Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma

These Slow Cooker Yogurt Chicken Shawarma Sandwiches are going in for the hug.

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma recipe. A garlic yogurt chicken with warm spices that tastes just like Greek chicken shawarma, but less work!

With fluffy pita bread, juicy, warmly-spiced chicken, and a shower of Mediterranean toppings, this easy slow cooker chicken recipe is the sandwich version of a pick-you-up, spin-you-around, they-just-don’t-make-movies-like-this-anymore embrace.

Forget the firm handshake you learned in business school and the awkward back-pat pseudo hug. Slow Cooker Yogurt Chicken Shawarma wants the real deal.

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma. So moist and tender. Your entire family will love this easy crock pot chicken recipe made with Greek yogurt and spices

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma. Greek yogurt is the secret ingredient that makes this chicken recipe fall-apart tender!

The inspiration for this recipe hails from my favorite Mediterranean restaurant, which can be found in the cultural mecca of…Wichita, Kansas. Whenever we are together in our hometown, my sisters and I have been known to eat lunch there daily (I once went back for dinner), and even Ben has become intimately familiar with the menu. The owner is Greek, the food is authentic, and the chicken shawarma is outstanding.

As cool as it would be to have a giant spit of chicken shawarma roasting in my kitchen the way you’ll see it in Greece (and Wichita), today’s slow cooker version boasts the benefit of being immediately attainable and doesn’t require specialty chicken-roasting equipment. It has all the soothing flavors of classic chicken shawarma, plus it’s fall-apart tender, dribble-down-your-chin juicy thanks to two key ingredients: Greek yogurt and Just BARE Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs.

This juicy chicken magic begins with a Greek yogurt marinade. For tender chicken guaranteed, Greek yogurt is almost impossible to beat. It bathes the chicken in its own creaminess, locks in meaty juices, and does other powerful, wonderful things that I cannot explain, though I’m happy to devour the results.

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma recipe made with Garlic and classic Greek spices

Secondly, I use chicken thighs. Although I typically prefer the taste of white meat if I’m having grilled chicken, for any slow cooker recipe, chicken thighs are the best choice. They are still very lean but are not as apt to dry out in the crock pot as chicken breasts. I find they give more flavor to slow cooker recipes too. This chicken shawarma was so tender, I couldn’t even remove the chicken thighs from the slow cooker in a single piece—they fell apart as soon as they touched my fork!

Slow Cooker Yogurt Chicken. Incredibly moist and juicy! Use to make chicken shawarma sandwiches

As I’ve shared before, I trust and value Just BARE Chicken. As a conscious consumer, I appreciate the company’s commitment to raising its animals with care, providing natural products, and giving back to communities. As a lazy weeknight cook, I adore the fact that all of the chicken comes neatly trimmed, so I can start using it immediately, versus wasting time cutting away excess fat and bad pieces (all of which we are charged for when the chicken is weighed for purchase!).

If you are new to using chicken thighs or just in need of some dinner inspiration, you can view my entire collection of chicken recipes here, including my latest favorite way to use chicken thighs, Maple Bourbon Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Garlic Yogurt Chicken Shawarma. SO juicy with warm Mediterranean flavors

Pita bread and yogurt chicken shawarma hugs all around!

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Slow Cooker Yogurt Chicken Shawarma

A slow cooker recipe for moist and tender yogurt chicken that tastes just like chicken shawarma, but is so much easier to make! Try it with warm pita.

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours (on high); 4 hours (on low)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
  • 2 1/2 pounds Just BARE Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • Whole wheat pita pockets
  • For serving: thinly sliced red onion, fresh parsley, diced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, hummus

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the allspice, oregano, salt, garlic powder, cinnamon, and cayenne. Set aside.
  2. Place the yogurt and lemon juice in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Add half of the spice mixture (reserve the second half) and stir to combine. Add the chicken thighs and gently turn to coat in the yogurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Coat the bottom of a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add the chicken and all of the yogurt marinade. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  4. With a fork or slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a large bowl (discard the cooking liquid). Shred the chicken with two forks, then sprinkle the remaining spice mixture over the top. Stir to coat with the reserved spices.
  5. Serve the chicken shawarma inside warmed pita bread, sprinkled with any desired toppings.

Leftover yogurt chicken shawarma can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Craving more chicken? Find tasty recipes on Just BARE’s FacebookTwitter and Pinterest pages, The Good Plate, a great resource for healthy living tips, as well as Just BARE’s blog Just Dish.

I’m thrilled to be partnering with Just BARE Chicken this year to share this and more recipes with you, and have been compensated for my time. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own, and thank you, for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to continue creating quality content for you!

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

52 comments

  1. My husband and I are huge – and I mean HUGE – shawarma fans. And I LOVE that we can now have some at home. Gosh, that crock-pot is a miracle worker, isn’t it? Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks Erin!

  2. I’m alllll about Greek food (being Greek and all), but some of the classics — shawarma, gyros etc. — are so hard to replicate at home because of that darn rotisserie. LOVE this easy, slow-cooker version. All the flavor, less of the work…and tools! 

  3. Oh oh oh!! Wichita, Kansas! I lived in Missouri for 8 years, close to Wichita! Now I am so far to go to your favorite Mediterranean restaurant :(  
    This sandwich is making my mouth water!! Now I am hungry!

  4. Alexandra robertson Reply

    This looks awesome! I am curious of the restaurant because my husband grew up in Wichita lol. Would love to see if I have seen it and try it when we go back. 

  5. Oh this looks yummy!

  6. Great! I ‘ll try to make it

  7. We get shawarma carryout probably once a week! This looks so amazing – I have to try it.

  8. Never thought to use yogurt for marinade – genius! James wants me to make these immediately :)

  9. I love chicken shawarma, but have never tried making it myself. Love how easy this looks (plus I heart my slow cooker)!

  10. I don’t really know how I got to this stage of life without eating shawarma, but… I did. I guess that needs to change (this looks delicious!)

  11. I looove Bella Luna! That’s on our regular Girls’ Night Out rotation!

  12. Erin – I made this tonight for dinner and it was SO delicious. I have been without a functioning kitchen for the past four months (due to some water damage drama in our new house), and have only been able to cook normally again this past week. I was so excited to get back to reading your blog and trying out recipes! Thanks for all of the hard work you put into your recipes and posts — you are so good at what you do! :)

  13. Erin, this looks great! I made the Turkey quinoa chili and it was such a hit, I want to try another of your recipes. Do you have nutritional info for these recipes? Trying to be mindful of calories/sodium/sugar… Thank you, Kent

    • Hi Kent! I’m so glad that you liked the chili and that this recipe looks good to you too. I don’t calculate the nutritional information for any of my recipes, but I have heard from other readers that plugging the link into myfitnesspal.com works well.

  14. Substitution for a slow cooker? Would love to try but do not want a slow cooker

    • Hi Deb! Although I’ve never tried making this recipe any other way besides a slow cooker, I have heard you can make slow cooker recipes by cooking them in a deep, sturdy Dutch oven over low heat on the stove. This might be a good solution for you to experiment with.

  15. I never has Shawarma, but I LOVE Gyros. Does this taste anything like a Gyro? Do you have a recipe for that?

  16. Holy yum! Made this today, found you on Pinterest. I am always trying new recipes, and it really has to be fantastic to make it into my regular rotation. This totally makes the cut! The chicken was so moist and flavorful. Even my ridiculously picky kids loved it. Thank you! 

    • Katie, I am SO happy you loved this and that your kids did too! It’s one of the recipe on my blog I cook the most often myself, so it’s even more meaningful to know you enjoyed it also. Thanks for trying it and for taking time to leave this lovely review!

  17. is it ok to use chicken thighs with bones in it?

    • Definitely Jessica! I suspect they will need to cook long through—I can’t give you an exact time since I never tried the recipe this way, but I’m sure you can find some guidance online. If you try the recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  18. I only have chicken breast on hand, is it possible to use those instead or do you have to use chicken thighs?

    • Hi Holly! For slow cooker recipes, I recommend chicken thighs, because chicken breasts dry out really easily in the slow cooker. That said, you could definitely use them. I would just be sure to check the cooking time early and keep a very close eye on them to make sure they don’t dry out. I hope that helps and that you enjoy the recipe!

  19. I made this for my family tonight and we all
    Loved it! Has great flavor! Thanks for the recipe!

  20. it’s in my slow cooker right now.   I winged it because I didn’t have allspice or garlic powder.. lol. can’t wait to try it.   

  21. Would it be possible to use chicken drumsticks instead? 

  22. Tried this recipe for dinner tonight and absolutely loved it!!!! The chicken is moist and flavorful. Such a delicious and light meal.
    Thanks Erin!! :) 

  23. Wow!  Tried this tonight and it was great!!  Just like takeout and so easy!  Thanks!! 

  24. Made this for dinner last night. It was awesome. It was also a hit with my 10-year-old son. Thanks!

  25. I made this tonight and boy o boy was it delish! I served it with flatbread and tzatkiki sauce with all the trimmings in recipe. My hubs said “please make this again” :-)

  26. Hi Erin, 

    Love your blog and have made a few of your recipes! They are delicous. This was too however the chicken ended up being super dry- how do I prevent this!?

    • Hi Marlee! Thank you so much for the kind words. It definitely sounds like the chicken was overcooked. Every slow cooker is different, so yours might be more powerful. Also, did you use chicken thighs as the recipe said? If you substituted chicken breasts, those cook more quickly and dry out very easily in the slow cooker. I’m sorry the chicken was dry, but I hope this helps a little bit.

  27. Hi Erin,
    Made this last night and it was so so so yummy! Can I substitute lamb for chicken and increase cooking times?
    Thanks,
    Milena

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Milena, I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! I think the spices and flavors would taste great with lamb. You would want to reference some other slow cooker lamb recipes for the cooking time, depending on what cut you go with. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it comes out!

      • Hi Erin,
        I did it! I made it with lamb shoulder and it was just as delicious! I increased the cooking time by two hours and kept the rest the same.  It was the perfect meal to feed my friends before we headed out for the Bruce Springsteen concert last night (in Auckland).
        Thanks again,
        Milena

  28. I’m always looking for more summer-appropriate slow-cooker recipes, so I was excited to find this one.

    I’m prepping a lot of freezer meals for an upcoming busy season and this was an easy choice. I just put the chicken thighs to marinate in the yogurt mixture in a gallon-sized freezer bag, included the remaining spices in their own snack-sized bag and put the whole thing in one freezer bag to pull out on a day I don’t have time to prep dinner.

    We had some chicken thighs leftover from our meal assembly so I made another batch for dinner tonight and it was amazing! Our kids (5 & under) loved it! We split the pitas and used the pockets, which is not as authentic as your beautiful pictures but made it lots easier to eat for the little ones and I liked the higher ratio of chicken/veggies to pita.

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! We got requests for this as a birthday meal on its debut night!

    Rating: 4.5
    • Rebekah, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this awesome review! I’m so glad to hear the recipe was a hit for the whole family, and the freezer prep idea is a fantastic one! :)

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