Arayes Recipe – How to Make Lebanese Meat-Stuffed Pitas

arayes recipe

If you love pita bread and meat, you will love arayes! Arayes are a Lebanese specialty that consists of pita bread pockets filled with spiced ground beef and grilled until crispy and juicy. They are easy to make, delicious to eat, and perfect for sharing with family and friends.

Arayes are a popular street food in many Middle Eastern countries, and each one has its own variation of the filling and the bread. In this article, we will show you how to make an arayes recipe the Lebanese way, using a simple and flavorful kofta mixture and thick pita bread. You will also learn how to grill them on a stovetop or in the oven, and what sauces to serve them with.

Arayes are a great way to use up any leftover ground beef or to make a quick and satisfying meal with minimal ingredients. They are kid-friendly, freezer-friendly, and adaptable to your taste. Once you try them, you will be hooked on their crispy texture and savory flavor. So let’s get started and make some arayes!

How to Make Arayes Filling (Kofta Mixture)

Arayes filling is a spiced ground meat mixture that is used to stuff pita bread pockets. To make arayes filling, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of optional cayenne pepper
  • 500 g (1 lb) of extra lean ground beef or lamb, or a combination of both
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of optional pomegranate molasses

To prepare the arayes filling, simply combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands until well incorporated. You can also use a food processor to chop the onion, garlic, and parsley, and then add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until well combined. The arayes filling is now ready to be stuffed into pita bread pockets and cooked. The filling can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 3 months for future use. This arayes recipe makes enough filling for about 10 pita bread halves.

How to Stuff and Cut the Pita Bread

Once you have made the arayes filling, you need to stuff it into the pita bread and cut it into smaller pieces. This will make the arayes easier to cook and eat. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Take a large pita bread and cut it in half to make two semi-circles. You can use regular or whole-wheat pita bread, depending on your preference.
  • Carefully open each half of the pita bread to create a pocket. You can use a knife to help you separate the layers, but be gentle to avoid tearing the bread.
  • Spoon about 1/4 cup of the arayes filling into each pocket and spread it evenly, leaving a small border around the edges. To prevent the filling from leaking out during cooking, it is important not to overfill the pita bread.
  • To ensure the filling stays inside, press the edges of the pita bread together to seal it. For added security, you can use a fork to crimp the edges.
  • Cut each stuffed pita bread into four equal triangles. You should end up with eight pieces from one pita bread.

How to Cook Arayes

After stuffing and cutting the pita bread, you need to cook the arayes until the meat is done and the bread is crispy. There are various techniques for preparing arayes, depending on personal preference and available equipment. Some of the most commonly used methods for cooking arayes include:


This is the traditional and widely preferred method of preparing arayes, providing them with a delectable smoky taste and distinctive char marks. To grill arayes, you need to preheat a grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush it with some oil. Then, place the arayes on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and the bread is golden and crisp.


This is a convenient and easy way to cook arayes, especially if you are making a large batch. It also saves you from splattering oil on the stove. To prepare arayes, it is necessary to preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C for fan-forced ovens) and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, arrange the arayes on the sheet and brush them with some oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping once, until the meat is done and the bread is browned and crunchy.


This is a quick and simple way to cook arayes, especially if you don’t have a grill or an oven. It also gives you more control over the heat and the doneness of the meat. To pan-fry arayes, you need to heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add some oil. Then, place the arayes in the skillet and cook for about 12 minutes, turning frequently, until the meat is cooked through and the bread is golden and crisp. No matter which method you choose, you will end up with delicious and satisfying arayes that you can enjoy with your favorite sauces and salads. This arayes recipe is a great way to use up any leftover ground meat or pita bread, and it’s perfect for a quick and easy meal or snack.

Bottom Line

The Arayes recipe offers a delightful Lebanese twist on meat-stuffed pitas. With its flavorful filling and options for grilling, baking, or pan-frying, Arayes is a versatile and satisfying dish that is sure to please any meat and pita bread lover.


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