Think of Lahmacun, pronounced Lahamajoun, as super thin, crispy pizza topped with a flavor-packed mixture of minced meat with peppers, tomato, fresh herbs and earthy spices. I take a major shortcut by using quality store-bought pizza dough. But the secret is in the spice mixture!

This lahmacun recipe is the perfect prepare-ahead lunch. And it's a great dinner on-the-go. To serve a crowd, slice it up and serve with other Mezze favorites. See serving ideas below.

What is Lahmacun and Where is it From?

Flatbreads have been a popular thing throughout the Mediterranean for ages--from Italian pizza, to za'atar manaqish from the Levant, to Armenian lavash and Tunisian Mlewi, to this Lahmacun, known as an Armenian specialty that's made it's way to Turkey.

Lahmacun, pronounced "lahma'joun", comes from the Arabic "lahma bi'ajeen," which literally means "dough with meat." Think of lahmacun as perfectly thin, crispier pizza (or flatbread), topped with a spiced minced meat mixture.

It is popular in Turkey as in various parts of the Levant where the Ottoman empire once extended. And there are meat pie--or pizza--variations, including manaqish and sfiha, along with other famous flatbreads like pide and gözleme. Lahmacun is also known as Armenian pizza, Turkish pizza, Lebanese pizza, Arab pizza...It's that popular!

Turkish Lahmacun (Lamajoun). Flatbread with meat topping.

How to Make this Lahmacun Recipe

Lahmacun has two different components. The dough and the meat topping.

1- The dough. I hope my Turkish friends will forgive me, I took a major shortcut with the dough here using quality store-bought pizza dough. It works very well. But if you want, you can certainly make a homemade pizza dough from scratch or use my dough recipe for manaqish.

Whether you use store-bought dough or make your own, the important thing to remember is that you need to spread the dough well to achieve a very thin flatbread that crisps around the edges when baked.

2- The meat topping. Traditionally, Turkish lahmacun is made with minced lamb, but you can also use lean ground beef. What makes the topping special is the combination of flavors.

In this lahmacun recipe, I use a food processor to create the topping. Ground lamb (or beef), mixed with sweet red peppers, shallots, garlic, tomato paste, fresh herbs, and an epic fusion of spices!

Turkish Lahamcun (Lahmajoun). Like a pizza with thin crust and a meat topping

I played with the spices and arrived at a complex, earthy, warm blend of: smoked paprika, allspice, cumin, Aleppo-style pepper, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne. You can omit the cayenne if you need to, or add more if you like the heat!

Two ways to cook Lahmacun

To make lahmacun, the idea is to spread the spiced meat topping very thinly across the dough. You can bake the lahmacun briefly until the topping is well cooked through and the dough turns nice and crispy around the edges. Or, if you don't feel like warming up the oven, you can try the stovetop method using a large non-stick skillet (see recipe notes below).

Sliced Turkish lahmacun (lahmajoun). To feed a crowd, slice it up and share with other mezze.

How to Serve Lahmacun

Lahmacun is a popular on-the-go Turkish food. When you visit Turkey, you'll see people walking the bustling streets of Istanbul, lahmacuns in hand, wrapped up like burritos, and cold glasses of ayran (a salty yogurt drink) to wash it down.

To serve lahmacun wraps, all you need is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top. Add a few slices of red onions, fresh mint leaves, and maybe a few radish slices. Wrap up and enjoy!

Or, to serve a larger crowd, you can slice lahmacun up like you would a pizza and add a drizzle of tahini sauce. Consider adding more mezze favorites on the side like this easy Mediterranean salad and roasted garlic hummus.

More recipes to try:

Mediterranean-Style Zucchini Casserole

Egyptian Phyllo Meat Pie

Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup

Easy Apple Strudel

Sheet Pan Halibut and Vegetables

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Turkish Lahmacun (Lahmajoun). Turkish flatbread with meat topping.

Easy Lahmacun Recipe


Description

Think of Lahmacun (Lahamajoun) as super thin, crispy pizza (or flatbread) known in Armenia and Turkey, topped with a flavor-packed mixture of minced meat with peppers, tomato, fresh herbs and earthy spices. I take a major shortcut by using quality store-bought pizza dough. But the secret is in the spice mixture.


Ingredients

Scale

Dough

  • ½ lb uncooked store-bought organic pizza dough

Topping

  • ½ sweet red pepper, cored, cut into chunks
  • 1 shallot, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ oz fresh parsley leaves with some stem
  • 7 oz ground lamb or ground beef
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp Aleppo-style pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon wedges for later

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to the middle. (or see stove-top instructions in notes)
  2. Prepare the meat mixture. In the large bowl of a food processor, fitted with blade, add red peppers, shallot, garlic, and parsley. Pulse a few times to chop. To the mixture, add ground lamb (or beef). Season with spices and salt. Add tomato paste and extra virgin olive oil. Now pulse again until well-combined (about 8 to 10 pulses.)
  3. Prepare two large rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper (you'll be using these to bake the Lahmacun in batches.)
  4. Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal balls (about 2 oz each.) Working with one ball of dough at a time, place on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out into as thin as you can to a disk that's about 8 or 9 inches in diameter.
  5. Assemble Lahmacun. Place one flatbread disk on one of the prepared pans. Reshape as needed.  Spoon 3–4 tablespoon topping onto dough and spread topping evenly to edges, leaving a thin boarder.
  6. Bake in heated oven for about 5 to 7 minutes or until dough and meat are fully cooked (dough will be a little crusty around the edges.)
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining dough.
  8. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top. Serve Lahmacun hot or at room temperature.  See notes below for how to serve.

Notes

  • Cook's Tip: if ½ lb pizza dough doesn't seem enough for you...if it's not giving you enough for your crowd, you can go ahead and use 1 lb pizza dough. The mixture should still be enough. If you need to feed even more people, and you need to use more pizza dough, then simply double the meat topping.
  • Cook's Tip for How to serve Lahmacun: Before you serve, squeeze just a little bit of lemon juice on Lahmacun. If you like, simply add a few slices of red onion, radish, and fresh mint leaves on top, and wrap the Lahmacun up, burrito-style.  OR, to serve a larger crowd, you can slice Lahmacun like you would pizza or flatbread and serve with a drizzle of tahini sauce and a side of this easy Mediterranean salad.You can add favorite mezze. 
  • Cook's Tip for How to Cook Lahmacun on Stovetop: You can cook Lahmacun on stovetop instead of heating up the oven.  You will need a large non-stick skillet with a lid. Pre-heat skillet over medium heat and add just a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Place one Lahamacun in heated skillet and cover with lid. Cook for about 5 minutes until the meat and dough are cooked through.
  • Recommended for this recipe from our all-natural spice collection: smoked paprika, allspice, cumin, Aleppo-style pepper. SAVE! Create your own 6-pack of spices.
  • Try our Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Private Reserve and Early Harvest EVOOs from organically grown and processed Greek Koroneiki olives. SAVE! Try the EVOO Bundle! 
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Category: Appetizer, Entree
  • Cuisine: Turkish, Mediterranean

Keywords: Easy lahmacun recipe, Turkish Pizza, Armenian Pizza

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Great eaay recipe. Most foods are the same ideas made using ingredients in one's region. This is exactly that. I have used the recipe a few times now though added lemon or lime right before serving in the summer. Also I learned decades ago if you put a couple of quarry tiles in the oven while it's heating up to bake the dough on it makes it extremely crispy. Roll as normal pizza then dip your hands in water and push your fingertips gently on the surface of the dough without pushing through. Making little divots. The more you want it to crisp up the more water divots you put. Don't make it wet it's more about wetting your fingers and Maki g the wet divots. Then immediately put it right on the tiles in the oven to cook. You can also use a pizzastine..I saw this trick years ago on Julia Childs show. One of her guests that is a professional bread maker from around the world gave the tip. I even make my pizza like this sometimes for a super thin crisp dough.
    I love the spices and how this recipe is so differnt than traditional pizza yet still feels like comfort food or something I have made forever. Nicely done.

  2. can i just point out that the word lahmacun is not an Armenian word...anybody can look it up, if thats the case then how can it be an Armenian food?

    1. Hello! I go into a bit of detail about the history of Lahmacun and it's origins in the "What is Lahmacun and Where is it From" section of the post. I encourage you to take a second look at my explanation there, and maybe even do a little deep dive on the internet if you are interested in learning more. Hope you give the recipe a try!

  3. Just came back from a vacation in turkey and was craving this dish. I forgot to buy pizza dough so I used some thin yemeni bread I got from my local Arabic store. It was so delicious and crispy served with some lemon and baby spinach and arugula.
    I don't know why people are getting upset about where it came from. All I know is it's good.

  4. I didn't have dough to work with, only a flat tortilla, so the crust cooked too quickly and it was burned, but I still ate it. Loved the spicy meat mixture though. Next time I'll get the correct dough, which I'm sure will make all the difference. Thanks for your hard work!

    1. Use Raw Tortilla next time or whenever you can’t find pizza dough. It works wonderfully. It doesn’t burn quickly. Meat and the tortilla cooks at the same time. That’s what I replace the dough with and it taste pretty close to the actuall Lahmacun from my home country Turkey.

  5. When I attempted this, the meat mixture seemed too thick to spread. When I finally managed to distribute it, it kind of separated from the dough when it baked rather than baking onto it to form a cohesive Lahmejun. Any thoughts on what might've gone wrong?

    1. Hmmm, I'm not sure what might have been the issue exactly, I have not had this happen when I've made it, Nina...but one thought would be maybe to loosen the meat mixture with just a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to help you spread it better?

      1. Thanks for sharing. Yes, it's an Armenian specialty that's popular in Turkey and parts of the Middle East.

  6. Another outstanding recipe. These were a lot of fun to make too and husband got in on the dough shaping. He worked for almost a decade as a pizza cook and declared that it was something you don't forget. He did a great job!

    These were so tasty and the tip about ready made pizza dough was just great. Next time I want to get the meat a bit thinner but the combination with tahini sauce and we also did some of the 3 ingredient salad, just so tasty. Thank you!

  7. This might be a silly question but do I cook the meat first before putting in the food processor with the spices and olive oil?

  8. Dear Suzy, I beg to differ when I say LAHMAJOON was never a Turkish Pizza....IT IS ARMENIAN THROUGH AND THROUGH....However I agree that chefs in Turkey copied and adopted it.
    I do follow all your recipes with interest being from Egypt myself.....
    Continue your good work...and am looking forward to follow all your future recipes

    1. Thank you, Jilet. So appreciate you sharing, Lahamjoun is a food to be passionate about for food. It is so tasty! Hopefully you read my reference to Armenian Lahmajoun in the post? With the Ottoman empire stretching so far, there are variations of the original Lahmajoun. I was introduced to the Turkish version on a trip. It's a very popular street food there 🙂

      1. It is not Armenian, it is very traditional Turkish. Armenian’s tend to steal traditional dishes from other cultures and present it as their food. It is indeed, very silly, the world tiered of Armenians crazy speculation and claims!

      2. Thank you for sharing Elnara. There is a lot of debate around food, isn't there? The fact is, Lahmacun is delicious and we are all grateful for it!

  9. I had been drooling over the idea of having Lehemejun for weeks and couldn’t find a local place that made them.
    Yesterday this recipe popped up in my Facebook feed and decided to give it a try.
    I must confess I was taken aback by how well the pizza dough worked here and how authentic the flavors came out.
    I honestly did not expect such a fantastic replica of Lehemejun but boy, this recipe is just on point.
    I will be making it often. Thanks a lot for sharing your secrets!

  10. I learned about a new food today. This sounds like a great game day recipe with such warming flavors.

  11. I love learning new recipes from other countries! This looks so good and I can't wait to make it!

  12. I have never tried lahmacun, but you have peaked my curiosity! I love the sound of all of those spices on top, it sounds like it would be full of flavour!

  13. This looks delicious and I appreciate the extra info about how it is typically eaten if we went to Turkey.

  14. This is my first time seeing a recipe for Turkish Lahmacun but it looks fantastic! I love all the flavors and yet it's so simple to make! And the fact that I always have fresh pizza dough at the house means I'll be trying this very soon.

  15. This sounds so flavorful! I haven't had a flatbread like this before, but can't wait to try it now!

  16. This Turkish pizza looks absolutely heavenly! I've been wanting to cook more Mediterranean meals. So glad I found your site!