Chicken Shawarma Appetizers Recipe with Dipping Sauce

Last Updated on February 16, 2022 by Anne-Marie

Serve this chicken shawarma recipe on skewers as a party appetizer with chicken shawarma sauce.

A platter of Chicken Shawarma Appetizers with Dipping Sauce on lettuce leaves.

Why this recipe works

Have you tried chicken shawarma? When I visit a big city, I make a point to visit the “street cart guys” to get a to-go order.

I love Middle Eastern food having grown up dining at Lebanese and Turkish restaurants with my parents. There’s something about those spices and flavors that knock me out, you know?

Now that I’m not traveling as much, when I get the hankering for Middle Eastern food, I whip up this chicken shawarma recipe at home.

Plates of Chicken Shawarma Appetizers on Skewers with Dipping Sauce served on beds of lettuce.

Serve chicken shawarma at your next party

We love to entertain year round whether it’s backyard barbecues or TV sports game watching parties during the cooler months.

Chicken shawarma is usually served in a sandwich or wrap. Instead, I thought I’d turn the shawarma into a skewers recipe. After all, there’s nothing that says “PARTY!” like food on a stick, right?

Plus Chicken Shawarma Appetizers are easy to serve to your guests. Just serve the skewers on a platter.

I also created a Greek yogurt and tahini based chicken shawarma sauce, which can be served as a dip on the side in a small bowl. Your guests can place a dollop of it on their plates and dip their chicken shawarma skewers into the sauce as they mingle.

Plates of Chicken Shawarma Appetizers on Skewers with Dipping Sauce served on beds of lettuce.

Variations on the chicken shawarma recipe theme

Chicken wings: It’s simple to turn these chicken shawarma appetizers into a chicken shawarma wings recipe.

Use the chicken shawarma marinade to marinate 2 pounds of chicken wings for an hour or more. Then bake in an oven or grill until cooked through.

Serve with the shawarma sauce. If you like spicy chicken shawarma wings, add a jalapeño hot sauce or another bottled spicy hot sauce to taste.

Shawarma dinner: You can also serve up chicken shawarma for dinner. Serve the skewers on a bed of quinoa or brown rice with a side salad.

Shawarma stir fry: Finally, another chicken shawarma recipe variation is to chop the chicken into bite size pieces before placing them into the plastic Ziploc bag for marinating.

Then pan sauté the chicken until cooked through. Serve the chicken shawarma with sautéed vegetables.

A plate of Chicken Shawarma Appetizers with a dish of dipping sauce in the background.

Tips for chicken shawarma appetizers with dipping sauce

Skewers: I noticed that my grocery store sold only very thick skewers – almost dowels – in the cooking section but had skinnier bamboo skewers hanging on a shelf in the rice aisle. (Why the rice aisle, I don't know!)

If you cannot find the skinnier skewers, ask a manager. The thicker ones are great for steak shish kabob, but not ideal for chicken shawarma appetizers!

The bamboo skewers I found at the store were a foot long. So I cut them in half with kitchen shears before serving so they fit on my guests’ plates. You can also use the skewers for Sriracha Chicken Kabobs.

Chicken: I used thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets since they were easy to thread on the skewers and cooked up quickly. If you can’t find thinly sliced chicken breast meat, regular chicken breast is fine. Adjust cooking time accordingly.

Mayo: I prefer an olive oil based mayonnaise for the chicken shawarma sauce, but you can use a lite mayo if you like.

Lime juice: If you don’t have lime juice on hand and don’t want to buy a bottle just for this recipe, it’s OK to use lemon juice. However, lime juice is terrific for other recipes like Vegan Key Lime Mousse.

More chicken dinner recipes

If you love serving chicken for dinner, try these easy recipes:

Copycat Popeyes Blackened Chicken Tenders Recipe (Keto)

Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo with Quinoa

Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe

Nashville Hot Chicken and Waffles Recipe

Easy Chicken Salad Recipe

Yield: 12 SERVINGS

Chicken Shawarma Appetizers with Dipping Sauce

Chicken Shawarma Appetizers with Dipping Sauce

Do you love chicken shawarma? This chicken shawarma recipe can be served on skewers as a party appetizer with chicken shawarma sauce.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


For Chicken Shawarma Appetizers:

  • 2 pounds chicken breast cutlets, thinly sliced, boneless and skinless, cut into 3/4 inch strips
  • 3 fluid ounces olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  • Cooking spray

For Chicken Shawarma Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


For Chicken Shawarma Appetizers:

  1. Slice the chicken breasts into 3/4 to 1-inch strips. Place in a gallon ziplock baggie.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil and spices. Pour into bag making sure chicken is completely covered in marinade.
  3. Squeeze the air out of the bag and zip shut. Place the bag in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 1 hour up to overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Place 15 bamboo skewers in a baking pan and cover with water. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes so the skewers don’t burn when cooked. (You probably won’t need to use them all.)
  6. Line a large baking sheet with foil for easier cleanup. Then place an oven-safe baking and cooling rack on top of the baking sheet.
  7. Remove chicken from marinade and thread on to skewers.
  8. Evenly place chicken skewers on racks and put the baking sheet into the oven.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

For Chicken Shawarma Sauce:

  1. Place dipping sauce ingredients in a blender and pulse until completely combined and creamy. Serve with chicken shawarma appetizers as a dip or drizzle on top as a sauce.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 25g

Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.

Originally published on December 19, 2016. Updated with new pictures and information.

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Recipe rating: 5 4 3 2 1