Lunch and Dinner, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern Recipes, Palestinian Cuisine, Sides and Appetizers

Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes)

3 meat stuffed pitas on top of each other with a side of yogurt and 2 lemon halves in the background.

Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes) is a meat stuffed pita bread, a part of the Palestinian traditional cuisine specifically street food. Indulge in the savory delights of these mouthwatering pockets of flavor combining ground meat, aromatic spices, and fresh herbs, all encased in warm, toasted pita bread.

These delectable pockets are packed with flavors that will satisfy everyone’s hunger. The best part is that they are so easy to prepare in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Discover culinary delight with every bite


A Close-Up of Golden, Crispy Arayes

A squeeze of lemon juice on beef Arayes made up of crunchy, grilled pita bread pockets filled with flavorful ground beef stuffing
Beef Arayes is the ultimate mouth-watering meal.


What are Arayes?

 Beef Arayis is a very popular Palestinian street food. They are traditionally sandwiches of pita bread stuffed with a ground aromatic mixture of either ground beef or lamb. The juices that seep from the meat while cooking marinate the pita with savory flavors and turn its soft exterior into a crunchy one.

These delicious meat pitas are also popular in Egypt. Arayis in Egypt are known as Hawawshi. Both Palestinian Arayis and Hawawshi have the same concept and flavors but the difference lies in the type of bread used.

To cook Egyptian Hawawshi people bake their own bread and stuff the mixture in to cook along with the bread. On the other hand, Palestinians use ready pita bread or any other flatbread.


Where Flavor Meets Tradition

3 Arayes on top of each other stuffed with meat ready to be served.
Each bite is loaded with flavors.

What to Serve With Beef Stuffed Pitas

First of all, this simple grilled beefy sandwich is usually served as a main dish or as a hot appetizer. So, if you’re looking for a delicious and filling meal, this recipe has got your back!

Initially, Arayis are served with yogurt on the side. Yogurt is so refreshing and it balances out the different flavors of the minced meat and the savory seasoning. Here is a trick, instead of having the yogurt with a spoon, you have to try dipping the Arayis in the yogurt. Believe me, this method is definitely a game changer.

Besides, there are people who prefer having their stuffed pitas with a side of green salad, fattoush, Tabbouli Salad Recipe (Tabbouleh), or any other fresh seasonal salad. You can also choose to serve these savory sandwiches with various dips like garlic (Toum), creamy hummus, tangy tahini sauce, or Ketchup.


Dive into a World of Spices and Savories with Arayes

Beef stuffed pita bread aka Arayes, are pita pockets filled with aromatic juicy beef filling baked to golden perfection.
A crispy meal enjoyed by everyone.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

For instance, some people prefer frying their beef pockets in the air fryer, others prefer it cooked in the oven for it to get extra crispy. And if you’re in a rush, just pan-fry them until they turn golden brown. Let’s not forget the kids, this recipe is perfect for them, most kids enjoy dipping their Arayis in yogurt or Ketchup.


Grilled crispy pita pockets stuffed with tender ground beef mixture and served with yogurt, tahini, or fresh salad on the side.
Smothered in olive oil for extra crunchiness.

Stuffed Arayes Variations

You can play around with the ingredients when it comes to choosing the meat for the filling. There are plenty of meat options suitable for this particular recipe. You can include lamb, beef, veal, turkey, chicken, or even a combination of different types of meat. Vegans can also fill their pita bread with meat alternatives or vegetables of their choice.


Tips for the Best Result

Don’t skip the part where you drizzle olive oil on the pita pieces before cooking.

You can prepare the filling before if you have the time. The time given can allow the different flavors of the stuffing to meld.

For the most flavorful Arayes, use a combination of ground beef and lamb. The mix of these two meats adds depth and richness to the filling.

Try using extra lean ground beef to avoid soggy greasy Arayis. We love them extra crispy, don’t we?!

When choosing pita bread, try thicker ones, for they can absorb the fat and juices that the filling produces.

Don’t overcook them, wait for them to turn golden brown and crispy on the outside, then immediately take them out of the oven.

Ensure an even distribution of the meat mixture inside the pita bread. This ensures consistent flavor and texture in each bite.

When pan-frying, use medium heat to ensure the Arayes cook through without burning the exterior.

If you are air frying them, it is better to wrap each piece in foil, then after some time uncover and let them brown. This will help you make sure that the meat is cooked evenly.

Try not to thicken the meat filling inside the pitas to ensure the meat is properly cooked.


A crunchy pita bread pocket stuffed with well-seasoned ground beef mixture.
Devoured within seconds.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

If 7 Spice blend is not available, what can I use instead?

Don’t worry, you can make your own spice blend by mixing equal parts allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves, cumin, ground coriander, and lastly white pepper.

Are Arayis and Sfeeha (meat pies) the same?

This is not like Sfeeha, they don’t require parsley and a load of spices.

Can we prepare the meat filling in advance?

Yes, you can prepare it a few days before, but you must store it in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen for longer storage. Just be sure to thaw them before cooking.

Are Arayes a main dish or an appetizer?

Arayes can be served as both a main dish and an appetizer. As a main dish, they are typically accompanied by sides and salads. As an appetizer, they are perfect for sharing.


Ingredients You Will Need

Ground beef

Yellow onion

Garlic cloves

Roma tomatoes

Bell pepper

Jalapeno

Aleppo pepper

7 spice

Salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

Note: if you are not a fan of spicy food, then don’t add jalapeno to your beef mixture.


How to Make Grilled Beef Pockets

Let’s do this!

First of all, add the vegetables to a food processor and process until chunky. Or you can finely chop the vegetables by hand.

Second, add the mixture to the beef along with the spices and mix.

Then, fill into your pita, to your desired thickness.

Next, brush a small amount of olive oil on each side of the pita.

Finally, you can grill or bake at 425 until the beef is all the way cooked through and the bread turns crispy (about 8-10 minutes per side depending on your oven). Or air fry them on 400 for 15 minutes, depending on your air fryer. You can start at 375, and cook it for about 15 minutes, flip it halfway.


Must-Try Recipes:

Palestinian Cauliflower Fritters (Emshat)

Easy Pan-Seared Fish Tacos

Dawood Basha (Kufta and Potato Stew)

Mujadara Lentils and Spiced Rice

Middle-Eastern Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Juicy Chicken Kofta Kebabs

Chicken Musakhan Sliders

Sheikh Makhshi (Kusa Bi Laban)

Cucumber Yogurt Salad | Khiyar Bi Laban



Four meat stuffed pita pockets with a bowl of yogurt and two lemons in the background.

Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes)

Fatimah
Arayes are an authentic Palestinian street food. They are made up of pita bread filled with perfectly seasoned ground beef and grilled to crispy perfection. It is a quick and easy recipe that is enjoyed with tahini dipping, yogurt or a salad on the side.
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Palestinian
Calories 66 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 pound 80-20 ground beef
  • 1 pound 90-10 ground beef
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 large roma tomatoes
  • ¾ bell pepper
  • jalapeno (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons aleppo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons 7 spice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing.

Instructions
 

  • Add the vegetables to a food processor and process until chunky.
  • Add to the beef along with the spices and mix well.
  • Fill into your pita, to your desired thickness. Do not make them too thick or they won't cook fully and evenly.
  • Brush a small amount of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) on each side of the pita.
  • Grill or bake at 425℉ until the beef is all the way cooked through and the bread is crispy (about 8-10 minutes per side depending on your oven). Or you can air fry on 400℉ for 12-16 minutes flipping halfway.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the vegetables by hand.
  • For half a pita, make sure to use about 1/4 cup meat so it cooks evenly.
  • Don’t skip the olive drizzeling part before cooking your stuffed pitas.
  • You can use your leftover pitas.
  • You can have them as a main dish or a hot appetizer.

Nutrition

Calories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gSodium: 7113mgPotassium: 407mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 5173IUVitamin C: 118mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 2mg
Keyword arayes, Meat stuffed pita bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

24 thoughts on “Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes)

  1. Chrissy Yousef says:

    5 stars
    I made these and they were delicious! I just put them on the stove top in a pan to cook them instead of the oven . Thank you for this amazing recipe 😋

  2. Chrissy Yousef says:

    5 stars
    These were delicious! I just put them on the stove top in a pan to cook them instead of the oven . Thank you for this amazing recipe 😋

  3. Sara says:

    5 stars
    Delicious 👌🤤🤤making them soon🫠

  4. Reema says:

    5 stars
    Perfect weeknight recipe!!

  5. Reema says:

    5 stars
    These are so good !

  6. Maryam Zahid says:

    5 stars
    I am going to try these soon. Just wanted to ask is the temp you mentioned in F or C?

    1. Fatimah says:

      in Fahrenheit!

  7. Suzan Halalsheh says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for this amazing recipe. I tried it and were so delicious. My kids loved it and they want me to make it again 😊

  8. Kim says:

    5 stars
    I made these with beyond ground meat and they were so flavorful!!! I love her use of a food processor to make everything come together so much easier. And using an air fryer made clean up easy too! I used pink Himalayan salt and 1 tbsp may have been a bit too much for my taste, but the flavor was so so good. Try this easy recipe!

  9. Becky A says:

    5 stars
    My family loves these! I have made them many times. On the stove top, oven and outside on the grill. I have mixed the meat and spices the day before and let it marry in the frig and other times made immediately. It is so accommodating. Also can use full fat or lean meat also. It is a wonderful item and so happy to have yet a wonderful recipe from falasteenifoodie. 😃

  10. Talia says:

    5 stars
    We didn’t have Aleppo and I don’t like bell peppers so I replaced that with half an Anaheim pepper and I still think the recipe came out great so there is wiggle room for some personal tastebud adjustments. Overall my husband and I really enjoyed them, will make again in the near future.

  11. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    I made this for the second time using this recipe. First time I made them in the oven and second I made them in the air fryer. They turned out amazing and my husband loved them! I also made cucumber salad on the side and it was the perfect pairing with this dish! I’ll definitely be making it again

  12. Candice says:

    5 stars
    Has to be one of my fav recipes ! So delicious, and crunchy. Definitely a go to recipe for now on 😋

  13. Lubna says:

    5 stars
    We had these for lunch the other day- so good! I love utilizing my airfryer

  14. Marya says:

    5 stars
    We decided to have these since you said you were making them along with the lentil soup (we had both today!) and it was delicious. A perfect combination

  15. Lena says:

    5 stars
    We baked these over the weekend and had absolutely none left over!

  16. Kay says:

    The meat was a little dry ..was it because I used only one tomato instead of 2?

    1. Fatimah says:

      yes, It has two tomatoes to keep it moist. You also could have overcooked it 🙂

  17. Hala says:

    5 stars
    I made my own pita with the quick dough recipe then filled it with this arayes filling. You are absolutely amazing fatimah thank you for all the wonderful recipes

  18. Arki says:

    5 stars
    You know girl I was saving this for my cheat meal, and boy oh boy, it hit the spot!! I shared the Arayes with my friends over a girls night dinner. Everyone LOVED them!
    You’re recipes are authentic and delicious and as a Palestinian, they just hit home.

    Can’t wait for next cheat meal 🤤

  19. Hajar says:

    5 stars
    These were delicious, my husband said they were “authentic Egyptian hawawshi” thanks for great recipe ♥️

  20. Perla says:

    5 stars
    Made these for lunch the other day- love how easy and flavorful they are! Definitely a 10/10

  21. Fathima says:

    5 stars
    Tried this a few days back. I grew up in the UAE, currently residing in India. I’ve missed having Arayes for so long. Making this took me down the memory lane, back to a small shop in Fujairah, UAE, where they had Arayes that tasted just like this one. Thank you for this recipe❤️❤️

  22. Layla Karthaus says:

    5 stars
    Posted on my birthday, this recipe made me feel like I was eating a freshly made hawawshi in the city centre of Cairo. Thanks to your blog, I not only get to eat all of these amazing Middle Eastern flavours and meals thousands of kilometers away from their origin, I also get to replicate if and share it with my friends and family. Each and every single one of your recipes is spot on, it blows my mind.

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