This middle-eastern inspired air fryer chicken shawarma is a more flavorful and convenient way to make chicken shawarma for wraps or salads!
Blogging is funny.
The recipes I make over and over again are not always the recipes that get viral amounts of traffic.
It’s all kind of luck mixed with some keyword research and prayer.
My chicken shawarma recipe is one thing that’s never got a lot of traffic but that we make a bajillion times a year.
My die-hard blog readers know my obsession, but we can call it a well-kept secret for others.
I originally developed this chicken recipe for my Pita Jungle Chicken Mediterranean Salad copycat recipe. While that salad has a billion ingredients, so I tend to make the entire thing only a couple of times a year, this chicken we make every month.
We usually grill it, but inspired by recent success at making chicken tenders in the air fryer without breading, I decided to try making it in the air fryer.
It came out DELICIOUS! Juicy and flavorful inside, but crispy on the outside. A definite win in my book! And that means less begging Mr. Hungry to head outside to grill in 120-degree weather to get the perfectly charred grilled shawarma in the summer. Now it can be made in the air fryer without going out in the summer heat while not heating our house! win-win-win
How to Cook Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma
The secret to good chicken shawarma is the marinade.
I know other recipes will have you slap a few seasonings on your chicken and cook it, but I guarantee they aren’t doing that at gyro restaurants. They let their chicken marinate for at least 24 hours, probably closer to 48 hours, and so will you.
I used a bowl for picture purposes, but I also like a ziplock bag. With the ziplock bag, you dump everything in the bag and then close the bag tight and massage until everything is evenly covered. With the bowl method, you have to be careful to coat while tossing. Depending on how well your chicken is covered in the marinade, you may need to flip it halfway through the marinating time to ensure thoroughly and evenly marinated.
After marinating, you plop it into the preheated air fryer and cook. Depending on the size of your air fryer, it may take a couple of batches to get it all cooked. It can take anywhere from 7-20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts. If you are cooking small and large ones at the same time, one may be done before the other. Luckily with the air fryer, it’s easy to check!
Swaps and Substitutions
Seasonings: You can swap out any of the seasonings. Just know that it will change the flavor of the final dish.
Avocado oil: I like avocado oil for various reasons, with a neutral taste and high smoke points as the top reasons. But you could also use refined olive oil or canola oil.
Lemon juice: Any good marinade always has an acid to help tenderize the chicken. I wouldn’t omit or substitute this because it would significantly change the flavor and texture of the result.
Chicken: Yes, you could use bone-in or bone-out chicken thighs. You could also use chicken tenders. For both options, cook at the same heat, but you will likely need to adjust the cooking time.
Don’t have time to marinate? Make my Air Fryer Chicken Breasts with a dry rub (no breading), and no brining or marinating is required!
How to Store & Freeze
Storing: Store cooked chicken in the fridge for up to five days.
Freezing: You can freeze the chicken with the marinade (if it hasn’t been previously frozen) and defrost it under refrigeration before cooking. Or you can cook the chicken, let it completely cool in the refrigerator and freeze it for up to 3 months (make sure to freeze the same day you cook it.) Then, again, defrost under refrigeration and reheat to 165F.
How to Serve Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma
Serve this air fryer chicken shawarma on salads or wraps with tzatziki and hummus! We love this chicken with the recipes below!
- Mediterranean Chicken Salad
- Make-Ahead Chop-Chop Salad
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Gluten-Free Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Greek Yogurt Hummus
- Homemade Tzatziki Sauce <—- so creamy and so easy!
- Air Fryer Turmeric Cauliflower
More Fun Air Fryer Recipes to Try:
- Air Fryer Tortilla Strips
- Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
- Air Fryer Quesadilla
- Air Fryer Cauliflower Gnocchi
- Air Fryer Sweet and Spicy Dry Rub Wings
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets
- Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Bone-In Chicken Thighs
- 20 Minute Air Fryer Fish Tacos
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders – No Breading
- Air Fryer Turmeric Cauliflower
Use my recipe filtering to find any recipe you want in my recipe index! Filter by meal, ingredients, diet, or occasion!
Tag me if you make these! I love to see what you guys make! You can tag me on Insta @hungryhobbyRD and Facebook @hungryhobby!
Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma
- 1 Large Bowl or Ziplock Bag
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 whole lemon, juiced
- 1/3 cup avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 pounds chicken breast or thighs
To Make Wraps
- pita bread or flatbread
- tzatziki sauce
- green or romaine lettuce
- red onion
- Combine chicken with lemon juice, avocado oil, garlic, coriander, cardamom, cayenne pepper, paprika, sumac, salt, and sugar in a large bowl or gallon ziplock bag.3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon coriander, 1 tablespoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon sumac, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 whole lemon, juiced, 1/3 cup avocado oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 pounds chicken breast or thighs
- If in a bag, massage chicken into marinade. If in a bowl, toss to coat well.
- Leave it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 24 hours, or store in the freezer for future use.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375F.
- Add chicken (defrosted if you previously froze it) to the air fryer and cook for 7-20 minutes, flipping with five minutes left. How long to cook your shawarma will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts. Smaller (7-8 ounces) will take 7-10 minutes, and larger (10-11 ounces) chicken breasts will take 16-20 minutes. Use a thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches a minimum temperature of 165F.