Most Delicious Homemade Shawarma Seasoning
Make a big batch of homemade shawarma seasoning and use it to season all sorts of stuff like chicken, beef, and roasted chickpeas! It tastes just like the store-bought shawarma seasoning but way better! We always have a jar of this stuff on hand!
Shawarma seasoning that will make your heart sing.
Shawarma has got to be one of the most popular middle eastern dishes out there!
This one has been a long time coming. Not only are the two of us big shawarma fans, we’re also picky shawarma eaters. That means just any old thing won’t do. It has to be the best. So it took some tinkering on my part when I set out to make the best homemade shawarma seasoning. And friends, it’s here! This is seriously amazing stuff.
What I love most about homemade seasonings is that you’re in the driver’s seat. You have full control. And that control comes into play most when it comes to the amount of sodium in your seasonings. Stating the obvious here but store-bought seasonings are loaded with salt and/or sugar. But not our homemade version. I’ve modeled this shawarma seasoning off of one that we absolutely love and I have to say, it’s pretty close to perfect!
Shawarma has got to be one of the most popular middle eastern dishes out there! Essentially, shawarma seasoning mixture is a dry rub used to marinade chicken, lamb or beef in homemade spices. Load your grilled chicken or beef into warm pitas top with pickles, shredded lettuce, garlic sauce, tahini, slice tomatoes, and sometimes, we’ll even pop in a few french fries right in there with the meat!
Ingredients in shawarma spice blend:
- Black Pepper
- All Spice
- Garlic Powder
- Ground Clove
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Nutmeg
- Ground Cardamom
- Chili Powder
- Dried Oregano
- Kosher salt
How to make homemade shawarma seasoning blend:
Making homemade shawarma seasoning in large batches isn’t difficult to make. You just grab fresh spices, combine them in a bowl and that’s it. With this recipe, you’ll make enough seasoning for 21-23 lbs of meat. So it’ll certainly last you a while if you make the entire batch. Which, we go through easily in about 6 months. I just store my shawarma spice mix in an airtight jar and keep it in a cool, dry place.
Now, if you’re wondering if you can use cayenne pepper, rosemary, cumin, or coriander as these are ingredients that are sometimes used in other shawarma recipes, the answer is yes! Remember this is your blend so if there’s an ingredient that your favorite shawarma seasoning usually contains, you can use it! I’d say start in the 2-3 teaspoon range and work your way up. The spices I used are what my favorite Middle Eastern grocery store uses in their spice blend and we love it this way.
Have I mentioned we love shawarma?
…now would probably be a good time to do so.
Sometimes I’ll make a batch and split it with my mom and sis. It’s perfect to keep in a jar in a cool dry place in the pantry so you can just grab and marinate your protein of choice. This shawarma seasoning is ideal for marinating chicken with. Just grill it up outdoors or on a grill pan and serve it with a big Shirazi or fattoush salad and voila! Lunch in a flash. If you’re into meal prepping, use it on veggies with a little olive oil and roast them off. Serve it over rice or fluffy couscous.
I know it may seem like a lot of individual spices but if you’re passionate about your shawarmas, this is definitely a must-try!
Using this shawarma seasoning blend:
When you want to prep the shawarma meat, combine 1 tablespoon of seasoning with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Add a little salt, and a pound of meat or poultry. Let the chicken marinate for 10-20 minutes. For beef shawarmas like this bowl, let marinate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. The flavors just really absorb right into the steak and it’s melt-in-your-mouth good.
I’ve even used this homemade spice blends to season roasted vegetables with! Serve it up with tahini sauce – it’s so good!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas (Arayes)
- Spicy Lebanese Potatoes (Batata Harra)
- Homemade Vermicelli Rice
- Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeehas)
- Beef Shawarma Bowls
Most Delicious Homemade Shawarma Seasoning
Make a big batch of homemade shawarma seasoning and use it to season all sorts of stuff like chicken, beef, and roasted chickpeas! It tastes just like the store bought shawarma seasoning but way better!
- 1/4 cup ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup ground allspice
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
- To marinate the shawarma meat: you'll need 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon white vinegar + 1/2 teaspoon salt. Allow chicken to marinate for 10-20 minutes and 1 hour to 24 hours for beef. Here's a recipe for my beef shawarma bowls we love to make with this seasoning. And here's one for chicken shawarma wraps.
- This makes enough to season about 21 pounds of meat. Use about 1 tablespoon of seasoning per pound of chicken or beef. The batch can even be made larger by simply doubling or tripling the recipe. You can also halve the recipe for a smaller batch.
How important is the cardamon? Just wondering in case I can’t find it.
Cardamom adds that perfect flavor profile to shawarma seasoning, you can omit it if you’d like but I do think you’d miss out on some of that ‘authentic’ flavor. It’s easily available on Amazon if you’d like to order it online 🙂
How do I make the All spice? What specific type of all spice is thus?
In this case, allspice is a single spice (or ingredient) sometimes also referred to as Jamaican Pepper. It’s not a combination of spices like garam masala. Here’s a link to the product if you’re having trouble finding it in your area.
Curious… no rosemary in the recipe… Is it unnecessary?
We just finished our shawarma seasoning bag straight from Isreal (in law went on a trip, I’m not that fortunate lol) & the bag had dried rosemary bits in it. It was AMAZING. I’m looking for a recipe & found yours! Would love your thoughts on whether it’s needed… luckily, we have plenty rosemary plants. Cant wait to try this out!
Hi Sarah! I think there’s no right or wrong answer with the rosemary. Each middle eastern country has their own take on shawarma seasoning and with each country, I’m sure you’ll find a little something added to the mix. My local grocery store that makes shawarma seasoning in-house doesn’t use it in their blend (I modeled my homemade version after theirs) but you can certainly add in some if you’d like! Or you can make the entire batch, divide out half and add rosemary to half and see which batch you prefer 🙂
Hi, is the chili powder the recipe calls for the same chili powder we use in Mexican cooking? Or does it refer to a different type of chili? Thank you!
Hi Nadia, any mild chili powder will work for this recipe. Generally, shawarma seasoning isn’t very spicy so a mild Mexican chili powder would work just fine. If you prefer spicier foods, feel free to add a spicier type of chili powder or even cayenne pepper! Hope you enjoy the seasoning! 🙂
I made your Shawarma seasoning and marinated a chicken breast as you suggested and it was perfect! I substituted the chili pepper for half a tbs of cayenne pepper and it worked to perfection. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe, you have other great recipes that I will be trying but this one is fantastic.
Would this be a good seasoning for burger patties ?
It sure would!
Just recently discovered your blog. This shawarma seasoning mix was absolutely delicious. I used it with chicken and served with pita. My entire family, even my very picky 4 year old grandchildren, loved this. Hooray! Finally got them to eat something with a little seasoning. The allspice gives this a wonderfully warm flavor that my grandchildren really liked. I have used a variety of seasoning mixes (harissa, baharat, blackened spice mix, etc) but they liked this the best. Thanks so much for sharing. This is a keeper. Next time will try with beef.
I’m curious why you add salt when marinating it as well as putting it in the spice mix. Any reason to not just add another 3 1/2 tablespoons of salt to the spice mix?
Hey there! You can up the salt in your seasoning mix if you’d like, it shouldn’t be a problem. I prefer to add just a hint to the seasoning mix as it allows me more control when I’m using the seasoning in a recipe that may have other sources of sodium.
I tried this today and I’m very pleased with the results, many thanks for the recipe.
Hi , I am just wondering what’s best to use for ground cardamom? Green or the black.one? ??? coz I recently called an indian store and asked if they have ground cardamom and asked me what do I prefer? Black or green. I was like , what? So what do you think should I buy? Green or black? ?? thanks and I really love to try your recipe.
You’ll need the green kind for this recipe!
This sounds like a very delicious spice blend, aromatic and full of perfume, and probably just the one I like. So why have I got into my head, that everything middle eastern needs a nice pinch of cumin.
thanks for the recipe, loved th e flavour, most shawarma recipes add cumin and i dont like cumin ,also i make a chicken and herb rice with tumeric added could i add a half tsp of the shawarma spice to it ?
Glad you like the shawarma seasoning, Donna! You can certainly add some of the shawarma seasoning to your herb rice, which by the way, sounds delish! 🙂
Thanks! for the lovely authentic Shawarma spice recipe which I’ve been trying to make. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out the way that it tasted when you get it from the food stall outside. I followed your recipe and made the Shawarma last night. It was delicious!! Instead of vinegar I added lemon juice and a little bit more chili powder to make it spicer. Hmmm!! Yummy!
Thinking of using yogurt the next time to marinate the meat and a lot more olive oil.
How would this work to marinate a beef tritip roast?
I think it would work well! I’d marinate it for at least 4 hours and up to 12.
Just came here to say that this will be my third time in three weeks making chicken shawarma with this incredible spice recipe! It’s absolutely delicious, and I’ve taken to making big batches of chicken with it so that I have leftovers for a few days.
Simply wonderful, thank you so much for the shawarma goodness!
I’m excited to try this recipe! How strong is the clove flavor? My husband isn’t the hugest fan of it and I normally leave it out of recipes (but I love the complexity it adds!).
I didn’t think it was too strong but we like clove so that could be why! You’re welcome to cut back on the ground cloves by half or even less (or just leave it out) if you feel he wouldn’t like it!
Any chance you could make a recipe for a smaller amount? It sounds amazing!
Thank you. I mage it and it was great.
This was exactly like a restaurant’s shawarma! My husband actually said it was better! This was such a huge hit. Only thing was the beef ended up slightly chewy but I didn’t sear it as long so that might have been the issue. But still absolutely amazing. The flavor was spot on.
I’m so happy to hear it was enjoyed, Farah! Did you make the meat in the instant pot, or did you use a cut that just needed to be seared on the grill? If you just seared it, did you cut it against the grain? If not, that could be why it was chewy. If it was in the IP, perhaps it just needed a few additional minutes of cooking time 🙂
Thanks for the tip! I seared it and then let it go in the instant pot. Just tried it again and it was perfect. I could seriously eat this every week.
AMAAAZING!!! My first time making home made shawarma. This seasoning was key. Thank you so much.
So happy to hear you gave it a go, Catherine! Appreciate you circling back to leave a review 🙂
I am so happy I found this, I had been giving Shawarma seasoning from a friend who was shocked I’d never heard of it before and I feel absolutely in love. When I ran out I couldn’t find the seasoning in my grocery store and was super bummed but luckily found your recipe and it is very very close to the premade seasoning! I use yogurt, olive oil, and a pinch of garlic salt to marinate the chicken and it comes out soooo good! I also make a creamy dill sauce to go with this with lime juice, dill, garlic salt, yogurt, and sour cream, I really recommend giving it a try, the two together are fantastic! Thanks so much for this recipe!!
So glad to hear you made the shawarma seasoning, Britt! Love the ingredients you used to make a sauce, gonna have to try that, sounds delish!
My wife is allergic to garlic powder (in fact all garlic). Any possible alternate suggestions of just leave it out?
Hi Jeffrey! You can replace the garlic powder with 2 tablespoons onion powder if that’s something she can have. Otherwise you can just omit it from the recipe 🙂
Scrolled through this pretty fast but did not see if how long this would keep in a dry, tight container. I live alone and will make a smaller batch (really trying to eat better and since my doctor suggested the Mediterranean diet I am having fun trying new things) but still would like to know the shelf life. Thanks
Hi Penny! I would say if you used fresh spices the seasoning would be good for about 4-5 months. If you’ve had your spices in the cabinet for a while, I’d say about 2 months. If you’re getting close to the shawarma seasoning “expiring” I suggest just marinating chicken/beef/lamb with the seasoning, salt, and oil and freezing the meat. Add the vinegar right before so the meat doesn’t over tenderize! It’ll be good for another month or two that way!
I made this today and used it in meatballs and on roasted potatoes. It was delicious! I was out of oregano, so I put in a bit of basil instead. It made a generous amount, so I have some stored in my pantry for next time and have some samples ready to share with friends.
My spice mix tastes pretty bitter.. not sure what spice is causing that. Any ideas to cut the bitterness?
Did you make sure you used green cardamom? I didn’t know there were 2 types when I made a previous recipe. I ended up using black cardamom instead and it was absolutely horrible.
I was just wondering if you double the oil, vinegar and salt if you are doing two pounds of meat?
Hi Ronda! Yes, you’ll need to double it all for a double batch.
About to make this seasoning, however all spice is pretty much equal parts cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Why not just add 1/2 of all spice?
Hi Kevin, in this case, allspice is not a spice mix like garam masala. It’s an actual dried brown berry. Hope that helps!
I used this recipe just for the shawarma seasoning mix (I made a 1/2 batch) and have to say the flavor was bang-on to any beef shawarma I’ve ordered from a restaurant. I’d made a rather tough round roast the previous evening so sliced the remaining cooked roast into thin strips, tossed in a little olive oil, lemon and vinegar and a few tablespoons of the shawarma seasoning to marinate then sauteed on low heat. My daughter commented multiple times how good the meat tasted. This will be my go-to shawarma seasoning going forward. Delicious!
I gathered all my old spices for the shawarma seasoning and made a big batch and put it in its own shaker. It smells really good. For a few hrs, marinate the boneless skinless chicken thighs in the seasoning along with olive oil, white vinegar and a homemade garlic dressing(equal parts mayo and plain yogurt) a few cloves Crushed Garlic and alittle lemon juice and grill the chicken over high heat.
Let it sit for at least 10mins, cut it up, line shredded lettuce, tomato half slices, red onion, on a warm pita bread, arrange cut chicken on top, then top pita with leftover garlic sauce.
I’m looking forward to making this – I love shawarma. A question for you … what kind of chili powder do you use? Is it the same kind that’s used when making a pot of chili? I know that type sometimes has extra spices in it like salt.