My Instant Pot Pork Shawarma was a hit on Pinterest, but I got a couple comments asking me to adapt the recipe for chicken. So today, I’m sharing an Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma with homemade shawarma seasoning.
Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma Recipe
Chicken shawarma is a savoury, aromatic chicken recipe that is known for being juicy and distinctly Middle Eastern in flavor. It is not spicy but has an incredible depth of flavor thanks to it’s unique spice blend.
Shawarma is often slow-cooked, rotisserie or spit-style, to develop it’s flavor, so using an Instant Pot to have it ready to eat in about 20 minutes is definitely cutting corners a bit.
But there are two essential steps to this recipe that ensure that you still deliver on the flavor, even when you are cutting the cooking time down by hours.
The first is a good quality shawarma seasoning. I’ve found this incredibly hard to come by (the ones I’ve bought have all been way too salty) so I now make my own. It makes about 6 Tablespoons of shawarma, so enough for 3 meals as the recipe only needs 2 Tablespoons. I just find it easier to make a big batch all at once and then have it ready to go the next time I crave shawarma.
The next essential step is searing the chicken. This prevents all the juices from cooking out of the chicken and is the difference between juicy, tender chicken and dry, overcooked chicken. Yes, that small step makes that big of a difference!
If you are meal prepping for the week or have time in advance, you can toss the chicken with the seasoning the night before you plan on cooking this recipe to give the seasoning a bit more time to sink into the chicken. (But don’t worry if you don’t have time for that, as it’s not absolutely necessary.)
Making the spice blend is the most time-consuming step of this recipe – after that, you just need to chop the shawarma, add the seasoning, sear it and then let your Instant Pot do it’s thing. (Plus, this recipe works equally well with pork or chicken – so that’s double mileage for your seasoning!) My seasoning recipe is not spicy – there’s only one teaspoon of chili powder and you can adjust that slightly, if desired.
Traditionally, shawarma is served with tabbouleh (a parsley-tomato salad) but other than the flavor profile – this shawarma is anything but traditional, since we’ve skipped the traditional rotisserie and kept a thicker cut on the meat. If you want to slice the chicken thinner, I would suggest cooking the chicken breasts whole and then slicing thinly – though the flavor won’t be as great as it is in this recipe (since the seasoning touches less surface area if the chicken breasts are cooked whole).
Ingredients for Instant Pot Shawarma
- 1 1/2 lb chicken, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons shawarma seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup broth or water
- Pitas, for serving
- Parsley, optional garnish
- Lemon, optional for serving
Homemade Shawarma Seasoning:
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon all spice
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground cloves
- 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
Tip: you will not want to use all of this seasoning in one meal – it makes enough for 3 batches of shawarma.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Instant Pot
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Mixing bowl
How to Make Instant Pot Shawarma
Pat chicken dry and cut into 1/2 thick strips. Place all cut chicken in a bowl
Place oil in Instant Pot and select sautee setting.
Combine all shawarma seasonings together and add 2 Tablespoons to the cut up chicken and toss to completely coat chicken in seasoning.
Place chicken in Instant Pot to sear, about 2 minutes.
Turn off sautee setting and add your broth or water.
Select meat setting for 10 minutes.
Natural or quick release.
Grab your free printable for our Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma recipe:
This quick and easy chicken shawarma recipe is a flavorful take on the Middle Eastern classic and takes only 20 minutes to prepare.