Are you in search of an easy, healthy, and delicious recipe? Look no further than air fryer chicken shawarma! Whether you prefer a shawarma plate, a low-calorie shawarma wrap, or a gluten-free option, this recipe has got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore the best marinade for chicken shawarma in the air fryer and provide you with all the information you need to recreate this mouthwatering dish.
What is chicken shawarma?
If you’re not familiar with chicken shawarma, let me fill you in. Traditionally, shawarma is made by cooking meat slices on a vertical spit, slowly roasted to perfection. While lamb and mutton are classic choices, chicken shawarma has become increasingly popular.
Picture this: at your favorite shawarma joint, the cooked meat is shaved off the spit and wrapped in a flatbread or pita bread. Then, they add a medley of delicious toppings like tomatoes, kalamata olives, pickles, and feta cheese. Finally, a drizzle of tahini sauce brings it all together. Hungry yet?
In our version, we’re taking a slight detour from the traditional method. Instead of a vertical spit, we marinate the chicken overnight and cook it on air fryer racks. While it’s not the same as the authentic shawarma, it’s a tasty alternative.
The Benefits of Chicken Shawarma in the Air Fryer
Why should you try making chicken shawarma in the air fryer? Let me give you a few reasons:
- Affordable: Chicken is an inexpensive, lean protein that can help you save money on your grocery bill.
- Easy: With just a simple marinade, air frying, and assembling, you’ll have a scrumptious meal in no time.
- Weight Watchers: This recipe is low calorie and perfect for weight-conscious individuals.
- Low Carb, Keto, Gluten Free: If you skip the wrap, this recipe is suitable for low carb, keto, and gluten-free diets.
- Meal Prep: Prepare the chicken in advance for meal prepping salad bowls. It also freezes well.
- Delicious: Packed with Middle Eastern flavors, chicken shawarma is a crowd-pleaser, even for picky eaters.
Ingredients for Chicken Shawarma
To recreate this delectable chicken gyro in the air fryer, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Cooking spray
- Chicken shawarma marinade
- Shawarma wrap filling ingredients
- Flatbreads or pita pockets (optional)
While you can substitute chicken breasts, keep in mind that they may turn out drier. Chicken thighs, on the other hand, remain juicy and moist. Additionally, feel free to experiment with grilling or baking the chicken if you prefer.
The Perfect Marinade for Chicken Shawarma
When it comes to marinades, you have plenty of options. However, here’s my preferred combination of spices and ingredients for chicken shawarma:
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Finely chopped garlic
- Dried oregano
- Smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
For the exact quantities of each ingredient, refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this article. If you like, you can also include spices like cinnamon or allspice for a unique twist.
Cooking Time and Temperature
Now, let’s talk about cooking your chicken shawarma in the air fryer. Follow these steps:
- Cut your chicken thighs into ¼-inch strips (0.6 cm) before marinating. This allows for maximum flavor penetration and reduces cooking time.
- Place the chicken strips in a food-safe container and pour the marinade over them. Make sure all the pieces are coated.
- Marinate the chicken in the fridge overnight, up to 24 hours.
- Mist two air fryer trays with cooking spray and spread the chicken pieces out in a single layer.
- Air fry the chicken at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177C) for 15 minutes. Then, flip the chicken, switch the position of the trays, and cook for an additional 3 minutes at 400F (200C).
- Check the chicken’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached 165F (74C). Cook for longer if necessary.
- Assemble your wraps or bowls, drizzle with tahini sauce, and enjoy!
How Long Does Shawarma Last?
If you have leftovers, store your shawarma chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, simply microwave the cooked chicken for 30-60 seconds on high. You can also freeze the air-fried chicken strips by placing them in a freezer bag, removing the air, and storing them in the freezer for months.
What Goes Inside a Shawarma Roll?
Wondering what toppings to include in your shawarma wrap? Here are some classic ingredients to consider:
- Baby lettuce
- Chopped Persian cucumbers
- Chopped tomatoes
- Pitted kalamata olives
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Lebanese pickles
- Lemon-tahini sauce
Don’t worry if you can’t find pickled turnips in stores. You can find a homemade shawarma pickles recipe right here. As for the sauce, feel free to use tzatziki or hummus as a substitute.
The Nutritional Breakdown
One serving of air fryer chicken shawarma contains 228 calories, 2.1 grams of net carbs, and 21.3 grams of protein. Keep in mind that this information is specific to the chicken alone. If you choose to make a wrap, one shawarma wrap will provide you with 598 calories, 39.6 grams of net carbs, and 35.2 grams of protein. These values may vary based on the brand and size of your bread.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
If you’re looking to support your weight loss journey, this recipe is a great option. The calorie count provided includes a whole-wheat pita. For a low-calorie meal, consider making an air fryer chicken bowl instead, totaling 418 calories. If you prefer a gluten-free option, you can make air fryer chicken shawarma bowls with rice.
Parents with kids might want to add some grains to ensure their little ones meet their energy needs. While we generally don’t recommend low-calorie meals for children, you can make a shawarma salad bowl for yourself and offer flatbreads for the family.
For those following a low-carb diet, use a low-carb wrap alternative or skip the wrap altogether. You can also omit the tahini sauce to lighten the meal. The marinated chicken and pickles provide abundant flavor on their own.
Feel free to make this meal your own and adapt it to suit your preferences!
Still hungry for more? Here are a few other air fryer chicken recipes you’ll love:
- Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Thighs
- BBQ Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
Explore our collection of Air Fryer Recipes for more inspiration!
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Stay Healthy and Enjoy!
Remember, all recipes on this website should be used at your own discretion. Consult a registered dietitian or your physician to determine the dietary pattern that suits you best.
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary depending on the specific brands and ingredients you use. Calorie information on food labels can be unreliable, so try not to get too caught up in the numbers.
To learn more about our brand, Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, visit our website. Now, let’s get cooking!
Stay tuned for the mouthwatering air fryer chicken shawarma recipe! Coming soon to the Hook’d Up Bar and Grill website.
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