This Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma is a delicious Middle Eastern dinner idea and all of the chicken marinade ingredients are found in your spice drawer!
As a foodie, one of the best things about visiting big cities is the variety of foods to eat. It’s always a delicious treat to get some comfort food from the food trucks! Some of my favorites are falafel, freshly made egg rolls, street tacos, gyros, and chicken shawarma.
What’s the difference between a gyro and shawarma?
If you like middle eastern foods, you may already know what gyro and shawarma are. Both meals are variations of a Turkish dish known as Döner Kebab.
The meat for both meals is prepared on a rotating spit over a fire. Usually, both dishes are served on warm pita bread with toppings. For the most part, the similarities end there. The main differences between gyro and.shawarma are the type of meat and toppings for the meat.
Gyro meat is usually pork or lamb, while shawarma meat can be lamb, goat, chicken, or even veal. Gyros have a topping of tomato, onion, and Tzatziki sauce.
Shawarma is less about the toppings; the focus is on the flavor that comes from marinating it all day in spices. For toppings, common shawarma ingredients are tomato, pickled turnips, and sometimes onion. The shawarma sauce is usually tahini, hummus, or both.
Is Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma gluten-free?
Traditionally, chicken shawarma is served wrapped in pita, so it’s not gluten-free. As a gluten-free option, you can make chicken shawarma bowls, serving it over fluffy white rice.
What type of chicken will I use for Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma?
A traditional chicken shawarma recipe calls for grilled chicken breast meat. When you make Instant Pot chicken shawarma, you can use chicken breast if you want to. For the juiciest chicken, I prefer to use chicken thighs.
What’s in a chicken shawarma marinade?
Because the focus of shawarma is on the flavour, a chicken shawarma marinade uses a lot of fragrant spices. The most common are garlic, turmeric, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and red pepper. The key to making a delicious marinade also requires using good quality olive oil.
One of my favourite things about Instant Pot recipes is that with a pressure cooker, the marinating step can be skipped! When you make Instant Pot chicken shawarma, all of the flavours are pressure cooked into the chicken during the cooking time. I use the same method when I made Instant Pot Chicken Adobo.
Using a pressure cooker set on high pressure keeps the cooking time shorter for this Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma recipe, too!
What should I serve with chicken shawarma?
With all of the veggies and meat surrounded by fluffy pita bread, I think chicken shawarma is a complete meal in itself. You can also choose to serve with a side salad or some frozen oven fries.
If I want to skip the pita I’ll definitely add the fries and make a delicious platter/salad out of this chicken shawarma but it’s up to you how you want to use the chicken! It’s so versatile and great for meal prep!
Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma into your weekly lunches.
I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma
For the chicken
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 4-6 pitas
- 1-2 plum tomatoes, sliced
- Cucumber, sliced
- Parsley, for garnish
- Tzatziki (optional)
- Hummus (optional)
- Add the chicken and all ingredients for chicken to Instant Pot in the order ingredients are listed above. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal.
- Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 3 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 10 to 15 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook the 3 minutes. Meanwhile, get toppings ready while chicken is cooking.
- Do a quick release of the pressure by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon, then open lid when pressure gauge has dropped and lid opens easily. Remove the chicken, shred or slice it, then add to pitas with desired toppings.
- Serve and enjoy!