Shawarma Vs Gyro: What is the difference?

Shawarma Vs Gyro

In this post, I will explain how shawarma vs gyro compares. While these two wraps may look similar, they are pretty different.

Here are the main differences and some of the ingredients and preparations details of these two equally tasty wraps!

Shawarma vs Gyro

The difference is in the type of meat, the spices used, and how they are cooked.

Shawarma vs Gyro: Shawarma originated in the Middle East. It consists of chicken or lamb that roasted on a spit and shaved off in thin slices. Gyro is a Greek dish made with lamb or beef, served on a pita with toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce.

So based on the origin, meat, and spices used, we can see some key differences between shawarma and gyro.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is shawarma?

Shawarma is a Levantine dish. The cooked seasoned meat is shaved or sliced and wrapped in a pita flatbread.

The word “shawarma” comes from the Arabic word for turning, referring to how the meat is slowly cooked on a spit.

While shawarma is most commonly associated with Middle Eastern street food, it has also become popular in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe and North America.

Shawarma ingredients

Shawarma can be made with chicken, lamb, beef, or a mixture of meats, and it is typically served with garlic paste, pickled vegetables, and/or french fries.

Typically, shawarma uses these middle eastern spices: allspice, coriander, cumin, and cardamom.

How is shawarma made?

The meat is marinated overnight in a mixture of spices.

The next day, the marinated meat is cooked on a slowly rotating spit near an open flame. The slowly roasted stacked meat infuses itself in its juices and packs many flavors!

Once cooked through, the meat is shaved off in thin slices and served with pita bread, hummus, tabbouleh, and pickled vegetables.

Shawarma recipe

What is gyro?

Gyro is a Greek sandwich and is commonly found in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Greek gyro is typically served as street food, but it can also be made at home.

The word “gyro” comes from the Greek word for “turn,” which refers to how the meat is cooked on a spit.

Gyro ingredients

Gyro ingredients are lamb, beef, or chicken that has been seasoned and cooked on a rotating spit.

The spices for the gyro marina are typically salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. Gyros can also be made with vegetarian ingredients such as portobello mushrooms or a more popular falafel.

How is gyro made?

The first step in making greek gyros is to make the meat mix. The meats are layered on the skewer creating a wide cone.

The mixture is then placed on a skewer and cooked on a rotisserie. As the meat cooks, it forms a crusty outer layer that helps to hold it together. (Some people go for ground meat, like ground beef – but that is a whole other story.)

Once the gyro meat is cooked, it is served on pita bread with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce.

Gyro Recipe

Shawarma vs Gyro vs Doner

Shawarma, gyro, and doner refer to similar dishes, but there are some key differences between them.

Shawarma is a Levantine dish of meat that is cooked on a spit and then shaved off in thin slices and served in Arabic bread wrap.

Gyro is a Greek dish made with lamb, beef, or chicken (rarely with pork) cooked on a rotisserie and then served in a gyro pocket.

Doner are Turkish sandwiches made with meat that has been cooked on a vertical rotisserie and then thinly sliced.

While all three dishes are similar, the key difference is in the cooking method and how they are served. Shawarma is cooked on a spit, the gyro is also cooked on a spit, and doner is cooked on a vertical rotisserie.

Shawarma is typically served in pita bread, while gyros are usually served in so-called gyro bread. Doners are typically served with either rice or French fries.

Shawarma vs Gyro vs Falafel

While shawarma and gyro are made with meat, falafel is a vegetarian dish made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. It is usually served as a side dish.

Alternatively, it can also be served inside a pita with salad and tahini sauce.

Shawarma vs Gyro vs Souvlaki

Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish that typically consists of grilled meat skewers served with veggies in a pita pocket. The word souvlaki means “small skewer” in Greek, and the dish is thought to have originated in Athens.

So while there are apparent similarities between these three dishes, the main difference is that souvlaki is cooked and served on a skewer.

Beef Shawarma vs Gyro

Beef can be used as both shawarma meat and gyro meat. However, the spices used are different. Shawarma usually uses a blend of cardamom, cloves, cumin, and paprika, whereas gyro uses oregano, thyme, and garlic.

How is shawarma different from gyro?

The biggest difference between shawarma and gyro is that shawarma is mostly cooked with lamb, turkey or chicken. But gyro is made from beef or lamb most of the time.

Is shawarma and gyro the same?

Although there are some similarities between shawarma and gyro, the two dishes are quite different.

Shawarma is made with a blend of spices, whereas gyro is made with oregano, thyme, and garlic.

Shawarma vs Gyro Comparison

Shawarma Vs Gyro What is the difference pin
OriginMiddle EastGreece
MeatLamb, ChickenLamb, Beef
BreadFlatbreadGyros bread
CookingVertical spit / RotiserrieVertical spit / Rotiserrie
FillingShredded cabbage, onion, sour picklesTomatoes, onions, lettuce
SauceGarlic paste (Hummus)Tzatziki

How is shawarma pronounced?

Shawarma is pronounced like – “shaw-ahr-muh”.

How is gyro pronounced?

Gyro is pronounced like – “jyee-roh”.

Which is better, gyro or shawarma?

THis is a very tough pick. My preference would go with gyro, because I like tzatziki, but shawarma is loved by many, particularly because of the garlic paste and pickled cucumber combination.

Is lamb shawarma the same as gyro?

No. The difference is in the used spiced and also the cooking method.

What ethnicity is shawarma?

Shawarma is a Levantine dish of Arab origin.

What ethnicity is gyro?

A gyro sandwich is a Greek dish.

What came first, doner or shawarma?

The doner kebab is considered to come first. It is said that it was invented by Ottoman Turkish soldiers as early as 1300. It is said to be the founding stone for gyros and shawarma, which came later.

Why is it called shawarma?

The word shawarma comes from the Turkish “cervime”. That sounds like “tje-vir-me” and refers to turning.

Are Shawarmas healthy?

Shawarmas can be considered healthy as it is mostly made of meat and vegetables like shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

The meat is usually lean, and the vegetables provide essential nutrients – that make shawarma healthy.

However, shawarmas can also be unhealthy if loaded with too much cheese, sauce, or oils.

Is shawarma a junk food?

No, shawarma is not junk food. Shawarma is quite a healthy meal, as it is mostly made of meat and vegetables. Sure, there is bread, but that is pretty much the only thing you should worry about.

Will shawarma make you fat?

While shawarma can be high in calories, it is also a good source of protein and nutrients. The fat mostly comes from tahini and hummus, so you can just make sure to use less of that.

In addition, the meat is usually cooked without skin or fat, making it a relatively lean option. So if you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious meal, shawarma is a good choice. Just be sure to watch your portion size!

Is shawarma Keto-friendly?

Middle eastern shawarma is not a particularly keto-friendly dish. However, there are some ways to make it more keto-friendly.

For example, you could skip the pita bread and enjoy the meat and vegetables on their own.

Or you could replace the tahini and hummus with avocado or another keto-friendly sauce. With a few tweaks, shawarma can be made more keto-friendly.

What’s the difference between shawarma and souvlaki?


Shawarma and souvlaki are both Mediterranean dishes that feature spit-roasted meat. Both dishes are served with a variety of toppings, such as veggies, hummus, and tzatziki sauce (which can be considered a type of a greek sauce)

The main difference between shawarma and souvlaki is the cooking method. Shawarma is slow-cooked on a rotating vertical spit, while souvlaki is grilled over an open flame.

As a result, shawarma is more tender and flavorful, while souvlaki is juicier and has a smokier flavor.

What is the difference between shawarma and burrito?

Shawarma is a dish consisting of slices of meat, usually lamb or chicken, roasted on a spit and served with rice or pita bread.

Burrito, on the other hand, is a dish composed of a flour tortilla stuffed with various fillings, including meat, cheese, beans, and vegetables.

Shawarma is prepared by roasting meat on a spit, while burrito is prepared by wrapping fillings in a flour tortilla.

As a result, shawarma tends to be juicier and more flavorful than burritos. In addition, shawarma is typically served with dipping sauces, while burritos are not.

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Now you know how shawarma vs gyro compares and much more!

While gyro and shawarma are somewhat similar, there are a few differences. Shawarma is made with chicken, lamb, or beef cooked on a spit and then shredded. Gyro is made with ground pork, lamb, or chicken cooked on a rotisserie.

Shawarma is typically served on pita bread or rice, while gyros are typically served on pita bread or flatbread. And, of course, there is a notable difference in the used seasonings.

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