Armenian meat pies (Lahmajoon)

October 17, 2011  •  Category:



These Armenian meat pies are called lahmajoon and are made to order in Armenian neighborhood bakeries in Beirut. They are a bit spicy, the dough encasing them is almost paper-thin (similar to a Mexican flour tortilla) and tender with crisp edges; rolled up in a piece of paper and doused with fresh lemon juice these lahmajoon are  served fresh out of the oven.

It is hard to eat just one.

If you want to save time, you can buy frozen bread dough or flour tortillas. I am using an all-purpose pita bread dough that is a snap to make.

DOUGH: Makes 25 to 30 pies

  • 4 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp of dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil (more to coat the dough)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water


  • 1 onion, chopped (6 oz)
  • 1 green bell pepper (8 oz), chopped
  • 1 1/2 pound mixture of ground lamb and ground beef (lean)
  • 1 1/2 cup of minced parsley
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 6 cloves of garlic chopped and mashed
  • 6 oz of tomato paste
  • 3 oz of  red pepper paste
  • 2 heaping tbsp of hot paprika or chile powder


For the dough:

  1. Place the yeast and one teaspoon of sugar in a small measuring cup; add 1/2 cup of warm water and stir. Place it in a cupboard for 15 minutes and let it proof; in the meantime, place the flour, salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar in the bowl of a mixer or processor. Mix to combine; when the yeast has bubbled, pour into the flour mixture with one cup of warm water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix for a few minutes until the dough is a compact, shiny mass. Transfer to a counter, and knead it vigorously for 10 seconds; form into a ball, place in a bowl with a bit of oil, coat it with the oil all over; cover with a damp cloth or a plastic and let it proof in the turned-off oven or in a cupboard for 2 hours or so.

For the filling:

  1. Chop the onion very fine and sprinkle with salt; place on a paper towel set on a sieve over a bowl and let it drain its water for thirty minutes or longer. This is an optional step. Place the meats in the bowl of a food processor, add the spices, paste, minced parsley, chopped bell pepper and drained onion and process into a paste a few seconds.
  2. Turn out the dough on the counter and press to de-gas it. Chop off about 25 small balls of dough and cover them with a damp cloth; take one ball at a time and roll it out into a pie shape keeping the crust very thin; spread the meat paste on it with a long spatula evenly to the edges; set it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake in a 400F oven for about 8 minutes. Cool a few seconds, squeeze a half lemon on it and eat stuffed with fresh veggies if desired.


62 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Krista says:

    These look SO good, Joumana. 🙂 I don’t have any lamb or hamburger on hand, but I have heaps of kangaroo mince. I’ll have to see if that works. 🙂

  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Frozen tortillas almost seen like an injustice for these, but not sure I could wait to devour them.

  3. Devaki says:

    Oh look at that! How can I resist eating a whole one just on my own? Fantastic flavors. You make magic with bread Joumana 🙂

    chow! Devaki@ weavethousandflavors

  4. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

    My mouth is watering! CRispy and rich and bright – these look amazing!

  5. Peter says:

    Love Lahmacun and I had some fabulous ones in Istanbul…wood burning ovens and each one was made to order!

  6. Claudia says:

    The allspice surprised and delighted me. It added just the right nuance to this. I am afraid you are right – one would never be enough. I love how you take dough and meat and enchant.

  7. familycook says:

    I admire your talent of writing great, detailed recipes! What’s amazing is, they are so easy to follow:) Thanks a lot for sharing your talent.

    The meat piues look very delicious.

  8. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Ah, ça, pour une fois, j’en ai déjà fait ! par contre, ce que je ne connais pas, c’est cette manière de mettre la salade dedans … Ce doit être encore meilleur. J’essaierai !
    Bisous et bonne journée

  9. meredith says:

    Mmm, those look delicious!

  10. Jamie says:

    This is very similar to the spicy lamb Turkish pizzas we used to buy in Paris and now sometimes make at home. And they are fabulous!!! We each manage to eat 2 or 3 dinner-plate sized pizzas they are so outrageously delicious! Now I have to make them again. Fabulous, Joumana.

  11. Priya says:

    Super tempting meat pie,makes me hungry..

  12. Rosa says:

    Mmmhhh, that is a wonderful speciality! That recipe is so great.



  13. Sylvia@bascooking says:

    My mouth is watering early in the morning. Love Lahmacun!!

  14. Amanda says:

    Another winner, thanks Joumana. I find it impossible to resist anything wrapped in carbs!

  15. Jack Fargher says:

    I can not think of anything more delicious!

  16. Gayane says:

    Thank you very much for the recipe, and all Armenian food recipes, you are doing amizing job.

  17. Juliana says:

    Joumana, I’ve bought this meat pies at the local Middle Eastern store…and they sure are very tasty…yours look awesome, and the pictures are just beautiful.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week and thanks for this great recipe 🙂

  18. Raffi says:

    As an Armenian born in Beirut in 1958 I love the occasional nod you throw to the diaspora of Armenians in Lebanon. I relocated to California in 1960 but I’ve always wanted to return to the country of my birth to see the beauty that my parents said was Lebanon of the 1950s. I grew up with all sorts of Armenian and Middle Eastern foods as part of my parents’ kitchen and the company of their assorted “old country” friends. For that I will always be thankful.

    And thank YOU for this excellent blog. I am a restaurateur and coffeehouse owner who appreciates the wonderful recipes and commentary you provide to the cuisine that you are rightfully proud of…

  19. Joanne says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a meat pie made quite like this! You’re right…I wouldn’t be able to stop at one!

  20. Tracey@TangledNoodle says:

    One meat pie could feed a small family! However, I do believe I could polish off one by myself… Thank you for including your recipe for all-purpose pita bread, too! 😎

  21. Sonia Rumzi says:

    Joumama, I need a huge favor. I need a recipe for Semsemeya. Mon mari l’aime beaucoup. He just loves the real thing. Please help me out to make some. Thanks.

  22. Mama says:

    wow those look pretty good!! a must try, I don’t think I’ve had the Armenian version yet!

  23. Banana Wonder says:

    I have never seen Armenian meat pies eaten this way but I love it. They SHOULD all be eaten with delicious crunchy veggies inside. Good stuff!!

  24. samir says:

    wow.beautiful , I love armenian/turkish lahm ma ajjeen. they look like you took them to a wood oven..I can never manage get the dough so evenly golden baked, the underneath crust that is., with a conventonal home oven, btw our dough recipe is about the same….how did u do this? thank you in advance

    • Joumana says:

      @Samir: I baked them at 400F and placed them on a silpat (silicone mat) or parchment paper. You can also try a BBQ grill, but watch it carefully! 🙂 It could also have to do with the filling: If you used chopped tomatoes, they would wet the dough and keep it from browning; you may add some flour to the filling in that case (about 1/2 cup of flour for 2 pounds of filling); also, did you add sugar to the dough? that helps it brown.

  25. Meeta says:

    Sensational! this is what I usually indulge in when I visit our local Armenian place. Love it Jou!

  26. Doc says:

    Yummy yummy! Love the savory toast twist. ANd really, what is more delicious than a meat pie? These make me hungry!

  27. Cristina says:

    I have been looking for a thinner alternative to Mexican tortillas, so maybe your recipe is the key..Thanks! (and the rest is just marvellous! )

  28. spice says:

    Joumana, this meat pie looks very delicious….& easy recipe too…Thanks for sharing.

  29. Kristin says:

    Mmm…looks delicious! I used to have a Persian roommate who would make something similar, but she took a short cut and used pillsbury croissants. They were so good. I think of them every now and then, so this will be a nice recipe to try!

  30. beena says:

    Yummy. Looks so delicious: I am hungry!

  31. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    These look amazing! I also love how rich spicy flavors are juxtaposed with fresh vegetables and lemon juice.

  32. Nadji says:

    J’appelle ça la pizza turque. Je rends à César ce qui lui appartient.
    Je note. A tester dès que possible.
    A très bientôt.

  33. Oui, Chef says:

    I have no intention of eating just one, and I can say that with absolute certainty.

  34. domi says:

    Superbe cette recette on dirait une pizza sandwich…excellent !!!!

  35. s says:

    joumana- lovely post- we have an Lebanese-Armenian grocery store/bakery here in Toronto called Arz- they sell gorgeous lahmajoon in their baked goods section along with sfiha and khafeh- it is just utterly delicious. for those days when i cannot make it there- your recipe will come in handy. x shayma

  36. samir says:

    we add suger but not that much ..a teaspoon only ..will add a tbsp as this recipe calls for..

  37. Sarah says:

    A family favorite. I normally fry the meat before baking although this is not traditional. There’s a Turkish bakery nearby that makes pide, very similar except shaped into a boat.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  38. Aïda says:

    Je n’ai jamais testé mais j’adore les manger!!!!
    Dès que je finis mon déménagement, je test ta recette 😉

  39. Chiara says:

    those look delicious and tasty !

  40. Cherine says:

    A wonderful specialty… I’m drooling

  41. Jasmine says:

    Wow, I am definitely going to give these a try! It looks delicious!

  42. Gula Welat says:

    Bonsoir joumanah! encore de jolies recettes!!
    Tu sais j’ai fait pas mal de recherches il y’a longtemps sur cette fameuse pizza et je peux dire qu’elle n’est ni turque ni arménienne mais arabe!
    tu parles surement l’arabe tu aurais du tilter sur la phonétique du mot
    lahm = viande
    ajin = pain
    d’après mes recherches ca pourrait être probablement de syrie

    • Joumana says:

      @Gula: En arabe, on les appelle lahem bel-ajeen, mais on les fait différemment et les Arméniens du Liban la prépare de cette façon. Tu as raison, comme le nom est arabe, l’origine doit l’être aussi vraisemblablement!

  43. Nuts about food says:

    I love this recipes, these look so good. It is almost lunchtime here and my stomach is growling. Love how every country has its version of this kind of food.

  44. Alicia (Foodycat) says:

    That looks amazing! I have to give them a go!

  45. 7alim says:

    “En arabe, on les appelle lahem bel-ajeen, mais on les fait différemment”

    How would I prepare this recipe differently were I to make it Lebanese-style? Is it just the dough that’s different, or are the seasonings different? Could you post a Lebanese recipe?

  46. Sarah says:

    I mad it for the first time 2 years ago! Oh what a work but oh so worth it!

  47. Trix says:

    This has caused an instant craving! I love how crispy that dough looks. ….

  48. Margaret says:

    This looks delicious. What a great twist on what I consider a traditional meat pie.

  49. sana says:

    Made it twice already, Major hit with everyone. Mouth watering delicious!

  50. Mathai says:

    That looks awesome! I wonder why we don’t have this at our local bakery. They have Laham Fatayer and Laham Jibin Fatayer but not this one. Thanks for the recipe.

  51. Marianela says:

    I first tried lahmajoon while visiting friends and family in Uruguay…I’m hooked!!!

  52. festivals says:

    fréquemment et ce pendant toute l’année, nous recevons des créateurs
    contemporains dont les pièces sont disponibles au Théâtre Laurette.
    En 2003, lors du Festival OFF d’Avignon, Fernando Arrabal était visible pour fêter ses soixante-dix ans dans l’ancienne salle qui portait son nom.

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