Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish that has captured the hearts and palates of food lovers all around the world. Traditionally roasted on a vertical spit, the meat is seasoned with a mix of aromatic spices then sliced thinly and served in a wrap with fresh salad and hummus.
In this recipe, we’ll show you how to make a healthier version of the classic shawarma using skinless chicken thighs and air frying.
Air fryer shawarma is the perfect dish for those who are looking for a delicious and easy-to-make meal. The air frying process will not only cut down on cooking time but also drastically reduce the amount of oil used in traditional shawarma.
So, put on your apron, fire up your air fryer and let’s get started!
- 2 pounds of skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of white pepper
- 2 teaspoons of smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (gives the chicken a nice colour!)
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoons of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons of avocado oil
- Half an onion *to stand up the shawarma on* (any type of onion)
- 2 skewers
- Air fryer
After mixing, add the tomato puree, soy sauce and avocado oil then mix again.
Pour the spice mix over the chicken, making sure all the pieces are well coated.
After marinating for at least 30 minutes, thread the chicken onto the skewer, with the onion at the bottom.
To do this, place the halved onion flat on a large chopping board. Thread the skewers through each end of the onion.
Place the Shawarma into the air fryer and set the temperature to 365 F for 30-35 minutes, turning halfway.
Make sure you check the internal temperature of the chicken to ensure that it has reached 165 F.
Remove the skewer from the fryer and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing.
Serve the chicken shawarma in a wrap with your favorite veggies and hummus.
- Marinating the chicken for longer will help deepen the flavors of the spice mix.
- If you don’t have avocado oil, you can substitute it with any other oil that’s suitable for air frying.
- Make sure to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts because they are juicier and flavorful.
- Always check the internal temperature of the chicken to know if it’s ready.
- The spices used in the recipe can be adjusted to suit your taste. You can add more or less of the listed ones. You can also replace any of the spices with your preferred options.
- You can substitute chicken thighs with any other meat, such as beef or lamb.
Do I need to preheat the air fryer?
Yes, it’s important to preheat the air fryer for a few minutes before cooking, as this helps to ensure that the chicken shawarma cooks evenly.
How long should I marinate the chicken for?
Marinating the chicken for at least 30 minutes allows the spices to fully penetrate the meat, but you can leave it for longer, up to overnight, for a more intense flavor.
Can I freeze the chicken shawarma?
Yes, you can freeze the chicken shawarma after it has cooled down. Make sure to store it in an airtight container before putting it in the freezer. To reheat, defrost the shawarma in the fridge overnight then heat in the oven or air fryer until hot.
Can I use other cuts of chicken?
Yes, you can use any other cuts of chicken such as chicken breasts or drumsticks. However, these may require a different cooking time so make sure to check the internal temperature before serving. Additionally, some cuts may be less flavorful than thighs.
What should I serve with shawarma?
Shawarma is usually served with pita bread, hummus and fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. You can also add tahini sauce or garlic yogurt sauce for extra flavor. Fries are also a great side dish!
Can I use other oils?
Can I use other spices?
Yes, you can adjust the spice mix to suit your tastes. Feel free to add more or less of any of the spices in the recipe, or substitute them with other herbs or spices that you like. Remember to adjust the amount of salt accordingly if needed. You can also try adding some dried fruit for sweetness, or chili powder for extra heat!
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the marinated chicken up to 24 hours in advance and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Additionally, you can also cook the chicken and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes, you can easily double this recipe without any changes. Make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly and always check the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it is cooked through.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten-free. Make sure to double check the ingredients of any sauces or other accompaniments you are using to ensure they also do not contain gluten.
Can I use this recipe for meal prep?
Yes, you can definitely use this recipe for meal prep. You can make the marinated chicken and pre-cook it, then store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer until ready to reheat. This makes a great lunch or dinner option that is easy to prepare!
Can I use other types of protein?
Yes, you can substitute the chicken for any other type of protein such as beef, pork or turkey. Depending on the type and cut of meat, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. As always, make sure to check the internal temperature before serving.
So there you have it – a delicious air-fried chicken recipe with lots of options to make it your own.
Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma Recipe
- 2 lbs Chicken thighs skinless, boneless
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tsp White pepper
- 2 tsp Smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Dark soy sauce gives the chicken a nice colour
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- ½ tsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Tomato puree
- 2 tbsp Avocado oil
- ½ large onion any type of onion – this is so the Shawarma can stand up.
- Firstly, you will need to mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl. This includes black pepper, white pepper, smoked sweet paprika, salt, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano.
- After mixing, add the tomato puree, soy sauce and avocado oil then mix again.
- Pour the spice mix over the chicken, making sure all the pieces are well coated.
- Place the halved onion flat on a large chopping board, then thread the skewers through each end of the onion.
- Thread the chicken onto the skewer, with the onion at the bottom.
- Place the Shawarma into the air fryer and set the temperature to 365 F for 30-35 minutes, turning halfway.
- Make sure you check the internal temperature of the chicken to ensure that it has reached 165 F.
- Remove the skewer from the fryer and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing.
- Serve the chicken shawarma in a wrap with your favorite veggies and hummus.