The Encyclopedia
of Differences

Difference Between Kebab and Shawarma

Table of Contents

If you're a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, you've probably had your fair share of kebabs and shawarmas. But what exactly is the difference between these two popular dishes? Let's take a closer look.

The main difference between a kebab and a shawarma is that shawarma is a type of kebab, while a kebab is a dish based on grilled or roasted chunks of meat. Kebabs can be served on a skewer, but shawarma is traditionally served in a wrap or pita bread with vegetables and sauces.


adana kebab
The Adana Kebab, a classic type of kebab in Turkey. In fact, in Turkey, the kebab is called 'kebap'

Kebab is a general term that refers to any meat cooked on a skewer or spit. The word "kebab" comes from the Persian word "kabob," which means "to fry" or "to grill."

A chicken Shawarma

Shawarma, on the other hand, is a specific type of kebab made with thinly sliced meat cooked on a slowly rotating vertical spit. Shawarma originates from the Arabic word "shawar," which means "turning." 


Kebab is believed to have originated in Turkey and has been enjoyed for centuries all over the Middle East and Central Asia.

Shawarma is believed to have first appeared in Lebanon and Syria during the 19th century. The popularity of shawarma quickly spread throughout the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

Cooking Method

cooking kebab
Grilled kebab skewers

Kebabs can be made with any type of meat, including chicken, beef, lamb, and pork. Shawarma is typically made with lamb or chicken, although beef and pork are sometimes used as well. Kebabs can be grilled, baked, or even fried.

rotating vertical spit
A rotating vertical spit used to cook shawarma meat

Shawarma, on the other hand, is always cooked on a slowly rotating vertical spit. This cooking method allows the juices from the meat to baste and flavor the outside layer of meat as it cooks. 

Serving Style

Kebabs can be served with rice, vegetables, salad, and yogurt sauce, whereas shawarmas are traditionally served wrapped in pita bread or flatbread with vegetables and hummus. Kebabs can also be served over a bed of salad or with French fries. Shawarmas, however, are usually served as sandwiches.


Due to direct contact with the heat source, kebabs tend to have a smoky, slightly charred flavor. Shawarma has a more subtle flavor since it is not directly exposed to the flame and is basted with its own juices as it cooks. Both dishes can be enjoyed hot or cold, depending on your preference!

Spices Used

Kebabs are generally seasoned with cumin, paprika, and other savory spices. Shawarma, on the other hand, is seasoned with garlic paste, sumac, and other flavorful spices. This difference in seasoning gives each dish a unique flavor that sets it apart from the others. 


Kebabs and shawarmas have become extremely popular around the world in recent years. Kebab shops can be found in many countries and cities, while shawarma has become a staple of Middle Eastern street food. Both dishes are well-loved for their unique flavors and ease of preparation!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are shawarmas and kebabs healthy?

It's difficult to say whether shawarma and kebab are healthy without knowing more about the specific ingredients and preparation methods used.

In general, shawarma and kebab can be healthy if they are made with lean meats, whole grains, and plenty of vegetables. However, they can also be high in fat and calories if they are made with fatty meats and served with sauces or toppings that are high in calories.

It's important to consider the specific ingredients and preparation methods when determining whether shawarma and kebab are healthy choices.

What are the different types of kebabs?

Kebabs are a popular dish in many countries and come in various forms. The most common type of kebab is the shish kebab, which consists of marinated cubes of meat (such as lamb or beef) threaded onto a skewer and grilled.

Other popular types include doner kebabs, which are thinly-sliced pieces of meat wrapped in bread, and kofta kebabs, usually made with minced meat mixed with spices and herbs.

No matter what type of kebab you choose, it's sure to be delicious!

What are the different spices used in kebabs?

The most popular spices used in kebabs are cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala.

Other traditional ingredients may include freshly ground black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and mace.

You can also add other seasonings to customize the flavor of your kebabs, such as garlic, onion powder, and chili.


Overall, kebabs and shawarma are delicious Middle Eastern dishes perfect for an easy meal. Though they have some similarities, each dish has its own unique flavor profile and preparation method that sets it apart. Whether you prefer a grilled kebab's smoky flavor or a shawarma's more subtle flavor, both dishes are sure to tantalize your taste buds!

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
Share our Article on:

Table of Contents

About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
All Posts Written By Nicolas Seignette

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

magnifiercrosschevron-downarrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram