Iskender Kebab Recipe

Hands holding homemade iskender kebab with tomato sauce, yogurt, roasted tomatoes and pepper on a white plate.

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3.8 from 4 reviews

Iskender kebab is a pile of pide bread, doner meat and tomato sauce drizzled with browned butter. 


Doner Meat:

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 kilo/2lb ground beef (15% fat)

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon isot pepper (or paprika)

  • 4 tablespoons yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 2 tablespoons butter to cook döner

Tomato Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 cups passata or tomato juice/puree

  • ½ cup hot water

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

To Serve:

  • 4 cups cubed pide bread

  • 1 cup yogurt

  • 4 tomatoes

  • 4 green peppers

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and sizzling


Doner Meat:

  1. Puree the onion in a food processor. Sieve its juice into a large mixing bowl. We just need the juice.

  2. Put the ground beef, döner kebab seasoning, salt, yogurt and milk in the same bowl. Combine them well using your hand. Give it a log shape.

  3. Transfer it on a baking paper and wrap it tightly. 

  4. Let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours. Then transfer it to the freezer and let it sit there for 8 hours or overnight. You can remove it from the freezer when you are ready to cook.

Tomato Sauce: 

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add in tomato paste and tomato juice/puree or passata. Pour water over these. Add in salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until it boils. Reduce the heat to the lowest and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Cooking Doner:

  1. While your sauce is simmering, you can cook the doner. Remove it from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Hold the döner log with a piece of baking paper and carefully make large thin slices (like shaving) using a sharp knife. 

  2. Heat one teaspoon butter in a non stick pan over high heat. Line sliced döner pieces in a single layer and cook both sides until nicely brown. 

  3. Cook döner in batches and never overload the pan. You can transfer the cooked pieces on a plate and finally put them all the pan just to heat a bit right before serving.

Heating Pide Bread:

While you are cooking the doner, you can heat chopped pide bread in a pan with a splash of water. We want them soft, so you can add a little more water if needed.

Assemble the kebab:

  1. Place heated pide bread chunks on a plate. 

  2. Drizzle a little tomato sauce over them. 

  3. Top it with cooked doner meat (as much as you want). 

  4. Pour a generous amount of tomato sauce over meat.

  5. Place a dollop of yogurt, roasted or raw tomatoes and green peppers on the side of the meat on the same plate.

  6. Drizzle sizzling butter over these and serve immediately.