafel tops the list to contain the healthiest amount of all ingredients that are required by the body.

What is the difference between chicken shawarma and kebab? ›

A shawarma is a dish with thin slices of meat stacked in a cone. A kebab is a meat dish with chopped or ground meat. Shawarma is derived from an Arabic translation of a Turkish term, which means 'turning. ' Kebab comes from the ancient Aramaic word 'kababa,' meaning 'char or burn.

Is chicken shawarma a junk food? ›

Shawarma might be an easy snack or dinner to grab on the go, but it is far from a healthy one. The marinated strips that are shaved off from the rotating cone of meat already have fat running through them, and more likely than not, they will have been doused with yet more during the cooking process.

Is shawarma without mayonnaise healthy? ›

However, shawarma prepared at home with truly lean, grilled meat, minimal hummus that uses minimal oil and no mayonnaise can actually be a very healthy and low-calorie alternative to the street food version of this popular favourite.

How many carbs in a shawarma plate? ›

Flame And Skewers Large Chicken (shawarma Or Kabob) Plate (1 serving) contains 117g total carbs, 101g net carbs, 131g fat, 83g protein, and 1917 calories.

Is shawarma OK for diet? ›

Overall, shawarma can be enjoyed guilt-free as part of a balanced diet due to its array of nutritional highlights. Packed with lean protein, a variety of fresh vegetables, and a rich blend of antioxidants, this Middle Eastern gem that is celebrated in Nigeria not only satisfies taste buds but also nourishes the body.

Is Lebanese chicken shawarma healthy? ›

Shawarma is usually very healthy because it has grilled chicken, fresh veggies and pita. The only ingredient that is high in calorie is the garlic sauce also known as toum which is usually served with shawarma. It has lots of oil which makes it high in fat. If you want to avoid that and make shawarma more healthy.

What's healthier, shawarma or burger? ›

It's healthy: The grilled meat in a shawarma comes with lots of crisp vegetables and fat-free spreads. But the same cannot be said about its Western cousin – the burger. You can chat with the guy who makes it: The people who prepare shawarmas are dedicated and friendly.

Does shawarma meat have carbs? ›

Kcal Beef Shawarma (1 serving) contains 54g total carbs, 52.2g net carbs, 11g fat, 24g protein, and 352 calories.

How many carbs are in a bowl of shawarma? ›

Chicken Shawarma Bowl
Nutrition Facts
How many carbs are in Chicken Shawarma Bowl? Amount of carbs in Chicken Shawarma Bowl: Carbohydrates 16.4g-
How many net carbs are in Chicken Shawarma Bowl? Amount of net carbs in Chicken Shawarma Bowl: Net carbs 12.9g-
72 more rows

Is beef shawarma keto friendly to eat? ›

It's a light and flavorful side dish that can be made right in your Air Fryer in only 15 minutes! So if you're wanting to try a delicious international dish, that's also low carb and keto-friendly, then I can't wait for you to make this Beef Shawarma recipe!

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