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Arayes (Middle Eastern Stuffed Pita)

baked arayes showcasing the tomatoes and browned pita bread

I am so excited to share this delicious and simple Middle Eastern recipe with you known as arayes. It’s one of those 30 min meals that will satisfy the whole household! It is so delicious and easy. Pop them in the oven or grill them; either way, these arayes will be mouth-watering. My mom would make this traditional arayes recipe growing up when we had leftover ground beef from another dish like kofta! And I would secretly look forward to these as they are so good! Crunchy pita on the outside and a perfectly seasoned layer of meat inside!

Traditionally, beef or lamb is used as the meat in the stuffing. You can even mix both if you would like. You can use fresh or leftover pita for this too. I love to stuff my arayes to medium thickness, but you can also over or under stuff. It is a preference!

arayes (meat stuffed pita) with a side of arab salad and yogurt for dipping

These are so simple to make and a staple in most Middle Eastern homes. Different regions have various preparations and names for this beloved meat-stuffed pita. In the Levantine, it is known as arayes, but in Egypt, it is hawawshi and is seasoned with spices not as traditional to our variation. This dish is fantastic to serve for both children and adults; its always a win at the dinner table. It is also a fabulous way to use leftover pita or be creative with ground beef.

Simple steps on how to make Arayes:

  1. Season the meat generously.
  2. Stuff the pitas.
  3. Brush oil on both sides of the pita.
  4. Bake until crisp and cooked through.
  5. Enjoy warm or with some plain yogurt to dip or my toum!

How to avoid soggy arayes and achieve a crispy result?

  • Use a leaner ratio of meat. I typically use 90/10 ground beef for my filling. If the meat is too fatty, it will likely sog the bread since it will release its fat while it bakes into the bread.
  • Grilling them may achieve a better result if that is an option, but I often bake them and am happy with the result.
  • If you are baking, which is the most common way to make these, then make sure not to use parchment paper. If you have a baking rack, that is best, as it will allow the heat to circulate from all angles to achieve a crispy exterior to the pita. If not, use the broil method for a minute or two on each side of the pita to get that crispiness.

What to serve with Arayes:

This is a stand-alone handheld dish, but to make it more so a meal, check out these side dishes. I personally love pairing it with a refreshing salad like Arabic salad and/or cucumber yogurt salad to dip. It is great with a side of fries and ketchup for the kids too! The perfect finger food, you can say.

Here are a few other simple Middle Eastern recipes that you will enjoy:

Halal Cart Chicken

Chicken Shawarma wraps

Beef Shawarma sandwiches

Mediterranean Ground Beef lettuce tacos

Please leave a review & rating below

This is a recipe that I commonly make and teach to others who want to be introduced to Arab cuisine without feeling intimidated. I urge you to give it a try and enjoy the flavors of my region in your home. I promise you will enjoy it! I am here for any questions you may have, feel free to leave a comment/question below, and I will get back to you! Tag me in your remakes on my instagram! Let me know your thoughts when you give this a try by leaving a rating and review! Thanks!

baked arayes showcasing the tomatoes and browned pita bread
Print Recipe
4.97 from 51 votes

Arayes

These Middle Eastern meat stuffed pita bread are the perfect bite. The pita is crunchy and the filling is well seasoned and tender. It is an addicting bite.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: arabic street food, Arayes, easy dinner idea, Fufus Kitchen, meat stuffed pita
Servings: 10 halves
Author: Heifa

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Lamb or Ground Beef, lean or 1/2 a pound of each combined
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp All spice, ground or 7 spice
  • 1 tbsp Paprika preferabbly smoked
  • Salt & pepper to taste at least 1 tsp salt.
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Parsley
  • 2 tsp Red chili paste
  • 5 Pita Bread cut in half and opened
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil for brushing the pita

Instructions

  • In a food processor or blender, pulse together the onion, garlic, and parsley. Drain from excess liquid.
  • Add that mixture to the ground meat and mix.
  • Season the ground meat with the above seasonings, tomato paste, and chili paste. Make sure it is well seasoned.
  • Mix everything together very well.
    arayes filling made of ground beef an tomatoes
  • Place about 1/3 cup of filling into each pita; about medium thickness. Spread it out. The meat layer should be visible when looking at the opened side of the pita.
    Arayes with the tomatoes and ground beef showing
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Brush olive oil on each side of the pita then sprinkle with a little salt. You can also use non stick oil spary and spray each side of the pita.
  • Add the pita's to a baking pan preferably with a rack. Bake for about 8-10 minutes on each side until crisp. You can broil each side for a minute as well for extra crispiness if you do not have a rack. Enjoy warm. You can use plain yogurt to dip with this or toum (garlic sauce).

Notes

To avoid sogginess, do not over oil the pitas. Just enough to lightly coat it.
The meat should be lean to avoid extra grease which will result in sogginess as well.
If after baking the arayes aren’t as crispy as you would like; just put them under the broiler but watch them so they do not burn.

Arayes (middle eastern stuffed pita)
Arayes (middle eastern stuffed pita)

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90 Comments

        1. 4 stars
          It was fabulous!! I added salt ,pepper and cumin to the meat. I was worried 8 minutes on each side wouldn’t be enough but they came out perfect. I didnt have chilli paste so I added chilli powder. I’ve never had these before so I dont have a baseline for taste/flavor. My husband, who is from the Middle East, said they were delicious!! I made plenty to get through a few days of Ramadan.

  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe today, and it was really good and easier than I expected. I did double up on the spices, but I do that on most recipes.

      1. 5 stars
        The arayes were delicious! The meat was so flavorful and tender. The bread was crispy just how we like! This was a huge hit in my house. Also so quick and easy! Thank you for this recipe Fufu

      1. It would be better to stuff them and store them in a ziplock then freeze them. Bake when you would like to enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow this is a game changer! So delicious and filling! And so easy to
    Make! Definitely going to be a stable in our home! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. 4 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. Quick question: shouldn’t the meat be cooked on the stove top before stuffing it in the pita? I don’t think the meat will cook well for 8 minutes on each side.

    1. It is for 8 minutes on each side. Not 8 minutes in total. The meat will cook in 16 minutes for sure. Leave it for 20 if you like. You may have misread the instructions.

  4. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe and amazing taste!! Fufu is the best when it comes to Arabic dishes really brings back memories of being back home

  5. 5 stars
    These were super easy to make and extremely tasty! I always avoided making them because I thought they were complicated. Nope, Fufu made it super easy. I have a pretty busy schedule and this was so easy to prep ahead of time and enjoy for lunch!

  6. 5 stars
    This was extremely easy recipe to follow and tasted perfect. I find myself adding more seasonings than the recipe calls for most of the time hit this recipe didn’t need anything extra. My husband was in love with this simple yet tasty recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve followed this recipe a few times now. I didn’t grow up eating arayes but my husband did. He LOVES these and so when I’m in a hurry, this is a quick and easy meal I can whip up. We like to eat them with a side of cool plain yogurt. The only suggestion I’ll add is to get very lean beef or careful on the added oil quantity to avoid these getting greasy.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Hi, I am new to your blog which I found through IG and am so excited to start cooking from it for my family. We are not Middle Eastern but love and respect the food dearly. Can you clarify Instruction #1 which says to add tomato? I do not see tomato in the ingredient list, only tomato paste which is added in step 3 per instructions. Thank you!

    1. Hi Wendy,
      Thank you so much! Sorry, about that. I recently adjusted the recipe and must’ve missed taking that part out of the instructions. No tomatoes are necessary for the recipe, just the tomato paste. I will edit that now!

  9. 5 stars
    I made these for dinner tonight! They’re delicious and so easy to make (adding to list of easy recipes that my partner can make on his own). What kind of chili paste did you use?

  10. 5 stars
    This is the best recipe! It’s perfection and a must try I have made it on the grill and in the oven and both were amazing

  11. 5 stars
    Yummyyyy! My go to recipe for quick meals and fast comfortable entertaining, the flavors are amazing, I just added some pomegranate molasses. Everyone in my family loves these!

  12. These turned out so crispy and delicious. It was my first time making Arayes and I ended up making them two days in a row because my family devoured them. I honestly also love how simple the recipe is.

  13. Made this yesterday and it turned out amazing!!! My husband loved it and I am so happy to learn a quick meal that is delicious!! Thank you Heifa!!!!

  14. 5 stars
    Thank you Heifa for this amazing recipe! I tried Arayes last weekend and everyone loved them! The recipe was easy to follow and understand and the taste was amazing and so delicious that we couldn’t stop eating them! Will definitely be making them again 🙂

  15. I’ve made these like 3 times already and my husband just loves it. It’s a nice twist when we get sick of the same old Arab food!

  16. 5 stars
    10/10 recipe! Whole family, all with different tastes and preferences, absolutely loved this! Everything you post is delicious!!

  17. 5 stars
    These are INCREDIBLE. American family, with a picky eater of a husband and he LOVED these as well. I paired this with your shepherds salad and all of us loved every bite.

  18. 5 stars
    Super delicious and easy to make!! Have made them for my family twice this Ramadan and they loved them ☺️

  19. 5 stars
    Hi, what do you usually serve with these? Wanting to make them for dinner tomorrow, but not sure what sides to pair them with!

  20. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! This is another dish my Palestinian grandmother makes that I always ask her to make when I’m back home. This recipe helped me with my cravings. The meat is flavorful and the toasted pita adds that perfect crunch. I like to have it with garlic sauce and a side of roasted potatoes! Thank you for this wonderful recipe! Just beware of your pita is thinner go be more careful when stuffing it as it can fall apart.

  21. 5 stars
    As always – AMAZING!! I made this using half ground lamb and ground beef. The flavors and crisp hit the spot. I made it exactly as stated and I watched one of you lives on IG. I made mine on a cast iron skillet, low and slow. It took longer to cook than the recipe states but I was prepared for that. I love all the meals you make.

  22. 5 stars
    Loved this ! It’s perfect for a quick lunch. I always make fattoush with it & it’s a great excuse to use pita bread that’s on its way out/about to go stale.

  23. 5 stars
    my husband always wanted me to do this but i never did until you actually posted this and he loved it 🙂

  24. 5 stars
    The addition of the red pepper paste was perfect! I always love a good kick. My dad now asks me to make this for him. 10/10. Thanks for the recipe!

  25. 5 stars
    This is the EASIEST yet most flavorful recipe. I made it for the first day of Ramadan and my husband raved that “the meat is so flavorful and has a little kick too.” I followed the recipe to a T – using the recommended smoked paprika and chili flakes since I don’t have chili paste. The salt flakes were the perfect addition, as well. The meat was so flavorful and moving forward I will be using a blender instead of chopping onions and parsley! I’ve never been let down by Fufu’s recipes and we are big fans of 30-minute/one-pot recipes so this will become part of our regular menu!

  26. turned out amazing!! your recipes are always reliable. My go to blog whenever I crave Mediterranean cuisine.

  27. 5 stars
    These turned out great, but is there a tip so that the bread doesn’t get soggy on the inside from the juicy meat as it cooks? Otherwise the flavors were amazing.

    1. Hi Lena! I have a few tips in the blog post on how to ensure crispier arayes such as using a leaner ground beef, a rack when baking, the broil option at the end, and so forth!

  28. 5 stars
    Mashallah beautiful recipe, they were delicious and the recipe is so easy to follow. We were pleasantly surprised and the Arayes did not disappoint! Can’t wait to try something else from your site x

  29. 5 stars
    Really delicious and easy to make it’s a big hit when i need a quick weeknight meal on busy days. I also like making the kafta mix and freezing extra to use next time.

  30. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday and all I can say is WOW! The meat stayed so juicy and the bread wasn’t soggy like I worried about. Definitely going into my monthly line up for a quick and easy but delicious meal! I paired it with lentil soup ❤️

  31. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe over and over again with countless amazing reviews from my family. This is a staple in our household that we all love and enjoy! Thank you!

  32. 5 stars
    Absolutely yum. I was a bit skeptical at first since I always seem to mess up but clear instructions and simple ingredients. Yum yum yum

  33. 5 stars
    I tried this arayes recipe. It was delicious the meat was moist and tender and it was a great lunch recipe with the pita bread. I loved it and recommend anyone to try it.
    -Wafaa

  34. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit in my house. Delicious and easy plus super filling. I cooked them in the air fryer, came out great. I served it with batata harra and thoum, with a cucumber salad as well. Thank you, this will be in the regular rotation from now on.

  35. 5 stars
    Heifa, I love this recipe so much, I bought your cookbook which finally arrived today! Funnily enough, Arayes is already on the menu for tonight. Since discovering this recipe, I make it almost every week and each time I tweak the spices little by little to hit the exact notes my husband and I love. I also add roughly chopped toasted pine nuts to the filling mixture. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful recipes with the world!

  36. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious! I used my George Foreman grill instead of cooking in the oven, and after it was finished drizzled some pomegranate molasses. Delicious!

  37. 5 stars
    This was delicious!! I was using a small piece of lamb someone gave me, so I minced it up with the other ingredients. They were understuffed, but turned out so crispy and yummy!!! I’ll definitely make these again.

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