Shawarma Vs Kebab: What’s The Difference?

chicken shawarma vs chicken kebab

Chicken shawarma and chicken kebab are both delicious.

They’re a great way to spice up your meal, but which is better? It might be a hard question to answer if you have never tried them.

Don’t worry, you will find all about these popular dishes in this blog post and choose for yourself a preferred one.

What is chicken shawarma?

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Chicken shawarma is a Lebanese dish that is prepared with marinated chicken roasted in a vertical rotisserie oven.

The chicken is usually well-marinated all day long so that all the flavors can penetrate into the meat.

The common spices that are used in this recipe are cinnamon, cardamom, garlic powder, paprika, turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper, and dried lime.

The whole chicken is skewered on a vertical spit and slowly spun so that the heat from the sides can cook the meat.

When the chicken is fully cooked and ends up with nice crispy skin, the cook uses a long and sharp knife to slice down the meat and serve with tzatziki sauce, Mediterranean salad, pickles, or olives per preference.

Everything is typically wrapped in pita bread.

Traditionally, shawarma is made with mutton, lamb, or chicken.

Over time, more variations of this dish have been created, in which the main meat ingredient can be substituted with turkey, beef, pork, and veal.

What is chicken kebab?

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Chicken kebab is a staple dish that has spread in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, Mediterranean, or India.

The word kebab, which is spelled differently in each cuisine, typically means “grilled meat”.

Chicken kebab consists of pieces of chicken that are marinated, skewered, and grilled with other colorful vegetables like bell peppers, corn, cucumber, or onion.

The resulting dish is not only tasty but also has a vibrant presentation.

Chicken kebab can be served with pita bread and other ingredients and sauce for stuffing, or over rice.

In some cuisines, chicken kebab is made of ground chicken that is formed into a sausage-like shape wrapping over the skewer, then grilled until it is fully cooked without being dry.

The more popular variants of kebab are made with beef or lamb, but chicken and fish are used to spice up the menu as well.

What are the differences between chicken kebab vs chicken shawarma?

Chicken shawarma and chicken kebab differ in the way the chicken is processed and cooked.

The comparison table below will give provide you in detail: 

 ComparisonChicken kebabChicken shawarma
Cooking methodChicken chunks or ground chicken are marinated, skewered, and grilled with the bottom heatThe whole chicken is marinated, skewered on a vertical spit, and slowly roasted with the heat from the side
IngredientsChicken and other colorful vegetables like bell peppers, cucumber, onion, and cornOnly chicken
TextureChicken chunks might be drier and chewier Chicken ground (mixture of white meat chicken and some fat) will be juicierThin and juicy
Common useCan be served with pita bread or riceMainly served with other vegetables and sauce in pita bread

What are the similarities between chicken kebab vs chicken shawarma?

Despite the main differences between chicken kebab and chicken shawarma, these two dishes have several similar characteristics as well:

1. Chicken kebab and chicken shawarma are popular in many parts of the world

The first thing in common between chicken shawarma and chicken kebab is their popularity.

Both are staples in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and some parts of South Asia like India, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.

That means you can find chicken shawarma and chicken kebab in either aforementioned country without any fuss.

2. Chicken kebab and chicken shawarma are healthy and delicious

Another similarity between these two dishes is that they are not only delicious but also healthy.

The cooking methods are grilling and roasting, therefore, there is no fat added like in the fried chicken recipe.

The fat from chicken is even rendered while cooking, resulting in a dish that is lower in fat and calories.

3. Chicken is marinated and served the same way in both recipes

The chicken in the shawarma and kebab recipes is marinated with the same spices that are widely used in the Middle East or the Mediterranean.

Normally, chicken is marinated with yogurt and spices like cumin, coriander, garlic powder, cardamom, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper to taste.

After being cooked, chicken is typically served with raw vegetables, sauces, and flatbread.

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonJamie Geller Shawarma Spice Seasoning | Mix of Fresh Mediterranean...Pride of India – Chicken Kebab Seasoning Spice – Gourmet Spice...
Product ImageJamie Geller Shawarma Spice Seasoning | Mix of Fresh Mediterranean...Pride of India – Chicken Kebab Seasoning Spice – Gourmet Spice...
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In our opinion, both of these dishes are delicious and it would be hard for us to choose one as being better than the other.

Because they each provide something different in terms of flavor and texture, it is best to try both to figure out what satisfies your palate more.

Hopefully, after reading our article, you now have a better understanding of these two Middle Eastern delicacies and can make an informed decision on whether chicken shawarma or chicken kebab tastes better.

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