International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Shawarma Recipe (Middle Eastern spiced meat sandwich)

(Middle Eastern spiced meat sandwich)

Average: 3.9 (45 votes)

Shawarma is popular throughout the eastern Mediterranean and is sometimes called the Middle Eastern taco. It originated in northwestern Turkey as döner kebab, which reached its current form and popularity with the Turkish population in Germany. The shawarma sandwich is now found in a variety of forms around the world.

Shawarma meat is typically shaved off a large rotating cone of layered meat. The meat is roasted with radiant gas or electric heat. Pieces of meat are sliced off and served in a folded pita with garnishes and condiments. This recipe is a simpler homemade version with all of shawarma's signature flavor.

The word shawarma is an approximation of the Turkish word for "turning." Sometimes spelled shwarma, and known as guss in Iraq.

4 servings


  • Lean lamb or beef, or boneless, skinless chicken, sliced very thinly -- 2 pounds
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 or 4 cloves
  • Salt -- 2 teaspoons
  • Pepper -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground allspice -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cardamom -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cloves -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground nutmeg -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Yogurt -- 1 cup
  • Vinegar or lemon juice -- 1/4 cup


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. Drain and discard any excess marinade.
  2. To Broil: Heat an oven broiler to high. Spread the meat evenly in a single layer on an ovenproof pan. Set 4 to 6 inches under the broiler flame and broil until cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir halfway through to cook evenly.
  3. To Grill: Heat coals or set gas to high heat. Spread the meat in a grill basket and grill until cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Serve the shawarma hot inside folded pita bread with your choice of garnishes (see variations).

Shawarma Variations

  • Condiments and Garnishes: Shawarma is commonly served with tahini (taratour) sauce, yogurt sauce or garlic mayonnaise. Other garnishes include chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, shredded lettuce, sliced red onion, pickles, mango pickle, hummus or even French fries.
  • Gyros (Greece): Serve with tzatziki sauce.
  • Döner Kebab (Turkey): Serve with cacik sauce (see tzatziki variations).
  • Lavash bread can be used instead of pita. Roll all of the ingredients up in a piece of lavash like a burrito to make a Middle Eastern wrap.
  • Shawarma is sometimes made with a mixture of meats. Goat meat shawarma is popular in Saudi Arabia.
  • Vary the number and amount of spices to your own taste. Some recipes call for adding cinnamon to the mix.


anyone happen to have an authentic recipe for a German-Turkish Doener kebab?

Very well done recipe.

I have been looking for a recipe of Shawarma in Arabic but in vain cause ... Arabs think that everybody knows what BAHARAT are. Thank you guys for this site and details.

BAHARAT is arabian 7-spice... it has different variations...

But generally it i Nutmeg, (even though this is not a halal ingredient as it is intoxicating) Allspice, cardemom, cinammon, fennel seeds, coriander and then the ingredients vary from cumin to anis, to sumac or even dried herbs.

I know that we in syria does not use cumin in Baharat, but they do in Jordan and Lebanon.

It is the curry powder of the arabs, the arab variation of chinese 5-spice or the moroccan ras el hanout.

Nice to have you here!

So, if you are in Egypt how do you ask for this? Where do you ask for this?

The ingredients described all add to the taste of the Shawarma, well done, and thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.

Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. My family and I made a pot luck dinner of Mediterranean dishes, mine was the Shawarma and it was a great dish enjoyed by all. Thank you.