Today's recipe is straight from my mother’s kitchen: phyllo meat pie recipe (aka Egyptian goulash). Layers of flaky phyllo with a tantalizing meat mixture nestled in between. If you've been looking for things to make with phyllo dough, this easy recipe is a great one to try!
If you've had baklava, you've had phyllo! A popular ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking, phyllo is made of unleavened paper-thin pastry dough and is used in both sweet and savory recipes. You can find phyllo dough in most grocery stores in the freezer section near things like puff pastry and pie crust. I use phyllo to make all sorts of delicious dishes, like tarts and savory pies -- and I've even used it as a crispy pizza crust!
It can be intimidating to work with phyllo, but it's easier to use than most people think (I have some tips for you below).
One of my favorite phyllo recipes is my mother's Egyptian goulash. This is not the goulash you may know as macaroni noodles with a beef sauce; Egyptian goulash is something entirely different and so worth a try!
Savory Meat Pie (Egyptian Goulash)
This Egyptian-style meat pie replaces your typical pie crust with phyllo dough! It is basically made of layers of flaky phyllo dough with a ground beef mixture, seasoned with baharat and onions, nestled in between. This pie is known as Egyptian goulash, and it's my favorite meat pie of all time!
The recipe is fairly simple to put together, and if you've ever made lasagna or assembled a casserole dish with several layers, making this savory phyllo meat pie is not much different. You'll spread several phyllo sheets and brush them with a mixture of olive oil and butter (or olive oil only, as I do most of the time). You'll add a layer of cooked ground beef, and then finish with a few more phyllo sheets. That's really all there is to it!
Tips for working with Phyllo Dough
When working with phyllo, first, be sure to thaw it properly overnight in the fridge. You'll also want to take it out of the fridge and set it at room temperature for about 1 hour.
But the biggest secret to working with phyllo dough, as you will see in the step-by-step, is to lay the phyllo sheets between two very lightly damp towels. This will keep them moist and prevent them from breaking as you work to assemble the pie. Also, don't skimp on brushing the phyllo layers with olive oil, this is what helps cook the phyllo to crisp perfection!
Ingredients you need for this savory phyllo meat pie
This phyllo recipe comes together with just a few ingredients. Here's what you'll need to make it:
- Phyllo dough - You'll need 1 16-ounce package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the fridge in its packaging.
- Egg - Whisk 1 egg into 1 cup of milk.
- Extra virgin olive oil - To generously brush the phyllo dough to keep it from breaking. You can also use ½ cup olive oil combined with ½ cup melted butter.
- Spiced meat filling - Chopped onions, lean ground beef, baharat, and garlic powder.
How to make meat pie with phyllo
While working with filo dough can seem intimidating, it is actually quite simple if you follow my simple tips! Here's how to make Egyptian goulash (print-friendly recipe below):
- Prepare the phyllo dough. To keep the phyllo pastry moist and pliable, lay the thawed phyllo sheets between two clean, lightly damp kitchen towels.
- Make the meat filling. Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large nonstick pan. On medium-high heat, saute 1 cup chopped onions briefly. Add 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef. Cook until fully browned, tossing regularly. Remove the pan from the heat briefly and drain any fat, then return back to the stove. Add in the spices (1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 ½ teaspoons baharat, kosher salt, and black pepper), and stir to fully combine. Remove from the heat.
- Assemble the Egyptian goulash. lay three to four sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of a lightly greased 9 ½ x 13 x 2 ¼ inch baking pan. Fold any excess dough in. Brush the top phyllo sheet very generously with extra virgin olive oil. Repeat this step as you lay three to four sheets of phyllo at a time in the baking pan until you have used up ½ of the phyllo sheets.
Now, as you have a nice base for your pie, spread the meat filling evenly on top of the last phyllo sheet.
Layer the remaining sheets on top of the meat repeating the same process as before (again, three or four sheets at a time, fold excess phyllo and butter the top sheet) until the phyllo sheets are used up.
Brush the top sheet very generously with EVOO. With a sharp knife, cut the phyllo pie into 12 squares. Season the prepared milk and egg mixture with kosher salt and black pepper and pour evenly over the pie.
- Bake the phyllo meat pie. Place the phyllo meat pie on the middle rack of a 350 degrees F heated-oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until cooked through. It should turn a nice golden brown. Be watchful so that the pie does not over bake or burn. Remove from the oven, and serve warm.
Serve it with
Egyptian goulash is a filling meal by itself, but I like to add a big fresh salad alongside for some crunch.
Make ahead tips
To work ahead, prepare the recipe as written until the step where you cut up the phyllo meat pie. After cutting the pie into 12 squares, cover it tightly and refrigerate. When you are ready to bake the pie, pour the egg and milk mixture over. Do not prepare this pie more than one night in advance.
Leftovers and storage
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. Or you can freeze leftover Egyptian goulash in a freezer-safe container, and reheat from frozen.
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Phyllo Meat Pie (Egyptian Goulash)
- 16 ounce package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed in its package
- 1 egg, whisked in 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, (OR ½ cup olive oil combined with ½ cup melted butter)
For the meat filling
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- 1 ½ teaspoon baharat
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Carefully lay the thawed phyllo dough sheets between two lightly damp kitchen towels.
- Begin with preparing the meat filling. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick pan. On medium-high heat, saute the chopped onions briefly. Add the ground beef. Cook until fully browned, tossing regularly. Remove the pan from the heat briefly to drain any fat, then return back to the stove. Add in the spices and stir to fully combine. Remove from the heat.
- Now, to assemble the phyllo pie, lay three to four sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of a lightly greased 9 ½ x 13 x 2 ¼ inch baking pan. Fold any excess dough in. Brush the top phyllo sheet generously with olive oil (or oil and butter mixture). Repeat this step as you lay three to four sheets of phyllo at a time in the baking pan until you have used up ½ of the phyllo sheets.
- Now, as you have a nice base for your pie, spread the meat filling evenly on top of the last phyllo sheet.
- Layer the remaining sheets on top of the meat repeating the same process as before (again, three or four sheets at a time, fold excess phyllo and brush with the olive oil) until all phyllo is used up.
- Brush the top sheet with olive oil (or oil and butter mixture). With a sharp knife, cut the phyllo pie into 12 squares.
- Season the prepared milk and egg mixture with salt and pepper and pour evenly over the pie.
- Place the phyllo meat pie on the middle rack of the 350 degrees F heated-oven for about 30 to 45, or until cooked through. The phyllo should be crispy and it should turn a nice golden brown. Be watchful so that pie does not over bake or burn.
- Serve warm with a side salad! Enjoy!
- Phyllo tips: Be sure to thaw the phyllo overnight in the fridge. Do not skimp on brushing the phyllo layers as indicated above. Make sure you drizzle or brush a generous amount of olive oil so that each layer is well coated.
- Prepare-ahead option: To work ahead, prepare the recipe as written until the step where you cut up the phyllo meat pie. After cutting the pie into 12 squares, cover it tightly and refrigerate. When you are ready to bake the pie, pour the egg and milk mixture over. Do not prepare this pie more than one night in advance.
- Leftovers and storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. Or you can freeze leftover Egyptian goulash in a freezer-safe container, and reheat from frozen.
- Visit our shop to browse our spices, olive oils, and more!
Looking through your delishish recipes and wondering if this meat pie can be made with ground or shredded chicken?
Hi, Valerie. Interesting! Not something we've tried before, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
Thank you, making tonight with ground chicken and will let you know....excited!
I really enjoyed this! After making it, I understand that I need a better dish than the one I used as it just didn't fit the phyllo correctly. I wouldn't change a thing about this! I love the little zest from the Bahrat seasoning!
Friend shared their dish with us. Reheated it was awesome! The re-frozen leftovers were still great a week later!
Suzy, we made this tonight and it was wonderful! I agree with your comment - it was hard to stop eating. Thanks for another great recipe!!!
I added celery, zucchini, mushrooms, and green chiles to the meat mixture. Delicious!
Love those additions! Thanks for sharing!
I left a review a while ago regarding how much we absolutely love this recipe. Now I have a question. If I would like to make this vegetarian, can I substitute black or brown lentils in place of the meat, and if so, which one would you recommend?
Your meat pie recipe is delicious. Thank you for sharing it.
So glad you enjoyed it, Colleen!
I have only been cooking from your recipes for a little under a month and I have made a number of dishes. I am hooked!! I would like to make the Egyptian Goulash next and am wondering if my pan would work? It is exactly 9” x 13”. The one you used was 9 1/2” x 13”. Will my pan still work even though it is a little narrower or will I run into problems?
Thank you 😊
I think your pan will be just fine, Laura! Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Sounds delish! Are you able to suggest an alternative to Baharat - I’ve been unable to find it in rural France! Thank you
Hi, Sarah. For this particular recipe, you could use 1 tsp of allspice in place of the baharat.
Hello, Considering making this for a brunch. Wondering if it can be prepared the day before and reheated? Or should I keep this recipe when I can cook it the day it will be eaten.
Hi, Lucie. Making it the day prior will work. If you scroll down the article there is a sectioned titled "Make Ahead Tips" with some more useful info.
I made your, rather, your Mom’s recipe tonight for dinner. Wow! My husband loved it so much and actually had two pieces! We are normally light eaters so that says how awesome this recipe is! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and hope this is in your upcoming cookbook so I can throw the printed out recipe away. Anxiously awaiting this fall when the book is published!
Thanks so much, Ruth Anne!
Is there any substitute for the milk?
Hi, Lucy. Oat milk would probably work here.
I made this last night with a homemade baharat mixture and hot water crust pastry instead of phyllo which I didn't have handy. It turned out great even with the substitutes! The baking dish in the pictures looks a bit bigger than 9.5" x 13". Is that the size you used? Thanks!
Hi, Tim. Yes, that is the size that was used.
Very good! I've always wanted to make a meat pie with phyllo, so thanks for the helpful tips! I added a few more spices and served it with a side of mint-cilantro sauce. Very tasty, and I suspect it's going to be even better the next day. Thanks, Suzy, for sharing your fabulous recipes. I'm a huge fan, and love being introduced to spices like baharat.
Awesome! Thanks, Kim!
This recipe is SO DANGED GOOD!!! When I buy phyllo, it comes in two rolls, so I typically make both this and Spanakopita (or Radikiocopita, if fresh dandelion greens are available, which I blanch and sub for spinach - SO healthy!!! And #foraging...) Anyway, the ONLY thing I do differently is to double the custard; my family is crazy-nuts about the puffy layer of custard, so occasionally I've even use 2 eggs to 1 cup whole milk, if the eggs are on the smaller size...). My family (and frequent visitors!) know they're in for a treat, when this is in the oven!!! 🙂 #love...
Thanks so much, Chrissie!