Homemade Grilled Beef Shawarma Recipe

beef shawarma

My beef shawarma recipe allows you to make this beloved, and delicious street food at home.

A well known staple in Middle Eastern countries, and around the world, shawarma is tasty.

There are several types of shawarma using different kinds of meat.

There are those vendors who use just lamb, others who blend lamb and beef and the just beef. 

And of course something completely different, and a relatively new innovation, chicken shawarma.

What Is Beef Shawarma?

beef shawarma

Shawarma is a kind of heavily spiced kebab that is grilled on a revolving spit.

Thin slices of meat are layered on a skewer to form a cone shape, fat at the top and narrow at the bottom.

The skewer is placed vertically on a revolving spit and cooked slowly, the meat being sliced as it cooks.

It was a great treat as a kid to go out and watch as the shawarma turned and sizzled on its spit.

The shawarma man sliced through all the layers of the crispy meat as it oozed in its own juices..

A pita loaf is opened up to soak up some of the meat juices on the inside of the pocket.

Then using a long and sharp knife the shawarma meat is thinly sliced as the spit continues to turn.

As the pieces of meat fall they are caught in the open pita as the sandwich is made.

A squeeze of luscious tahini sauce on top of the meat left to drizzle in between all the pieces of the lamb.

Followed by the pickles, onions, salad and hot sauce to complete the filling are added.

The pita is then rolled and wrapped in paper.

The fancier places serve  french fries alongside the sandwich with a typical garlic mayonnaise kind of sauce.

A one in of a kind experience.

The Beginnings Of Beef Shawarma

beef shawarma

Originating in the Ottoman Empire, shawarma is the Arab version of a stacked grilled meat delicacy. 

The three main variations of this street food in the Middle East are the doner kebab, from Turkey.

Gyros from Greece, and shawarma from the Arabic speaking countries. 

Some have said that the Turkish doner kebab was actually invented in Germany by Turkish immigrants. 

It is hard to know exactly, but either way doner kebab is delicious food.

Shawarma spices are unique to shawarma with doner and gyros having their own regional spices and flavors.

Homemade shawarma will normally be made differently than at a restaurant.

This is mainly because most people won’t have a spit to cook it on in the traditional way.

Instead the shawarma will most often be made in a pan using the shawarma seasonings to flavor the meat.

Spices For Shawarma

It may seem like all the warm spices you know of go into a shawarma spicing mix, and you could be right!

One of the trademarks of food from the Middle East is all the spice mixes that dominate so much of it.

Generally the spices are of the sweet variety, not the hot spicy kind; if anything the hot is added on the side.

This recipe does have a touch of hot and spicy, other than the black pepper.

I like to use is chipotle for that bit of heat.

In addition to that it’s allspice, garlic powder, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and a little oregano.

What Cut Of Beef Is Best?

Getting the right cut will always help make your dish a success, so it’s worth putting quality in your food when you can.

At the end of the day you can choose the kind of cut you like best as long as you know the best way to cook it so it remains tender.

Nothing worse than having a shawarma that you have to fight with as you try and get your teeth through the meat.

Prime rib is what I normally try and use, or a tri-tip in thin slices.  

Cuts like flank steak or hanger steak will also work if you marinate them first.

How To Make Beef Shawarma

beef shawarma

When making shawarma at home you will most probably be making it in a skillet and not on a rotisserie. 

It’s best to slice it into thin slices since you will want to cook it slowly, and all the way through.

Place the sliced meat in a pan with olive oil and cook over medium heat until almost done, about eight minutes.

Add spices, and continue to cook until done, stirring occasionally for an additional four or five minutes.

Once done put into a wrap or a sliced open pita bread, add tahini sauce, pickles and salad.

And don’t forget the hot sauce if you are into extra spice!

Roll up your pita and enjoy.

An alternative method is to mix the spices in a bowl with lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar.

Then add the beef making sure it all gets completely saturated with the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Cook the meat as above, then remove and slice the cooked beef and add to a sandwich.

How To Serve Beef Shawarma

There are several ways to serve this seasoned meat dish.

The traditional way is to put it into a pita bread pocket with all the fixins or even with a little bit of hummus.

You can put the shawarma in a wrap with sauteed onions, avocado, cucumber and pickles.

Another idea is to serve the meat on top of garlic and cilantro rice along with a nice tomato and onion salad dressed with a vinaigrette. 

Or maybe you would prefer trying this shawarma with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Another thing to think of is to make the shawarma part of a stir fry with bean sprouts, onions, sweet peppers, with ginger and water chestnuts. 

Fusion of cultures and cuisines! 

beef shawarma

Beef Shawarma Recipe

This beef shawarma recipe will allow you to make this beloved and delicious street food at home.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Beef, Shawarma
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 442kcal


Beef Shawarma

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 lb Sirloin Steak thin slices
  • 1 tbsp Shawarma Seasoning see below
  • 1 tsp Allspice ground
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 Tomatoes diced
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 6 Pitas

Shawarma Seasoning

  • cup Black Pepper ground
  • cup Allspice ground
  • cup Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cardamom ground
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon ground
  • 1 tbsp Cloves ground
  • 1 tbsp Nutmeg ground
  • tsp Oregano
  • tsp Chipotle Powder
  • tsp Salt

Tahini Sauce

  • ½ cup Tahini
  • 3 tbsp Yogurt
  • ½ Lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Salt


  • Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Cook the meat until almost done.
  • Add shawarma seasonings, allspice, and salt.
  • Cook until well done.
  • In a pita, add the shawarma beef, tahini sauce, tomatoes and onions.



Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1339mg | Potassium: 621mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 534IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 4mg

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    1. Hi Lynne,

      If you’re not a fan of spice, you can definitely leave it out! You’ll still get the delicious shawarma flavor from the other spices.

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