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chicken shawarma instant pot on a grey plate

Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma

Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma has all the flavors of the popular Middle Eastern Street food Chicken Shawarma. Make the best Shawarma marinade & have the perfect rotisserie look.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Arabic, Middle Eastern
Keyword: Chicken Shawarma Instant Pot, How to make Chicken Shawarma in Instant Pot, Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 437kcal
Author: Meghna
Cost: $4


Shawarma Spice Blend

Liquid (for pressure cooking)

  • 1 cup Water


  • Begin the recipe by pounding the chicken thigh meat. A zip lock bag helps. Refer the step photos.

Prepare the Shawarma Marinade

  • Add all dry spices except the cinnamon, cardamom & the all spice powder into a bowl. Also add the salt. Whisk and mix well.
  • Now, add the lemon juice, olive oil and the minced garlic. Whisk well to mix well.

Make the foil packets

  • Next, dip the pounded chicken thigh meat in the shawarma marinade and lightly coat both sides. Shake off the excess marinade and place them on an aluminum foil sheet. Repeat and stack 3-4 chicken thighs on the aluminum foil. Reserve the left-over marinade.
  • Now, make foil packets sealing the ends tightly by leaving about 1/2 inch empty space for the steam formation. This is very important. Otherwise the foil packet will pop open.

Pressure Cook

  • Pour 1 cup water into the steel insert of the Instant Pot & place the metal trivet. Arrange the foil packets on the trivet. I made 2 foil packets.
  • Close the lid of the Instant Pot and seal the valve. Pressure cook on HIGH for 8 mins.
  • Once, the pressure cooking cycle is over the Instant Pot will begin to beep. Wait for NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE (NPR) for 5 mins and than release the rest of the pressure manually by moving the valve from the sealing to the venting position.
  • Open the lid carefully and bring out the foil packets and open them very carefully. There's hot steam trapped inside! You'll end up with cooked chicken and some amount of juices (Read NOTES below, #5).

Skillet Roast the Chicken Shawarma

  • Add the cinnamon, green cardamom and the all spice powders in the left-over shawarma marinade. You can also add the juices from the foil packets or reserve them to drizzle on the shawarma while serving. I added the juices anyways. Mix everything together.
  • Now dip the foil packet chicken into this marinade and coat them well both sides.
  • Skillet roast them both sides on a cast iron skillet over high heat until you achieve that desired charred look.
  • Slice and serve the Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma the way you want.



  1. Measuring Units Used, 1 cup = 240 ml, 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.
  2. Chicken Thighs or Breasts: We prefer chicken thigh meat for this recipe. They remain extra moist & soft.
  3. Do not forget to pound the meat. 
  4. Shawarma Spice Blend: You can add all the dry spices whisk together and store right away in an air-tight container. Scoop out and use whenever Shawarma Pangs strike :D
  5. Sumac Sub: Unfortunately there's no appropriate sub of Sumac. If you do not have it than simply skip using it.
  6. Foil Packet Juices: Now, you can either mix it with the marinade & coat the chicken pieces or you may reserve it for using it later as a drizzle sauce for serving the Shawarma with Pilaf or as a Shawarma bowl.
  7. Skillet Roast the Chicken: This is a must step that'll make the dish extremely flavorful & appetizing. 5 mins is all you need.
  8. No stove-top at home: However, if you do not have the option of a stove top in your household. Than I would recommend increasing the pressure cooking time to 10 mins followed by a 10 mins NPR. Dice the chicken right away and serve. You'll end up with left over marinade in this case (as you'll be skipping the second marinade coat & the skillet roasting part), you can store the left-over marinade in the fridge for 10 days & use it later.


Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 132mg | Potassium: 486mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1147IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 3mg