Save time by making your own homemade shawarma spice blend to season meats and vegetables. This recipe is easy, reliable, and comes together in a little time. I use it to season both chicken shawarma as well as beef shawarma.
Make sure to check out my other homemade Middle Eastern and Levantine spice blends and stock your pantry with your own spice mixes.
What is Shawarma?
Shawarma is a popular street food that has a long and diverse history. The origins of shawarma can be traced back to the Eastern Mediterranean (The Levant, modern-day Lebanon, Palestine, Syria), with various countries and cultures contributing to its development. The dish has evolved over centuries, influenced by different culinary traditions and migration patterns.
The Ottoman Empire played a significant role in shaping the culinary landscape of the Middle East. The method of cooking meat on a vertical rotisserie continued to be refined during the Ottoman period. It is believed that the name "shawarma" itself is derived from the Turkish word "çevirme," which means "turning." It is an important part of Levantine Cuisine today.
Having homemade shawarma spice mix on hand and readily available makes preparing this dish quick and easy.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
There is no official or traditional shawarma blend recipe. The proportions and types of spices used will vary from region to region as well as family to family. My blend uses standard pantry spices. There may be a couple that you’ll need to source in ground form.
Cayenne pepper may be added to make the blend spicy, but that’s a personal choice. You can also use sweet paprika instead of smoked.
See the recipe card below for the full list of spices and quantities.
How to Use this Shawarma Spice Blend
The obvious use is for making chicken shawarma, beef shawarma or lamb shawarma. However, this is a versatile blend and can be used to marinate your favorite protein for grilling or air frying. The blend can also be used on fish. It can be used when seasoning ground beef or ground chicken when making chicken Kofta or Beef Kafta.
Use it as a dry rub on meats before grilling or smoking. Or mix it with olive oil and lemon juice to make a wet marinade.
You can use as much or as little of the seasoning blend as you like, but a good starting point is 2-3 teaspoons per pound of meat.
You can also use the seasoning blend on chickpeas, to season falafels, curries, vegetables, and more.
Yes, you can use whole spices. I recommend that you toast the whole spices first in a dry frying pan for a few minutes. Let the whole spices cool and then transfer to a spice grinder or mill. Grind into a fine powder. For quantities, refer to the recipe.
In an airtight jar (such as a glass or plastic spice jar). Store in a spice cabinet or cupboard away from light and heat.
If you make this Homemade Shawarma Spice Blend Recipe or any other Levantine recipe on Urban Farm and Kitchen, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe.
Homemade Shawarma Spice Blend Recipe
- 1 teaspoon Ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon Ground black pepper
- Combine all the ground spices in a small bowl and transfer to a spice jar.