Use your Instant Pot to make the best schwarma recipe ever! Marinate chicken, cook in the Instant Pot and then serve on pita bread with a delicious sauce.
Chicken Schwarma Recipe for Instant Pot
My introduction to Middle Eastern food was over 20 years ago right after I had graduated from college. I took a job working for a travel company and I was placed in the Africa and Middle East department. We often ate at local middle eastern restaurants and chicken schwarama was one of the first middle eastern foods I fell in love with.
Schwarma recipes are the equivalent of your grandma’s secret recipe for making anything. Every person does it a little differently. It differs from country to country, city to city and home to home. The staples in schwarma are cardamom and cinnamon and maybe lime or lemon. But even then, everyone makes it a little differently.
Schwarma requires a lot spices that you probably normally don’t use like cardamom and sumac. But if you love schwarma then they are worth finding and just keeping on hand. Plus cardamom is excellent lots of other dishes like Cardamom Coffee .
In a restaurant, schwarma is cooked for a long time on a rotating skewer over a spit. We can’t do that at home, exactly, but the pressure cooker Instant Pot is a great at home substitute for long term cooking in a lot less time.
Prepare and Marinate Chicken
Place chicken thighs in a large plastic food storage bag. Gently beat the chicken thighs with kitchen mallet to thin out. You can also us a rolling pin if you don’t own a kitchen mallet. Be careful not to rip or tear the bag.
In a small bowl mix together cumin, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, sumac, cayenne, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Pour the marinade in the bag with the chicken.
Seal the bag tightly and refrigerate. It’s best to marinate the chicken in this mixture overnight but a few hours at the least.
Cook Chicken in Instant Pot
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, place the trivet that came with your Instant Pot into the pot. We used a 6 quart Instant Pot Duo. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the cooking pot.
Remove the marinated chicken from the bag and place it on top of the trivet. Close and seal the top of the Instant Pot. Set to high pressure for 40 minutes.
Once the Instant Pot finishes cooking, quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the chicken. Place on a cutting board and slice. Set the chicken aside while you make the sauce.
Make Sauce and Serve Schwarma on Pitas
Chicken schwarma is normally served and eaten on pitas. This sauce is a nice addition but not required. You can also serve the chicken with homemade tzatizki sauce we serve with our chicken souvlaki.
To make the sauce, mix together yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic. Stir in salt, sumac, cayenne pepper, and pepper. Stir well.
Serve the chicken with sliced cucumbers, and tomatoes on pitas. Top with the sauce and enjoy.
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoon garlic; minced
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon garlic; minced
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- For Serving:
- Sliced red onions
- Sliced or diced cucumbers
- Sliced or diced tomatoes
- Place chicken thighs in a plastic food storage bag. Gently beat chicken thighs with kitchen mallet to thin out.
- In a small bowl whisk together cumin, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, sumac, cayenne, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Pour the marinade in the bag with the chicken. Marinate the chicken in this mixture overnight for best results.
- To cook the chicken, place trivet into the Instant Pot. Add 1 cup water. Add chicken on top of the trivet. Set to high pressure for 40 minutes.
- When done cooking, use a quick release to release the pressure.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and slice.
- Mix together yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic. Add in salt, sumac, cayenne pepper, and pepper. Stir well.
- Place chicken on pita bread with cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. Top with sauce and enjoy.
This is made in a 6 quart Instant Pot duo. Additionally it doesn't take long to come to pressure so the cook time is perfect for thicker thighs.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 304Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 1182mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g