Chicken Shawarma Wrap

This chicken shawarma sandwich combines earthy mediterranean flavors with a bright tomato and cucumber salad and nutty tahini sauce drizzled on top. When it's all wrapped up in a non-traditional naan bread, it's hard to resist.

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What is Chicken Shawarma?

Traditionally “shawarma” is a middle-eastern preparation of lamb or beef, where slices of the meat are stacked on top of each other in a cone shape and then roasted on a vertical spit. Once cooked, the meat is sliced and served. This recipe for chicken shawarma wraps replicates the middle-eastern flavors of shawarma but instead of marinating, slicing and roasting on a vertical spit, the chicken cooks in an air fryer, making it super easy and super quick. 

Chicken marinating in a bowl with ingredients around the bowl - spices, lemon, garlic and oil.

Marinade for Chicken Shawarma

All the flavor in this recipe comes from the marinade, which is an easy stir together of spices, lemon juice and olive oil. All of these spices are easy to find in your grocery store, with the possible exception of ground allspice. Although it sounds like a combination of spices, allspice is actually the ground berry of a plant in the myrtle family. If you don’t have any on hand, you could leave it out or add a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves and a little extra ground cinnamon.

Marinating does take time, but don’t be dissuaded if you haven’t planned accordingly for this recipe. A little marinating time is better than nothing. Let the chicken marinate while you make the tomato-cucumber salad and tahini sauce for the wraps, and although it won’t be quite as flavorful as letting it marinate overnight, it will still be tasty. 

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Four spiced chicken breasts in the basket of an air fryer.

Air-Fried Chicken Shawarma

Air-frying the chicken for this wrap certainly speeds up the process. Air-fryers, after all, only need a couple of minutes of pre-heating time and they cook very quickly by using convection heat in a very compact area.  Cook the chicken for the shawarma the same way you would air-fry a regular chicken breast (which you can read about here.) It will take 8 to 10 minutes, flipping the chicken over halfway through the cooking time. The air fryer is also a very tidy way to cook the chicken – certainly a lot easier than cleaning up after roasting with a vertical spit! 

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Tomato cucumber salad in a white bowl.

What to Serve with Chicken Shawarma

These chicken shawarma wraps have a few important components in addition to the chicken. The first is a bright tomato-cucumber salad that compliments the earthy flavors of the spiced chicken perfectly. This salad is so tasty and easy to make. It’s also a great way to practice your knife skills. (I know you want to!) Sometimes, I eat the chicken shawarma as a salad and toss slices of the chicken with a lot of the tomato-cucumber salad and chopped Romaine lettuce. Then, I drizzle the next component  – the tahini sauce – over the top.

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Baked naan bread in foil, tahini sauce in a white bowl and tomato cucumber salad in a white bowl all on a tan countertop.

Tahini Sauce

Tahini is basically a sesame paste and it is used a lot in middle eastern foods – think hummus and baba ghanoush. If you have a food processor, this sauce comes together in a few seconds. If you’re making the sauce by hand, no worries. Just mince the garlic as finely as you can and then whisk all the ingredients together until the sauce is smooth, adding a little more warm water if you need a little help. As I mentioned above, this is delicious as a salad dressing along with the tomato-cucumber salad, some Romaine lettuce and the slices of chicken. Save any leftover sauce you might have in the refrigerator to use as a salad dressing. 

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All the ingredients for chicken shawarma - naan, tomato cucumber salad, tahini sauce and sliced chicken on a cutting board.

How to Assemble Chicken Shawarma Wraps

The other key to a delicious wrap (and this goes for any sandwich) is the bread. This chicken shawarma wrap is full of hearty ingredients – the chicken, the tomato-cucumber salad and the tahini sauce – and deserves a hearty bread to hold everything together. If you can find naan at an Indian grocery, lucky you! Otherwise, homemade naan is really easy to make. Of course, store-bought naan breads are perfect and fresh pita breads would be very suitable as well. Warm whatever bread you choose in the air fryer for a couple of minutes before building your perfect shawarma wrap. 

Then, spread some of the tahini sauce on the warm naan, top with the chicken and tomato-cucumber salad and wrap it up. If you’re making more than one wrap or you just want that street food experience, use some parchment paper wrapped around the sandwich to hold it together. Enjoy!

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Close up shot of a chicken shawarma sandwich, half wrapped in parchment paper on a plate.

 

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Air-Fried Chicken Shawarma 

  • Prep Time: 25 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Marinating Time: 6 h
  • Total Time: 6 h 35 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pounds boneless chicken breast about 3 chicken breasts
  • 4 pieces naan bread or fresh pita bread
Tahini Sauce
  • ½  cup tahini sesame paste
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Tomato-Cucumber Salad
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 small English cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and spices in a small bowl, whisking well. Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Place the chicken in a zipper sealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Massage the chicken in the bag to coat all sides of the chicken with the marinade. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 6 hours, or as long as overnight.
  2. Pre-heat the air fryer to 380°F.
  3. Transfer the marinated chicken breasts to the air fryer basket and air-fry at 380ºF for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping the chicken over halfway through the cooking process.
  4. Make the Tahini Sauce. Add the tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt to a food processor or blender. Process until the ingredients are combined, smooth and creamy. If the consistency is too thick, add more warm water. Season to taste with salt and stir in the chopped parsley.
  5. Make the Tomato-Cucumber Salad. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and parsley in a bowl. Toss to combine and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the sandwiches.
  6. To assemble the shawarma. Brush both sides of the naan with oil and heat them in the air fryer at 400°F for 2 minutes on each side. (Alternatively, heat the naan on both sides in a skillet with a little olive oil.)
  7. Slice the chicken breast into thin slices. Spread a little tahini sauce on the warm naan bread. Place the sliced chicken on the naan bread and spoon some of the tomato-cucumber salad over the chicken. Drizzle with a little more tahini sauce. Roll or fold the bread up around the fillings. You can wrap parchment paper or foil around half of the shawarma to keep it together. Serve immediately.
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Comments (10)Post a Reply

    1. You can bake the chicken in the oven – 375ºF for about 25 minutes, depending on how big the chicken breasts are.

  1. “One teaspoon ground cumin.” “A slip of my beer.” You’ve got the best recipes in the biz, Meredith!

  2. 5 stars
    I found your air frying 101 class very informative. I enjoyed watching you on QVC and I enjoy your cooking classes……not to mention seeing pictures of Loulou and Hazel. You have taught me many cooking tips and you have great recipes. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    I marinated the chicken last night and just cooked the chicken in my air fryer. It is delicious.
    We had it in pita bread with the cucumber/tomato salad (I added avocado and no onions) with the tahini sauce.
    Very simple to make.
    Thank you,

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