Doner Kebab

Doner kebab holds a special place in our hearts in the Babadoh family. Long portrayed as a dirty post boozer sustenance, the doner kebab or shawarma in Turkey and other middle eastern countries is the original fast food. Sold everywhere on busy streets, it’s the staple on which nations have developed.  

We have always served doner kebab at family gatherings and special local events. By using the very best quality meat and ingredients, you can create a feast fit for a king.

Our family recipe has been secret for many years, but its time to share, time to open up the wonder of the Babadoh doner kebab to the world. We hope you can take the time to recreate and enjoy your own family feast like this. 

Doner kebab equipment

This is the difficult piece of the puzzle. I mean, do you have a doner kebab machine? Do you actually need a doner kebab machine?

Well the answer is yes, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive industrial machine. Although they can be picked up on eBay for £50-£300, there are cheaper alternatives such as the Vertical Grill Burner for £75. Not a bad option for the starter kebab chef. 

I’ve also seen people making and cooking doner kebab in a can, although not tried this myself. Another home solution without a machine is to roll the meat as thin as you can before frying strips in a hot pan.  

The evening before - preparation and marinade


This recipe will make enough to serve 10-12 hungry people.

  • 4kg shoulder of lamb, minced
  • 1 kg shoulder of lamb
  • 3 large sweet onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons full cream milk


  1. Chop the onions and put into a cheesecloth or muslin. Squeeze and squeeze (and squeeze) as much of the juice out of the onions as you can. Discard the flesh of the onion.  
  2. Put the minced lamb, onion juice (retain about 20% of the juice for the sliced lamb), cumin, salt, pepper and milk into a food mixer bowl. Start mixing at a low-medium speed until the consistency of the mixture becomes like chewing gum. This will take about 7-8 minutes depending on the speed.
  3. Cover the bowl and store in the fridge overnight.
  4. Slice the shoulder of lamb in thin horizontal slices, marinate with the remaining onion juice and salt, cover and store in the fridge overnight.  

Doner kebab party day

  1. With the kebab spit held vertically, follow a 'bricks and mortar' approach to building the doner.
  2. Start at the bottom with one of the smaller slices of lamb. Create a burger shape of approximately 500g of minced lamb, and thread over the spit onto the base slice of lamb.  
  3. That’s the first layer done, easy. The process is then quite simple.
  4. Add another strip of sliced lamb, then another burger of minced lamb and so on until you’ve used all your meat.
  5. Shaping the doner can be tricky. If it starts to look lopsided or looks bigger at the bottom than the top, simply slice off the offending piece of meat, shape into another burger and add to the top. It may take a few repeat steps but once you are happy, stop, and take a picture of your masterpiece. 
  6. Now wrap the entire doner with cling film and put back in the fridge for another 2 hours. This will help it hold shape when you start to cook.  
  7. When you are ready to cook, remove the cling film, put the spit onto the doner kebab machine and start cooking. It's best to start with a low heat for the first cut (which is always the best cut, and only for the chef...or their favourite assistant). 
  8. Once you’ve made your first slice of the cooked meat, let it continue to cook on the spit, slicing off each layer of the meat as it turns brown. 

Serving doner kebab

At a typical Babadoh family feast, we'd serve the doner kebab with pilaf rice, salad and pide or pita bread.

We recently decided to try out an Iskender kebab pizza though...and it was magnificent. Check out our other blogs on this.

Subscribe to our Newsletter