Lahmacun is a Turkish take on pizza! Made out of fluffy homemade dough and a flavorful meat topping packed with herbs and spices, it’s a hearty meal that’s so easy to customize.
Flatbreads and pizza are one of those go-to meals that I know everyone will enjoy. I’m always looking for ways to update classic recipes, so when I first came across lahmacun while in Istanbul a few years ago I knew I had to give it a whirl! Also called Turkish pizza, it’s a unique type of Mediterranean street food that’s usually rolled up and eaten on the go.
Places of origin include Armenia (lahmadjun), Turkey, Lebanon (lahmajun) and Syria. Lahmacun isn’t the first Turkish street food I’ve tried my hand at. I also love whipping up Gozleme, a stuffed flatbread dish.
Back to the recipe at hand! Start with an easy-to-make homemade crust and you’re in business. Then, use the meat topping as a base and watch as your creation takes shape. You can serve yours with whatever topping add-ons you like. I love throwing in some onions, tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese as well!
No matter which way you decide to serve yours, Turkish pizza is a great easy dinner or party food. If you feel stumped on what to bring to your next gathering, keep this recipe on hand!
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 – 🥄
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- All-Purpose Flour – This dish is traditionally made with all semolina flour. I usually use 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of semolina flour. If you can’t find any semolina, go with all-purpose all the way!
- Dry Yeast – To help your dough rise.
- Sugar & Salt – Sugar feeds the yeast, while the salt keeps it from growing out of control.
- Egg – Like most doughs, you’ll also need an egg.
- Whole Milk – Make sure that it’s at room temperature.
- Olive Oil – To add a bit of flavor and consistency to the dough.
- Ground Meat – I opt for lamb or beef.
- Red Onion & Tomatoes – To add more flavor to the meat-based topping.
- Tomato Paste – To give the topping a more pizza-like flavor and texture.
- Seasonings – This recipe wouldn’t be the same without these herbs and spices:
- Flat Leaf Parsely – Fresh is best.
- Mint – Go for dried here.
- Ground Sumac
- Aleppo chili flakes – For a bit of added heat.
- Cinnamon – To complete the flavor profile!
HOW TO MAKE LAHMACUN
1. Make The Dough. Whisk together the flour, dry yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. When it is well-mixed, add the egg, milk, and olive oil. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until you have smooth and elastic results. Transfer the dough from the bowl to a floured surface so that you can form it into a ball. Place it back in the bowl and cover. You need to allow it to rise for about 1 hour in a warm place. For best results, cover with a damp tea towel!
2. Shape The Dough. After about an hour, your dough should have doubled in size. Punch it down, then knead it on a floured countertop or cutting board. Cut it into four equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Cover your dough again and let it rest for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, place a baking tray or pizza stone (my preference!) into your oven and preheat it to 480°F.
3. Make The Topping. Put all of the ingredients for the meat topping (except for the ground meat) into a food processor and pulse until everything is well combined. Add in your ground meat of choice and pulse until you end up with a paste.
4. Create Your Pizza. Place a bit of flour on one of your balls of dough and roll it into a thin 12-inch thick circle. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect! Place it on a piece of parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Next, split your meat topping into four even parts and gently spread it onto the dough.
5. Bake. Transfer your lahmacun and parchment paper to the pizza stone or baking tray and bake for 5 minutes. Repeat the same process with the rest of the balls of dough and topping. Serve with your topping of choice, like the Piyaz Salad pictured below!
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.
As mentioned, you can serve this dish as is with the simple meat topping, or you can feel free to include other add-ons! Here are some of my favorites:
Onion, either raw, sauteed, or my favorite, pickled red onion
Piyaz or chopped veggie salad
Crumbled feta cheese (grilled or pan-fried halloumi would be fabulous, too!)
Fresh chopped mint
Authentic tzatziki, for dipping
These two Turkish street food dishes are often compared. Pide is submarine-shaped and is quite thick. Lahmacun is a lot thinner and is often rolled into a pancake!
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes June, 2021, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in July, 2022.
Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)
- 1/2 small red onion diced
- 2 medium tomatoes quartered, seeds removed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1 1/2 tsp ground sumac
- 1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 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 is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.