Turkish pizza, otherwise known as lahmacun, is a fantastic Mediterranean street food, rolled up to eat on the go! This recipe is great for an easy dinner or party food, because it's easy to customize.
Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)
Today, we’re following the trade route along the historic Silk Road for some delicious Turkish street food!
Traveling between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, you’ll arrive in Turkey. Though the cuisine has Mediterranean influences, geographically, Turkey is located in the Middle East.
Names: Lahmacun, lachmacun, lahmajoun, lahamagine, and lahmajun
Course: Main dish, Snack or Appetizer
Recipe difficulty: Easy - 🥄
- Crust: The thin, flatbread crust of lahmacun isn't like American pizza at all; it's closer to Armenian lavash. Traditionally, the recipe calls for a semolina crust, but many people these days use all purpose flour, or a combination of the two.
The crust is golden brown and slightly crispy, but still tender enough to fold over or roll up, burrito style.
- Shape: This is street food, so the shape of the crust is usually up to the cook. You can make it rustic (like mine is), round, or any other shape you like.
Turkish Pizza Ingredient Notes
Yeast or No-Yeast Lahmacun Dough
I use yeast in my dough, but feel free to make yours either with or without yeast. Or, make things really easy and purchase a ready-made pizza crust of your choice.
Unlike American pizza with toppings layered over a sauce, in a lahmacun, the sauce, Turkish spices and meat are combined together into a spreadable mixture. That mixture is baked onto the crust, and then any additional toppings are placed over the baked pizza before serving.
Traditionally, this recipe is made with ground lamb, but ground beef is a popular option. Of course, you can make yours with chicken, or even without meat.
I love the warm flavors from spices like the Aleppo pepper and cinnamon, too.
The toppings are completely customizable, too. This makes it great for parties and/or a family dinner for people with different food preferences. Just offer several toppings and let everyone build their own Turkish pizza!
A few topping ideas for your lahmacun:
- onion, either raw, sauteed, or my favorite, pickled red onion
- plum tomatoes
- piyaz or chopped veggie salad
- crumbled feta cheese (grilled or pan fried halloumi would be fabulous, too!)
- fresh chopped mint
- lemon pickle
- authentic tzatziki, for dipping
Want to make some other Mediterranean street food?
There are plenty of other tasty and portable street foods to try!
Make a Greek souvlaki pita and drizzle it with some authentic tzatziki. Or pack a picnic basket with a few stuffed gozleme and some Mediterranean hummus.
For easy grab and go portability, a traditional size is roughly 3 to 5 inches in diameter. If you want to serve the Turkish pizza in regular slices for a party, you can roll the dough out as large as you'd like.
The calories in your pizza will vary according to the toppings you use. Our recipe below makes a total of 4 street food size pizzas, with 585 calories each.
Turkish Pizza (Lahmacun)
- 2 cups all purpose flour (240g) (See Note 1)
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- ¼ cup olive oil plus more for bowl
- ½ small red onion diced
- 2 medium tomatoes quartered, seeds removed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped
- 1 ½ tsp dried mint
- 1 ½ tsp ground sumac
- 1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 8 oz ground lamb or beef (80/20)
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, instant dry yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the egg, milk, and extra virgin olive oil. Using dough hook, knead for 5 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Remove the dough and set aside on floured surface and form into a ball. Place back into bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 hour in a draft free, warm place.
- Once the dough doubled in size, punch down the risen dough and knead it on a lightly floured surface. Cut into four equal portions and then shape each piece into a ball. Cover with damp tea towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Place a pizza stone or baking tray inside the oven and set it to 480°F.
- Place all the meat topping ingredients in a food processor (except ground meat) and pulse several times until well combined. Add the ground meat and pulse until the mixture turns into a paste. Transfer to a bowl to rest.
- Lightly flour a ball of dough and roll it into a thin 12" round. Place the round on a piece of parchment paper and brush the edges with olive oil.
- Drain and discard any liquid in meat topping bowl. Divide the topping into quarters and spread evenly all over the dough, then with oiled fingers, gently press it into dough, taking care that you do not tear the dough.
- Place the lahmacun with the baking paper into the pizza stone or baking tray and bake for 5 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining dough and topping. Serve as is or top with feta cheese crumbles, piyaz salad (with or without beans), or arugula greens with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon wedges.
- You can almost use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup semolina flour. Traditionally this is made with all semolina flour.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.