Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeehas)

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These savory Lebanese meat pies (known as sfeehas) get their irresistible flavor from clarified butter, toasted pine nuts, and fragrant cinnamon.

Hand picking up a Lebanese meat pie.

Meat pies are a very popular dish throughout the world. Whether it’s empanadas in Spain, patties in Jamaica, or pasties in Eastern Europe, it seems so many different cultures have their own version of a savory pie. In my family, we grew up eating sfeehas, also called fatayer. It’s a Middle Eastern meat pie that is filled with either meat and pine nuts, spinach, or cheese (such as feta.) Part of the Levantine cuisine, fatayer is eaten in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. My Lebanese Meat Pies are filled with ground beef and pine nuts, and seasoned with warm spices.

Ingredients

Ingredients for lebanese meat pies
  • Bread dough: If you have a recipe you love, you can easily make your own bread dough. To save time, I usually use store bought pizza dough.
  • Pine nuts: A bit buttery and sweet is flavor, toasting them enhances the taste.
  • Ghee: Also called clarified butter, it has a higher smoke point, making it a favorite for sautéing meats and toasting pine nuts.
  • Ground beef: I typically use a ground sirloin, but you could also use ground lamb for a more traditional taste.
  • Onion: Yellow onion is mild and a bit sweet, making it caramelize quickly.
  • Warm spices: Cinnamon, allspice, and black pepper add wonderful warmth and traditional Lebanese flavor to the meat pies.
  • Lemon juice: The bit of acidity you need to cut through and bring balance to the dish.

How to Make Lebanese Meat Pies

Melting ghee in pan

Start your Lebanese meat pies by dividing the bread dough and setting it aside. Then start making the filling by melting some ghee in a large skillet.

Toasting pine nuts

Add your pine nuts to the pan and toast until evenly browned. Watch them so they don’t burn, and set aside.

Cooking onions

Then in the same pan that still has some clarified butter, add the diced onion with some salt and pepper and cook until they start to soften.

Cooking ground beef with onion

Add the ground beef and break up as it browns, about 8 minutes.

Cooking meat pie filling

Add the cinnamon and allspice, along with some more salt and pepper to taste, and cook until meat is fully browned and onions are soft and caramelized. Turn off the heat, and stir the lemon juice and pine nuts into the meat mixture.

Rolling out dough

Now that the filling is done, take the dough you had set aside and roll it out into discs about 1/8th of an inch thick, and about 3-4 inches wide. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you could also use a tall glass.

Filling dough with meat

Then use either a tablespoon or a cookie dough scoop to put a dollop of the meat filling in the middle of your dough circle.

Folding dough for meat pies

Then fold your sfeehas into triangles by folding each edge up and pinching the corners closed until the edges are sealed.

Sfeehas laid out on a pan

Then lay the meat pies out on a prepared sheet pan, and toss them in the oven at 400 for 15-20 minutes, but dough is golden brown.

Lebanese Meat Pies

When finished, remove from the oven and brush with melted clarified butter, serve with plain yogurt, and enjoy your Lebanese Meat Pies!

Frequently asked questions

Are sfeehas freezer friendly?

Absolutely! In fact, we like to make them in large quantities and store them in the freezer. To reheat, simply bake at 350 until warmed through, about 15-20 minutes. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

What can you serve with sfeehas?

We love eating them with a big Syrian salad and hummus. They’re also great with stuffed grape leaves.

How do you make the dough for a meat pie?

We typically buy store-bought pizza dough to save time, otherwise you’ll need to make large batches of bread dough.

Lebanese Meat Pies up close

More Lebanese Dishes

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Liz eating Lebanese meat pies.

Whether you want something fun for a main dish, or want to try something new for a party appetizer, your friends and family will love my Lebanese Meat Pies.

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Lebanese Meat Pies

Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeeha’s)

4.68 stars average
These savory Lebanese meat pies (known as sfeehas) get their irresistible flavor from clarified butter, toasted pine nuts and fragrant cinnamon.
PREP: 45 minutes
COOK: 20 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour 5 minutes
Pin
Servings36

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Divide dough into small balls and roll to 1/8 inch thick. The rounds should be 3-4 inches wide. Let dough rest 20-30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large pot, brown pine nuts in ghee until golden brown being, careful not to burn. Remove nuts from pan, but leave any remaining butter. Add ground meat, onions, salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice to the pan and cook until meat is browned – about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted pine nuts, yogurt, and lemon juice. Let mixture cool slightly.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each round. (A stainless steel scoop is great for this step.)
  • To begin folding the dough into a triangle, bring the bottom third up over the meat then bring another third of the dough to the first fold and pinch together to form a tight seal. Fold the final third over and pinch with the first two thirds of the dough to create a tightly pinched triangle. Repeat until you run out of dough.
  • Place filled triangles on a greased baking sheet (or one lined with a silicone baking sheet) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from oven and lightly brush with melted clarified butter. Serve with plain yogurt.

Last Step:

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Nutrition

Calories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 22.2gProtein: 8.3gFat: 7.9gSaturated Fat: 2.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5.5gCholesterol: 17.3mgSodium: 343.5mgFiber: 0.3g
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123 responses to “Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeehas)”

  1. Samantha @FerraroKitchen Avatar
    Samantha @FerraroKitchen

    LOVE everything about this post!! The loving hubbie and especially those meat pies!! You know I am making those asap!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I wasn’t planning to post these when I made them so thank you for the push!!

  2. ashley - Baker by Nature Avatar
    ashley – Baker by Nature

    Meat + Pie can only = awesomeness!!!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Exactly!! I love your math!

  3. tanya Avatar
    tanya

    How cool that your husband likes to bake!! I like the his blog name too! What a man you have their Liz!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You’re so sweet- thank you Tanya!!

      1. Jesus Avatar
        Jesus

        Hey Liz I need help can you please email mee help me out with this recipe at red_scades@yahoo.com

        1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
          Liz DellaCroce

          I’ll email you shortly!

  4. Jamie | Thrifty Veggie Mama Avatar
    Jamie | Thrifty Veggie Mama

    Sweet Riches! Love it!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’m thinking he needs to go with it!!

  5. meaghan Avatar
    meaghan

    These look divine!! Love the answers, so thoughtful. Beautiful family!!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thank you so much Meaghan!!

  6. Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain Avatar
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain

    OMG! Your hubs is the cutest! And major high-five on the baking situation! Our hubs would be total besties!!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I really want him to start “Sweet Riches” hahaha

  7. Liz Avatar
    Liz

    Nice recipe. Thank you. And yes, he’s very cute. Have a great day.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thank you so much, as always, Liz!

  8. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats Avatar
    Julie @ Julie’s Eats & Treats

    Awww look at that picture! To adorable! Love that he does the dishes and always has…send my husband a note!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      He’s never picked up a pair of boxers from the floor but he has dishes down pat!! LOL

  9. Stef Avatar
    Stef

    I love the blog name he came up with. He should go for it! Or.. is one blogger in the family enough?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      hahaha You make a good point – maybe one is good enough. ;-)

  10. Sharon Avatar
    Sharon

    Ahhhh you always know how to make my hubby drool!! He certainly appreciates your recipes!!! We love meat pies, there is a local bakery that opened in the 60’s called Sam’s Bakery, where they cook the meat pies in a brick oven with a horseshoe shaped conveyer belt. They are famous in our neck of the woods for authentic lebanese food. On Sunday mornings there is a line out the door and down the street. We are only 50 minutes south of Boston. Next time your in Massachusetts swing on down you won’t be disappointed! Some meat pies and manoush and I’m a happy gal!!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh my goodness that sounds incredible!!!!!! I so wish we had more Lebanese bakeries around here!!!