How Do Shawarma and Gyros Compare?

They’re both tasty and convenient cuisines to eat on the go, but there’s a distinction between shawarma and gyro.

They also have some striking similarities, yet each has its own birth story and a very rich legacy when it comes to tastes and toppings.

Difference between Shawarma and Gyro

The primary distinction between shawarma and gyro is their distinct background and tradition. The gyro is a Greek dish, but shawarma is Middle Eastern.

Tahini is often used in shawarma, whereas tzatziki is used in gyros.

Flavor: Gyros are generally made with a fresh Mediterranean blend of herbs and spices, while shawarma is made with dried spices.

Toppings: Shawarma is often topped with pickled fruits and vegetables, while gyros typically include lettuce, tomato, and red onion.

Shawarma vs Gyro Comparison Table

  Shawarma Gyro
Meats Lamb, chicken, turkey Lamb, beef, chicken, pork
Bread Pita Pita
Toppings Pickled fruits and vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and onions Red onion, tomatoes, lettuce, fresh veggies
Spread Tahini, hummus Tzatziki, hummus
Herbs Garlic, cardamom, cloves, curry, turmeric, and cinnamon Thyme, garlic, oregano, rosemary
Origin Middle East Greece
Name Derived from “çevirme,” Turkish for “turning” Gyro is Greek for “to turn”
Cooking Vertical Rotisserie Vertical Rotisserie

Can You Substitute Shawarma for Gyro?

While they are similar in several fundamental aspects, they are not interchangeable. They’re all too distinct.

It’s easy to mix up shawarma and gyro since their fundamental meat preparation isn’t all that different. They often include comparable meats cooked in the same manner, and the components are usually packed onto a folded piece of pita bread and served with a delicious, crunchy combination of spreads and garnishes.

What Is Shawarma?

Shawarma is a form of street cuisine that is similar to a sandwich. Instead of placing a mound of meat and toppings between two pieces of bread, they arrive in a pocket of pita bread that surrounds the meat and toppings.

The vertical rotisserie used to cook the marinated lamb, chicken, or turkey in the pita’s core gives shawarma its name. This cooking method originated in Turkey, where they invented the notion of stacking hunks of meat on a spit and slowly roasting them while it turns.

The taste profile is often savory and uniquely Middle Eastern. As a result, shawarma should be spicy with a hint of sweetness. Cardamom, curry, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, and, of course, garlic are common flavor notes.

Classic shawarma will be served with hummus and tahini. Chickpeas, garlic, and olive oil are used to make hummus. Tahini is made from powdered sesame seeds and sesame oil.

Shawarma will incorporate some crunchy toppings to complete the variety of flavours after adding a portion of meat.

Shawarma sellers often add significant servings of pickled vegetables to cut through the extremely savory tastes of the meat, tahini, and hummus, similar to other cuisines where saline qualities work as a backdrop to rich and fatty meats and fish.

Cucumbers, carrots, red onions, and cabbage are common vegetable toppings. The optional addition of other veggies adds even more crunch. Consider them a palate cleanser and refreshment, similar to having pickled ginger on your plate with your sushi or sashimi.

Shawarma may be made in a variety of ways, depending on who cooks it for you. Each creator adds their own particular spin on this Middle Eastern cuisine classic. They’re all variants on the same theme: sumptuous meats slow-roasted on a rotisserie before being heaped high and wrapped in pita bread.

Shawarma is a popular street snack that may be found on food carts, specialized stores, diners, and Middle Eastern restaurants all around the globe.

How to Use Shawarma

Shawarma is ideal for when you want to enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine quickly, even on the run. If you’re not a fan of meat, some restaurants also provide vegetarian shawarma.

Shawarma is convenient, but it’s difficult to prepare at home since most people don’t have a vertical rotisserie on which to cook the meat.

What Is Gyro?

Gyro (pronounced yee-row) is a Greek dish. It may be perplexing since gyro refers to both the street food sandwich and, in certain situations, a specialized meat preparation. Let’s start with the gyro sandwich.

The gyro is comparable to shawarma yet distinct in its own way. So you’re pardoned if you get them mixed up. But bear in mind that, despite their similarities, they differ significantly in taste and contents. The gyro has an intriguing history, which it shares with shawarma in various ways.

Gyro meat, like shawarma meat, is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. That’s because both gyros and shawarma are derived from the same ancient cooking method known as doner kebap.

Doner kebap was invented in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire’s 19th century by stacking meat, mainly lamb, on a vertical spit, roasting it while it rotates, and chopping off slices for dishing.

Refugees from Turkey who went to Greece after WWII undoubtedly carried the method with them and possibly influenced the Greek variant, which often utilized pork instead of lamb.

The process remained the same, but the meat was served with Greek spices and aromatics rather than those from the Middle East, as well as tzatziki rather than tahini.

Stacks of meat became a popular technique to prepare various types of meat throughout time. The gyro was popular among street sellers and quick-service restaurants because the meat could be readily grilled and a few crispy slices sliced on order while keeping the rest of the cone intact. The gyro sandwich was created!

Traditionally, the meat is packed into a pita pocket or folded up on thin pita bread, with hummus as one of the spreads. The similarities between shawarma and gyro stop there.

Gyro meat is normally lamb, beef, chicken, or pig, while shawarma meat is typically turkey, lamb, or chicken.

Whichever meat is used, it begins with a fragrant marinade of Greek olive oil and typical Mediterranean herbs and spices such as thyme, garlic, oregano, and rosemary. Ground beef is sometimes included into gyros to make them more meaty.

Marinated meat chunks are then placed on a spit and slow-roasted on a revolving platform. When it’s ready to serve, the chef carves tiny pieces of meat off the rotisserie’s exterior. The remainder of the meat turns on the spit, and the freshly exposed layer sizzles in the rotisserie heat.

The cooking speed and quantity of char on the meat are affected by changes in the distance between the heat source and the meat.

Some gyro businesses spin the meat quicker than others, while others cook the meat at a lower and slower temperature. It makes no difference how fast or slow you cook or flip the meat since the liquids continue to seep into the meat while extra fat falls out. The carving procedure is simple and rapid. This process is quite similar to producing shawarma.

A standard gyro receives some extra Mediterranean love after chopping the meat off the spit and placing it to a pita covered with hummus, with the addition of tzatziki, a tangy condiment prepared from yogurt blended with cucumbers, salt, garlic, oil, and herbs like dill, parsley, thyme, and mint.

The traditional gyro creator then adds crisp, shredded lettuce, onions, and tomato to their masterpiece. Other spices, like as cumin, and toppings, such as fried potatoes or sliced cucumbers, are used by certain gyro manufacturers.

The gyro is often folded into a napkin or wrapper, with one end of the bread open and the filling of meat and vegetables jutting out a little. It has a unique appearance and fragrance.

Moreover, it is portable, making the gyro a popular street snack. The gyro has become a culinary staple in much of the United States, and is often available in large international cities or areas with a substantial Greek community.

How to Use Gyro

It’s simple to use a gyro, and after you’ve purchased one, all you have to do is eat it. When you’re on the go and want a flavorful, crispy meat sandwich, a gyro is a good option.

It might be a quick lunch or supper. A gyro, like shawarma, is difficult to produce at home since most kitchens lack a vertical rotisserie.

Thus, if you want the tastes of gyro but don’t have a rotisserie at home, try an alternate version of gyro.

Instead of roasting the meat on a spit, you may prepare a loaf of meat in a baking pan using ground beef and all of the customary seasonings. It’s not quite the same as the conventional thin-sliced gyro on pita, but it’s close, and some people call it that.


What is the difference between a shawarma plate and a gyro plate?

The toppings are also unique. Shawarma is often served with a selection of slightly pickled fruits and vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, and onions. Raw onions, tomatoes, and occasionally shredded lettuce provide a fresh taste and a bit of crunch to gyros. They also employ distinct sauces.

What is the difference between a lamb and shawarma and a lamb gyro?

Although both gyro and shawarma are typically prepared with lamb, shawarma may also be made with chicken or turkey and served with tahini and pickles, while a gyro is generally made with lamb, beef, or sometimes chicken and pork. The toppings are another distinction between gyro and shawarma.

How is shawarma different?

Shawarma is made with lamb, turkey, or chicken. The gyro, on the other hand, is cooked with either beef or lamb. Another distinction is the manner in which the meat is cooked and seasoned. Shawarma is made more flavorful by the use of spices like as cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamom.

What food is similar to gyros?

Souvlaki. Souvlaki is the closest thing to gyros on our list, but it has its own distinct meat taste. Meat on a skewer may be served at any barbeque. With the addition of parsley, oregano, mint, basil, and rosemary, soft meats may be transformed into spectacular souvlaki on a stick.

Are gyros and shawarma similar?

Gyros and shawarmas have many commonalities, including the majority of their components and primary cooking technique. The key distinctions are their origins and taste characteristics. Gyros are Greek and have a light flavor, but shawarmas are Middle Eastern and have a spicier, more nuanced flavor.

What are the three types of gyros?

The three kinds of gyroscopes are as follows:
Gyroscope that works mechanically.
Gyroscope that uses light to move.
Gyroscope with a gas bearing.

What meat is typically in a gyro?

It’s traditionally prepared from lamb, a combination of lamb and beef, or even chicken, and is lavishly seasoned with salt, herbs, and spices. It’s nothing short of a taste explosion.

How healthy is gyro meat?

Gyros are high in iron, which is beneficial to one’s health. Iron is an essential component for your body’s circulation, metabolism, and red blood cell synthesis. Moreover, iron is required for your body to transport oxygen from your lungs to your heart. Niacin is also abundant in gyro meat.

What cut of meat is gyro meat?

Thinly sliced hog leg, shank, or shoulder flesh is the foundation of a pork gyro.

What is so special about shawarma?

People like shawarma because it is meaty while being a nutritious dish. The manner the beef was cooked contributed to the undoubtedly delicious flavor. Moreover, it comprises a variety of veggies and sauces and may be served in a variety of ways. This provides them a genuine flavor and a one-of-a-kind experience.

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