Arayes (Middle Eastern Stuffed Pita)
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!
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:
- Season the meat generously.
- Stuff the pitas.
- Brush oil on both sides of the pita.
- Bake until crisp and cooked through.
- 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:
Mediterranean Ground Beef lettuce tacos
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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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
By allspice, do you mean ground allspice berries?
It is called Allspice. It is a ground seasoning found in almost all markets.
Thanks a lot these Arayes came out so delicious
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.
I am happy that you guys enjoyed these! They are some of my favorite to make!
It’s absolutely delicious
Yes Hiba use whole spice berry grounded!
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.
Glad you enjoyed it!
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
I am so happy to hear that, Noor! Thank you for the great feedback!
Can I cook them and then freeze them and reheat later? Thanks
It would be better to stuff them and store them in a ziplock then freeze them. Bake when you would like to enjoy!
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!
So delicious and easy! Definitely a keeper! I served them with a yogurt herb sauce to dip.
Love hearing that! I too serve it with a yogurt dip!
I absolutely loved this recipe. Quick, easy and delicious!
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.
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.
Amazing recipe and amazing taste!! Fufu is the best when it comes to Arabic dishes really brings back memories of being back home
Thanks so much!
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!
Glad you gave them a try and saw easy they were for yourself!
Should the ground beef be cooked already when stuffing?
No, it is raw and it will bake in the oven! Bake 8-10 min each side and it will be fully cooked and delicious!
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!
Love to hear that, Huda! Thank you
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!
I am so glad to hear!! Yes, lean meat is the way to go!
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!
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!
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?
I am so happy to hear that!
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
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!
Ou! Pomegranate molasses sounds like a fantastic addition. I am happy you like this quick and delicious meal.
Your tips were so helpful in me finally getting crisp arayes.
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.
Love hearing that!
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!!!!
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 🙂
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!
That is awesome to hear!
10/10 recipe! Whole family, all with different tastes and preferences, absolutely loved this! Everything you post is delicious!!
That is awesome! Thanks!
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.
Thank you so much, Danielle!
Super delicious and easy to make!! Have made them for my family twice this Ramadan and they loved them ☺️
That is awesome to hear, Heba!
What kind of chili paste?
You can use ziyad brand shatta or Mina Harissa or sambal olek
Hi, what do you usually serve with these? Wanting to make them for dinner tomorrow, but not sure what sides to pair them with!
I love serving them with yogurt and a refreshing salad like my arugula salad or Arabic salad.
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.
Thanks so much, Sarah! Garlic sauce and potatoes sounds great.
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.
Thank you, Diana!
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.
my husband always wanted me to do this but i never did until you actually posted this and he loved it 🙂
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!
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!
delicious as always fufu!!! thank you
turned out amazing!! your recipes are always reliable. My go to blog whenever I crave Mediterranean cuisine.
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.
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!
Delicious, flavorful just seasoned and very easy and quick to make.
It turned out to be delicious! As a working mom this was a lifesaver. Fast and easy!
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
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.
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 ❤️
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!
Love love Arayes and this recipe is perfect to satisfy my craving!
These were soo good. Have become a staple at home now.
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
So delicious for a quick simple meal. I live making this for my family. They all love them.
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.
SO good! Best arayes recipe i have tried. 👏🏻
Delicious quick meal I made for my family.
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.
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!
Thank you!! I hope you enjoy the book too!
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!