Lebanese Meat Pies

Lebanese Meat Pies
Sawsan Abu Farha


For the stuffing

  • 2 Tablespoons  olive oil
  • medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1 Pound  ground beef
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  ground cardamom
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  cinnamon
  •   Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 Tablespoon  dried mint
  • 1 Tablespoon  pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon  tahini (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon  labneh or sour cream (optional)

For the dough

  • 1 Teaspoon  yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  sugar
  • 3/4 Cups  water
  • 2 Cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  salt
  • 3 Tablespoons  olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  •   Cooking spray, for the baking sheet
  • egg

This recipe is a family favorite. It can be a main meal, a snack, or a party appetizer depending on your preference and the size you make them.

There are many recipes out there for the dough and the stuffing, but this is my favorite. You may find the addition of tahini, pomegranate molasses, and labneh (strained Greek yogurt) a bit strange, but they do transform the taste of the meat and take it to the next level. Still, they are entirely optional.

You can knead the dough in the food processor or by hand. I like doing it by hand especially when I am having a bad day. It is a great way to vent anger or frustration. You can punch the dough, slam it against the table, get it all out without anyone getting hurt… It is even good for the dough.

The trick in keeping these pies from opening up during baking is to wet the edges of the dough with a little water before shaping them; that will seal the dough together and prevent it from opening once baked.

See all pie recipes.


For the stuffing

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, allspice, cardamom, and cinnamon and cook until half done, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt, to taste, and add the dried mint. If using, stir in the molasses, tahini, and labneh. Set aside.

For the dough

Proof the yeast by combining the yeast, sugar, and water in a bowl. Wait for the yeast to foam and bubble. (If it doesn’t bubble, discard and start over with new yeast.)

In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt until combined. Add the oil and then rub it into the flour mix with your fingertips. Add the water-yeast mixture and knead the dough until it forms a smooth soft ball that doesn’t stick to your hands. Lift the dough and slam it into the table 7-10 times during kneading (that will give your baked goods that fluffy, cotton-like interior, a tip from a bakery owner I know).

Cover a bowl with a little olive oil, place the dough in it and cover the dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm place until it doubles in size. (If you are short on time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the rack in the middle. Turn it off. Place a clean towel on the rack and place the bowl with the covered dough on the towel and leave it in the closed oven. It will double in size in 10-15 minutes.) Cut the dough into egg-sized balls and cover them with a clean towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Roll each dough ball into a 2-inch circle and place the 1 tablespoon of the stuffing in the center. Wet ½-inch of the dough circumference with water using a brush or your finger. Take 2 sides of the dough circle and seal them together by pinching them between your finger and thumb. Repeat until you get 4 corners.

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes. (If you are making a large amount, make sure to cover the meat pies with a clean cloth while they are resting or the surface will dry and crack once you bake them.)

Pinch the sealed dough margins together again to make sure they are sealed tight. Crack the egg into a bowl and beat with 1 tablespoon water to form an egg wash. Brush the dough with the mixture.

Bake the meat pies until the bottoms are golden, about 10 minutes. (They will puff up as they bake so don’t place them too close to each other on the baking sheet.) Turn the oven to broil, and place them under the broiler until the tops are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Calories per serving:

702 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Sugar Conscious

Daily value:



  • Fat 166g 255%
  • Carbs 209g 70%
  • Saturated 46g 229%
  • Fiber 11g 44%
  • Trans 5g
  • Sugars 8g
  • Monounsaturated 92g
  • Polyunsaturated 12g
  • Protein 113g 227%
  • Cholesterol 508mg 169%
  • Sodium 1,558mg 65%
  • Calcium 210mg 21%
  • Magnesium 162mg 41%
  • Potassium 1,817mg 52%
  • Iron 23mg 127%
  • Zinc 22mg 147%
  • Phosphorus 1,152mg 165%
  • Vitamin A 103µg 11%
  • Vitamin C 10mg 16%
  • Thiamin (B1) 3mg 179%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 2mg 139%
  • Niacin (B3) 36mg 179%
  • Vitamin B6 2mg 95%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 635µg 159%
  • Vitamin B12 10µg 169%
  • Vitamin D 1µg 0%
  • Vitamin E 12mg 58%
  • Vitamin K 50µg 63%
See detailed nutritional info Have a question about nutritional data? Let us know.
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