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What is Chicken Doner?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Chicken doner is one of several variations on the Turkish dish known as Döner kebab. The dish is known by a number of different names, including doner, donner and donair. This dish is very similar to London chicken, in that both the London and Turkish versions involve cooking the meat on a vertical spit and then slicing the meat to order.

In addition to being prepared with chicken, doner can also make use of mutton, beef, lamb and goat. In all cases, the meat is cooked on a vertical spit and sliced to the specifications of the diner. While London and many other localities tend to favor beef or chicken kebob, many localities in the Middle East tend to use mutton or goat. While the basic preparation of the meat remains the same, beef and chicken doner enjoy several different types of presentations in different countries.

In Germany, it is not unusual for chicken doner to be presented as a simple sandwich accompanied by a salad composed of shredded lettuce leaves, onions, and sliced tomatoes. In other instances, the doner may be presented with a cabbage and cucumber salad. For variety, pita bread is sometimes used for the sandwich.

In many parts of the Middle East, chicken doner is presented along with some type of dipping sauce. The sauce may be a simple affair made with yogurt and selected herbs and spices. For a more robust flavor, the sauce may be prepared using garlic and peppers to provide a tempting hot dip sauce.

The use of chicken doner in wraps has gained a great deal of popularity in some quarters. In Europe, one common creation involves slices of doner, fried potatoes and shredded lettuce, onions and tomatoes. It is possible to obtain wraps that make use of other foods, such as hummus and tahini. In Turkey, the wrap is sometimes presented with chicken doner and Turkish white cheese.

One of the advantages is that chicken doner is relatively easy to prepare. The spit continually turns during the cooking process, ensuring an even golden brown to the cooked meat. The skewer used for the preparation is often shaped like a cylinder, with tomatoes and onions stacked along the top of the skewer. This process allows the juices from the onions and tomatoes to run down the skewer and onto the meat, helping to keep it moist during the cooking process. The slices of doner may be thin or thick, based on the recipe or the wishes of the diner.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including DelightedCooking, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By Markus — On May 21, 2011

@goldensky – You’re lucky you can go out and buy a gyro whenever you want to. I’m from a little town here in the Midwest and there isn’t a restaurant in sight that sells them.

The only time I get them is when the state fair rolls into town and that’s the first place I go. The rest of the year I have to settle with grilled beef kebab’s in my own backyard.

My wife did find a doner kebab recipe on the net awhile back and our local market has an isle of ethnic food ingredients. Even though I don’t have a vertical skewer I think we can still duplicate the flavors, or at least come close to it.

By whitesand — On May 20, 2011

@goldensky - You’re actually correct about it being Greek food. The word doner or doneri is translated to gyro in Greece. So you can relax, you are being served an authentic lamb kebab, which is the original version of a Turkish shish kebab.

I know it gets confusing but each country has their own variation of it. The chicken doner kebab’s came later as people became more heart conscience.

I think most places nowadays offer the choice of either chicken or lamb and some even have beef kabob's on the menu.

By goldensky — On May 19, 2011

Well, a chicken kabab sandwich from Germany sounds an awful lot like what we call Gyros here in the Southeast. They serve it up on a pita bun with lettuce, tomato and some delicious cucumber sauce.

Only difference is, it’s usually lamb that comes off the skewer. And all along, I thought I was eating Greek food, literally.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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