Shawarma Spice Paste Mix

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 tablespoons (about ½ cup total)
Prep Time:  10 minutes Cook Time:  0 minutes

Shawarma Spice Paste Mix

This spice mix is traditionally rubbed on lamb and beef roasts, but it’s equally tasty on turkey, chicken, and duck. While it’s not as easy to layer thinly sliced meat on a tall open spit and slowly roast it for hours as done throughout the Middle East, you can achieve a richly flavored dish anytime.


Dry Spice Mix:

¼ cup granulated garlic

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper

¼ teaspoon Urfa pepper

¼ teaspoon kizmiri pepper

Wet Spice Mix:

2 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of two lemons

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon fresh oregano


  1. Combine the dry spices in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk the wet spice ingredients. Add to the dry spices and stir to form a paste. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Kitchen Tips

If you have a ready made spice mix on hand, you can quickly add the wet ingredients to form the paste.

Have some time? Toasting and grinding whole spices yields the best flavor. Substitute the whole spices for the ground dried spices and toast in a screaming hot, dry saute pan or cast iron skillet until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds, then grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar with pestle.

For best flavor, marinate the meat overnight or all day while you are at work. Accompany with steamed vegetables with lemon and cilantro flecked rice for a delicious meal.

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