This easy-to-prepare Chicken Shawarma done in the air fryer comes out moist and flavorful. Serve it with rice, lavash, and salad.
When I got a job in Glendale, California, I had a co-worker who happened to be Armenian. He introduced me to this wonderful marinated chicken dish. I fell in love with it and I will show you how you can make it in your own home.
What is Shawarma?
Shawarma is a Levantine Arab dish consisting of meat cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit. It is an Arabic rendering of Turkish çevirme [tʃeviɾˈme] ‘turning’, referring to the turning rotisserie. Shawarma is marinated with garlic, cardamom, lemon, cayenne. and paprika, giving it a complex flavor both tangy and warm. It’s usually served with flatbread, like Lavash, and can be rolled up for an on-the-go sandwich. We like it with rice pilaf and yogurt salad.
How Do I Cook Shawarma?
I don’t have a vertical rotisserie. A rotisserie roaster oven does a great job on this. The GoWise Delux 12.7-quart that I have comes with a steak cage to use in the rotisserie. If yours doesn’t have a steak cage or a rotisserie, you could just turn the chicken manually.
Chicken thighs are perfect for making this because they have good flavor on their own and they don’t dry out very easily. Chicken legs will also work if you slash them first. I would not recommend breasts because they might dry up too much.
I highly recommend using a vacuum sealer for marinating. It keeps the marinade as close to the food as possible so all the flavor gets a chance to get in there. You can also seal the bag and freeze it then defrost it and marinate it in a cold refrigerator until you are ready to cook.
What About Sides?
You can have any kind of side you want, but this is really good with Tomato Rice Pilaf that you can make in the Instant Pot. Dinner in 30 minutes? I’m in!
- 8 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
- 3 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon corriander, ground
- 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
- 2 teaspoon cardamon, ground
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
- 2 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly groiund
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Mise en place
- Put the bag on the bag holder.
- 1 tablespoon corriander, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoon cardamon, 2 tablespoon paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepperAdd the dry spices.
- 3 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon black pepperAdd the black pepper and garlic.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oilAdd the lemon juice and olive oil. With your fingers on the outside of the bag, mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- 8 chicken thighsAdd the chicken thighs.
- Massage the bag so that the chicken pieces get completely covered by the marinade.
- Vacuum seal the bag and refrigerate it until ready to cook, at least eight hours or overnight. If you want to freeze the chicken for later, you would do it now.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and get your air fryer ready.
- Put the chicken pieces in the cage and close it up.
- Put the cage in the air fryer.
- Set it for 380 F / 193 C for 18 minutes.
- Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. If it reads 160 F / 71.1 it's done, otherwise, keep it going for another 3 minutes.
- Remove from the cage from the air fryer and let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving.