How Do Shawarma and Kebab Compare?

There’s probably a quick food place nearby that serves wonderful Turkish kebabs or shawarmas. But have you ever noticed how distinct they are but so similar?

These two meat-based meals, which are popular across the globe, are traditional in Turkish cuisine.

It might be difficult to discern between a kebab and a shawarma due to their similar tastes and components.

Here are some noteworthy differences between kebab and shawarma that will help you learn more about both well-known cuisines and determine which is the healthier alternative.

Difference Between Shawarma and Kebab

The main difference between shawarma and kebab is how the meat is cooked: in shawarma, the meat is roasted on a rotisserie, but in kebabs, the meat is often skewered.

The only kebab that resembles shawarma is the doner, which is the basis of the kebab.

Shawarma is an Arabic version of a Turkish phrase that meaning “turning.”

Kebab, on the other hand, is derived from the ancient Aramaic term kababa, which means char or burn.

While both of these sizzling beef dishes are classic Turkish meals, they vary in ways other than how they are prepared and served.

Preparation Method

Kebab is a grilled Middle Eastern meat dish that is often made and served on a skewer. The meat is chopped or minced into kebabs, and fruits and vegetables are sometimes included. It may be stewed, oven-roasted, or grilled over an open flame.

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish comprised of thinly sliced meat that is gently roasted on a vertical rotisserie and piled in a cone shape.

Type of Meat

Shawarma is traditionally made with lamb or mutton meat, however contemporary shawarma is also made with turkey, chicken, beef, or veal.

Similarly, the typical meat used in kebabs is mutton or lamb. Local recipes, on the other hand, may call for goat, shellfish, beef, chicken, or, less commonly, hog.

Way of Serving

Shawarma is available in two varieties. The meat may be thinly sliced on pita bread or served on a large platter with toppings, vegetables, and bread.

Wrapping the meat in flatbread is the most well-known shawarma recipe. Skewered kebabs are often served on platters.

Garnishing Ingredients

Fresh vegetables like as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions are typically served with shawarma. Tahini is a well-known sauce used with shawarma in Middle Eastern nations.

The veggies used to garnish kebabs are basically the same, with chopped tomatoes, cabbage, and onions being the most common. Nevertheless, the sauces used vary. The most common is tzatziki sauce, although some also incorporate flavored yogurt.

The two meat dinners are often served with French fries, ketchup, and mayonnaise.

Shawarma vs. Kebab Comparison Table

Category Shawarma Kebab
What is It? A dish with thin slices of meat stacked in the form of a cone A meat dish made with ground or chopped meat
Way of Cooking A technique for cooking that entails grilling layers of meat placed on a rotisserie and cutting those layers into super thin slices to create shawarma. Has a variety of cooking techniques: It may be roasted over an open flame similar to shawarmaCan be cooked in an oven or fried in a panIt might be prepared as a stew
Regional Variances None Many variations, depending on the region
Meat Varieties Initially only made with lamb or mutton, but can contain beef, chicken, and turkey Originally using lamb or mutton, but subsequently expanding to include beef, chicken, goat, fish, shrimp, or, less frequently, pork
Way of Serving Commonly served as wraps in flatbread and sandwiches Mainly served on plates but can be served as wraps and sandwiches too
Garnish Main toppings include pickled veggies, tomatoes, hummus, and tahini Main toppings include tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, tzatziki sauce, and yogurt with spices
Name Source Takes its name from the Arabic translation of a Turkish term that means “turning” Derives its name from the Aramaic word “kababa,” which means “char” or “burn”

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

Kebab contains less calories than shawarma, making it the healthier option.

Despite the fact that both of these meals are incredibly greasy and high in calories, they are a better option than street food since they are not deep-fried.

We suggest picking chicken meat over beef if you wish to save calories. Request additional vegetables and exercise caution when selecting dressings, since they may increase the calorie and fat content.

Below are the nutritional values for the two most popular types of shawarma and kebab.

Shawarma vs. Kebab: Nutritional Profile

Category (1 serving) Beef Shawarma Beef Kebab
Calories 505 620
Fat 16 g 16.63 g
Carbs 38 g 77.1 g
Fiber 1.9 g 4.3 g
Sugar 2g 6.91 g
Protein 51 g 37.87 g
Cholesterol 131 mg 53 mg
Category (1 serving) Chicken Shawarma Chicken Kebab
Calories 452 581
Fat 15g 14.13 g
Carbs 40g 76.33 g
Fiber 2.7 g 4.3 g
Sugar 2.9 g 6.85 g
Protein 39 g 34.98 g
Cholesterol 86 mg 86 mg

Shawarma and Kebab Recipes

Do you want to make your favorite restaurant meals at home? Here are two recipes for you to try: beef doner kebab and chicken shawarma. Let’s get started!

Regional Recipes

As a result, Turkish cuisine includes a vast range of kebabs. These are some of the most common:

  • Chicken Adana is a dish of minced meat grilled on metal skewers in the traditional kebab method.
  • Shish Kebab is cooked beef cubes on skewers. This is the most common kind of kebab.
  • Doner Kebab is a cone-shaped beef that is roasted on a vertical rotisserie and thinly sliced on bread or on a tray with various vegetables, sauces, and bread.

Some kebab variants, such as the well-known Shammi kebab and Galauti kebab in India, are not grilled on skewers. Instead, pounded beef is used in these recipes, which is then shaped into patties and cooked.

Shawarma is famous for roasting the meat horizontally on a rotisserie. In the Ottoman Empire, doner kebab was prepared on a revolving grill.

In a word, shawarma is a form of kebab that has evolved into a separate dish that is popular in many countries throughout the globe.

Homemade Beef Doner Kebab


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander

To be served:

  • four pita breads
  • 1 cup lettuce stems
  • cucumber
  • onion
  • Tzatziki dressing

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Time to cook: 30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180C). Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the meat, egg, chopped garlic, and all of the ingredients to marinate.

Put the marinated meat in an oiled pan for a few minutes to set. After that, place it in the oven for around 30 minutes.

Once it has completed baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Next, wrap the meat in foil and place it in the refrigerator.

Reheat the meat in a frying pan after it has completely cooled. Slice the meat as thinly as possible and fry it in an oiled skillet over medium heat until crispy.

Grab your pitas and gently toast them before topping with tzatziki sauce. Place the meat inside, followed by the onion, tomato, cucumber, and lettuce slices, and some more sauce.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma


  • 2 pound chicken fillets
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom


  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Juice of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 garlic clove

To be served:

  • four flatbreads
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese
  • Onion
  • Spicy sauce

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Time to cook: 10 minutes

First and foremost, marinade the chicken. Chop it into little pieces, sprinkle with olive oil, then season with the spices listed above.

Close a ziplock bag and massage the chicken inside. Allow at least three hours for it to sit.

In the meanwhile, prepare the yogurt sauce. Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice and Greek yogurt, then season with the spices listed above. Cover and store in the refrigerator until required.

Next, heat a little amount of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the fire and cover loosely with foil. Put aside 5 minutes for chilling.

Put the chicken on a dish, sprinkle with the yogurt sauce, and serve with the recommended vegetables and flatbreads.


Shawarma and kebab are both popular over the globe, and many people believe that the only difference between them is the name.

Nonetheless, we hope you’ve learnt otherwise. Although they both belong to Middle Eastern cuisine and contain similar garnishes, meat, and flavors, the cooking procedure is what distinguishes them.

So, which one do you prefer? A delicious kebab skewered on a skewer or shawarma thinly chopped and cooked on a rotisserie? Kebab is fewer in calories, so maybe that will help you choose a side!


Which is healthier shawarma or kebab?

Kebab contains less calories than shawarma, making it the healthier option.

What is the Turkish equivalent of shawarma?

Shawarma is the Middle Eastern equivalent of a huge vertical shish kebab known in Turkey as doner kebab and in Greece as 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.

What meat is shawarma kebab?

It is traditionally cooked with lamb or mutton, although it may also be made from chicken, turkey, beef, or veal. When it turns, thin slices are scraped from the cooked surface. Shawarma is a famous street snack in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, Iraq, and the Levant, and is especially popular in Saudi Arabia.

What’s better gyro or shawarma?

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. Gyros and shawarmas both contain all three macronutrients and are often eaten on the fly.

Which kebab meat is healthiest?

Top 10 Kebab Recipes with Little Calories
Lamb that is healthy Kofta Kebab has 260 calories.
Pork Souvlaki Kebab has 352 calories.
Turkish Chicken Doner – 204 Calories.
400 calories for a chargrilled halloumi veg kebab.
Tikka Paneer Kebab has 285 calories.
263 calories for a low-carb lamb tikka kebab.
More to come…

Is shawarma just a kebab?

Kebab is made with ground meat, flour or bread crumbs, and different spices and is fried in a frying pan, grill, or tandoor, while shawarma is a kebab version made from vertically roasted meat.

What is the difference between Israeli and Arab shawarma?

For kashrut concerns, Israelis do not serve shawarma with yogurt sauce and instead use tahini sauce. Greek More precisely, Israeli shawarma restaurants swear by the dark flesh of a female turkey, which is more delicate than the meat of a male turkey. In contrast to some Turkish

What nationality eats shawarma?

Shawarma, a famous Middle Eastern street meal that originated in Turkey and consists of spit-roasted layers of lamb, beef, or other meat that are sliced and typically wrapped in or served with pita.

How unhealthy is shawarma meat?

Shawarma may be a quick snack or meal on the run, but it is far from nutritious. The marinated pieces sliced off the revolving cone of meat already have fat coursing through them, and they’ve most likely been showered with even more throughout the cooking process.

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