Souvlaki vs. Shawarma: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

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When it comes to fast food, each area has its own version. Consider, for example, Greek souvlaki and Levantine Arab shawarma. Both are immensely famous in their own areas and have increasingly garnered appeal outside their borders. So what distinguishes and distinguishes souvlaki and shawarma?

Souvlaki traditionally consists of grilled meat on a skewer, while shawarma is roasted on a vertical rotisserie. Shawarma is also available as a wrap. Souvlaki, on the other hand, may be served with or within a flatbread or on its own, generally with veggies on the side.

Each of these delicious meals have an intriguing origin story that links to the history and culture of their respective regions. As a result, their preparation methods differ greatly. And we want to highlight some of these truths in this essay.

What Is the Difference Between Souvlaki and Shawarma?

You’ve come to the correct spot if you’re having problems distinguishing between souvlaki and shawarma. I’m ready to tell you about the primary distinctions between these delectable dinners.


Souvlaki is a famous fast dish that originated in Greece. Souvlaki is derived from a Greek word that means “skewer.” This alludes to the fact that souvlaki’s meat is roasted on a skewer. In reality, this cooking technique was popular in Greece hundreds of years ago.

After WWII, the contemporary form of the souvlaki became widely available. Since the 1960s, it has been a mainstay of Greek fast food.

Shawarma’s origins may be traced back to Levantine Arabs under the Ottoman Empire. Around this time, the technique of roasting meat on a vertical spit became widespread. This is what inspired shawarma, as well as another Greek meal called gyros, which is similar to shawarma in many ways.


The primary component in both recipes is the same: beef. Meat dominates both recipes, whether it’s lamb, hog, chicken, or beef.

Apart from that core, there are a few modifications. Souvlaki is usually served with little pieces of vegetables like as tomatoes, sliced onions, and so on. Fried potatoes and lemon wedges are other popular side dishes. Of course, the beauty of souvlaki is that it may be prepared without the addition of any additional ingredients.

Shawarma is generally served with sliced veggies, onions, and, on sometimes, cheese. Nonetheless, the sauce and the meat make up the majority of the meal. If you’re wondering whether shawarma is a caloric food, you should watch your portion size since pita bread and sauce pack a lot of calories.


The manner of cooking the beef in the two recipes is different, which is the most obvious difference.

The meat in souvlaki is cooked on a skewer. The meat may be cut into tiny cubes or a long sausage, which is then poked with a skewer and grilled. Meat fat, seasonings, and other ingredients may be added throughout the cooking process.

The meat in a shawarma dish, on the other hand, is roasted on a rotisserie. Thin meat slices (chicken, beef, or lamb) are placed on top of one another to produce a big pile. The stack is then hoisted from a huge pole and set vertically on a spit. The spit steadily rotates, roasting the meat in the process. Again, items like fat and spices are added to the stack.

In addition, the two meals vary in how they are presented. Shawarma is nearly usually served as a wrap. The wrap is usually made with flatbread, such as pita or laffa. Additional ingredients, like as vegetables and sauces, are mixed into the filling.

In this way, souvlaki is a more adaptable dish. You may wrap it in a flatbread and serve it like shawarma. Instead, serve the bread separately with veggies and lemon wedges. If you’re feeling extremely eager, you may eat it directly off the skewer; no need for a complex setup or other components.


These recipes are quite popular in their respective countries. Shawarma is one of the most popular street dishes in Egypt, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern and Asian nations. Its popularity has also made its way into Western society. Shawarma is a popular street snack in Europe and the United States.

While being a popular fast food option in Greece, souvlaki has not grown as popular in the rest of the globe as shawarma. Yet, this delightful dessert is popular in areas where Greek food is popular.

Souvlaki Vs. Shawarma: Which Is Better?

People might have very diverse experiences with these recipes depending on the ingredients and way of preparation. This is due to the many variations in the main notions present across the globe.

Souvlaki is a superior option in terms of adaptability. Shawarma is usually served with some kind of wrap. But, you may have souvlaki with or without one.

It’s always interesting to taste diverse foods from other cultures. This introduces something fresh and fascinating to your palette while also increasing your understanding of the culinary world.


Is souvlaki and shawarma the same?

The main variation is that it is called Souvlaki in Greece, Kebab in Turkey, and Shawarma in Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and other nations.

What’s better souvlaki or gyro?

The fundamental difference between the two forms of meat is how they are prepared. Gyros are thinly sliced rotisserie chicken, and souvlaki are grilled chunks of meat. Gyro meat is more well-known in the United States, although souvlaki is gaining popularity.

Are Souvlakis healthy?


Traditionally, it is solely meat, but it is now often served with vegetables, much like a kabob. Meat contains a variety of minerals, including protein, iron, and B vitamins ( 37 ). Moreover, beef is a complete protein, which means it contains all of the important amino acids.

What’s better souvlaki or kebab?

Souvlaki and kebabs are seasoned in various ways. In Greece, souvlaki was originally cooked from pig, whilst kebabs were usually produced from lamb. Souvlaki is also available as a pita sandwich, whilst kebabs are offered on plates to be eaten with or without Roti.

Does shawarma taste like gyro?

Gyros and shawarmas have many commonalities, including the majority of their components and primary cooking technique. The key distinctions are their origins and taste characteristics. Gyros are Greek and have a light flavor, but shawarmas are Middle Eastern and have a spicier, more nuanced flavor.

What is the Greek version of shawarma?

You may not be able to tell the difference between a gyro and a shawarma at first sight. Both are sliced seasoned meat wrapped in some sort of bread, such as a pita, and served with salad and sauce. Both of these meals have their origins in European nations. The gyro is a Greek dish, but the shawarma is Turkish.

What type of gyro is the best?

Grilled Chicken Gyro is one of the best gyro variations to try. Greek-style grilled chicken, such as skewered chicken souvlaki, creates a tasty gyro variant…. Sausage Gyros. The choices are practically unlimited when making these sausage gyros. … Hummus Gyros…. Fried Eggplant Gyros…. Greek Salad Gyros…. Fried Fish Gyros.

What is the most popular souvlaki meat?

The mutton. Tenderloin (also known as fillet in our nation) and neck and shoulder are the two most prevalent cuts utilized in the souvlaki recipes I test.

What is the healthiest gyro?

Skinless meat with fat, such as chicken thighs, is healthier than skinless meat with skin. Chicken breast is naturally low in fat, which is beneficial to your health.

Are shawarma healthy?

Shawarma may be a quick snack or meal on the run, but it is far from nutritious. The marinated pieces sliced off the revolving cone of meat already have fat coursing through them, and they’ve most likely been showered with even more throughout the cooking process.

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