No. 327: Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma

It turns out that there are many of you who share my love of The New York Times Cooking section. After posting about it I was sent a few fantastic recipes to try from the site.

This oven-roasted chicken shawarma looked perfect for a weeknight dinner with four easy steps:

  1. Marinate chicken with things you have in your pantry already
  2. Throw chicken on a sheet pan
  3. Cook it in the time it takes to put babies to bed and sip a glass of wine
  4. Eat

Music to my busy ears!

Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma


2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch ground cinnamon
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Optional for serving: feta, hummus, naan or pita, tomato slices, yogurt sauce

To make

Prepare a marinade for the chicken. Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken and toss well to coat (or toss to coat in a sealable plastic bag). Cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.

When ready to cook, heat oven to 425 degrees. Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.

Ready to roast

Put the chicken in the oven and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes, then slice into bits.

To make the chicken even more crisp, set a large pan over high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then the sliced chicken, and sauté until everything curls tight in the heat. But if you're not into washing more dishes this is easy to skip.

Scatter the parsley over the top and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita, naan, white sauce, hot sauce, olives, fried eggplant, feta, rice — really anything you desire.

The results

Add this to the favorites list, folks. This recipe is up there with my favorite slow cooker chicken tikka masala as a spicy treat that is a breeze to prepare for the family.

Final dish

The high heat treatment keeps the chicken juicy with lovely little crispy bits that are charred to perfection. The spice mix is perfect - not too much heat, but flavorful.

I kept the sides simple: some naan, parsley, feta, tomato slices. I almost made a homemade white sauce (plain yogurt, a dash of mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice, a few garlic flecks) but just slapped a dollop of Greek yogurt on instead.

The beauty of this dish is that it's great for your weeknight chicken rotation or for a dinner party. The latter is especially true with all the side/topping options that make it customizable for guests.


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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina