Chicken Shawarma Rice Recipe

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Hello everyone! April here from sharing one of my favorite Middle Eastern cuisine, This is a delicious dish that’s perfect for busy moms and anyone who loves flavorful meals – the Pinoy Chicken Shawarma Rice!

Shawarma has become all the rage a few decades back (when I was still in college) and it has become a mainstay on my favorites since then. Here’ a Shawarma Tapa Version I did a few months back.

For those of you who haven’t tried shawarma before, it’s a Middle Eastern cuisine consisting of meat sliced off a rotisserie. Traditionally it’s made with lamb or chicken that is layered with spices as it cooks. The meat is then served in a pita bread with salad and sauce. While I don’t have an actual rotisserie here at home, I found a simple way to replicate the flavors using chicken thighs and basic pantry spices.

The star ingredient in this dish is undoubtedly the chicken. The meat is marinated overnight in a fragrant mixture featuring garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and paprika—each spice adding another layer to the flavor profile. Once sufficiently soaked in this aromatic bath, the chicken is then cooked slowly over low heat until it becomes irresistibly juicy and tender.

But what would our Chicken Shawarma Rice be without the butter flavored rice? A fluffy bed of long grain rice 9or basmati if you have them) serves as the perfect base for our flavorful chicken. Cooked to perfection with just a hint of butter and salt, each grain absorbs the rich juices from the chicken creating an explosion of flavor with every bite.

To balance out these strong flavors, fresh vegetables are added into the mix. Crisp lettuce leaves offer crunch while tomatoes bring sweetness and acidity. Cucumbers provide a refreshing contrast with their cool crispness against the warm spices.

No plate of Chicken Shawarma Rice would be complete without lashings of creamy garlic sauce! These sauces not only add another dimension to this already complex dish but also serve as a cooling agent against the heat of the spices.

I start by mixing Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and paprika together in a bowl. Then I add chicken thighs and toss to fully coat. Letting the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight, allows the flavors to really sink in. If you don’t have time to assemble and buy all this ingredients, I’ll teach you a secret. Go to Shopee and look for a Shawarma Mix and tada! I love this one from Hummus Elijah. It’s cheaper than what you would normally spend for with all the ingredients that youll end up not using anyway.

So, while the chicken marinates, I like to prep my aromatic rice. Long grain white rice works well but feel free to use whatever type you have on hand. I like to add a pat of butter and a pinch of kasubha, that vibrant, saffron-like spice commonly used in the Philippine kitchen for dishes like lugaw or arroz caldo. It lends a gorgeous, golden hue to the rice. If you don’t have kasubha on hand, turmeric works as a fantastic substitute, giving your Pinoy Shawarma rice that same warm, sunny vibe without drastically altering the taste.

For an extra boost of savory goodness, you can also toss in a couple of beef bouillon cubes – about half a cube per two cups of rice should do the trick, though it’s certainly not a must-have. Cook it on your rice cooker and get back to it once you’re ready to put everything together.

If youre cooking rice in a pot, allow it to simmer, then cover, and reduce the heat to low, peeking every now and then to make sure it’s not getting too rowdy. Around 15 to 20 minutes should be just about perfect.

When it’s time to cook, heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Working in batches if needed, lay the chicken slices in a single layer and let them brown and crisp up, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Alternately, bake it or grill it. Anything is fine. I actually grilled it for a bit more of that smoky flavor.

Chicken Shawarma Rice Recipe 1

Chicken Shawarma Rice Recipe

Alright, let’s get cooking!


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice (we prefer jasmine or basmati)
  • 1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Mix well and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight for maximum flavor).
  2. Heat a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare your rice according to package instructions. Fluff it with a fork once it’s done.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting thinly.
  5. In the same skillet or pan, add the sliced red onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened then throw in the chicken and mic together..
  6. Put everything together in a plate, topping with yogurt sauce, sliced tomatoes, chopped cucumbers.
  7. Serve the Pinoy Chicken Shawarma Rice hot, with more Greek Yogurt sauce on the side for an extra zing!

This chicken shawarma rice is easy enough for lunch but special enough for company. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

PS, I forgot about the yogurt sauce. To make it, just mix 1 small tub of plain yogurt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp minced fresh garlic, a dash of salt, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp of water. Most shawarma shops have two versions -the regular one and the spicy yogurt sauce. To make the spicy yogurt version, just add a tsp of chili powder and maybe a pinch of your shawarma mix!

Well I hope you all give this flavorful chicken rice dish a try. Let me know if you have any other questions! As always, if you found this recipe helpful don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter below. You’ll get new recipes and cooking tips delivered right to your inbox each week to make meal planning a breeze. Keep living life simply and enjoy!


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