If you know the Greek gyros at your favorite takeout restaurant, then you’ve eaten a change from a doner kebab. (It’s also spelled döner kebab or döner kebab.) Doner kebab is just one type of kebab, of which there are hundreds around the world. Originally from Turkey, they are traditionally made with lamb, although today it is common to find them with a mixture of lamb and beef or even just beef.

No matter what kind of meat it is, it’s sliced thin and pounded flat, then stacked on a vertical skewer for rotisserie-style cooking. (Döner comes from a Turkish word meaning to twist or turn.) When the outer layers of the meat are cooked, they are scraped off and served in a flatbread or other flatbread with vegetables and sauce. The edges of the meat will be deliciously charred and crispy, while the rest will be shiny and fatty and juicy. Döner is, so to speak, the “mother” of the Arabic döner kebab, the Mexican al-pastor and the popular Greek gyro. Döner is particularly popular in Germany, which has a significant Turkish population.

Kabob Koobideh (Persian Grilled Kebab)
Kabob Koobideh (Persian grilled kebab) on a plate with onion salad
While the shaved meat can be served on a platter with rice and boiled vegetables, it is most popular as a sandwich eaten as street food.You can have tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, red onion, pickles or pickles in the pita, and the sauce can be a yogurt-based tzatziki or tahini.

Preparing a traditional döner kebab at home can be a bit tricky, although it is still possible if you have the settings for a slow-cooking, vertically rotating spit. However, most home kitchens require some improvisation. This recipe aims to capture the flavors of the döner kebab more than the grill method. It’s not a traditional recipe, but a modern version of the popular street food, adapted to suit home cooks.

Allow to cool, cut into thin slices and fry in a pan until crispy. Then pile it on a vegetable-filled flatbread and spread it on top of the sauce for all the deliciousness of the döner kebab at home.

“The seasoning complements the meat perfectly and it’s nice to be able to use half lamb and half beef. Or this now in pita bread or wraps, it makes a delicious sandwich.” – Diana Rattray

Doner kebab with lamb and topped with tzatziki sauce
A tip from our recipe tester
For the doner kebab:

1 pound ground lamb (or 1/2 pound each of ground lamb and ground beef)
1 large egg
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tbsp oil, more for the pan
For the sandwich:

4 large pita bread, naan or flat bread
1 dl mixed salad leaves
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 medium English cucumber, sliced
1/4 large red onion, peeled and sliced
Tzatziki sauce or tahini sauce

steps to make it happen
Gather the ingredients.

Ingredients for homemade döner kebab
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb, egg, garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt and black pepper.

A bowl of ground lamb mixed with eggs and spices
Transfer the mixture to an oiled 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden on top.

Lamb mixture in bread form, cooked with a light brown top
You can slice the bread straight away if you like, but for best results let cool completely, wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate until set.

The lamb bread sits on a sheet of aluminum foil
Heat some olive oil in a large pan, slice the bread very thinly and fry the slices in the hot pan for a few minutes.

Prepare thin doner slices in a pan
Assemble the sandwiches with flatbread, warmed and toasted. Spread some tzatziki or tahini sauce on top, add lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and top with more sauce.

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