Homemade Shawarma Spice Blend

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What makes shawarma so irresistible? The warm and aromatic flavors of course. My shawarma spice blend is just what your homemade shawarma needs. Save time and money by making your own blend with the added bonus of the authentic taste and smell of shawarma at home.

the spices that go into this homemade shawarma spice blend


I love making my own spice blends at home and this shawarma spice blend is no exception. Who doesn’t love the versatility of adjusting flavors to their liking? I also love that I can use this spice blend for differing recipes including Beef Shawarma, Homemade Chicken Shawarma Recipe, and Easy Chicken Shawarma Salad.

Recipe Highlights: Shawarma Spice Blend

Cultural Influence: Middle Eastern

Primary Use: Versatile seasoning for meats, vegetables, and grains

Suitable for: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan

Dominant Flavor Profile: Warm, Spicy, and Aromatic

Skill Level Required: Easy and Beginner-Friendly

Why You’ll Love This Recipe: The seasoning blend is versatile enough to be used on so many different dishes. It’s also so easy to make and has a months long shelf life when stored in an airtight jar.

shawarma spice blend (homemade shawarma seasoning mix)

What is Shawarma

Shawarma is a beloved Middle Eastern dish that features marinated meat, usually lamb, chicken or beef, that’s slow-roasted on a vertical rotisserie.

This method of cooking not only locks in the juices but also creates a crispy, flavorful exterior that’s irresistible. The meat is typically shaved off in thin slices and served in a wrap or pita, accompanied by fresh vegetables, tangy pickles, and creamy sauces like tahini or garlic sauce.

Origins and Popularity

Originating from the Ottoman Empire, shawarma has deep roots in the Levantine region, including countries like Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria. The name “shawarma” comes from the Turkish word “çevirme,” meaning “turning,” referring to the rotating spit used in its preparation.

Shawarma is a street food staple across the Middle East, where vendors can be found in busy markets and along main streets, serving up this delectable dish to locals and tourists alike.

Interesting Facts

  • Shawarma’s preparation on a vertical spit is similar to the Greek gyro, Turkish doner and the Mexican al pastor, all of which were influenced by the method used in shawarma.
  • In Middle Eastern countries, shawarma is often enjoyed as a late-night snack, perfect after an evening out.
  • Shawarma is traditionally made with lamb, but chicken shawarma has gained immense popularity due to its lighter flavor and lower fat content.

Shawarma in the US

What’s in Shawarma Spice Blend?

spice ingredients for shawarma spice blend
  • Cumin: Adds a warm, earthy base. For a deeper flavor, lightly toast the seeds before grinding.
  • Coriander: Brings a citrusy, slightly sweet note. Using freshly ground seeds can enhance the aroma.
  • Turmeric: Provides a vibrant color and subtle bitterness. A little goes a long way for health benefits and flavor.
  • Cinnamon: Introduces a hint of sweetness and warmth. Try using Ceylon cinnamon for a milder taste.
  • Paprika: Adds a mild, peppery flavor and rich color. Smoked paprika can add a deeper, smoky dimension.
  • Cardamom: Contributes a complex, sweet, and floral aroma. Use freshly ground pods for the best flavor.
  • Allspice: Offers a mix of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon notes. It’s a key component for that authentic shawarma taste.
  • Garlic Powder: Provides a savory, aromatic kick. Ensure it’s fresh to avoid a bitter taste.

Side Note

I felt like these spices and the measurements I used were the closest to Middle Eastern authentic shawarma flavor. It was really a process of trial and error.

One spice that is popularly used in many native shawarma spice blends is seven spice. It’s particularly used in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and surrounding areas. The seven spice blend bears similarities in flavor in to allspice but has more of a peppery kick to it.

If you wanted to use it, you could either switch out the allspice for it or you could add a quarter teaspoon of it along with the allspice. A spice blend should be made up of the flavors you prefer, so try it out and see what you like best.

spices in mini cups for shawarma seasoning

Ways to Use Shawarma Seasoning

This homemade shawarma spice blend can be used for more than just shawarma recipes.

1. Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favorite vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, or sweet potatoes with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of shawarma spice blend before roasting them in the oven. Follow my method for oven roasted vegetables that’ll have them turn out perfectly every time.

2. Grilled Meats and Seafood: Use the shawarma spice blend as a rub for grilled meats (such as grilled lamb chops) and seafood. It works wonderfully with chicken breasts, beef steaks or even shrimp. Marinate the protein with the spice mix, olive oil, and a bit of lemon juice for at least an hour before grilling for maximum flavor.

3. Shawarma-Spiced Rice: Add a teaspoon or two of the spice blend to your rice while it cooks. This will infuse the rice with the aromatic flavors of shawarma, making it a perfect side dish for any Middle Eastern-inspired meal. You can also add it to hashweh for a tasty Middle Eastern meal.

4. Shawarma-Spiced Dips: Elevate your store-bought or homemade hummus, yogurt or sour cream by mixing in some of the shawarma spice blend to create a quick and flavorful dip for veggies or pita chips.

5. Flavorful Soups and Stews: Incorporate the shawarma spice blend into soups and stews for a Middle Eastern flair. It pairs especially well with lentil soup, chickpea stew, or tomato-based broths, adding a complex and warming taste.

6. Shawarma-Spiced Roasted Nuts: For a tasty snack, toss almonds, cashews, or mixed nuts with a bit of oil and the shawarma spice blend. Roast them in the oven until they’re golden and crunchy.

8. Shawarma-Flavored Burgers: Incorporate the spice blend into lamb burger to create shawarma-flavored burger patties. Grill or pan-fry them and serve in a bun with your favorite toppings for a delicious fusion burger.

10. Shawarma-Spiced Quinoa or Couscous: Enhance your quinoa or couscous by cooking it with the shawarma spice blend. This adds a fragrant and flavorful dimension, making it a standout side dish or a base for a hearty salad.

the spices that go into this homemade shawarma spice blend

Tips and Hacks

  • Freshness Matters: For the best flavor, use fresh spices when making your shawarma spice blend. Ground spices lose their potency over time, so if possible, grind whole spices just before mixing.
  • Toasting Spices: To deepen the flavor of your shawarma spice blend, lightly toast the whole spices (like cumin and coriander seeds) in a dry pan before grinding them. This brings out their essential oils and enhances their aroma.
  • Customize to Taste: Feel free to adjust the spice levels according to your taste. If you like it spicier, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. I personally don’t only because I consider guests or loved ones who don’t like spice. You can always add it separately. If you prefer a more robust flavor, increase the amount of allspice or cardamom.
  • Double the Batch: Make a larger batch of the spice blend and store it in an airtight container. This way, you’ll always have it on hand for quick and easy seasoning.
  • Shawarma Butter: Mix the spice blend into softened butter for a delicious and aromatic spread. Use it on bread, roasted vegetables, or grilled meats for added flavor.

shawarma spice blend (homemade shawarma seasoning mix)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I store shawarma spice blend?

You can store the shawarma spice blend in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months. However, for the best flavor, it’s recommended to use it within three months.

Can I use shawarma spice blend on vegetables?

Yes. The shawarma spice blend is great on roasted vegetables, grilled veggies, or even in a vegetable stir-fry. It adds a rich, aromatic flavor that complements a variety of vegetables.

How much spice blend should I use per pound of meat?

A good rule of thumb is to use about 1 tablespoons of the shawarma spice blend per pound of meat. You can adjust the amount based on your taste preferences.

Can I make this spice blend without certain spices if I don’t have them on hand?

Yes, you can still make a tasty shawarma spice blend if you’re missing a spice or two. However, the flavor might be slightly different. Feel free to experiment and adjust the blend to your liking.

Can I use this spice blend in marinades?

Definitely! Mix the shawarma spice blend with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic to create a flavorful marinade for meats and vegetables. Marinate for at least an hour before cooking.

shawarma spice blend (homemade shawarma seasoning mix)

How to Store

To maintain the freshness and potency of your shawarma spice blend, store it in an airtight container.

A glass jar with a tight-fitting lid works best. Keep the jar in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, away from direct sunlight and heat.

Properly stored, your shawarma spice blend will stay fresh for up to six months. For optimal flavor, try to use it within three months.

Always make sure to seal the container tightly after each use to prevent exposure to air and moisture.

Other Spice Blends to Check Out:

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shawarma spice blend (homemade shawarma seasoning mix)
5 from 5 votes

Homemade Shawarma Spice Blend

This shawarma seasoning brings some of the most delicious traditional shawarma flavors right to your dinner table.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
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  • 1 tsp Cumin            
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp Cardamom
  • ½ tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder


  • Mix all the spices in a bowl until well-combined.
  • Store in a glass jar and place it in a dark and draft free space such as a spice drawer or cupboard.
  • If stored properly, this shawarma spice blend stays fresh for up to 6 months.



  • You can adjust the spices to your liking and even add some cayenne pepper if you like your shawarma spicy. 
  • In addition to using this spice blend for shawarma marinades, you can also use it to season roasted vegetables or as a seasoning for other grilled meats and even burgers. 


Calories: 9kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This is perfect! I love that I can adjust the seasonings to my own taste – no more buying overly salted seasoning mixes from the store!

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious shawarma spice, so easy to make and better than any store-bought brand I have purchased in the past! Thanks so much!