Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Flavorful grilled chicken shawarma drumsticks are so flavorful and easy to make. They’re going to become a summertime favorite!

How long it takes: prep time 10 minutes, grill time 20 minutes, 30 minutes to 6 hours to marinate
Equipment you’ll need: small bowl, ziploc bag or large bowl, grill
Servings: 6 (2 drumsticks each)

Drumsticks on a black platter with lemons.
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We moved to the Grand Rapids area of Michigan about two years ago. It’s the place I called home for the majority of my life and we absolutely love it here. The food scene is great in Grand Rapids, with new restaurants popping up frequently and many restaurants where you’ll find a two hour wait because they’re so hot.

However, we came from the East side of the state, a more diverse area, full of fantastic ethnic food, Middle Eastern in particular. Ben grew up in Dearborn, Michigan and also worked there for four years. Dearborn has a very large Arab American population, so the food is authentic and so delicious.

Drumsticks on a black platter with lemons.

Before I married Ben and moved to that area, I had little to no exposure to this type of food. Now, it’s my favorite. I crave fattoush like other people crave ice cream. Lebanese red lentil soup is what I desire when I have a sore throat, and losing the ability to keep hummus in the house when we found out about N’s allergy to sesame was a very sad day (although my tahini-free hummus helps satisfy the craving!). Not to mention delicious tahini sauce, which is most definitely a no-no these days.

Chicken shawarma, shish tawook, and chicken kofta are some of my favorite ways to enjoy chicken. Oh, and I love tabbouleh salad, cucumber tzatziki sauce, and fattoush! So many favorites these days from living there for eight years.

Grilled chicken drumsticks on a black platter with lemon slices and cilantro.

I try to bring these flavors into my recipes frequently because I love them so much, and I know they’re popular with a lot of you, too! These grilled chicken shawarma drumsticks are perfect for summer grilling and they’re so easy to make with less than 30 minutes hands-on time.

Overhead view of rectangular black platter with grilled chicken drumsticks on it.

About These Drumsticks

Drumsticks are inexpensive, kids love them, and they’re perfect for a busy summer night. Serve them with roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, rice, salad or basically anything at all.

The base of this flavorful marinade is lemon and olive oil, accentuated by the spices you’d expect in shawarma: Garlic, paprika, turmeric, pepper, cumin, coriander. If you like things on the spicy side, try adding a pinch of cayenne to the marinade.

Recipe Variations

  • Cook them in an air fryer. Marinate as instructed and cook the chicken drumsticks in your air fryer instead of grilling them.
  • Bake the drumsticks. You can make the marinated drumsticks into a sheet pan dinner. Take a look at this recipe, herb roasted chicken drumsticks, a sheet pan dinner that includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions.
  • Use a different cut of chicken. Chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken can be substituted. Grilling time may be slightly different.
Grilled drumsticks on a long, thin black platter.

Storage & Reheating Tips

  • Refrigerate: Leftover chicken drumsticks can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: Place cooled drumsticks into freezer-safe container or bag. They’ll keep for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • Reheat: Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave at 50% power until warmed through. Don’t overheat them because they tend to get tough in the microwave. Larger amounts can be wrapped in foil and heated in a 350°F. for ten to fifteen minutes or until hot.
Meal plan 33 preview image with text and photos.

Free Meal Plan

Interested in a weekly meal plan that includes this recipe? Take a look at my Meal Plan #33. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. Let me do the planning for you this week! We add a new meal plan weekly.

More Chicken Marinades


Grilled Chicken Shawarma Drumsticks

4.51 from 67 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
These flavorful grilled chicken shawarma drumsticks are going to become a summertime favorite! With the flavors of chicken shawarma that you know and love, you'll be putting this recipe into regular rotation!
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  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon ground cayenne, optional
  • 12 chicken drumsticks (4 to 5 pounds)
  • fresh cilantro and lemon wedges, if desired for serving


  • In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt, turmeric, pepper, cumin, coriander, and cayenne.
  • Add marinade to drumsticks (I use a zip-top bag but a bowl or baking dish would work as well). Let marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.
  • When ready to grill, heat grill to medium heat. Remove drumsticks from marinade, letting excess drip off. Place drumsticks on grill and cover grill. Grill for 18 to 20 minutes, turning once, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with fresh cilantro and lemon wedges, if desired.


  • Nutrition Information calculated with 1 tablespoon olive oil since most of the marinade is discarded.


Serving: 2drumsticks, Calories: 328kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 139mg, Sodium: 546mg, Potassium: 374mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 0.4g, Vitamin A: 142IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.51 from 67 votes (66 ratings without comment)

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  1. Laura says:

    5 stars
    I loved this recipe. I did grill the chicken for longer as I’m always afraid of undercooking, and I basted with extra sauce and marinated trying to out done marinade under the skin. Served with the suggested cilantro lime rice and sautéed snow peas. The only downside is I try nit to eat chicken skin but in this case it was so yummy I had to! Family enjoyed.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So happy to hear you liked it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, it means a lot to me!

  2. Donna says:

    Made this recipe today for dinner. Marinated the chicken for 6 hours ,cooked on the grill. Will definitely make this recipe again. Was a nice change . Thanks for a great recipe !

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  3. Bink says:

    Easy and utterly delish, i marinated overnight too.
    I love Middle Eastern food, saving this recipe as i will def remake.
    Thank you

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  4. Brenda says:

    If you enjoy flavorful chicken, skip this recipe. I used five pounds of drumsticks as stated. I chose to use two reasons of salt, followed everything else exact. Marinated overnight. I expected a lot more flavor but was disappointed. I would double the slices and maybe that would help.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      That hasn’t been my experience at all with this recipe, sorry to hear you feel that way.

  5. Homayra says:

    These were EXCELLENT. Very crispy and lovely taste for the summer. I added a bit of cinnamon as well, which worked well. Thank you!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked them! Love the addition of cinnamon.

  6. Kara Plantinga says:

    Made these just as posted. I did thrown in a chicken breast, because my husband doesn’t like dark meat. The kids and hubby all liked it. As a bonus, I loved the leftover drumsticks cold for lunch the next day. Yay! I made it with cilantro lime rice and asparagus. Perfect summertime dinner!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked these! The leftovers are great cold, you’re right!

  7. Becky Schrotenboer says:

    Yummy! Teen son LOVED!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment!

  8. Beki says:

    So so good!!  Did a mixed pack of drumsticks and thighs!  And with the leftovers shredded off the bone and made pita pocket Sammie’s with a tzatziki sauce!!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I’m so glad you liked them! I looooove your repurpose of the leftovers….sounds amazing, can’t wait to try that myself!

  9. Denise says:

    wow! sounds fun to eat.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Definitely! Thanks Denise!

  10. Bonnie says:

    Sounds yummy. Can’t wait to try this recipe. 

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I hope you love it!