DIY Shawarma Spice Blend

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Cutting board with spices for making our DIY Shawarma Spice Blend

What is Shawarma?

Shawarma is a classic Levantine Arab dish of meat (lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, or mixed meats) seasoned and placed vertically on a spit and slow roasted. It’s typically sliced thinly and served with tabbouleh, fattoush salad, bread, tomato, and cucumber and various sauces.

The word “shawarma” is an Arabic rendering of Turkish çevirme ‘turning’, in reference to the rotisserie cooking of the meat, which turns around an axis. Though considered a Turkish dish by origin, it’s enjoyed through the Middle East and Mediterranean region in various forms. (source)

How to Make Shawarma Spice Mix

Shawarma spice blends were created in the Middle East and used to add flavor and spice to the rotisserie meats. Common spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, all spice, and cayenne. Find a more authentic version of shawarma spice blend here.

This is our inspired, personal go-to DIY shawarma spice blend that’s perfect for adding to all of your favorite chickpea dishes, scrambles, salads, vegetables, and more!

DELICIOUS Shawarma Roasted Cauliflower STEAK! 30 minutes, BIG flavor, served with Chutney! #vegan #glutenfree #cauliflower #recipe #plantbased #minimalistbaker

DIY Shawarma Spice Blend

A quick and flavorful take on the classic Middle Eastern shawarma spice blend that's smoky, spicy, and incredibly versatile! Perfect for seasoning crispy chickpeas, falafel, curries, scrambles, vegetables, and more!
Author Minimalist Baker
DIY Shawarma Spice ingredients on a cutting board
5 from 20 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 (1-Tbsp servings)
Course Spice Blend
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Middle Eastern-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly Yes!
Does it keep? Several months.


  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom (or cloves)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper // amount as original recipe is written)




*Recipe makes ~1/4 cup shawarma spice blend.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 tablespoon Calories: 6.3 Carbohydrates: 0.9 g Protein: 0.2 g Fat: 0.2 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.14 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1.8 mg Potassium: 28 mg Fiber: 0.3 g Sugar: 0 g Vitamin A: 154 IU Vitamin C: 0.11 mg Calcium: 11.32 mg Iron: 0.91 mg

Reader Interactions

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My Rating:

  1. Jen says

    This is GERD (chronic acid reflux) friendly!!! I’m so happy! Thank you for allowing me to add flavor back into my life 🙌

  2. Bry says

    I’m allergic to ground coriander
    What would you suggest replacing the coriander with if I make your spice blend from scratch???
    Ps- love you two! Thank you for everything you do for all of us cooking women !!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for your kind words, Bryna! We’d say just leave it out or add a little more cumin.

  3. Danny says

    so good, thank you! recipe as listed made the perfect amount for 800g of chicken breast (cut into strips)

  4. Bette says

    Delicious blend! I would suggest changing the “Freezer Friendly: No” to a resounding “Yes!” Will keep months in your freezer — make a double batch!

  5. Ann Marie says

    Made this for my Schwarma chicken last night. Can’t wait to try it on tofu, it’s going to be a game changer!

  6. Anna says

    Turned out good. I put on thin steak strips to make shawarma on pita wraps. I added olive oil to the meat, salt and pepper, and finely dice onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Then baked at 450. next time I will fry it on the stove top to make more juicy, but that’s reflective of my recipe not the spice blend. Tastes very close to the flavour I was trying to mimic. Also I used 1 tsp of cumin instead of 2 tbsp, didn’t want to over power the other spices. The guy at the restaurant said they used paprika (obviously he’s not going to tell me all the spices, so I wanted to keep it heavier on the paprika less cumin). Will make again!

  7. Kate says

    Perfect spice blend for the whole baked cauliflower w the magic green sauce!! SOOOO goood! thank you

  8. M says

    Amazing! I added some garlic powder (about 1/2 tsp) and roasted some chickpeas, onions and tomatoes. 5/5⭐️!!

  9. Mary says

    I made Middle Eastern ChickPea Bowls that called for Shawarma Spice blend. It turned out fantastic. I used black pepper with a dash of cayenne. My husband raved about it. I told him he could add hot sauce and he said he wouldn’t change a thing!

  10. Ammon says

    Just an FYI…. since this recipe contains turmeric, as noted above when it comes to adding cayenne pepper or using black pepper as an alternative, whether you want cayenne pepper or not, turmeric should ALWAYS be accompanied with black pepper (which has piperine). Black pepper increases the absorption rate of turmeric (curcumin) by 2000%. Yes really. And you only need a VERY little amount of black pepper. Turmeric should ALWAYS have black pepper with it. And hey, next time you use spicy mustard which has black pepper, throw a little turmeric on it too… Turmeric is CRAZY healthy!

    • Lynne Cawker says

      This cauliflower looks absolutely amazing! And it will taste amazing as minimalist baker recipes always do.
      I use turmeric with black pepper in turmeric tea but never made the connection here, so thanks for the healthy tip, Ammon. I will add the black pepper when I make this for dinner tonight.

  11. Jess says

    This is a really easy and delicious blend! I use it on roasted veggies and in the marinade for a shawarma inspired chicken and rice bowl *chef’s kiss*

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Elsa, yes, it is! Cloves can be overwhelming though so we’d suggest starting with less.

  12. Zhou says

    The shwarma spice is really Indian spices aka garam masala. It consists of the same ingredients. India was conquered by Arabs for hundreds of years and another 300 years by the Brits. The same masala spice can be found in any country or continent where there are Indians such as Africa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Guyana, USA and Canada. The origin isn’t Arab/Middle Eastern.

    • Laura says

      I’m with you. We have lots of New Mexican and Mexican, but have to cut down on the cumin, it can overwhelm.

      • MelanieRu says

        Not us; we love extra cumin on everything! haha! :D
        BTW, I just got some BLACK cumin because it is recommended by a lot of nutrition experts, like Dr. Greger. Can’t wait to start using it. Can it be used in this shwarma recipe, you think?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          We haven’t experimented with black cumin, but we think it could work. Let us know how it goes!

        • Kate says

          I have black cumin seeds and they have a unique flavor, one I don’t associate with the cumin we’re used to. If you have found a way to use them, let us know! Mine are in the freezer! Kate

  13. s says

    It is very much like garam masala (I make) – so why a new name? What does it mean?

    Also, if you roast the mixed ingredients for a few minutes, the flavor is better!


  14. Steve says

    I use this mix with dry sizzled beef mince, (drain off fat as you fry and brown the mince)
    I buy some sambal oelek to add on the side and serve the mince inside pitta breads

  15. :D says

    Do you prefer using cardamom or cloves? I hav ed both spices. Use dried ground ginger or fresh? Your fresh ginger in the photo threw me off.

  16. Qweenie says

    Would the spice blend be totally off, or not worth making, if I were to omit the cardamom/cloves? It’s the only ingredient in the recipe that I don’t have, and since it is one that I don’t typically cook with, I don’t want to buy it just to make this spice blend. Your thoughts?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      It would probably still be great! Let us know if you give it a try! Another idea- you could purchase cardamom or cloves from the bulk spice section to get just the amount you need.

  17. Andy P. says

    I made this tonight and really enjoyed it, I had homemade coleslaw so had this with the steak, It’s a recipe that you could probably play around with to suit your taste, very nice with the syrup. I have tried to make this before but this was the better recipe. I’m not a Veggie but I do like to have veggie meals 4 to 5 nights per week. I’ve downloaded the recipe book and look forward to trying more recipes from Dana @ Minimalist Baker.

  18. Leah says

    I made this last night and everyone loved it. It was delicious I would definitely make this again. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Franklin Colbert says

    I’d like to add some ground sumac to this blend. How much would you suggest and would you substitute for one or more of the other spices?

  20. morgan says

    Hey, Just wondering if im doing the perfectly roasted chickpeas, how many table spoons of this spice mix should i use? The spice mix is vapidly becoming a firm favourite.