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Doner Kebabs without Rotisserie

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You can make doner kebabs at home that are even better than the takeaway!

One Christmas I was given a small rotisserie so that I could make doner kebabs at home. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bit of a gimmicky gift and after a few attempts it went into storage where it has remained ever since.

It turns out that those huge rotisseries you see at doner takeaways are big not just because they need to serve a lot of doners. They are big so that by the time they shave off the crispiest meat, more meat has charred up ready to serve the next customer.

That just doesn’t happen with those small upright rotisseries. You end up waiting a very long time before the next bit of meat is ready for carving.

Doner kebab

Doner kebab with all the fixings. It doesn’t get much better!

The philosophy behind cooking authentic doner kebabs.

Doner kebabs are traditionally made by skewering and stacking marinated meat patties with minced meat around a large upright rotisserie.

The finished skewers are then frozen to help the meat stay on the skewer.

This frozen skewered meat is then placed on the rotisserie where it next to high heat. As it does, the outer layer defrosts and then cooks to perfection.

This is then shaved off and the next layer begins to cook and char.

How does this method for doner kebabs differ?

As I explained above, those baby rotisseries just don’t work.

So the best alternative is to blend the marinated meat and then form it into meat loaves.

I promise you won’t notice the difference and BONUS… you know exactly which meat is going into your Doner kebabs. A few recent study demonstrated that we weren’t always eating what we thought we were.

Some studies have shown that too often the meat found in doner kebabs isn’t 100% lamb as thought but also showed traces of beef, pork, chicken, horse and donkey.

I guess there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you know and are happy with what is in your kebab.

I use beef in my doner kebabs

Although I am a big fan of 100% lamb doner kebabs, I have a few fussy eaters at my house.

So I usually make my doner kebabs with beef.

The minced meat you use is up to you but it should be at least 15% if not 20% fat.

This seems to be a large recipe… Why is that?

At my house we do love our doner kebabs.

I make a large batch each time. If we aren’t serving a big crowd, I freeze what isn’t used.

It freezes really well and is great to have on hand for that last minute doner kebab craving.

You could easily halve this recipe if that is better for you.

So then… Let’s get down to how to make delicious doner kebabs at home!

Doner kebab marinade

Get the marinade ingredients together and whisk into a smooth paste.

Grated onions

Grate or blend your onions and wrap tightly in cheese cloth or similar.

Squeezing onion juice

Twist the onions into a ball and squeeze out as much liquid as you can into the marinade and then whisk again.

Blending doner kebab mixture

Place some of the marinade and meat into a food processor and blend to a fine paste. You might need to do this in batches.

Blending doner kebab mixture.

I had to blend this in about 4 batches so be prepared to put some work in.

meat loaves

Once you have a super fine meat paste, form it into two loaves.

cover Doner kebab loaves

Cover and place in the oven for two hours at 180c.

meat loaves

After two hours you will have two solid meat loaves and a lot of cooking juices. Retain those juices for later and stick the meat loaves in the fridge to cool.

Slicing kebab meat

Once cooled and hard, take a sharp knife and slice the meat as thinly as possible.

Frying meat

Cooking in batches, please the meat slices in a super hot pan with a little oil to crisp.

Frying Doner kebab meat

As the meat crisps up, it will also become a bit dry.

Doner kebab meat

Add some of the meat juices and fat from when you cooked the meat loaves to juice it up a bit.

What about the sauces?

There are two sauces that simply have to go on my Doner kebabs. Give these a try…

White Kebab Sauce

230g (1 cup) Greek yoghurt
230g (1 cup) mayonnaise
½ tsp black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried dill (optional)
1 tsp dried parsley (optional)
Juice of one lemon
Salt to taste

Place the mayonnaise and yoghurt in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and add salt to taste. Keep in an air-tight jar or squeeze bottle in the fridge until required.

Red Kebab Sauce

3 red bird’s eye chillies
400g tinned (canned) chopped tomatoes
3 – 4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp black pepper
Juice of one lemon or 1 tbsp white vinegar
Salt to taste

Place all of the ingredient up to and including the lemon juice/vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste it and add salt to taste. Store in the fridge in an air-tight jar or squeeze bottle until needed.

If you like these Doner kebabs, you might like to try some of these recipes too…

Homemade gyros
Shawarma kebabs
Piri piri chicken
Chicken chargha

Finished Doner kebab

So good!

doner kebab

You are going to love this.

doner kebab

Dig in!

Yield: 10

Doner Kebabs without Rotisserie

doner kebab
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 2 brown onions, blended
  • 2k (4lb) minced beef or lamb 80/20% meat to fat ratio
  • 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika or chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ½ red or white cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of lettuce, thinly sliced


  1. Put the blended onions in a cheese cloth or similar and twist into a ball as tight as you can to extract the onion juice into a bowl. Only the onion juice is used in this recipe but the chopped dry onions can be use in the my seekh kebab recipes so no need for wastage!
  2. Place all the ingredients for the meat, including the onion juice in a food processor and blend into a fine paste. It is important that the meat be super fine so you will need to do this in batches.
  3. Form this mixture into two meat loaves and place each in oven proof roasting pans and cover loosely with foil.
    Pre-heat your oven to 180c/356f and cook the meat loaves for 2 hours.
  4. After two hours, the meat loaves will be cooked and there will be a lot of meat juices in the pans. Retain the meat juices for later and place the cooked meat loaves in the fridge to cool and harden. You could speed this process up by placing in the freezer.
  5. Once cold and hard, take a sharp chef’s knife and slice the meat into thin strips.
  6. To finish, place a pan over high heat and pour 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or leftover beef fat from the meat loaves in the pan and cook the meat slices in batches until crispy.
  7. Pour in a little of the reserved cooking juices to moisten up the meat and transfer to a heated bowl to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining meat slices, adding more oil/fat as required.
  8. Doner meat can be eaten on its own with some fresh salad vegetables and a sauce or two. I like to serve it on top of a naan or chapati with loads of salad veggies and the white and red takeaway styles kebab sauces mentioned above.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe for homemade Doner kebabs. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Matthew G

Thursday 25th of April 2024

Very nice! I added cumin to the spices and it was a hit!

Dan Toombs

Thursday 25th of April 2024

Sounds like a good addition, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks Dan

Alan Leishman

Sunday 29th of January 2023

Absolutely delicious. I used the onions left over after the squeeze. I caramelised them in butter and added to flatbread dough once cold. Was amazing.

Thanks so much for this recipe. I can indulge my Doner kebab fetish with relative impunity!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

Great to hear and I love the use of the onions. Thanks very much. Dan

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