Lahmacun (Turkish Ground Lamb Pizzas)


At her takeout shop in Istanbul, Kantin Dükkan, Semsa Denizsel tops her lahmacun with ground lamb (flavored with sweet sun-dried tomatoes and a little spicy red pepper).

Turkish Ground-Lamb Pizzas
Photo: © Michael Turek
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 40 mins

Lahmacun are traditionally made with ground lamb, but you can substitute ground beef instead. To make the lahmacun even more substantial, bake it with an egg on top; the runny yolk is terrific with the whole-wheat crust.



  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup warm water

  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon Turkish red pepper paste (see Note) or 2 jarred hot cherry peppers, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 4 large eggs (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves


Make the dough

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the whole wheat flour with the all-purpose flour and salt. In a large bowl, combine the warm water and honey. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Stir in the olive oil and then the flour mixture. Gently knead the dough on a work surface until it forms a smooth, somewhat sticky ball. Lightly oil another bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Prepare the topping

  1. In a skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, 4 minutes. Add the lamb and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the lamb is no longer pink, 3 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper paste and cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450°. Arrange oven racks on the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes.

  3. On a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and cut into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch round. Arrange the dough rounds on the preheated baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 2 minutes. Spread the lamb topping over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges; brush the borders with olive oil. Crack an egg in the center of each pizza (if using) and bake on the top shelf of the oven for about 6 minutes, until the crust is crisp on the bottom, the egg white is firm and the yolk is runny. Scatter the parsley over the pizzas and serve hot.


Biber salcasi, a Turkish red pepper paste, is available at specialty stores.

Suggested Pairing

Spicy Rhône wines are a terrific match for earthy lamb.

Related Articles