Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma Recipe Easy Copycat

I’ve often found that recreating restaurant-quality dishes at home can be deeply satisfying, and one of my personal favorites is the Chicken Shawarma recipe from Trader Joe’s. This dish is renowned for its tantalizing blend of spices and the way it’s cooked to tender perfection. The marinated chicken, redolent with garlic and spices, easily becomes the centerpiece of any meal, whether it’s wrapped in a warm pita or served atop a fragrant bed of rice.

My journey with this recipe started with the simple desire to replicate the flavors I enjoyed at my local Trader Joe’s. I discovered that achieving the authentic taste of Chicken Shawarma at home isn’t as elusive as one might think. Through a combination of pantry staples and fresh produce, I learned to prepare a meal that delighted my palate just as much as the store-bought version, if not more. The key lies in the marinade, a blend of spices like cumin, paprika, and turmeric, which you can tailor to your own taste, ensuring each bite is as savory as the next.

Cooking the Trader Joe’s recipe for Chicken Shawarma using an air fryer method turned out to be a game-changer for me. It allowed the chicken to achieve the perfect balance of juiciness and crispness without much hassle. I appreciated how the dish could be both delicious and healthy, serving as proof that one does not have to compromise taste for a nutritious meal. Whether you’re seeking to replicate a favorite or simply exploring new flavors, this Chicken Shawarma recipe might just earn a place in your culinary repertoire.

Trader Joe’s Shawarma Chicken Thighs Overview

Trader Joe’s Shawarma Chicken Thighs offers a convenient meal option that is rich in flavor due to its unique blend of spices. My goal is to provide an insight into what makes this product a noteworthy addition to your kitchen.

Product Detail Page

On the Trader Joe’s page, you will find all the necessary details about the Shawarma Chicken Thighs and other ingredients needed for the recipe. This product features boneless, skinless chicken thighs which are marinated in a shawarma spice blend, imparting both exotic flavors and a tender texture. The specific spices include onion, garlic, sea salt, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, paprika, turmeric, and parsley which together ensure each bite is savory and aromatic.


  • Chicken Thighs
  • Shawarma Spice Marinade:
    • Onion
    • Garlic
    • Sea Salt
    • Cumin
    • Cinnamon
    • Coriander
    • Paprika
    • Turmeric
    • Parsley

Each component of the seasoning plays a role, from the warmth of cinnamon to the earthy notes of cumin and turmeric. The convenient packaging and preparation instructions make these chicken thighs a practical choice for a quick dinner that does not compromise on taste.

Preparation Before Cooking

In my experience, getting the chicken ready is crucial for ensuring the shawarma has a rich flavor and tender texture. Before even thinking about heating up the oven or stovetop, there are essential steps to take.

Marinating the Chicken

I always start with a good marinade to ensure the chicken is packed with flavor. Here’s what I typically include:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

I combine these ingredients in a zip-lock bag, then add the marinated chicken, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Marinate the chicken for a minimum of four hours, though overnight is ideal for the best flavor infusion.

Bringing to Room Temperature

Before cooking, I make sure the chicken isn’t too cold, which could affect cooking times and evenness. About half an hour before I plan to cook, I remove the marinated chicken from the fridge so it can come to room temperature. This step helps to ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and reaches that perfect level of tenderness.

Cooking Techniques and Equipment

When I prepare the Chicken Shawarma recipe from Trader Joe’s, there are two efficient techniques I recommend for optimal results: using an air fryer or baking on a sheet pan. Both methods allow for a robust flavor and desirable texture.

Using an Air Fryer

For those who prefer a healthier option with less oil, I find the air fryer to be an excellent choice. I start by preheating my air fryer to maintain a consistent cooking temperature. I place the chicken shawarma in the air fryer basket, ensuring that the thin slices are spread out in a single layer. This promotes even cooking and allows the hot air to circulate effectively around the meat. Cooking time usually takes a fraction of what you’d expect in a traditional oven. I periodically check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches the safe point of 165°F.

Baking on a Sheet Pan

Alternatively, baking the Chicken Shawarma on a sheet pan in the oven is a straightforward method that I often use. I preheat my oven and arrange the marinated chicken on a lined sheet pan not overlapping. It’s important not to overcrowd the pan, as space between the slices helps the heat to envelop the chicken, resulting in crisp edges and a juicy center. Cooking time varies, but I usually bake until the internal temperature is 165°F. This ensures the chicken is perfectly cooked and safe to eat.

Serving Suggestions

Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma can be turned into an array of delightful dishes that I find satisfying. Below are specific ways to serve it that capture the essence of its flavors.

Creating Chicken Shawarma Bowls

I love to start with a base of cauliflower rice or basmati rice to keep it light or go traditional. Then, I layer sliced chicken shawarma on top, adding a generous helping of cherry tomatoes and cauliflower tabbouleh for freshness and crunch. Drizzling tahini sauce over the bowl adds a creamy and nutty finish that is absolutely essential.

Making Shawarma Wraps

When I’m in the mood for something handheld, I opt for shawarma wraps. I lay out warm pita bread or garlic naan, spread some tahini sauce, and add the chicken shawarma strips. For a burst of color and taste, I toss in cherry tomatoes and greens. Rolling it up tightly secures all the flavors inside for a satisfying meal.

Additional Tips and Tricks

When preparing Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma, there are a few techniques I employ to boost flavor and texture, and also to ensure that leftover shawarma is just as tempting the next time around.

Achieving Golden-Brown Deliciousness

For that perfect golden-brown crust, I’ve found that preheating the oven is a must – aim for 400°F (200°C). Always spread the chicken out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for a consistent cook. If you’re eyeing a more pronounced sear, consider a quick broil for the last 2-3 minutes, watching carefully to avoid charring. After cooking, let the chicken rest for a few minutes; it’s tempting to dive in, but this allows the juices to redistribute, making every bite succulent.

Storing Leftovers

Storing leftovers properly preserves the shawarma’s juiciness for next time. Once the chicken cools, I place it in an airtight container separating layers with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Refrigerated, the shawarma stays flavorful for up to three days. Don’t forget to reheat it gently, covered in a microwave or wrapped in foil in the oven, to maintain its moisture and not to dry it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we dive into specifics, I want to cover practical tips for preparing Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma, whether it’s in the oven or air fryer, detailing the marinade, sourcing the ingredients, perfecting the wrap, and cooking from frozen.

How can you prepare Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma in the oven?

To prepare Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma in the oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place the marinated chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, usually around 20-30 minutes.

What steps are involved in making chicken shawarma using an air fryer?

For making chicken shawarma using an air fryer, I find it best to preheat the air fryer to around 375 degrees F. Cook the marinated chicken in the basket for about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway, until the chicken is golden brown and has reached a safe internal temperature.

Can you detail the preparation of Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma marinade?

The chicken shawarma marinade from Trader Joe’s features a blend of spices and is sold pre-marinated. However, if making your own, simply mix olive oil, garlic, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and lemon juice, then marinate the chicken for a few hours or, ideally, overnight.

What ingredients are required for making chicken shawarma from Trader Joe’s?

For making chicken shawarma, you’ll need Trader Joe’s pre-marinated chicken thighs and additional ingredients for serving such as pita bread, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and any other preferred vegetables or sauces.

What is the best way to wrap Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma?

The best way to wrap Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma is to lay a warm pita flat, place the cooked chicken down the center, top with chopped lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and drizzle with garlic sauce or tahini. Then, fold the edges over the filling and roll up tightly.

How do you successfully cook frozen chicken shawarma from Trader Joe’s?

To cook frozen chicken shawarma from Trader Joe’s, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, follow the oven or air fryer cooking instructions as you would for refrigerated shawarma.

What is the nutritional information for Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma?

NutrientAmount Per Serving (4 oz / 112g)
Total Fat7g
Saturated Fat1.5g
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrate3g
Dietary Fiber0g

Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma Copycat

Recipe by kitcheneasylifeCourse: DinnerCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



This chicken dish is packed with bold flavors, tender, juicy chicken, and fresh, vibrant veggies! You’ll make it again and again!


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Pita bread

  • Tzatziki sauce

  • Sliced tomatoes

  • Sliced cucumbers

  • Chopped parsley


  • In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
  • Cut the chicken thighs into thin strips and place them in the marinade. Toss to coat the chicken evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Thread the marinated chicken strips onto skewers and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked.
  • Warm the pita bread and spread a dollop of tzatziki sauce on each one.
  • Place the grilled chicken on top of the pita bread and add sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and chopped parsley.
  • Roll up the pita bread and serve the chicken shawarma immediately.

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