Arayes are Lebanese meat stuffed pitas that are so easy to make. This classic Middle Eastern street food is ready in 20 minutes, ideal for a weeknight dinner. Follow along to learn how to make delicious beef arayes at home with just a few ingredients!
If you love Middle Eastern food, you are going to love this classic Lebanese street food. We're talking about spiced beef mixture stuffed into a pita pocket and grilled to perfection. Just like doner and beef shawarma, this street food is packed with all kinds of amazing flavors and I bet you're going to love it!
Table Of Contents:
What are Arayes?
Arayes are meat stuffed pitas that are usually grilled or baked. The beef mixture is similar to kofta, flavored with spices and herbs, stuffed into a pita and then baked or grilled. The Egyptian version of this recipe is called Hawawshi and it uses different spices.
Here are a few reasons why we love these Lebanese stuffed pitas so much:
- They're very easy to make and call for just a few ingredients.
- They can be prepared very quickly - perfect for when we're short on time.
- Just like Turkish gozleme, these are easy to hold in your hands - and you can even make them ahead of time to enjoy on the go.
- Each bite is packed with tons of flavor thanks to spices and herbs used to flavor the meat.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Ground beef: It's best to use lean ground beef in this recipe so it doesn't render fat and get greasy while cooking. I recommend using 90% lean ground beef.
- Spices: I use a combination of Lebanese seven spice, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Onion and garlic: Grated onion works best for this recipe. Make sure to squeeze out all the extra liquid before adding the onion to the ground beef.
- Pita: You need to spread the meat mixture between two layers of pita so make sure it's a double ply. I prefer thin over thick pitas.
How to make arayes
- Place the ground beef with the grated onion, minced garlic, spices and chopped parsley in a bowl.
- Using your hands, combine the ingredients very well.
- Slice the pitas into quarters and spread some of the mixture into the pitas in a thin layer.
- Heat the grill pan over medium heat. Brush the pan with olive oil. Place the stuffed pita on the pan and grill for about 5 minutes on each side until the beef is cooked and the bread is crispy.
- Serve with tahini sauce or yogurt.
Tips to make the best arayes
- Don't overcook: Cook the arayes just enough for the beef to be fully cooked. Overcooked arayes will have a dry and tough filling.
- Use lean ground beef: Lean beef works best for this recipe because it won't make the dish greasy.
- Use the right pita: If you have access to thin double ply pita, use it because it helps the beef cook faster and gets nice and crispy. Thin pitas are usually larger therefore it's best to cut them into quarters for easy handling and better cooking.
I love serving arayes with a Middle Eastern tahini sauce, toum or a bowl of yogurt. They also pair well with fresh salads such as fattoush, tabbouleh or shirazi.
Frequently asked questions
It's best to serve arayes hot and right out of the pan. However, you can make the beef mixture up to a day in advance and prepare the arayes when you're ready to serve.
Yes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and brush the stuffed pitas with olive oil on both sides. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Traditional arayes are made with ground beef, lamb or a mixture of both. Nothing is stopping you from using ground chicken, turkey or even plant-based meat, however the flavors won't be the same as the classic version.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can reheat them in a pan over medium heat or in the oven at 275 degrees F for 15 minutes.
More Lebanese recipes
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Arayes Lebanese Stuffed Pita
- 1 lb ground beef 90% lean
- 1 onion grated and squeezed to remove excess liquid
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon seven spice
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 pita bread double ply and preferably thin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- In a large bowl mix the ground beef, onion, garlic, parsley, seven spice, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper using your hands. Make sure all is combined well. The mixture might be sticky.
- Cut the pitas into quarters and spread the beef mixture between the two thin layers of each piece. You'll need 2 to 3 tablespoons of beef mixture for each piece.
To cook on the stovetop:
- Place a grill pan over medium heat and make sure it's hot. Brush the pan with the olive oil and place the stuffed pitas on the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side until the beef is fully cooked and the pita is crispy.
To bake in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and brush the stuffed pitas with olive oil on both sides. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve with tahini sauce or yogurt.
- You can serve this dish with tabbouleh, fattoush or shirazi salad.
- I recommend serving these right away when they're hot, but if you'd like to prep ahead, make the beef mixture up to one day in advance and keep it refrigerated until you're ready to cook.
Authentic flavor and super easy to make. These are going into the rotation asap! Thanks for sharing!
These are delicious! First time making arayes and definitely not the last.
We have really enjoyed Arayes stuffed pitas a number of times and are excited to make these at home. Thanks for the recipe they look amazing!!
Yummm! These were delicious! I made it last night for dinner and my daughter loved it!
I absolutely love Lebanese food and I was so excited to have found this recipe, The Arayes turned out amazing! This recipe is a keeper. Thank you and keep them coming!
These are so good! I can see us making these time and time again!