Lahmacun, also known as Turkish Pizza is one of the most popular Turkish fast foods! It is a super thin flatbread topped with a spicy ground beef or lamb mixture. Put some onions, salad and parsley on it, squeeze lemon over these and roll it up. YUM!
We definitely have an obsession with Turkish food. Lahmacun, a super tasty street food, is always in our top list. Others are manti, which is meat stuffed dumplings, Adana kebab and döner kebap.
Is Lahmacun A Turkish Pizza?
Lahmacun, lahmajoun or lahmajun is one of the most delicious dishes in Turkey. It is world widely known as Turkish pizza but the only similarity between lahmacun and pizza is how they look.
They are both round shaped and topped with a mixture. On the other hand, the dough crust of these are quite different. Lahmacun has a thinner crust, doesn’t have cheese and always topped with a ground meat(beef or lamb) mixture. Plus, it is rolled up before eating.
There is another type of flatbread in Turkey which is more similar to pizza: Pide. Its dough and toppings are quite similar. However, the shape of pide is oval (like a boat) and the edges of it are folded. That might be the reason why it’s not called pizza.
Also, check out our Turkish flatbread bazlama recipe!
Is Lahmacun Turkish Or Armenian?
Turkish and Armenian cultures have a lot in common in terms of their food because they used to live together during Ottoman Empire in the past.
Lahmacun is one of the foods both cuisines have. It is known as lamadjo in Armenia or Armenian pizza around the world.
So it’s hard to say who invented lahmacun first.
Also, there are some slight variations between these:
Turkish Lahmacun: Generally, it's super thin and topped with minced beef or lamb mixed with vegetables, herbs, and spices, then baked until the crust is crispy. It's typically served rolled with additional fresh fillings.
Armenian Lahmacun: This version usually incorporates more garlic and bell peppers in the topping. Also, the topping contains sumac and pomegranate molasses. It's often served flat, sometimes with a squeeze of lemon on top.
Lahmacun is not just limited to Turkish and Armenian cuisines; it's a popular dish in various Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, including Syria and Lebanon.
Types Of Lahmacun
So how do we eat lahmacun? Put some parsley, onions and salad on it, squeeze lemon over these, roll it up and enjoy!
There are two types of lahmacun in Turkish cuisine:
Large and crispy: One of them is with very thin and crispy crust and as big as a plate as you see in the pictures here in this post. This one is made all around the country with some little twists.
Small and soft: The other version is as smaller as a saucer and quite popular in the southern part of Turkey. It is called findik lahmacun. Fındık means hazelnut in Turkish and it is a word used to describe how small this version of lahmacun is. It has a soft and thicker crust as the dough is made with dry yeast.
The ingredients for lahmacun can be put in two groups: For the dough and for the ground meat topping.
For The Dough
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour.
- Salt: Regular table salt works perfectly.
- Water: It should be lukewarm to optimize the dough's texture.
- Dry yeast (optional): We don't use it but there are versions of lahmacun dough that include yeast. It results in a slightly thicker and softer crust.
For The Topping
- Ground beef (beef mince) 80% lean: The 80% lean version adds more flavor due to its higher fat content. If using 90% lean, consider adding some olive oil to keep the topping juicy and flavorful. You could also use ground lamb for a more traditional taste.
- Onions: They should be finely chopped.
- Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes provide acidity, sweetness, and moisture to the topping.
- Parsley: It's typically finely chopped and mixed directly into the topping.
- Tomato paste: This concentrated form of tomatoes adds a deep, umami-rich tomato flavor that complements the beef beautifully.
- Spices: Use black pepper, paprika, cumin. They add warmth, heat, and depth to the topping. If any of these spices is not available, you can use alternatives like cayenne pepper or chili powder, although the taste will be slightly different.
- Vinegar: This adds acidity to balance the richness of the beef and the sweetness of the onions and tomatoes. You can use apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or even lemon juice as a substitute.
- Water: A small amount of water can be added to the topping to ensure it stays moist and does not dry out during baking.
- Optional add-ins: Finely chopped red or green bell peppers, a few cloves garlic (grated), chili flakes and a pinch of cinnamon.
How To Make The Dough
It is a simple 3-ingredient no-yeast dough. Although there are lahmacun recipes around calling for yeast, there is really no need for that. Masters of lahmacun in Turkey says that it shouldn’t be a soft dough because you roll it out thin. So if you don’t like working with yeast, this recipe is for you.
Whisk together 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Pour water gradually over these and mix with your hand until everything holds together well. It should be a hard dough. You might need to wet your hand a few times when making this dough. Alternatively, you can make the dough in a stand mixer too.
Slightly dust the counter with flour and transfer the dough on it. Knead it about 5-7 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
Give it a log shape about 14 inches (35cm) length. Cut it into 11 pieces. Roll each of them into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest until you prepare the topping.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to cover the remaining patties with a clean kitchen towel when rolling out one of them. Otherwise, they might dry out.
Is There A Shortcut For Lahmajoun Dough?
Yes! You can use store-bought pizza dough, but it might not be rolled out as thin as the homemade dough. Still, it works fine for those who don’t want to bother making the dough from scratch.
How To Cook It
Traditionally it is cooked in a large stone oven, but it’s not possible when you are making it at home. There are two cooking options of homemade lahmacun:
- In the oven: Preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Roll out each piece of dough balls on a floured counter into a thin circle. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can bake two flatbreads in a baking sheet at a time. Spread a thin layer of the topping mixture on it. Make sure all parts including the edges are coated well. Gently press on the mixture so that it sticks on the dough well and spreads evenly. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Repeat the same steps for the remaining dough balls. Change the parchment paper with a new one after baking three times of baking.
- On the stove: Heat a non-stick pan with a lid over medium low heat. Roll out a dough ball on a floured counter into a thin circle that is not bigger than the pan you are using. Gently place it in the hot pan. Spread the topping mixture on it using a spoon. Gently press on it with the back of the spoon. Cover the pan with the lid and cook it for 7-8 minutes or until you see some marks at the bottom. Repeat for the remaining dough balls.
It is a must to pair lahmacun with a glass of ayran, a drink made from yogurt or salgam suyu, a turnip juice drink.
Also, serve it with fresh parsley, spices, lemon wedges, a sumac onion salad, chopped tomato salad and ezme salad on the side.
People generally order two or three lahmacuns - if not more, so one is never enough. Some restaurants serve it sliced like a pizza, but traditionally it is eaten whole and rolled up like burritos.
Storing & Reheating
In the fridge: Put the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They keep well for 3-4 days.
In the freezer: Wrap each with foil and keep in the freezer for 3 months.
To reheat in the oven: Preheat the oven at 400 F (200 C) and reheat lahmacun for 5 minutes. When reheating frozen lahmacun, keep them in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
To reheat in a pan: Heat a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Put your lahmacun in it and heat covered for about 5 minutes or until hot. If it is frozen, it will take longer.
It is not a traditional thing in Turkey. But if you are a fan of feta and love it on anything, go ahead and use it.
Yes! Substitute vegan mince for the meat in the topping. Alternatively, you can use finely chopped mushrooms. It might be better to cook the mushrooms first and then combine it with the other topping ingredients.
As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
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Lahmacun Recipe - Turkish Pizza
Thin flatbread topped with a spicy ground meat mixture and baked in oven.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 11 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 3 cups flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 and ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 400g (14oz) ground beef, 80% lean
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- ½ cup tomatoes, finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Whisk together 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
- Pour water gradually over these and mix with your hand until everything holds together well. It should be a hard dough. You might need to wet your hand a few times when making this dough. Alternatively, you can make the dough in a stand mixer too.
- Slightly dust the counter with flour and transfer the dough on it. Knead it about 5-7 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Give it a log shape about 14 inches(35cm) length. Cut it into 11 pieces. Roll each of them into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rest until you prepare the topping.
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 450 F/230C. Roll out each piece of dough balls on a floured counter into a thin circle. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can bake two flatbreads in a baking sheet at a time.
- Spread a thin layer of the topping mixture on it. Make sure all parts including the edges are coated well.
- Gently press on the mixture so that it sticks on the dough well and spreads evenly. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Repeat the same steps for the remaining dough balls.
- Change the parchment paper with a new one after baking three times of baking.
- You can make these using whole wheat flour too or a combination of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
- You can use your food processor to have finely chopped onions, parsley and tomatoes. Make sure no big pieces left.
- Cooking on the stove: Heat a non-stick pan with a lid over medium low heat. Roll out a dough ball on a floured counter into a thin circle that is not bigger than the pan you are using. Gently place it in the hot pan. Spread the topping mixture on it using a spoon. Gently press on it with the back of the spoon. Cover the pan with the lid and cook it for 7-8 minutes or until you see some marks at the bottom. Repeat for the remaining dough balls.
- You can freeze baked lahmacuns for future eating.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 232
- Sugar: 1.7 g
- Sodium: 452.9 mg
- Fat: 7.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 29.6 g
- Protein: 10.3 g
- Cholesterol: 25.8 mg
Keywords: lahmacun, Turkish Pizza
the mince mixture u dont precoook for the turkish pizza
Zerrin & Yusuf says
No we don't cook it before baking. It is a thin layer on the dough, so it cooks well together with the dough.
We had lots of lahmacun when we visited Turkey last summer. I am glad I found your recipe. Tried it today and my family LOVED it! Thank you!
Zerrin & Yusuf says
So happy to hear your family and you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for letting us know.
Hello I have been subscribed on your website for along time and I receive your recipes all the time but never got the chance to try .. and today I am sitting and exploring your website. I leave your amazing website!
Zerrin & Yusuf says
Hi Sarah! Thank you for subscribing and welcome to our blog!
Please feel free to ask if you have any questions about the recipes.
Andrea Hutton says
I am totally in awe of anything Turkish, and your recipes are the best. Thank you. I would like to know if you cook the ground beef before you put it on the ‘flatbread’ for the lamacan?
Thankyou for sharing your recipes.
Zerrin & Yusuf says
Glad you like our recipes! Turkish foods are addictive, aren't they?
As for your question, no we don't cook the ground beef before putting it on the dough. They cook together.
I can never get tired of Turkey, Turkish cuisine, Turkish music etc. Living in the middle East for a more than a decade has made in fall in love with its culture and cusine and over all Mediterranean regions.
This is a really simple fuss free lahemchun recipe that I was out looking for. Thanks for sharing. it looks amazing. Will surely give a try
Thank you for this lovely comment. And so happy that you found our blog. Turkish culture is addictive with all its parts. Right? Let us know what you think when you try this lahmacun recipe.
Lahmacun is also eaten in Lebanon and Syria - the word "lahm" means meat in Lebanese and "ajeen"/"majoon" means dough in Lebanese.
When I was in Istanbul, a Turkish baker told me the name and the food was brought back to Istanbul during the ottoman times from Levantine Arabs. Another one told me it comes from Arabs in Antakya.
Nonetheless, your recipe is amazing. All your recipes are.
Hello, thank you for the recipe. I just want to ask what kind of flour do you use? Is plain or all purpose flour ok?
Hi Jeanette, both are fine to make lahmacun dough.
Thanks for the recipe
Hi, Zerrin, I'm Italian and I was in Istanbul last week. I loved turkish cooking and you can imagine my joy when I found your recipes, so clear and simple, although I have some difficulty with cup and tsp... I ate lahmacun in a small bakery with few tables in Balat and I loved it! I'll try to do it myself very soon.
Your Lahmacuns look amazing! A wonderful dish. I made this speciality once, but I'll have to make it again soon as I'm starting to crave those scrumptious flatbreads.
You must try it with whole wheat flour next time! You will love the color too!
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe says
You read my mind! I was driving home from work on Monday and thinking about these. I've had it stuck on my mind ever since. I only made them once making the dough myself. I usually cheat and make them on flour tortillas for a quick version. I was thinking about trying it on an actual pizza crust dough next time. My sister loves them with string cheese and herbs rolled up in them. I sometimes add paper thin slices of tomato and some shredded cheddar. Never tried lemon. 🙂
Hi Chris! Making these with tortillas is absolutely the easier way, but it's better when you make the dough yourself. We nver have it with cheese, but sounds intriguing! I love to try new things on out traditional dishes, so I must try it next time. Lemon definitely completes the flavor, try it!
Samah@ good cooks says
Yes, it's better than with the white flour, especially if one is not enough, hehe..
My favorite sunday brunch, but I usually eat it at the lebanese restaurant, and never tried it at home. I mean this version, the thin one. It's mostly like what we call sfiha in arabic, but sfiha is thicker, it's the same when you add raw meat to the dough.
Thanks Zerrin for sharing the recipe.
It is not that hard to make it at home Samah! I love to have a good amount of filling on my lahmacun, so I can put as much as I like when I make it at home:) I haven't heard of shifa before, thanks for informing!
Shannon | JustAsDelish says
This lahmacun is my kind of 'pizza'.. thin crust.. looks delicious!
Btw, Thanks for visiting my blog.. After weeks of traveling in February, now only I have time to catch up on blog visits..
Turkey's For Life says
We've never tried to make our own lahmacun before but we do love it and you've made it look quite easy! 🙂 Your photos are great. If they don't tempt anyone to try lahmacun, nothing will!
Julia, it's really not that hard! You can put the filling on it as much as you like when you make it at home:)