Make Your Own Beef Shawarma

Beef shawarma recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 8 hrs
Cook: 45 mins
Marinade Time: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1078 Calories
59g Fat
58g Carbs
86g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1078
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 59g 75%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 212mg 71%
Sodium 352mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Protein 86g
Calcium 555mg 43%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Shawarma is the ultimate on-the-go meal. Thinly sliced meat, wrapped in pita bread with veggies and sauce is a delicious quick treat

What Is Shawarma?

Shawarma is thinly sliced cuts of meat, like chicken, beef, goat, lamb, and sometimes turkey​ rolled into a large piece of flatbread or pita that has been steamed or heated. Inside the pita, foods like hummus, tahini, pickles, vegetables, and even french fries are added. Think of shawarma as a taco or burrito Middle Eastern style.

How Is Shawarma Made?

Raw meat is placed on large, rotating cones. As it rotates, the meat is cooked by a heat source that is located behind the actual cone. The meat slowly falls off or is thinly sliced by a chef with a large knife. It can take several hours to fully cook.

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Watch Now: Make Your Own Beef Shawarma

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef (prime rib is best)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 1 cup yogurt (plain)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 to 2 tomatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 cup parsley (finely chopped)
  • Optional: pickle slices
  • 8 loaves pita bread (or 4 large), for serving

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Beef Shawarma is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation.

Make the Marinade and the Beef

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine all ingredients—yogurt, vinegar, garlic, pepper, salt, cardamom pods, allspice, and lemon juice. If it seems a little dry, add a little olive oil (a tablespoon at a time).

  3. Add the beef, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

  4. In a stockpot or large saucepan, cook beef over medium heat for 45 minutes or until done. Be sure not to overcook. If beef becomes a little dry, add a few tablespoons of water throughout the cooking duration.

  5. While beef is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients for the sauce.

  2. Combine sauce ingredients—tahini, lemon juice, yogurt, and garlic—and mix well. Here is an excellent tahini recipe, if you do not have some handy. Set aside.

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the filling ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, take the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and sprinkle with sumac.

  3. Add other filling ingredients—parsley and pickle slices, if using, and combine well.

Assemble the Shawarma

  1. When the beef is done, you can shred it, slice it, or leave it in large pieces. As long as it is thinly cut, there is not much difference. We prefer to cut ours into wide strips.

  2. To assemble, place enough beef on a pita to cover 1/4 of the loaf.

  3. Add veggies and pour sauce.

  4. Roll like a soft taco or burrito, and you have shawarma.

Tips

  • You can also stuff the pocket of the pita if you like.
  • We prefer to roll large pitas (this is where making your own pita comes in handy), but it is hard to find large loaves of pita at the supermarket.
  • You can serve shawarma with fries, falafel, hummus, or with a salad like tabouleh.