Sfiha – Meat Pies

Originated in Syria and Lebanon and now enjoyed throughout the Middle East, Levant, Brazil and Argentina, the small open-faced meat pies Sfiha, often referred as the Arabic pizza pies, are a delicacy full of flavour. 

Sfiha are ideal as part of mezze spread, party hors d’oeuvres, or an afternoon snack. They are addictive and crazy delicious. You bite into one, the aroma of baked bread complemented by the meaty flavors of the filling will entice you back for another.

Is the dough easy to make?
You dread making doughs and pastries at home? Don´t !
This dough is super easy to prepare, easy to knead, and easy to roll out. It does not need much time to rise, can also be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated. Rolling out the pies does not need extra rolling skills. You can easily flatten the dough with your fingers or use a rolling pin.  Whatever suits you!

What goes in the filling?
The filling is generally made of ground lamb or beef seasoned with cinnamon, sumac and 7 spices, some chopped onions and tomatoes. You can be creative and adapt the filling according your taste. I keep it simple and sometimes add toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds for a change.

Can you freeze Sfiha ?
Absolutely! You can also double the recipe and make a big batch, allow to cool and then freeze in freezer bags. They will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To reheat, bake at 180 C for 15-20 minutes. 

How to serve Sfiha?
The meat pies are really delicious when served warm. But they taste equally good when served as cold party snack.
I generally make a youghurt- tahini dip or tabbouleh to accompany Sfiha or serve them as warm appetizer on mezze parties.

Sfiha - Meat Pies

Fatima Sadal - Chef on Rhine
Meat, onion, tomatoes, spices - all covered in a home-made pastry dough. Perfect appetizer for all occasions!
Servings 22 pockets



  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 40 ml vegetable oil
  • 250 ml warm water


  • 500 g minced beef / lamb or a mix of both
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp sumac optional
  • 1 Tbsp lebanese baharat recipe in notes
  • pine nuts, pomegranate arils, fresh mint leaves to garnish


  • Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough in a bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients and knead a pizza-like dough.
  • Set aside in a warm place for at least 30 min.
  • Place chopped tomatoes and onion in a sieve to drain the excess juice.
  • Combine together the minced meat, tomatoes, onions, parsley and spices in a bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 230 C.
  • Dust the kitchen counter with some flour. Divide the dough into small (table-tennis ball sized) portions, make balls and and roll out into thin disks.
  • Place some filling in each circle and form small squares by pinching the opposite sides inwards.
  • Bake for 25 min in preheated oven.
  • Insert fresh mint in each pocket and garnish with pine nuts or pomegranate arils.
  • Serve warm with yoghurt dip.


  • You can use the stand mixer for making the dough or mix and knead by hand.
  • Try to roll out the dough not too thick. The bread will eventually rise as well.
  • Store-bought baharat aka 7 spices work fine. You can also replace the spice blend with other spices of your choice.
  • Baharat recipe is as follows: 
    1 tablespoon finely ground black pepper + 1 tablespoon paprika + 1 tablespoon ground cumin + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon + 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg + 1 teaspoon ground coriander +1 teaspoon ground cloves +1 teaspoon ground cardamom = Mix together and store in a spice jar.

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