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+ servings
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs 30 mins
Rest Time
14 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 50 mins
Shawarma is a popular dish in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Israel. It is often eaten as a sandwich in pita bread. It can be made from marinated slow-roasted lamb, chicken or beef.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Israeli, Jordanian, Lebanese, Syrian, Turkish
Servings: 8 people
Author: Vera Abitbol
  • 4 lb leg of lamb or shoulder of lamb boneless (or 4 lb turkey or chicken breast or thighs, deboned and skinless)
  • 2 scallions , sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 freshly squeezed lemon
For the marinade
  • 8 cloves garlic , peeled
  • 2 shallots peeled and cut in 2
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  1. Place all the ingredients of the marinade in a food processor and mix everything until obtaining a paste.
  2. Place the scallion at the bottom of a Dutch oven.
  3. Dry the meat and brush it with the previously mixed paste over its entire surface.
  4. For the lamb, also brush the inside where the bone has been removed. Place the lamb on the onion slices, with the opening on the bottom and the fat on the top.
  5. For the poultry, place it on the onion slices.
  6. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
  7. Remove the meat from the refrigerator 2 hours and 30 minutes before cooking and leave it at room temperature.
  8. Preheat a convection oven to 320 F (160°C).

  9. Pour the water into the Dutch oven or cast iron pot all around the meat (do not pour water directly on the meat).
  10. Using a brush, brush the meat with half the lemon juice.
  11. Cover and cook for 45 minutes for the poultry or 2 hours 30 for the lamb.
  12. To make sure that the top of the meat is brown, brush the meat with the remaining lemon juice and continue cooking for 30 minutes (for the poultry) or 1 hour (for the lamb).

  13. Check the meat: If the Dutch oven seems dry, then add about ¼ to ½ cup (50 to 100 ml) of boiling water all around the meat. If the meat seems too dark, cover it lightly with aluminum foil.

  14. For the poultry, continue cooking for 15 minutes.
  15. For the lamb, continue cooking until the meat can easily be shredded with forks. This step can last up to about 1 hour.
  16. If the lamb still seems hard, continue cooking until tender, checking every 20 minutes, and make sure that the top does not burn and that there is enough sauce in the bottom. If not, add a little boiling water around the meat again.
  17. Remove the meat from the oven. Put it on a cutting board.
  18. Leave it to rest for a few minutes before cutting it into small strips.
  19. Drizzle the meat with all the remaining juice in the bottom of the Dutch oven and serve.
Recipe Notes

Serve the shawarma on a plate with rice, roasted vegetables, hot pita bread, yogurt, zhug (hot sauce), labneh, hummus and/or tahini sauce or serve it as a sandwich in hot pita bread with some of these fillings.

Shawarma is also often served with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and ​​onions, as well as roasted peppers, eggplants and/or French fries.