Treat yourself to Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma for an easy Mediterranean-style dinner packed with flavorful tender yogurt-marinated chicken, soft warm pita bread, and an array of fresh toppings.

two foil-wrapped pitas filled with homemade chicken shawarma prepared in a slow cooker

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With fluffy pita bread, juicy, warmly-spiced chicken, and a shower of Mediterranean toppings, this easy Crock Pot Shredded Chicken recipe is a warm embrace in sandwich form.

The inspiration for this easy yogurt chicken 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 their stellar Mediterranean recipes.

The owner is Greek, the food is authentic, and the chicken shawarma is outstanding.

A serving platter of slow cooker chicken shawarma sprinkled with herbs on a kitchen linen

5 Star Review

“Made this recently and have had to make it again twice already – massive success, thank you!”

— Samia —

How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma

No giant roasting spit required, this slow cooker version has ALL the soothing flavors of classic chicken shawarma, plus it is fall-apart tender, dribble-down-your-chin juicy.

Serve these handheld beauties with a side of Lemon Rice, a platter of Greek Layer Dip, or Grilled Halloumi Cheese.

Well Plated Cookbook Chicken Shawarma

If you love chicken shawarma, snag a copy of my cookbook. It includes another fabulous, fast chicken shawarma recipe using store-bought rotisserie chicken.


The Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs. 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 crockpot as chicken breasts. I find they give more flavor to slow cooker recipes too.
  • Greek Yogurt. For tender chicken guaranteed, Greek yogurt is almost impossible to beat. It bathes the chicken in its own creaminess and locks in its meaty juices.
  • Lemon Juice. For brightness and a little acidity.
  • Oregano. Dried oregano leaves make this chicken smell insanely delicious and inject it with fresh herby flavor.
  • Garlic Powder. For a little zip and added flavor.
  • Allspice +Cinnamon. This dynamic spice duo adds tons of warmth to this dish.
  • Cayenne. For a little kick, that enhances the flavors rather than overpowers.
  • Pitas. I go for pillowy, soft whole wheat pitas whenever I make this slow cooker chicken shawarma.
  • Toppings. Romaine, chopped spinach, red onions, diced cucumbers, and/or sliced tomatoes are always welcome additions. A little hummus, tzatziki, or even this Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip wouldn’t be tasty too.

The Directions

  1. Mix the herbs and spices together.
  2. Stir half of the spice mixture into the yogurt (reserve the other half).
  3. Coat the chicken in the yogurt marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  4. Transfer to a crockpot and cook until fall-apart tender.
  5. Remove, shred, and season with reserved spice mixture.
  6. Serve in warm pitas with desired toppings. ENJOY!
pita bread topped with crockpot chicken shawarma, red onion, cucumber, herbs, and tomatoes on parchment with a bowl of hummus

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftover yogurt chicken shawarma can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four days.
  • To Freeze. Place chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • To Reheat. Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop until steaming.
Two homemade chicken gyros wrapped in foil and filled with slow cooker chicken shawarma and fresh vegetables.

Pita bread and yogurt chicken shawarma hugs all around!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Chicken Shawarma Taste Like a Gyro?

Yes. If you love the taste of Greek gyros, then you’ll also enjoy chicken shawarma. While the proteins differ (lamb vs. chicken), both recipes use similar Meditteranean spices and ingredients.

How Can I Make Chicken Shawarma Without a Slow Cooker?

I have only tried making this recipe in a slow cooker so using anything other than that would be an experiment. However, you may try using an Instant Pot by following my tips in this Instant Pot Chicken post or you could also try cooking in a deep, sturdy Dutch oven over low heat on your stovetop.

Can I Make Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma with Chicken Breasts?

Yes. However, keep in mind that chicken breasts typically cook more quickly than chicken thighs. For best results, cook on LOW and keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook and dry out.

two pitas filled with garlic yogurt chicken made in a slow cooker

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma

4.97 from 27 votes
A slow cooker chicken shawarma recipe that's moist, tender, and juicy. Try this yogurt-marinated chicken in a pita with veggies and tzatziki!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 10 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon ground 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 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Whole wheat pita pockets
  • For serving: thinly sliced red onion, fresh parsley, diced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, hummus

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, stir together the allspice, oregano, salt, garlic powder, cinnamon, and cayenne. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve the chicken shawarma inside warmed pita bread with desired toppings.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Leftover yogurt chicken shawarma can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four days.
  • TO FREEZE: Slow cooker chicken shawarma may be frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop until steaming.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6) served in a pita without toppingsCalories: 406kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 46gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 181mgPotassium: 659mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 135IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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81 Comments

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  1. 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! :)5 stars

    1. Melissa, THANK YOU! This comment warmed my heart. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe and are back in your kitchen too.

    1. 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.

    1. Annie, if you love gyros, you will certainly enjoy this recipe! Because it’s chicken vs. beef/lamb, the flavor is different, but they share similar spices. I hope you love this chicken version!

  2. 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! 5 stars

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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!

    1. Courtney, this is one of my very favorite things to make for dinner, and it means so much to know that you enjoyed it too. Thanks for trying the recipe and letting me know!

  4. 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.   

      1. HOORAY! I’m so excited to hear you loved it Kasey. Thanks for taking time to leave your comment! It’s great to know :)

    1. Keren, I’ve never tried this recipe with chicken drumsticks, so it’s hard for me to say. I think it’s important that the chicken be skinless, so if you can find skinless drumsticks, you are welcome to experiment. Otherwise, boneless, skinless chicken thighs work really nicely!

  5. Tried this recipe for dinner tonight and absolutely loved it!!!! The chicken is moist and flavorful. Such a delicious and light meal.
    Thanks Erin!! :) 5 stars

    1. Stacey, I am SOOOO happy to hear this! Thanks for trying the recipe and letting me know how it came out for you!

  6. Made this for dinner last night. It was awesome. It was also a hit with my 10-year-old son. Thanks!5 stars

  7. 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” :-)5 stars

  8. 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!?

    1. 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.

  9. Hi Erin,
    Made this last night and it was so so so yummy! Can I substitute lamb for chicken and increase cooking times?
    Thanks,
    Milena5 stars

    1. 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!

      1. 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,
        Milena5 stars

  10. 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!5 stars

    1. 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! :)

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Cherie! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this awesome review and rating!

  11. I made this for a family party. It was so easy to make in slow cooker, and now it is a favourite of my daughters. They ask for it on their birthdays when they can pick the meal.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this awesome review, Lori! I’m so happy to hear it’s a new family favorite!

  12. I make this recipe ALL THE TIME and everyone loves it. Sometimes I do it in the crockpot, sometimes I do it on top of the stove, and sometimes I just pop it in the oven at 350 for about an hour. No matter how I make it, everyone raves. I use my George Foreman grill to toast the sandwiches once they are filled too. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  13. This was a big hit with my daughter and son in law!  First time I had this type of food so I followed it exactly!  My daughter has asked for your recipe!5 stars

  14. I just wanted to say this is my wife’s all-time favorite recipe. I make this at least once a month, and have been doing so for years, I feel like I’ve made it 50 times now. I don’t change anything except the suggested toppings, we use both tzatziki and tahini sauces. Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, your recipe is perfect, particularly that spice mix. I originally found this by just Googling “slow cooker chicken schwarma” and I can see why your recipe is the top result.5 stars

    1. Nick, this comment makes my day! I’m so happy to hear it’s a favorite in your home. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  15. Came across your recipe this morning and made it for dinner this evening.  EVERYBODY raved about it.  Delicious!  Thank you!5 stars

  16. We made this last night and even our 2 year old loved it! It will become a part of our regular menu. Thanks for sharing your recipe! :)5 stars

    1. Hi Georgie! While I have not tried this substitution, from what I’ve read you can do an equal substitution with either coconut yogurt or coconut cream in this dish. If you experiment with this swap, please let me know how it turns out! I hope you love the recipe!

    1. Hi Tracy! I have not tried this recipe in the Instant Pot, so I’m afraid I don’t have any specific advice to offer. If you want to play around with it, you could reference the cooking times in this Instant Pot Chicken post. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it!

  17. Hi. The recipe calls for allspice but doesn’t specify whole or ground. Since it doesn’t state ground, I assume it’s a tablespoon of whole allspice?
    We’re looking forward to trying this. We’ve truly enjoyed all of your recipes we’ve tried so far!
    Thanks!

  18. I made this tonight and it was fabulous! So easy. Outstanding recipe. Whole Wheat tortillas work in a pinch. For toppings we used: hummus, feta, sliced orange bell pepper, sliced celery, quartered cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley, fresh, cilantro, sliced avocado, red onion. I wasn’t expecting my husband to like it much, but he devoured it and said to be sure to make it again!
    Yay!5 stars

    1. It’s the dried leaves Kendra (all of my recipes with oregano use the leaves, just for reference). I hope you love the recipe!

  19. Made this recently and have had to make it again twice already – massive success, thank you!

    I use chicken breast as we’re not keen on thigh so I leave it in the yoghurt marinade for at least a day beforehand and the chicken is just melt in the mouth. Have passed on to friends and family :)5 stars

  20. Hi Erin! I’ve very excited to try this recipe, which my cousin shared with me. I don’t have garlic or onion powder but I have garlic and onion on hand. Wondering how you’d suggest subsituting them in terms of quantity. Thanks!

    1. Hi Emily! This recipe doesn’t call for onion powder, so you can omit that. I haven’t tried using fresh garlic instead of garlic powder here, so it would be an experiment. You’ll likely need to increase the amount if using fresh garlic. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  21. I love this easy way of making real-deal chicken shawarma. The allspice was not what I expected. I will use cumin, coriander, and cardamom next time. Can’t wait to make it again!4 stars

  22. Reheating this dish as I froze half from the first time I made it. This time I decided to be courageous and made easy 30 minute pickled red onions. I’ve been preparing 3 meals per day since March 2019 and my husband works from home. I have thoroughly enjoyed cooking for my family since I found your website. We are a family of athletes and we eat healthy 80% of the time. You’ve made me enjoy cooking again. I print all of the recipes and then have my groceries delivered. It’s really a no brainer. You’ve literally saved me as my husband ate breakfast and lunch at the office. I can’t compete with the Chefs…..or can I?5 stars

      1. It’s True! I even started a healthy happy and wise eating FB page for a few of my friends and we swap recipes. I’ve literally used your site and HSR the entire time. Keep the healthy simple meals coming please!

  23. Super easy recipe and flavorful! I added sweet onion to the slow cooker with the marinated chicken. Turned out great! I’m thinking off adding bell peppers next time.5 stars

  24. Anyone else’s result included a clear liquid in the crockpot and brown foam on top of the chicken? Wonder if I did anything wrong or if that is part of it. The foam on top of the chicken sort of looks like when you are making home made broth and it foams up; I typically collect this and discard it. Any input/suggestions?4 stars