Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma

Slow cooker chicken shawarma (aka shwarma) combines the ease of a slow cooker meal with the complex flavor of a slow-roasted middle eastern chicken feast! This is a quick version of the middle eastern favorite: the slow cooker does a lot of the work and it can be prepped ahead of time. Various serving options make this sensational paleo and gluten free dinner recipe adaptable for low carb and Whole30 compliance, too!

I’m afraid I’m going to blow your minds with this one. Or maybe I’m not; maybe I just don’t get out much anymore (I mean, have you seen the single digit highs we’ve been having in Chicago??? I’m way too wussy for this winter).

If you pair this shawarma with Jerusalem salad and turmeric rice, it makes a perfect meal!

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 20 mins

Ingredients for the Chicken

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1/2 cup water

Ingredients for the spice mix
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch ground cloves

Ingredients for Frying

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (divided; you may need a little less)
  • Ingredients for Tahini Sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons water (or as much as you need to get your desired consistency)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Generous pinch fine sea salt (to taste)


  • Place chicken in the bowl of your slow cooker, and add water. Cook on high 2 hours until the chicken is cooked through (the juices run clear and the fat has rendered out of the chicken).
  • When the chicken is cooked, slice each breast against the grain.
  • In a large bowl, mix together all of the spice mix ingredients. Set aside.
  • Over medium high heat, preheat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan large enough to hold all of the chicken in a single layer without being too crowded.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet and sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the chicken.
  • Allow the chicken to fry, without moving it, until crisp.
  • Pour 1 Tablespoon more of oil over the chicken and flip the chicken, stirring gently to make sure that the chicken is well coated with the spice mix. If the chicken is starting to stick to the pan once flipped, add the remaining Tablespoon of oil and stir gently.
  • Remove chicken from pan as soon as it is crisped to your liking.
  • If serving with lemon tahini sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Serve immediately, with lemon tahini sauce, if desired. (See notes for serving suggestions.)

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