If you are ready to experience a variety of Middle Eastern chicken recipes other than chicken shawarma, you've come to the right place! Middle Eastern cuisine is rife with chicken recipes that are cooked and served in a variety of ways: with rice, in stews, grilled or baked! Let's walk through these tested and perfected recipes and give you a taste of the middle east!
How Chicken is Cooked in the Middle East
Chicken is quite a common protein across the middle east, along with beef and lamb. Chicken tends to be slightly cheaper than both beef and lamb, and therefore is culturally considered a more "casual" type of protein for every day home cooking.
For example, if you are Arab and you are throwing a dinner party, it's important to always have a platter of a lamb or beef based dish (like quzi or lamb kabsa), with chicken dishes being more of a "secondary" consideration.
However, for everyday cooking and family lunches and dinners, chicken is cooked very often! It is a versatile protein that is often grilled, baked, or used in stews.
Bone-in chicken is often either baked whole, or in pieces, or stewed and simmered slowly to form a rich chicken broth for use in soups and stews like in molokhia.
Bone-in pieces are also the cut of choice when it comes to chicken based rice dishes where the chicken and rice are cooked together, in order to extract all the flavours from the bones (like in chicken machboos).
Boneless chicken is most often skewered onto metal skewers and grilled on the BBQ during the summer, like the popular shish tawook. Its also commonly used in quick cooking curries or skillet stews when boneless.
Middle Eastern Chicken Recipes with Rice
Chicken is very commonly paired with rice in the middle east (as most foods are - rice is always on the table!). The below recipes are all delicious ways of serving chicken along with rice for a full meal.
Chicken Mandi (Yemeni Chicken & Yellow Rice)
Chicken Machboos (Rice & Chicken Kabsa)
Shawarma Rice with White Sauce (in one pot!)
One Pot Chicken and Rice
Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken Recipes
Chicken is often skewered onto metal skewers and grilled in the summer time for delicious BBQs. Its also grilled as full bone-in pieces, like drumsticks or wings. Try the recipes below for a great, easy and satisfying chicken based meal!
Shish Tawook | Grilled Chicken Skewers
15-Minute Air Fryer Chicken Kabobs (Chicken Skewers)
Marinated Chicken Joojeh Kabab (Grill or Bake)
20-Minute Chicken Kofta (Grilled or Pan-Fried)
Middle Eastern Baked Chicken Recipes
Baking bone-in chicken pieces is a very common dish across middle eastern countries, especially when paired with roasted potatoes. It is referred to as "seniyet djaj w batata" which literally translates to "a tray of chicken and potato". The below recipes are great for baking, some common and some less traditional like musakhan rolls!
Roasted Za'atar Chicken & Potatoes
20-Minute Authentic Arabic Chicken Shawarma
Mediterranean roasted chicken
Sumac Chicken and Onion (Sheet Pan Dinner)
Pomegranate Chicken Recipe (Air Fryer Drumsticks)
Other Middle Eastern Chicken Recipes
Chicken is not often used in stews (most middle eastern stews are cooked using beef or lamb like fasolia or okra), with the exception of Molokhia. It is a very popular jute mallow stew always cooked with rice (and rabbit in Egypt!).
Often times, shredded chicken is used as leftovers from another meal to form into a "fatteh", which is a quick dish that uses leftovers, including bread. Try it out for a fun twist on a light dinner or lunch!
Arabic Chicken Fatteh with Chickpeas
Authentic Molokhia (Mulukhiya)
If you tried these recipes, please consider leaving a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page - I'd love to hear from you! You can also hop on over to Instagram and say hello!