An easy marinade made with Moroccan spices and lemon juice gives this sheet pan chicken all the bold, fresh, fragrant flavors of the best chicken shawarma in only 30 minutes (plus time to marinate). Serve it family style with pita bread, hummus, fresh vegetables, and yogurt dipping sauce.
Bar-style meals mean no (or less) arguments at the dinner table at our house. You know this sort of meal – a bunch of elements set out for DIY dinners. Taco bar, baked potato bar, salad bar….to name just a few. Add chicken shawarma bar to the list. I hate to play favorites with dinner, but this one just might be mine. And the fact that this flavorful chicken can be mixed with marinade in the morning and tossed on the sheet pan to bake 30 minutes before dinner gives it maximum flavor in a weeknight-friendly package.
Ready? Let’s do this!
Sheet Pan Chicken Shawarma Ingredients
The list of ingredients is short and sweet:
- Moroccan Seasoning (Ras El Hanout) – Mix up my favorite blend of spices using the link above, or look for a pre-mixed blend of Ras El Hanout.
- Cooking Oil – Since the cooking oil is going into a marinade, just use an inexpensive neutral-flavored variety like grapeseed, vegetable, or canola.
- Garlic – Don’t miss garlic in the marinade as it adds lots of flavor.
- Lemon Juice – Also not to be missed! You’ll love the lemony flavor this gives the finished dish. Make sure to follow the recipe directions about when to add the lemon juice. Don’t let the chicken sit in lemon juice for more than 12 hours or it starts to sort of “cook” the chicken (the same way citrus “cooks” ceviche) and could turn the chicken rubbery.
- Chicken Thighs – Yes, you could use chicken breasts for this recipe, but you’ll get a lot more flavor with chicken thighs and they stay more tender than chicken breast as they roast.
- Red Onion – Slices of red onion add flavor to the chicken as it cooks and then are chopped up with the chicken after cooking. These add flavor, but you can skip them if you want to simplify things.
- Parsley – This is optional, but adds some color and fresh herb flavor if sprinkled over the finished dish. Only use it if you already have it on-hand (no need to buy it just for this recipe).
Freeze This Meal
You can freeze the chicken with the marinade in a freezer-safe plastic bag for up to 6 months. For best results, freeze it without the lemon juice (just add that in the last 12 hours of defrosting time). Defrost in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours before continuing with the recipe as written.
How to Make this into a DIY Meal
Sheet Pan Chicken Shawarma easily lends itself to a fun, DIY, family-style meal.
Just put out:
- Chicken shawarma, cooked and roughly chopped
- Pita or Naan warmed in the oven (we almost always use naan because we prefer the texture; most store-bought pita seems to get a bit dry if it’s toasted and left to sit out for too long)
- Carrot sticks / baby carrots
- A quick salad of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and red wine vinegar and seasoned with some salt and pepper
- Tzatziki (To make it – just grate about ¼ cup of cucumber onto a paper towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible; mix it with 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 diced clove of garlic, and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Season with some salt.)
More Chicken Recipes with Delicious Marinades
- Thai-Style Grilled Chicken – Inspired by the Thai favorite “gai yang” this grilled chicken is unabashadly flavorful with savory notes and lots of herbs. Recipe includes instructions for roasting the chicken too.
- Honey-Garlic Glazed Chicken Skewers – Honey, garlic, ginger, and ponzu give this Asian marinade a unique and slightly sweet flavor.
Half Sheet Pan – Be sure to use a sheet pan with sides so that the marinade doesn’t drip out over the edges as the chicken cooks.
Sheet Pan Chicken Shawarma
- sheet pan
- 6 tsp Moroccan Seasoning (store-bought or use this homemade verison of Moroccan Seasoning / Ras-el-Hanout)
- 1/4 cup Cooking Oil
- 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
- Juice from 2 Lemons
- 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Thighs, boneless and skinless
- 1 Red Onion, halved and sliced into thick strips
- 1 Tbsp Parsley, curly or flat-leaf, chopped (optional)
- Pita or Naan (see note)
- Cucumbers and Tomatoes (see note)
- Tzatziki (see note)
- Carrot Sticks
- Combine seasoning, cooking oil, garlic, and lemon juice in a large bowl or plastic bag.
- Add chicken and toss to coat.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. (Note: If you’d like to prepare the marinade even further ahead, you can refrigerate the chicken in marinade for up to 3 days, but only add the lemon juice in the last 8 hours. Lemon juice will make the chicken tough and rubbery if left to marinate for more than 8 hours.)
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with foil (not necessary, but makes clean-up much easier).
- Add onion to chicken and marinade and toss everything together.
- Pour chicken, marinade, and onion out onto prepared sheet pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Transfer chicken to oven and roast until chicken is golden brown on the edges and cooked through (use an instant read thermometer to make sure it registers an internal temperature of 165°F), 30 to 40 minutes.
- Transfer chicken and onions to a cutting board, leaving the sheet pan with all of the cooking liquids nearby. Roughly chop chicken and onions together and add them back to the sheet pan. Toss chicken back in cooking liquids.
- Scatter parsley (if using) over top of chicken.
- Warm pita / naan in the oven.
- Serve with pita / naan, cucumber and tomato salad, tzatziki, hummus, and carrot sticks.
For snack today, June appears to have had peanut butter with a side of peanut butter.
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