Think of Lahmacun, pronounced Lahamajoun, as super thin, crispy pizza topped with a flavor-packed mixture of minced meat with peppers, tomato, fresh herbs and earthy spices. I take a major shortcut by using quality store-bought pizza dough. But the secret is in the spice mixture!
This lahmacun recipe is the perfect prepare-ahead lunch. And it’s a great dinner on-the-go. To serve a crowd, slice it up and serve with other Mezze favorites. See serving ideas below.
What is Lahmacun and Where is it From?
Flatbreads have been a popular thing throughout the Mediterranean for ages–from Italian pizza, to za’atar manaqish from the Levant, and Lahmacun, known as an Armenian specialty that’s made it’s way to Turkey.
Lahmacun, pronounced “lahma’joun”, comes from the Arabic “lahma bi’ajeen,” which literally means “dough with meat.” Think of lahmacun as perfectly thin, crispier pizza (or flatbread), topped with a spiced minced meat mixture.
It is popular in Turkey as in various parts of the Levant where the Ottoman empire once extended. And there are meat pie–or pizza–variations, including manaqish and sfiha. Lahmacun is also known as Armenian pizza, Turkish pizza, Lebanese pizza, Arab pizza…It’s that popular!
How to Make this Lahmacun Recipe
Lahmacun has two different components. The dough and the meat topping.
1- The dough. I hope my Turkish friends will forgive me, I took a major shortcut with the dough here using quality store-bought pizza dough. It works very well. But if you want, you can certainly make a homemade pizza dough from scratch or use my dough recipe for manaqish.
Whether you use store-bought dough or make your own, the important thing to remember is that you need to spread the dough well to achieve a very thin flatbread that crisps around the edges when baked.
2- The meat topping. Traditionally, Turkish lahmacun is made with minced lamb, but you can also use lean ground beef. What makes the topping special is the combination of flavors.
In this lahmacun recipe, I use a food processor to create the topping. Ground lamb (or beef), mixed with sweet red peppers, shallots, garlic, tomato paste, fresh herbs, and an epic fusion of spices!
I played with the spices and arrived at a complex, earthy, warm blend of: smoked paprika, allspice, cumin, Aleppo-style pepper, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne. You can omit the cayenne if you need to, or add more if you like the heat!
Two ways to cook Lahmacun
To make lahmacun, the idea is to spread the spiced meat topping very thinly across the dough. You can bake the lahmacun briefly until the topping is well cooked through and the dough turns nice and crispy around the edges. Or, if you don’t feel like warming up the oven, you can try the stovetop method using a large non-stick skillet (see recipe notes below).
How to Serve Lahmacun
Lahmacun is a popular on-the-go Turkish food. When you visit Turkey, you’ll see people walking the bustling streets of Istanbul, lahmacuns in hand, wrapped up like burritos.
To serve lahmacun wraps, all you need is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top. Add a few slices of red onions, fresh mint leaves, and maybe a few radish slices. Wrap up and enjoy!
Or, to serve a larger crowd, you can slice lahmacun up like you would a pizza and add a drizzle of tahini sauce. Consider adding more mezze favorites on the side like this easy Mediterranean salad and roasted garlic hummus.
Think of Lahmacun (Lahamajoun) as super thin, crispy Turkish pizza (or flatbread) topped with a flavor-packed mixture of minced meat with peppers, tomato, fresh herbs and earthy spices. I take a major shortcut by using quality store-bought pizza dough. But the secret is in the spice mixture.
- ½ lb uncooked store-bought organic pizza dough
- ½ sweet red pepper, cored, cut into chunks
- 1 shallot, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ oz fresh parsley leaves with some stem
- 7 oz ground lamb or ground beef
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp Aleppo-style pepper
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon wedges for later
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to the middle. (or see stove-top instructions in notes)
- Prepare the meat mixture. In the large bowl of a food processor, fitted with blade, add red peppers, shallot, garlic, and parsley. Pulse a few times to chop. To the mixture, add ground lamb (or beef). Season with spices and salt. Add tomato paste and extra virgin olive oil. Now pulse again until well-combined (about 8 to 10 pulses.)
- Prepare two large rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper (you’ll be using these to bake the Lahmacun in batches.)
- Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal balls (about 2 oz each.) Working with one ball of dough at a time, place on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out into as thin as you can to a disk that’s about 8 or 9 inches in diameter.
- Assemble Lahmacun. Place one flatbread disk on one of the prepared pans. Reshape as needed. Spoon 3–4 tbsp topping onto dough and spread topping evenly to edges, leaving a thin boarder.
- Bake in heated oven for about 5 to 7 minutes or until dough and meat are fully cooked (dough will be a little crusty around the edges.)
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining dough.
- Squeeze a little lemon juice on top. Serve Lahmacun hot or at room temperature. See notes below for how to serve.