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Homemade Shawarma Seasoning

Want to make your own tasty shawarma meat at home? Try this homemade shawarma seasoning mix to get you started. Vertical meat stacks not included!

overhead picture of shawarma spice mix in a jar

Of all the different ethic foods in our great big world, Middle Eastern dishes are quickly becoming my favorite after Greek!

Vertical stacks of meats, whether it be chicken, beef, or the ever delicious lamb, slowly circling and getting all toasty on the outside.

I could watch the spit spin round and round all day long. My drooling gets a little out of control so the owners always tell me to scram after an hour or so.

What is Shawarma?

Shawarma is a dish that is made from thin slices of meat that is stacked on a skewered and roasted in an open rotisserie oven or “spit” as some call it. The meat usually takes on a cone shape while it spins.

Shawarma can be served just as shaved meat on a plate with some sides like rice or cucumber salad.

But the best way is wrapped in flat bread or pita and topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and tahini.

It is the Middle Eastern version of Greek gyros, Mexican al pastor, and the Turkish Doner Kebab.

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side view of shawarma seasoning in a jar next to chickpeas

What is the flavor of Shawarma?

Shawarma is the name of the dish but it gets it’s amazing flavor from the spices and seasonings that the meat is marinated in before it goes on the skewer in a cone shape.

I have always wanted to have a jar of the amazing spice mix that they use to marinate the meats before stacking them for cooking.

Ingredients Needed

The average recipe for the spice mix added to the meat contains the following spices in varying amounts.

  • cumin
  • cardamom
  • cinnamon
  • turmeric
  • paprika
  • coriander
  • cayenne

Other spices that are sometimes added are black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and ginger.

Shawarma Seasoning mix spilling onto a slate tray

Why is it called Shawarma?

This crispy, juicy, and incredibly delicious dish got it’s name from the method of cooking.

Much like the gyro which comes from the Greek word for “rotate,” the Arabic word for “turning” is dwarn which is where the word Shawarma comes from.

How is it prepared?

The meat, which is marinated, layered on a skewer, and roasted is then thinly sliced or shaved off the outside of the rotating skewer and eaten.

overhead picture of a spoon full of spice mix

What meat is used in making Shawarma?

Traditional Middle Eastern Shawarma is made with lamb or mutton but you can make it with chicken, beef, or pork too. Use what you like to eat!

What do they put in the seasoning mix?

I like mine made with beef or chicken and my seasoning a little less intense. My tastebuds are sensitive to certain spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice.

The best part of making your own is you can control the levels of spice.

After removing a bit of the traditional allspice, cloves, and cardamom, and adding a little more salt and oregano, I found a mixture that was more to my liking. I hope you enjoy it too!

roasted chickpeas

More Homemade Seasonings

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

pin image for shawarma spice
overhead picture of a spoon full of spice mix

Shawarma Seasoning

Try this homemade shawarma seasoning mix to season beef, chicken, and a variety of other dishes!
4.50 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Homemade Spice Mixes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 409kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart


  • 4 tablespoons black pepper ground
  • 2 tablespoons allspice ground
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cloves ground
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon ground
  • 2 tablespoons nutmeg ground
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom ground
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons oregano dried
  • 2 tablespoons salt Kosher


  • Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
  • Use as needed.


*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!


Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 12981mg | Fiber: 33g | Sugar: 3g

If you are used to having your shawarma full on, use the original recipe found here. My husband likes it more than mine. Typical…

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4.50 from 6 votes (4 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Tuesday 21st of September 2021


Connor Stewart

Friday 16th of March 2018

This sounds so intriguing to me. I love the smell of the meat from Mediterranean places.

Friday 16th of March 2018

Me too! Now you can make it at home!

Connor Stewart

Wednesday 14th of March 2018

This sounds so intriguing to me. I love the smell of the meat from Mediterranean places.