Mouth-watering Sfiha Recipe for a Delicious Snack

As a chef with roots in the Middle East, I have always had a soft spot for traditional Middle Eastern cuisine. One dish that holds a special place in my heart (and on my taste buds) is Sfiha – a Lebanese meat pie that can be described as a cross between a pizza and a hand pie.

Sfiha, also known as Lahm Bi Ajeen, is made with a perfectly spiced meat filling consisting of ground lamb or beef, onions, tomatoes, and an array of spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne pepper. The mixture is then spread over a homemade dough and baked until it reaches the perfect balance of crispy and chewy.

But what truly sets this recipe apart is its unique toppings. Pine nuts and pomegranate molasses add a sweet and tangy twist to the meaty goodness of the filling.

I am thrilled to share this recipe with you today. With its flavorful filling and satisfying texture, Sfiha has quickly become a family favorite in my household. I hope it will become one in yours too. So let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Sfiha (Lebanese Pie)
Sfiha (Lebanese Pie)

Are you looking for a delectable Middle Eastern delicacy to tantalize your taste buds? Look no further than the Lebanese sfiha, a savory meat pie that is simply irresistible. You’ll love this recipe for its perfect blend of slightly sweet and savory flavors that’ll transport you to the heart of the Mediterranean.

One of the reasons you’ll fall in love with this sfiha recipe is its ingredient list. With ground beef or lamb, pine nuts, onions, tomatoes, allspice, and cayenne pepper, this dish is packed with protein and exotic spices. The addition of pomegranate juice adds a tangy twist and depth to the flavor profile that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

Another reason to love this recipe is how versatile it is. You can customize it based on your dietary needs and preferences. Substitute meat with vegetarian or vegan alternatives like mushrooms or tofu for a nutrient-packed meal. You can also adjust the spices according to your palate’s preferences.

Not only is sfiha’s filling a delightful culinary treat, but also its dough recipe. You can make it at home very quickly without any professional training required. You can use it in various large pie dishes, small hand pies or open-faced pizzas – making it perfect for family dinners or intimate gatherings.

Finally, there’s no denying the cultural significance surrounding this dish. Sfihas are considered staples in Lebanese cuisine and loved worldwide as Middle Eastern appetizers. Prepare them anytime and enjoy traditions dating back centuries in each bite.

To summarize, if you’re looking for a dish that satisfies your cravings and introduces you to new flavors and cultures, then this Lebanese sfiha recipe deserves an immediate place onto your kitchen repertoire. Give it a try today!

Ingredient List

 Savory and juicy Sfiha, a Lebanese pie with a unique blend of spices and meat
Savory and juicy Sfiha, a Lebanese pie with a unique blend of spices and meat

Let’s jump into the essential ingredient list that makes this sfiha recipe scrumptious. This Lebanese meat pie is traditionally made with a minced meat filling, over an open-faced flatbread dough. Here is what you need to make 5 servings of Sfiha Bi Ajeen:

Ingredients (5 servings/ Serves 5)
Flatbread Dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water

Meat Topping Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground lamb, beef or a mix of both
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ tablespoon pepper paste (optional)
  • Salt, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to taste

Yoghurt Dip Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt to taste

Make sure to have these ingredients on hand before diving into the recipe. If you want to adjust or substitute any ingredient, make sure it preserves the essence of sfiha. Now that we have everything listed down let’s get ready to prepare the dish!

The Recipe How-To

 A mouth-watering bite of Sfiha - one is never enough!
A mouth-watering bite of Sfiha – one is never enough!

Making the Dough

To start making the sfiha dough, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Mix with your hands until a smooth dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface for approximately 10-15 minutes. Then place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 30 minutes, giving it time to rise.

Preparing Meat Filling

While waiting for the dough to rise, it is time to prepare the meat filling. Take 1 pound of ground beef or ground lamb and mix it with 1 diced red onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon each of ground allspice, ground cinnamon and ground cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.

Rolling out Dough

After half an hour has passed for the dough, it’s time to roll it out. Divide the dough into equal small pieces (around 3 inches diameter) using your hands or a knife. Flatten each piece with your palms leaving a little thickness especially at the brim for easy handling while loading meat filling later on.

Add Crispy Pine Nuts and Bake

Top each flattened dough with around one tbsp spoonful of meat mixture, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle pine nuts generously over the meat, locking it nicely together into an irresistible bite.

Finally bake at oven temperature at least 200°C/ 392°F in preheated oven for about fifteen minutes or so until sfihas are slightly golden on top.

Serve Hot Off The Oven

Take out from oven as soon as done and serve hot off the oven! “Bon appetit!” as they say in my country!

Substitutions and Variations

 A tray of freshly baked Sfiha, hot and ready to serve
A tray of freshly baked Sfiha, hot and ready to serve

When it comes to making Lebanese meat pies, there’s no shortage of ways to switch up the ingredients and make it your own. Here are a few substitutions and variations to try:

– Meat: While ground lamb is traditional in sfiha, you can also use ground beef or a mixture of both. For a tasty twist on Lebanese sfiha, try using minced chicken or turkey instead.

– Pine nuts: If you don’t have pine nuts on hand (or simply don’t like them), chopped almonds, cashews or walnuts make great substitutes.

– Tomato paste and pepper paste: If you can’t find these Middle Eastern staples at your local grocery store, substitute with tomato sauce and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

– Pomegranate juice: Although pomegranate molasses is usually used to add tanginess to the meat topping in sfiha, you can also use freshly squeezed pomegranate juice mixed with a little sugar for a similar effect.

– Dough recipe: If you’re short on time or don’t feel like making your own dough from scratch, pre-made pizza dough or even puff pastry sheets can be used in place of the homemade dough recipe.

– Hand pies: While the open-faced version of sfiha is most commonly seen, try turning these into hand pies by cutting circles of dough and folding one half over the meat filling before crimping the edges closed.

Whether you’re experimenting with different types of meat fillings or trying out new nut toppings, sfiha is a versatile dish that lends itself well to customization. Don’t be afraid to get creative and see what delicious variations you can come up with!

Serving and Pairing

 A sprinkle of parsley and a squeeze of lemon to elevate the flavors of Sfiha
A sprinkle of parsley and a squeeze of lemon to elevate the flavors of Sfiha

The Lebanese Sfiha is widely enjoyed as a delicious appetizer or as a satisfying main dish. As it is a savory meat pie, it pairs perfectly with tangy and refreshing accompaniments. I recommend serving the sfiha alongside a bowl of creamy tzatziki sauce, made of thick yogurt and juicy cucumbers. The tzatziki will not only complement the rich flavor of the sfiha but will also provide you with a cool respite from the heat of the spices.

Another perfect pairing for my Lebanese sfiha is a crisp salad dressed lightly in olive oil and lemon juice. A simple mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers will provide you with that invigorating crunch that balances out the heaviness of the meat filling.

If you are looking for a bolder pairing that will excite your taste buds, try serving your sfiha with a glass of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. The sweet-tartness of this crimson elixir provides an exciting contrast to the earthy flavors found in the savory meat pies.

Finally, consider pairing your sfiha with a cup of strong Arabic coffee or sweet mint tea to round off the meal. This combo brings memories of my childhood where delicious baked goods were enjoyed over good conversation with family and friends in cozy houses.

Overall, these pairings help elevate your meal to another level by introducing flavors that perfectly complement each other for an exquisite experience.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Sfiha, a crowd-pleasing appetizer for any occasion
Sfiha, a crowd-pleasing appetizer for any occasion

Once you’ve made your sfiha, you may find yourself with leftovers or want to make the sfiha ahead of time. Fear not, as this recipe is perfect for both! Sfihas can be prepared in advance and frozen, making them a perfect snack to keep on hand when hosting guests or for when you want to have a quick and easy meal on hand.

To store sfihas, allow them to fully cool after baking. Once cooled, place them into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. When ready to reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the sfihas onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until heated through.

If you’ve made more than you need, the cooked meat filling also freezes well! Simply store it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, simply take out of the freezer and allow it to thaw completely in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, warm it up gently in a saucepan over medium heat whilst stirring occasionally.

The beauty of sfiha is that they can be enjoyed hot or cold, depending on your preference. So whether you’re looking for a quick snack on-the-go or want to impress guests with freshly baked goods, these meat pies will not disappoint. The flavor will still burst in your mouth even after reheating.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect dough-to-filling ratio, making each bite a perfect bite
The perfect dough-to-filling ratio, making each bite a perfect bite

As a chef, my ultimate goal is to make sure the dish I prepare not only tastes heavenly but also looks flawless. In this section, I will share some tips that you can implement for perfect results when making Sfiha (Lebanese Pie).

1. Don’t skimp on the spices

The spices are a crucial component of this recipe. So, make sure you use high-quality spices and don’t skimp on them. I prefer using a blend of ground allspice, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper for a robust flavor.

2. Roast the pine nuts

Roasting pine nuts in butter brings out their nutty flavor and makes them crispy. Before adding them to the meat filling, roast them in a pan with a tablespoon of butter until golden brown.

3. Use good quality ground meat

The secret to mouth-watering sfiha is using fresh and lean ground meat. You can use either lamb or beef depending on your preference.

4. Keep the dough thin

When rolling out the dough for sfihas, make sure you keep it thin, about 1/8 inch thick to ensure even baking and prevent the crust from becoming too thick.

5. Add pomegranate juice

Adding a splash of pomegranate juice to the tomato sauce enhances the flavor profile while giving it a Lebanese twist.

6. Use red onions

Finely-diced red onions in sfiha balances the strong flavors of ground meat and spices while adding a nice crunch to every bite.

7. Bake at high temperature

Bake sfihas on high temperature between 475-500°F (245-260°C) for 10-12 minutes until the crust becomes crispy and golden brown.

By following these tips, you’ll be sure to make delicious Sfiha at home, whether they are open-faced or closed hand pies – just like they do in Lebanon!


Now that we’ve covered the necessary information in this Sfiha recipe article, you may have questions that haven’t been addressed yet. Therefore, I will provide some commonly asked questions and their answers in this section to help you make the perfect Sfiha for your next meal or gathering.

What is a meat filled pastry called?

If you’re in the mood for a tasty and convenient Latin American pastry, why not try making some empanadas? These savory treats can be baked or fried and come packed with a variety of fillings such as cheese, veggies, and beef. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your ingredients and flavors for an even more delicious experience.

What is a meat pie called?

Tourtière, a savory pie made with a piecrust and filled with a blend of spices, onions, herbs, and ground meat, is also commonly referred to as meat pie or pork pie.

Why is my meatpie not crunchy?

One trick to achieve a crisp yet tender crust is to increase the amount of butter used in the recipe. Conversely, reducing the butter content will result in a dryer and crunchier texture. It’s worth noting that I replaced the traditional use of eggs for glazing with milk, which worked out wonderfully for this particular recipe.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, Sfiha is a delicious and flavorful dish that you will fall in love with instantly. The mouth-watering aroma of the meat pies is hard to resist, and the taste will have you coming back for more. With the perfect balance of spices, meat filling, and crust, this dish is sure to impress your family and friends.

Whether you are hosting a party, looking for an appetizer to bring to a potluck or just want a comforting meal on a Sunday evening, sfiha lebanese meat pies are perfect for any occasion. The crust can be prepped ahead of time, and the filling is versatile enough that you can substitute it with ground beef or lamb if preferred.

So why not give this recipe a try? You won’t regret it. It’s easy to make, and the result is truly impressive. I hope these instructions, tips, substitutions, and variations were helpful for you. Remember to experiment with different toppings and fillings to cater to your preferences.

In summary, Sfiha Lebanese pies are a popular Middle Eastern delicacy that should be added to your recipe book today. The savoriness of the meat filling combined with the flaky crust will leave you craving more. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you later!

Sfiha (Lebanese Pie)

Sfiha (Lebanese Pie) Recipe

Pie made from our own fresh dough topped with spicy ground lamb meat, onions and tomatoes. Got this recipe from a Lebanese website.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Lebanese
Calories 378.5 kcal


  • 1/2 kg ground lamb
  • 1 kg firm tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 5 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame paste (Tahinah)
  • 1 tablespoon thickened pomegranate juice (if available)
  • 4 tablespoons fried pine nuts


  • Mix well meat, tomatoes, onion and spices. Add yoghurt, sesame paste and pomegranate. Mix all with fried pine nuts. Add butter.
  • For Dough (check out my recipe #263355 for Ajeen) Divide dough into walnut size balls. Roll between hand palms to smooth.
  • Roll out balls with a rolling pin to form 8 cm diameter circles. Put one tblp of meat mixture on dough circle seeing that a cube is in each spoon.
  • Bring the edges up and press to make a square.
  • Arrange meat pastries in a tray brushed with butter. Bake in a moderate heat oven (180°C) for 30 minutes or till dough is golden and meat is cooked.
  • Serve hot with yoghurt.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 270gCalories: 378.5kcalCarbohydrates: 16.8gProtein: 17.1gFat: 27.8gSaturated Fat: 11.4gCholesterol: 71.7mgSodium: 477.5mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 8.8g
Keyword < 60 Mins, African, Kid-Friendly, Meat
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