This recipe for homemade Doner Kebabs is really easy to make, and for the same price of maybe one doner from a kebab van or shop, you can make enough for the whole family!
There are lots of different recipes online for homemade doner kebab – I basically looked at several and tweaked to my family’s flavour preferences.
Homemade Doner Kebabs
Doner kebab is a Turkish kebab, made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Seasoned meat stacked in the shape of an inverted cone is turned slowly on the rotisserie, next to a vertical cooking element. Related/similar dishes are sharwarma (Arabic) and gyros (Greek) – Wikipedia
In the UK they are a popular takeaway food – especially after a night on the town. The meat is stuffed inside a pita bread, with chilli sauce and salad. People often joke that they have no clue what doner meat actually is, but it is usually lamb or beef – or a mixture of the two. How do I know? I know a man who runs a kebab van!
I actually didn’t have my first doner kebab until I was in my late teens. I am part Greek-Cypriot so doner kebabs are not a thing in Cyprus – souvlakia (or shish kebab) however, is. This is cubes of meat, skewered and cooked over charcoal. Served in a similar fashion with some salad, maybe some tzatziki, tahini or houmus. The salad can be as basic as some fresh flat leaf parlsey and onions (my favourite!)
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As I said at the top of this post, there are several recipes online and I tweaked to come up with my own herbs and spice mix as some included seasonings that we are not fans of.
I probably ended up erring on the Greek-Cypriot side of flavours since that is my heritage! Similarly, topping with some delicious tzatziki (a yogurt sauce) is definitely a Greek-Cypriot thing.
I used dried oregano, dried mint, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, garlic and salt as the seasonings for the meat – which was minced lamb.
Everything is mixed together, formed into a loaf shape, and wrapped in foil. It is then cooked for around half an hour and then popped under the grill to get a nice crust to the outside. (They are the best bits when you get a kebab!)
Once cooked, allow to sit for ten minutes, and then using a very sharp knife, cut into thin slices along the longest edge.
Then pile into warmed pita bread with salad, and a dollop of tzatziki (recipe below). I like a squeeze of lemon juice on my kebabs too.
For The Doner Kebab
- 500g lamb mince
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
For The Tzatziki
- 300g Greek yoghurt
- ½ cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 tsps dried mint
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- salt to taste
- pita bread
- shredded lettuce
- sliced cucumber
- sliced tomato
- sliced onion
- lemon juice (optional)
For The Doner Kebab
- Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
- Place the lamb mince in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix together well - get your hands in there to really combine everything together.
- Shape into a loaf shape and wrap tightly in foil.
- Place on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
- Remove from foil and place under a hot grill, turning to brown off the edges.
- Cover with foil again and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
For The Tzatziki
- Put all of the ingredients into a bowl. Mix together – add more seasoning if you wish!
- Slice the meat into thin slices along the longest edge.
- Pile into warmed pita bread with your choice of salad and topped with tzatziki.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
Fancy having a try at making your own pita bread? Check out this post where I also show you how to make Cypriot Souvlaki too.
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