Shawarma Vs. Gyro: Do You Know These Differences?

You can’t tell the difference between a Shawarma vs. Gyro at first sight. Both are sliced meat rolled in a specific type of bread and served with sauce and salad.

They may look similar, but the ingredients and cooking methods are not. They also come from different regions of the world.

The side-by-side comparison in this article will show you how these dishes differ. Let’s check and find out which one to serve!

What Is Shawarma?

Shawarma is a traditional Middle Eastern cuisine currently eaten all over the world.

It’s also a part of street food that’s easily accessible and seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices for a delightful taste.

A classic Shawarma comes with barbecued, marinated, and spiced meat. Then, the chef wraps it with pita bread and pickled vegetables on the top.

What Is Gyro? 

A Gyro is a famous Greek cuisine that is both authentic and traditional. It comes with marinated meat sliced and grilled on a vertical barbeque.

Then, the chef wraps the meat with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion. You can enjoy it with pita bread with tzatziki and hummus.

You can also serve it open with the pita bread at the bottom and salad with meat resting on the top.

Differences Between Shawarma Vs. Gyro

You may mistake these dishes by just looking. Yet, if you consider other aspects, such as origin or ingredients, they appear different from each other.


Shawarmas can be available in Lebanon, whereas Gyros is popular in Athens.

Since the Ottoman Empire, Shawarma has become famous in the Middle East.

Immigrants from Lebanon introduced its recipe, and sellers started to make and sell numerous types of this dish.

Likewise, the Greeks developed and popularized the Gyro. Lamb versions were especially popular snacks on New York sidewalks when Greeks socialized with New Yorkers.

As a result, the lamb dish is a New York original. The original version, on the other hand, came with pork.

The dishes come from different places


The ingredients define these dishes. Both have four parts: meat, seasoning, fillings, and bread. Yet, the ingredients for these parts are different.

For Shawarma:

  • Meat: turkey, lamb, and chicken
  • Seasoning: cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric
  • Fillings: salad, tahini, pickles, and hummus
  • Bread: pita or flatbread

For Gyro:

  • Meat: lamb or beef
  • Seasoning: rosemary, oregano, and thyme
  • Fillings: red onion, shredded lettuce, tzatziki sauce, and tomatoes
  • Bread: pita


The main difference in preparing these dishes is how long and how much you marinate the meat.

You can marinate the meat of Shawarmas in a variety of spices, resulting in a tasty and flavorful outcome.

You’ll have to make your own marinade, salad, and sauce from scratch. The longer you rest your meat, the more taste and aroma it produces.

It’s excellent to choose chicken thighs when preparing the chicken version. Use whichever herbs you have in your cupboard for the marinade.

Gyros, on the other hand, prefer keeping its meat’s flavor. Ground beef comes with seasonings before being stacked vertically on a spit in restaurants.

The meat, therefore, gets a crispy outer covering from the spit that rotates in front of the fire, which they trim off when the spit spins.

Shawarmas require longer preparation time


You eat these dishes the way you eat a sandwich with side dishes, such as fries or rice.

People wrap the Shawarma with pita bread and serve it with carrot, onions, and tomatoes. The best sauce for this fast food is garlic or mango sauce.

You can eat Gyro the same way but with tzatziki sauce. Some restaurants offer fries inside or on the side of the dish to enhance the flavor.

Health concern 

You should expect a high level of calories and sugar when consuming fast food. This idea is the same for both dishes.

You can request the restaurants to serve your food with more veggies in the fillings to stay healthy.

Health benefits depend on the ingredients you choose

We have discussed the key points of these dishes. Now, this table will help you summarize their differences.

Criteria  Shawarma Gyro
Origin  Lebanon Athens
Ingredients  Turkey, lamb, and chicken Lamb or beef
Preparation Meat marinated overnight Meat marinated for two hours
Serving Served as a sandwich with side dishes
Health concern  Varied depending on the fillings

How To Cook Shawarma? 

This dish is quite simple to prepare if you follow these steps:

  • Mix vinegar, lemon extract, spices, meat strips, and olive oil in a large bowl.
  • Use a plastic film to cover the bowl and set it aside to marinate overnight.
  • Slice the meat and roast it on a rotisserie for 15 to 10 minutes.
  • Heat pita bread, then add hummus and tahini to it.
  • Add your favorite pickled or shredded vegetables, such as onions, red cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, and carrots, on the top.

How To Cook Gyro? 

The preparation of this dish is shorter since you don’t have to marinate the meat for too long. The instructions are as follows:

  • Mix fatty meat, sea salt, ground pepper, and other ingredients in the big bowl, then cover it with a plastic film.
  • Let the bowl rest for about two hours.
  • Then, carefully compress the contents into a well-greased pan and pour hot water on it.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to one hour at 350°F in an oven.
  • Pour off any leftover water before slicing the meatloaf evenly.
  • Cover the pocket of the heated pita bread with hummus and fill it with meat, tomatoes, and onions.
  • Add a large tablespoon of tzatziki to finish your dish, then roll up and enjoy.


Shawarma has meat, spice, or sauce but no tzatziki. On the other hand, Gyros offers you beef, lamb, or chicken, and surely tzatziki.

Both entrees are wonderful and deserving of your consideration. It would be best to try them and determine which taste suits you better.

Hopefully, the comparison we have shared can help extend your fast food choice. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

Staff Writer At Saved By The Max

Hi, my name is Janet. I am the co-owner of Saved By The Max and a chef by trade. I studied food, art, and music in college and enjoy cooking French food as well as making craft drinks like cocktails and kombucha on tap!

Leave a Comment