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Israeli Shawarma

Shawarma is an is one of the most beloved street foods in Israel – especially among tourists! It isn’t hard to make at home though so you can easily bring the flavors of Israel to your kitchen.

Two shawarma filled pitas on a white plate on a white marble counter

Shwarma originated in the Ottoman Empire and is today popular across the Middle East and is closely related to the Greek Gyro.

Traditionally, shawarma was made with lamb but can also be made with goat, beef, turkey, or chicken.

In Israel, all of these versions can be found – I’ve tried all of them – but turkey is the most popular, followed by lamb and chicken.

In fact, turkey shawarma is eaten so much in Israel that Israeli’s eat more turkey than anyone else globally. Due to Thanksgiving Americans are in second place.

In fact, since shawarma is typically made with boneless skinless turkey thigh, raw pieces are actually labeled “shawarma” in supermarkets.

Still, the lamb flavor is ideal so you’ll often see slices of lamb fat at the top of rotisserie. As the fat melts, it drips down adding flavor and preventing the meat from drying out.

Shawarma is sliced off the skewer as orders are placed. It is then served along in a pita or a lafa that has been shmeered with chumus (hummus), along with french fries and Israeli salad, and drizzle with tichina (thin).

I’m a purist so I leave it there but people add all kinds of pickled vegetables and/or top with amba.

For those who like it spicy “charif” (which means spicy and is actually called “schoog” is added for an extra kick.

Yield: 8 servings

Israeli Shawarma

Two shawarma filled pitas on a white plate on a white marble counter

Shawarma is an is one of the most beloved street foods in Israel. It is easy to make at home so you can make it in your own kitchen.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting and Preparation Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes



  1. Place chicken or turkey thigh into a bowl along with olive oil and shawarma spice.
  2. Mix to combine until pieces are well coated.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. If using lamb fat, fry it for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. On a medium heat chicken thigh or managable pieces of tureky thigh.
  5. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over, and cook for another 6 to 7 minutes.
  6. Remove and let meat meat rest for five minutes.
  7. Slice into about 1/4-inch pieces. Then, cut to make sure that no pieces are longer than 1-inch.
  8. Serve in a pita lined with chumus, top with french fries and Israeli salad, and drizzel with techina.


If using turkey thigh, cut and pound into managable pieces.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 38g

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