Last night I shared a step-by-step demo of these Pan-Roasted, Shwarma-Spiced Chicken Thighs on my Instagram stories and foolishly did so without an accompanying written recipe. Much to my surprise, so many people (at least 3) requested a more detailed breakdown of ingredients, measurements, temperatures and times, all of which I am more than happy to provide!

Not pictured here, but enjoyed as part of yesterday’s dinner and shown in the accompanying video, are a quick-and-easy chopped salad and an equally fast-and-simple (<– me demonstrating my expansive vocabulary and knowledge of synonyms).

I also mixed together some Tunisian Harissa paste with some water to create a very tasty hot sauce of sorts. Harissa is becoming more an more popular these days but if you’ve never tried it, it’s a delicious, herbaceous and slightly bitter chili paste.

Altogether, it was a delicious, easy, light-yet-filling dinner that came together in around 20 minutes.

Whole30 Pan-Roasted Shwarma-Spiced Chicken Thighs Paleo Easy

Similar, yet different, to these pan-roasted chicken thighs is my Whole30 Bootleg Chicken Shwarma, which uses the same spice rub but involves thinly-sliced boneless, skinless thighs quickly seared in a hot skillet.

A Note on Pan-Roasting

Pan-Roasting is a cooking technique that involves searing something (protein or even a vegetable) on the stovetop and then gradually finishing the cooking in the oven through indirect heat.

It works great on thicker cuts of meat, such as bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, large steaks, pork chops, racks of lamb, etc., because it allows you to develop a very crispy crust on the exterior without running the risk of burning it before the inside has had a chance to finish cooking.

For thinner cuts, such as butterflied chicken breasts, for example, pan-roasting may not be necessary since you can simultaneously develop a crust and finish cooking the meat entirely on the stovetop. Instead, you would simply pan-sear (which doesn’t involve the oven).

In closing, the common denominator for things you want to pan-roast is that they would benefit from the development of a crust.

Whole30 Pan-Roasted Shwarma-Spiced Chicken Thighs Paleo Easy

A Note on Cookware

You will notice that I used a stainless-steel skillet in the video. Lets’ not mince words here, it’s actually a Hestan Nanobond Titanium skillet but that’s neither here nor there.

Any who, I got so many questions (again, at least 3) about why I was using stainless-steel (for argument’s sake let’s just go with it) as opposed to cast-iron. The answer is simple: I couldn’t fit 6 chicken thighs in my cast-iron skillet.

The point is you can use any heavy-bottomed skillet (cast-iron or stainless-steel) that is oven-safe. Make sure the handle material is oven-safe and the materials are appropriately temperature rated. In this case, you’re only cooking at 375F, so most pans will be OK.

FAQ: what if I don’t have an oven-safe pan? Can I sear in a skillet and transfer to a baking vessel like a sheet pan or casserole?

Answer: Sure you can! If you’re cooking a steak or chop or something like that, be sure to brown both sides before transferring to oven. In the case of the chicken thighs, I am only worried about getting the skin crispy so I transfer to oven immediately after flipping in the skillet. In other words, I don’t bother browning the second side of the thighs because the hot pan and heat from the oven will do that work for me.

Pan-Roasted, Shwarma-Spiced Chicken Thighs - Whole30, Paleo
  • 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2-3 tbsp Shwarma Spice
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Pat chicken dry and season both sides with shwarma spice (recipe here)

  3. Preheat a stainless-steel or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes. Add oil and let heat 60 seconds. Carefully lay chicken in hot oil skin-side down and cook 5-6 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Flip chicken and transfer to oven. Cook 10-12 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken registers 165F on a digital meat thermometer.
  5. Serve with chopped salad, tahini and harissa.