Quick(er) Chicken Shawarma with White Sauce

Living in the northeast has its ups and downs, but one of the biggest ups has always been the ease at which I can travel to New York City for a weekend. Jeff and I always joke that we hope to have friends in NY for the rest of our lives so we never have to actually live there.

One of my favorite things to do in the city is get Halal food. Something about watching the chefs move with effortless speed tossing heavily-spiced chicken on a flat top paired with the heavenly smells just does it for me. Not to mention the classic debate over red or white sauce, or both? I’m a both gal, but I haven’t had much success making my own red sauce. That’s why this recipe only features a white. I’ve heard talk of mixing ketchup with red chili flakes and lots of vinegar, but I haven’t loved the outcome, so I tend to just use my favorite hot sauce instead. Whatever floats your boat, really.

The white sauce, however, is non-negotiable. Simply mix plain Greek yogurt with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. So creamy and delicious.

I serve this chicken shawarma with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and whatever other toppings I have on hand- sometimes olives, or capers, or fresh herbs by the bunch. Stuff everything inside a flatbread, or serve it over rice or couscous. Either way, it’s flavorful, healthy, and comes together on one sheet pan.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try by tagging me in your photos @theardentcook on Instagram. I can’t wait to see!


For the Chicken

3lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 large breasts)

Juice of 2 lemons

½ cup olive oil

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 ½ tsp ground cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp turmeric

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp crushed red chili flakes

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

1 large red onion, peeled and quartered

For the White Sauce

½ cup plain, full-fat greek yogurt

2 tbsp mayonnaise 

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch salt, to taste


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices. Add chicken and toss to combine. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. 
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a rimmed sheet tray greased with olive oil. Toss the red onions briefly in the remaining marinade and arrange on the sheet tray around the chicken. 
  3. Roast the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes. 
  4. While the chicken roasts, make the white sauce. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and pinch of salt. Stir to combine and chill in the fridge until ready to use. 
  5. Slice chicken and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and sides of your choosing, such as rice or couscous. Alternatively, stuff it inside a pita or flatbread, slathered in white sauce and your favorite hot sauce.  Enjoy!