Homemade Beef Shawarma (2 Ways!)
Learn how to make restaurant style beef shawarma at home! Start by marinating the beef in homemade shawarma seasoning, then quickly saute the beef on the stove top, or cook it in the pressure cooker! Load up Lebanese flatbread with shredded beef, tahini sauce, pickles, tomatoes, and onions for the ultimate shawarma sandwiches!
Let’s get serious about our shawarmas today!
This is undoubtedly the most popular sandwich in the Middle East. Many countries have their own version of shawarma seasoning. Delicious and tender beef seasoned in shawarma spices, loaded in a warm Lebanese bread topped with garlic sauce, tahini sauce, tons of pickled veggies, parsley, and onions. Serve this up with some extra crispy roasted potatoes (sometime I even stuff the potatoes right into the wrap) or with French fries and you’ve got a meal that’s just as delicious as your favorite restaurant, if not better!
When I first shared this recipe with you, it was just directions on how to make beef shawarma in the instant pot. But after making this recipe only about a million more times, I’ve started using tender cuts of beef that allow you to season and pop it in a skillet to sear up quickly!
There are advantages to making it in a pressure cooker: it’s hands off, you can use cheaper cuts of beef and achieve similar results, etc. But there are also advantages to the skillet approach: it’s quicker, tastes just as delicious, you don’t need special equipment, etc. Needless to say, I’m showing you how to serve up beef shawarma two ways because the recipe is just that delicious!
Ingredients for beef shawarma recipe:
- Beef: Depending on whether you’re making this in the instant pot or in a skillet, you’ll want to use different cuts of beef. I suggest using beef chuck or a round eye roast if you’re preparing beef shawarma in the instant pot. To make this in the skillet, use a cut of beef that doesn’t take as long to cook, such as, flank steak, thinly sliced ribeye, or skirt steak. Usually shawarma is cooked on a vertical spit or a vertical rotisserie, but seeing as how most of us don’t have one of those at home, I’ve come up with a method to make this recipe to enjoy at home.
- Garlic Cloves: Minced or pressed garlic cloves are used for the stove top version. Since we marinate the beef over night for the pressure cooker version, the garlic cloves stay whole and are inserted right into the roast.
- Homemade Shawarma seasoning: I use my own homemade shawarma spice mix. I’ve modeled it off of my favorite middle eastern grocery stores version. Seriously, you have to try it! You can also use your favorite shawarma seasoning if you prefer that. The seasoning contains ingredients like ground allspice, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and much more. My recipe makes a ton and it’s good for quite a few batches of shawarma! The seasoning works for lamb or chicken shawarma recipe as well.
- Kosher salt: If you’re using a different seasoning mix than mine, I suggest checking the directions to see if salt is called for. My recipe doesn’t contain too much sodium, so you’ll definitely need to add some.
- White Vinegar: Is the acid used to tenderize the meat and to add a tangy flavor.
- Olive Oil: You can also use avocado oil or any other oil that you like. The oil will be used for the marinade as well as to cook the beef shawarma.
- Beef broth: You’ll only need this ingredient if you’re making the beef in the pressure cooker. The liquid is necessary to help bring the instant pot to pressure.
- Beef Shawarma Sandwich Toppings: You’ll need Lebanese flatbread, pita bread, toum, sliced tomatoes, pickled turnips, prepared fries, or roasted potatoes, tahini sauce, pickles, sliced onions and other salad ingredients, like lettuce.
How to make this recipe on the stove top:
- Marinate the beef. The prep time on this one is really short! There isn’t much chopping involved. Whisk together the pressed garlic, shawarma seasonings, kosher salt, vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. And the beef strips and stir it all to combine. You want to let the meat marinate for 1-3 hours. The longer you let it go, the better it’ll be.
- Cook it up. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add th meat and cook it to your liking, anywhere between 6-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Wrap it up. Heat up the Lebanese bread and top with garlic sauce or tahini sauce and then load it up with your favorite toppings. Serve warm!
How to make this recipe in the pressure cooker:
- Marinate the beef. Start by making 5 small ‘x’ using a paring knife in the roast. Insert the garlic cloves into the meat and in a bowl, combine the shawarma seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and a bit of olive oil. Rub this all over the roast, then cover and refrigerate for 8-24 hours. The longer you let it sit the more flavor it’ll have.
- Cook it up. Add the remaining oil to a hot instant pot on the saute setting. Sear the meat evenly on all sides then pour the broth into the liner along with the remaining vinegar and cook the roast for 65-70 minutes. Run a natural pressure release before venting.
- Shred and wrap. Then, shred the meat using meat forks or regular forks. Let the meat sit in the juices for 10 minutes. Preheat the broiler, spray a baking sheet with cooking sprat and lay the meat out in a single layer. Drizzle with another ¼ cup of the cooking liquid from the instant pot and broils he meat for 5-7 minutes. Toss with tongs as needed to keep from burning. Then, wrap it up in a loaf of bread the same way as you would if you made this on the stove top!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas (Arayes)
- Fattoush Salad
- Shirazi Salad
- Lebanese Rice Pilaf
- Frozen Mint Lemonade
Original recipe shared April 2017, updated with new pictures, stove top directions, and new post June 2022.
- 2½ pounds flank, ribeye, or skirt steak, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 3 tablespoons shawarma seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2½ pound beef chuck (trim excess fat)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons shawarma seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup beef broth
- Pita or Lebanese bread, toum, sliced tomatoes, onions, pickles, pickled turnips, fries or roasted potatoes, tahini sauce (recipe in notes)
- MARINATE: whisk together garlic, shawarma seasoning, salt, white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium bowl until combined. Add the sliced steak and stir together. Marinate for 1-3 hours, remove from the refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking.
- COOK: Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for 6-10 minutes, tossing as needed or until cooked through. Remove from heat.
- WRAP IT UP: Add the prepared meat to warm Lebanese bread top with garlic or tahini sauce and load it up with your choice of veggies. Fold shawarma like a burrito and grill on a grill pan if desired before serving with French fries.
- MARINATE: Make 5 small ‘x’ using a paring knife in the chuck roast. Insert the garlic cloves. In a bowl, combine seasoning, salt, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl. Massage the paste over the meat on all sides. Cover and refrigerator for 8-24 hours.
- COOK: Add the remaining tablespoon of oil in the instant pot on the sauté setting. Sear the meat on all sides; about 6-8 minutes. Add the beef broth and 2 tablespoons white vinegar to the pot. Cover and hit the ‘beef/stew’ setting for 65-70 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Allow the pressure to release naturally before venting.
- SHRED: Shred the meat using two forks. Let the meat sit for 10 minutes in the juices if you don’t want to crisp it up. Otherwise, heat the broiler, spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and spread the meat out on the sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with ¼ cup of cooking juices. Broil for 5-7 minutes, tossing with tongs around halfway. Just crisp up the beef a little.
- WRAP IT UP: Add the prepared meat to warm Lebanese bread top with garlic or tahini sauce and load it up with your choice of veggies. Fold shawarma like a burrito and grill on a pan if desired before serving with French fries.
- TAHINI SAUCE: combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 cloves pressed garlic, ¼ cup tahini paste, a pinch of salt + pepper and 1-3 tablespoons warm water. Start with 1 tablespoon, add more water as needed to thin sauce.