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Shoarma vs. Shawarma — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on September 30, 2023
Shoarma and Shawarma refer to the same spiced, grilled meat dish; however, "Shoarma" is the Dutch spelling, while "Shawarma" is the more globally recognized spelling from Arabic.
Shoarma vs. Shawarma — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Shoarma and Shawarma


Key Differences

Shoarma and Shawarma are two terms that are often used interchangeably, and while they describe a similar dish, their origins and spelling are distinct. Shoarma is the term commonly adopted in the Netherlands and some parts of Europe, likely influenced by Dutch language phonetics.
Shawarma, on the other hand, derives from the Arabic term "شاورما," indicating the turning or rotating method used to cook the meat. This word is more globally recognized, being prevalent in many countries and cultures with Middle Eastern cuisine influences.
Both Shoarma and Shawarma refer to a delectable dish consisting of thinly sliced cuts of meat (often beef, chicken, or lamb) stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. As the rotisserie turns, the meat is grilled slowly, allowing the outer layers to be shaved off as they become crispy.
The differences in naming largely come down to linguistic preferences and regional adaptations. In essence, while the method of preparation and the taste profile remain consistent, the term you might encounter can vary based on the geographic location.
Summarizing, Shoarma and Shawarma refer to the same delightful meat preparation, with the distinction largely rooted in regional language variations. Both terms, however, bring to mind a dish beloved by many across the globe.

Comparison Chart

Spelling Origin


Geographical Use

Primarily in the Netherlands and parts of Europe
Globally recognized



Common Dishes

Often served in Dutch "kapsalon"
Common in Middle Eastern dishes like pita wraps

Primary Difference

Linguistic adaptation
Original term from the Arabic language

Compare with Definitions


Sliced meat prepared on a rotisserie, used in Dutch cuisine.
Shoarma with garlic sauce is my favorite.


Thin slices of meat stacked and cooked on a vertical spit.
The Shawarma meat was tender and flavorful.


A Dutch variation of grilled, spiced meat.
I love getting Shoarma after a night out in Amsterdam.


A Middle Eastern dish of spiced, rotisserie-grilled meat.
Let's grab some Shawarma for lunch!


A popular fast food in the Netherlands.
Have you tried the Shoarma pizza here?


A popular street food in many countries.
Nothing beats a Shawarma wrap on the go.


Meat often used in the Dutch dish "kapsalon."
I'd like a kapsalon with chicken Shoarma, please.


Meat preparation method, meaning "turning" in Arabic.
The art of making Shawarma takes years to master.


Dutch adaptation of the Middle Eastern Shawarma.
Shoarma rolls are the perfect quick meal.


Often served in pita bread with tahini or garlic sauce.
I love my Shawarma with extra garlic sauce.


Alternative form of shawarma


Shawarma (; Arabic: شاورما‎) is a Levantine Arab dish consisting of meat cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit. Originally made with lamb, mutton or chicken, today's shawarma may also be turkey, beef, or veal.


Meat, especially beef, chicken, or lamb, that is marinated, roasted slowly on a spit, and cut in thin slices, often wrapped in pita bread and served with various vegetables and tahini sauce.


A Middle Eastern sandwich-like wrap of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture of these.

Common Curiosities

Which meats are commonly used in Shawarma?

Commonly used meats include beef, chicken, and lamb.

Are Shoarma and Shawarma the same dish?

Yes, they refer to the same dish but have different regional spellings.

Is Shoarma a popular dish in Europe?

Yes, particularly in the Netherlands and surrounding regions.

Why is it spelled Shoarma in the Netherlands?

"Shoarma" is the Dutch adaptation, influenced by Dutch language phonetics.

What is the origin of the word Shawarma?

Shawarma originates from the Arabic term indicating the turning or rotating method of cooking.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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