Shawarma – bring the Middle East to your table with this tasty recipe

Shawarma has made its way from Israel to our local high streets... and now into your kitchen, with this great recipe

(Image credit: Louis Hansel/Unsplash)

Shawarma is one of our most beloved takeaway foods on the Real Homes team, but whether you get cravings for it after a long night out or – at the moment in particular – just want to be more creative in the kitchen, this is the recipe to try. 

If you're not familiar with it, shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish, with meat – traditionally lamb or mutton, but choose your favorite – cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit. You can serve it wrapped in bread, with salad, on its own, with potatoes or rice – or, indeed, however you like.  

The ingredients for shawarma aren't difficult to come by – the spice mix can be found in most large supermarkets or Middle-Eastern supermarkets or can made at home using the ingredients below. Our recipe will feed four. 

For more recipes and food ideas, go to our dedicated hub page.


(Image credit: Louis Hansel/Unsplash)


  • 500g (shawarma) turkey thighs – (boneless)
  • 1 tbsp shawarma seasoning (or to make the seasoning from scratch, combine 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cardamom powder and 50g of lamb fat, chopped (optional)
  • Pitta bread
  • Salad of fresh cucumber and diced tomatoes
  • Pickles 
  • Chopped spring onions
  • Tahini 

For the shawarma spice mix if making your own:

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or cloves)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper)
  • 1–2 tsp Baharat spice mix

For the Baharat spice mix if making your own:

  • 1 tbsp black ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin 
  • 2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom 
  • 1½ tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg


1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan oven/gas mark 4).

2. Season the meat with dry spice mix (for a real Israeli flavour add a little ground cardamom and a small amount of olive oil and massage it well).

3. Place the seasoned meat in the oven for 25 minutes.

4. While the meat cooks, heat a pan with a little olive oil and add the lamb fat and a couple of pinches of salt.

5. After you have removed the roasted meat from the oven, mix the lamb fat and add the shawarma chunks to the pan. Season with the shawarma and a little cardamom and stir until cooked.

6. Open the pittas in the middle, add the freshly chopped cucumber tomatoes, season with salt, drizzle with a little olive oil and arrange the shawarma.

7. Serve with tahini and chopped green onions.