Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma

Slow Cooker Chicken Shwarma

I’ve been using my slow cooker a lot lately.  So much so that MarocBaba finally said to me at the end of last week, “Ok enough with that machine now!”  It makes my life so much easier, and I am rarely disapointed.  Not to mention the kids have not rejected a single meal.  When I have combed the internet for new freezer and slow cooker meal ideas I found a few things that were troubling;

  • There’s a lot of slow cooker soup recipes.  If I served soup as a meal I’d get a lot of sad faces.
  • Lots of freezer meals include pasta, something we eat very little of.
  • Pork, lots and lots of pork.

There are some Moroccan tajines that I’ve tried in the slow cooker and while the taste is ok, the sauce doesn’t reduce and have the same flavor. I’ve always wanted to take Middle Eastern and Moroccan recipes and make them even easier. A few weeks ago, I received a copy of Faith Gorsky’s An Edible Mosaic as a part of a program I’m working on with 5 other food bloggers and Kitchen PLAY.

Faith’s recipe for shwarma encouraged me to take on a slow-cooker version. Traditionally the chicken is spit roasted and shaved to fill a sandwich.  I have neither a spit nor the patience to slow roast and shave it.  Shwarma in the slow cooker is delicious and won’t make you sweat all day tending the meat.


  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2  Tbsp cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • chili pepper (to taste, add more if you like heat, omit if you don’t)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • water


1. Trim chicken breasts of any excess fat.  Place in a bowl and add the sumac, salt and pepper garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, cardamom and chili pepper (optional).

2. In the bottom of your slow cooker add the vegetable oil and add the chicken.

3. Pour the lemon juice on top and add enough water to almost cover the chicken.

4. Cook on low heat for 4 hours, until the chicken is falling apart, keep on warm until just before serving

5. A few minutes before eating, transfer the chicken and liquid to a large pan.  Shred the chicken with forks, and turn the heat to high.

6. Watch the chicken as the liquid reduces.  You will want all of the liquid to be reduced, and the chicken to just slightly begin drying up.  At this point it’s done.

Serve the shwarma in warm pita bread (you can also try this fantastic recipe for gluten free wrap bread I found!) Condiments you may want to also include are Arabic garlic mayonaise, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and other mezze style dips.

I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as my family did! PS if you’re looking for a good machine I love this one that is a slow cooker and pressure cooker in one!

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma

See some more of our favorite slow cooker meals:

Moroccan tajine is cooked in the original slow cooker, a conical clay pot. But you can put your slow cooker to work when you make this recipe for beef and green bean tajine.

Slow Cooker Beef and Green Bean Tajine

Moroccan Tagine Simmer Sauce and Lamb in slow cooker

Slow Cooker Moroccan Tagine Lamb Roast with Mandarin and Pine Nut Rice


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Comments (17)

  1. LuAnn

    Making this for dinner tonite, will post results later. Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Amanda Mouttaki

      can’t wait to hear the results!

  2. Carrie

    Just to confirm — is that fresh ginger, or ground?

    1. Amanda Mouttaki

      ground ginger!

  3. Kayla

    Salam sister. I just moved to Morocco a few months ago and there are so many recipes I want to cook in a crock pot but I don’t know where to find one here. Do you know where I can?

    1. Amanda Mouttaki

      You might try at GIFI or even Marjane/Carrefour – have seen them there!

  4. Anne-Marie

    I made this yesterday while I was off busy with the kid and came back to such wonderful smells! We loved this recipe and it was just what I was looking for. Thanks!

    1. Amanda Mouttaki

      Love to hear that!

  5. April

    Love another slowcooker recipe! I finally convinced my husband to let me make his bisara in it! I was able to use my immersion blender directly in the crock-bowl. The garlic was able to cook slowly and was amazingly richer flavor than my usual stovetop version.

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  9. A.F.

    How would I make this w/ lamb instead? Also, I don’t have a slow cooker so I don’t know anything about them (my mom never had one either or any relatives) so I wonder, are they really worth it? I hate cooking and am wondering, if u buy a slow cooker (I would prob need a 4 person one) do u really get your money’s worth? Is it actually worth it?

    1. Amanda Mouttaki

      I would just use smaller pieces of lamb and follow the same directions. You may need to cook it a little longer just depending on how tough the meat is. I personally think having a slow cooker is well worth the investment. You can usually find them on sale and at thrift stores for $10-20. It makes life a lot easier for me and I love cooking!

  10. Alejandra

    This looks great. I’ve been looking for a shawarma recipe. I never thought about making it in a slow cooker. This will be great for weekends when I just don’t fell like cooking!!

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