Meat Stuffed Pitas

5 from 36 votes

Quick and easy to make, these Lebanese meat stuffed pitas are one delicious recipe! These beef arayes are ready to enjoy in minutes and every bite is truly tasty!

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Arayes is a popular street food in Lebanon that is basically kafta meat stuffed inside pita bread and then grilled or oven baked. It’s a great way to use up leftover kafta meat or hashweh meat and works well as an appetizer or main meal.

Lebanese meat stuffed pita triangles served on a white platter with a small bowl of yogurt and parsley for garnish

Ingredients & substitutions

  • Ground Beef: The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t have to cook the beef before you stuff the pitas, so it’s so fuss free to make! I prefer to use lean ground beef that is 85-90% fat free.
  • Seasonings: Fresh parsley, 7 spice, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  • Onion: Finely mince the onion so that it combines easily with the ground beef.
  • Pita: Use double ply pita bread for these arayes. We spread the seasoned beef between the two layers of the pita, so you need pita with a pocket.
  • Oil: For cooking. I always like to use olive oil, but canola or vegetable will work too.
Ingredients to make the recipe: ground beef, onions, parsley, spices and pita

How to make Arayes

  1. Add the ground beef and seasonings to a bowl.
  2. Use your hands to combine together.
  3. Cut each pita into quarters.
  4. Spread the beef mix into each piece of pita.
  5. Heat the oil in a grill pan, once hot, place in the stuffed pitas.
  6. Cook on both sides til golden brown.
6 image collage to show how to mix the ingredients together, cut the pita, stuff the pita and then cook it

Tips for making arayes

  1. Use ground beef with some fat in it. Aim for 85% or 90% fat-free ground beef which has some fat in it to keep the pita pockets juicy without drying out.
  2. Don’t over-cook the arayes. You want to make sure that the pita is crisp and golden on the outside and that’s your cue that they are done cooking. Over-cooking the beef can make it really dry. Feel free to lift up the pita to check on the beef.
  3. Use thin pita bread if possible. The thin pita bread allows the beef mixture on the inside to cook faster since the heat permeates through it more easily. It also tends to get more crispy.
  4. Add veggies inside. While it’s traditional to enjoy these meat stuffed pitas alone, you can certainly stuff veggies inside for a full meal. It’s best to use cooked veggies like peppers, zucchini or mushrooms and add them after cooking.

Frequently asked questions

Can you make arayes with other meats?

I love tho make meat stuffed pitas with ground beef, but ground lamb is also really tasty and popular. You can use ground chicken or turkey, but make sure that it is fully cooked through, I also find that the fat content can be too low and they can dry out more easily.

Can you make them ahead of time?

These Lebanese pitas are best served as soon as you make them so that the pita is crispy and the meat is perfectly cooked. If you like, you can make the beef filling a day or two ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge. If you make too much meat mixture, leftovers can be frozen for later use.

What do you serve them with?

These can be served as an appetizer or main course. As an app, I like to serve them with a cilantro yogurt sauce, and as a main, they are great to pair with a salad like tabbouleh or shirazi.

Final serving of the meat stuffed pitas (arayes) with yogurt and parsley

These meat stuffed pitas are perfectly crispy on the outside with juicy seasoned meat on inside. So simple to make, but hands down delicious!

More lebanese recipes:

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Meat Stuffed Pitas (Arayes)

Quick and easy to make, these Lebanese meat stuffed pitas are one delicious recipe! These beef arayes are ready to enjoy in minutes and every bite is truly tasty!
5 from 36 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Calories 444
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 small yellow onion minced
  • 2 teaspoons 7 spice
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 2 double-play pita breads
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for stovetop cooking
  • Olive oil cooking spray for oven baking

Instructions

  • Place the ground beef, parsley, onions, 7 Spice, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix until well combined.
  • Cut each pita into fourth. Pull part the two sides of pita. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture

Stovetop Instructions

  • Heat a grill pan or regular pan on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Place four of the stuffed pitas on the grill pan and cook until the pita is golden in color and beef is cooked to your liking, about 7-10 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and the remaining stuffed pitas.

Baking Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place the stuffed pitas on a baking dish and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Bake until the pita is golden and crispy and the beef is cooked to your liking, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with plain yogurt for dipping, if desired.

Notes

Nutritional Data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 537mg, Potassium: 429mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 644IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 65mg, Iron: 3mg

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Lebanese meat stuffed pita triangles served on a white platter with a small bowl of yogurt and parsley for garnish

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Comments

  1. We loved these meat stuffed pitas! The spices on them were incredible, and my husband and I both fell in love with the flavors. We called them “pita hamburgers” and suddenly, my 3 year old was a fan also 🙃 The best part is that they are super easy to make! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  2. Hi, I made these last night using ground turkey and they were absolutely delicious! I tried the grill pan and the oven method au they both are great. The flavors are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this part of you to help us enjoy delicious food for family, friends and live ones.

  3. These were amazing. Everyone enjoyed them! Even my difficult 4 year old! We had them with the greek yogourt and also with your Toum sauce. So good!!