Preparation and serving of döner kebab in restaurants


Instructions: 6567/, effective date 8/29/2023

These instructions cover matters related to the safe preparation and serving of döner kebabs.


  • When preparing and serving döner kebabs, it is important to ensure correct preparation and storage temperatures and good hygiene.
  • If you do not serve the kebab meat directly after cooking, place it in a temperature-controlled bath or cool it for cold storage.
  • Avoid the danger zone between +6 and +60°C, where pathogenic bacteria grow effectively. Döner kebabs must not be stored at room temperature.
  • Regularly monitor the storage, cooking and cooling temperatures. Record at least any discrepancies and the actions taken based on them.

Döner kebabs can be prepared in several different ways such as by making the kebab cone in the restaurant or by buying it ready-made, either raw or cooked, fresh or frozen. A pre-purchased or restaurant-made kebab cone is placed in a vertical rotisserie, i.e. a spit-roasting device, and one of the following is done:

  1. The heated cooked surface of the cooked read-made kebab cone is carved into shavings to be served to customers based on orders
  2. The entire cone of meat is cooked completely at once; during cooking, the entire cone is carved into shavings, and
    1. the hot shavings are placed in a temperature-controlled bath, from where they will be served to the customers; or
    2. the shavings are cooled down and, if necessary, frozen for storage to be heated just before serving.

1 Premises and equipment

When you plan to make döner kebabs, first make sure you have the following:

  • Surfaces and tools that are easy to keep clean and a preparation area with adequate ventilation.
  • A thermometer suitable for self-monitoring temperature measurements.
  • Liquid soap and disposable wipes or a retractable cloth towel at a hand-washing station.
  • Separate equipment and cutting boards for handling raw meat that are not used for any other foodstuffs.
  • Sufficient space for the processing to prevent cross-contamination, i.e. raw meat and other foodstuffs coming into contact with each other, for example.
  • Food-grade containers and packaging materials suitable for greasy and, where appropriate, hot food. The symbol of a fork and a bowl, for example, indicates that a product is food safe.

2 Working hygiene

Döner kebab preparation means the handling of a perishable food product.

3 Hand hygiene

Careful and regular handwashing is very important in the food industry. Disposable protective gloves can be used when handling food to protect the food from hand-borne dirt and microbes. However, poor hand hygiene cannot be compensated for by wearing protective gloves. Make sure that:

  • The employees observe good hand hygiene. They must wash their hands at least in the following situations:
    • Before starting work
    • During food preparation when moving to another task (e.g. after working at the cash register)
    • After smoking, coughing, sneezing and blowing their nose
    • After using the bathroom
  • If disposable protective gloves are used, make sure that:
    • The gloves are suitable for handling greasy food
    • The employees wash their hands before putting on the gloves
    • The gloves are changed frequently enough and food is handled only with clean gloves

4 Storage of raw materials

  • If you purchase ready-made kebab cones, store them according to the instructions on the packaging.
  • If you make your own kebab cones from minced meat, store the raw materials as follows:
    • Minced meat at a maximum of +4°C
    • Raw kebab cones at a maximum of +6°C or at least -18°C if you freeze them.

5 Cooking

  • If you thaw the kebab cones before cooking, do it in a refrigerator, freezer or cold water bath. Do not thaw cones at room temperature.
  • Cook the kebab cones as quickly as possible after thawing or preparing.
  • Serve the kebab meat thoroughly cooked. Check the temperature to ensure that the shavings cut from the cone are fully cooked and no red meat fluid is visible.
    • The recommended meat temperature is at least +75°C.
  • Keep the rotisserie on throughout the cooking process and cook the whole cone in one go. Do not take a thawed or partially thawed and cooked cone to a refrigerator or refreeze it.

6 Keeping cooked kebab shavings hot

  • Always keep the kebab shavings hot, e.g. in a temperature-controlled bath, if you don’t cool them immediately.
  • The temperature of the shavings must be above +60°C at all times.

7 Cooling and cold storage of cooked kebab shavings

  • Refrigerate kebab shavings intended for later use immediately after cooking. Do not store kebab shavings at room temperature.
  • Cooling must take place in no more than four hours to a maximum temperature of +6°C or lower. Verify the effectiveness of the cooling method you use by measuring and recording the temperature.
  • Cool the kebab shavings in small batches, in thin layers as soon as they are cooked.
  • Cooling is most efficient in a cooling cabinet.
    • If you do not have a cooling cabinet, use e.g. freezer packs, ice or a cold water bath to pre-cool the kebab shavings and then transfer them to the refrigerator.
  • Mark the refrigeration date on the packaging.
  • After cooling, store the shavings in the refrigerator, protected, at a maximum temperature of +6°C.
  • If you refrigerate the shavings after cooking, use them within 4 days of cooking (the cooking date + 3 days).

8 Freezing, thawing and reheating cooked kebab shavings

If you freeze kebab shavings for later use:

  • Freeze the cooked and rapidly chilled shavings to -18°C within 24 hours of cooking.
  • Mark the freezing date on the packaging.
  • Store them in a freezer at -18°C or lower.
  • Use them within two months of freezing.
  • You can heat them up frozen for serving, or thaw them in the refrigerator or a cold water bath first. However, do not thaw the shavings at room temperature.
  • Just before serving, heat the kebab shavings to over +70°C.

9 Naming and declaring country of origin

When serving döner kebab, pay attention to the mandatory food information:

  • Indicate the name of the food (e.g. meal) in writing, e.g. “Kebab ranskalaisilla perunoilla” (Döner kebab with fries).
  • Using the word “kebab”
    • A döner kebab or just kebab refers to roasted meat cooked on a spit.
    • In Finland, döner kebabs are made with beef or lamb. If meat from any other animal is used, the name must indicate the species, e.g. “Broilerkebab” (Chicken kebab). (Döner kebabs are never made with pork.)
    • If the kebab meat is partially or completely replaced by vegetables, the product is no longer a döner kebab, but a product of a different name, such as “Paahdettu kasvislihavalmiste vartaassa” (Roasted vegetable skewer).
  • If you make your kebab from raw meat (beef, sheep, goat, poultry), you must inform your customers in writing of the country of origin of the meat you are using.
    • If you buy the kebab meat as a pre-flavoured raw meat preparation, legislation does not require you to inform the customer of the country of origin.
  • If you grind kebab meat for later use, please note this is ground kebab meat (and not minced meat). If you use minced kebab meat as a topping for a pizza, for example, do not sell the pizza as a minced meat pizza but as a kebab pizza.
  • Döner kebab may contain substances that cause allergies and intolerances, such as soya, of which the customers must be informed in writing or, under certain conditions, orally.

10 Food poisoning in connection with döner kebab can be caused by the following, for example:

  • Inadequate cooking, i.e. leaving the meat partially raw
  • Allowing cooked meat to be in contact with a surface, e.g. a cutting board or a knife, that has been used to handle raw meat
  • Cooling cooked meat too slowly or at an excessively high temperature
  • Storing cooked kebab meat in the danger zone of +6–60°C

11 Additional instructions

12 Validity of the instructions

  • The operations of an authority must be based on powers provided by law and must be carried out in strict compliance with the law. By their legal nature, instructions by an authority are not binding on any other authorities or parties. Ultimately, any questions about the application of legislation are decided by a court of law.
  • These instructions contain both direct quotes from acts and interpretations of the application of legislation. The interpretations given in these instructions are the Finnish Food Authority’s views on how legislation should be applied.

Appendix 1 Diagram on döner kebab preparation and serving (pdf)

The content of the diagram is described above in the text.