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Sheet Pan Marinated Chicken Shawarma: Low Carb

Sheet Pan Marinated Chicken Shawarma: Low Carb

Chicken Shawarma is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that is usually served on warm flatbread topped with a savory yogurt sauce.  This recipe for low carb Chicken Shawarma foregoes the yogurt sauce and focuses primarily on the flavorful spice mix used in the marinade.

Low carb chicken shawarma dinner
Low carb chicken shawarma dinner

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Bland Chicken No More

Chicken is such a popular and versatile dish, but it can often be pretty bland.  Chicken Shawarma is anything but bland, with a lively marinade of lemon, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.

While typically served with flatbread, flatbread is not compliant with a low carb diet. However, creamy Greek yogurt is a low carb option that would be a great addition to this dish. Other serving options might include tzatziki, roasted vegetables, a tahini sauce, or even these low carb bread/buns.

Honestly though, it was delicious without flatbread, yogurt or tahini sauce- and if you didn’t know that it was usually served that way, you would never miss it!

Tips & Tricks for Success

The hands-on part of this low carb chicken Shawarma recipe is very quick and easy, although you do have to allow a couple of hours for marinating and cooking time (about an hour marinating in the fridge and an hour in the oven).  

Add some greens and/or yogurt and you have a perfect, semi-fancy low carb chicken dinner without much prep time at all!

Classic shawarma is cooked with stacked, spice-marinated meats– lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, or a mix of meats– on a vertical spit. The shawarma turns and cooks on the spit for hours and hours, basted in fat and its own juices.  

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Chicken Shawarma

Low carb chicken shawarma dinner
Chicken thighs in a lively marinade of lemon, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 535


  • 2 lemons freshly juiced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin preferably toasted seeds which are then ground
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs skin-on
  • 2 onions yellow or red, quartered


  • For the marinade:  In a medium to large bowl, combine lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.  Whisk to combine.
    2 lemons, 1/2 cup olive oil, 5-6 cloves garlic, 1 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Add chicken thighs and toss to coat them with the marinade.  Cover and store in refrigerator for 1 hour up to 12 hours.
    2 lbs chicken thighs
  • When ready to cook, preheat over to 425o F.  Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or oil.  Quarter the onions (or cut in large chunks) and coat with the marinade in the bowl.  Remove the chicken and onion and place on baking sheet.  Pour any remaining marinade over the chicken.
    2 onions
  • Roast the chicken in the oven until it is browned, about 30-40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit a couple of minutes while you make the accompaniments if using.  Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 535kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 38gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 222mgSodium: 766mgPotassium: 624mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 726IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 3mg
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