Sfeeha – Meat Pies

Sfeeha has always been one of those savory treats that I regularly craved.

I still remember coming home from school to the smell of fresh baked sfeeha. My siblings and I  would run over to the kitchen and it would be a matter of minutes before half of the sfeeha was devoured.

As as soon as I began attending a university and was living away from home, I made it my mission to make my own sfeeha. I remember struggling and working for hours…but when I tasted the final result, I knew the time and effort was SO worth it.

As soon as I was done, I packed up the majority of the sfeeha into freezer bags and tucked them away for future days when I was craving something savory but didn’t have the time to bake or cook.


Makes 30-40 small pies (I know it sounds like a tonnnn but you will want to freeze some of these to enjoy later. It’s worth making them all.)

6 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons dry/powdered milk
2 tablespoons yeast
1 pinch turmeric (optional for color)
2 1/2 – 3 cups warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil

6 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
1 pinch turmeric (optional for color)
1 – 1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Tomato Meat Toppings:

1.5-2 lbs ground beef or lamb
7-10 tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1+ teaspoon salt
1+ teaspoon pepper
1/2+ teaspoon All-Spice (optional)
Shatta (to taste)

Step 1: In a kitchen mixer with a the dough hook attachment or regular large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and thoroughly mix on medium-speed. Slowly add in the vegetable oil and then begin slowly adding the warm water. Knead until you have created a large, well-combined ball of dough. Dough will be slightly sticky and easy to manage. Transfer the dough to a clean and lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow it to rise for about an hour or hour and a half.

Step 2: Once the dough has doubled in size, begin dividing the dough into equal sized balls and transfer to a lightly oiled tray. I tend to make balls a little larger than a golf ball as this dough will easily spread and I also like my sfeeha to be small. But size of the sfeeha is up to you! Cover and allow to proof or rest for another 30-45 minutes.

Step 3: While the dough is proofing, begin making your meat topping. Finely chop the onions. Chop the tomatoes. Set aside.

Step 4: In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the ground meat until evenly browned and fully cooked. No need for butter or oil as the meat will cook in its own fat. Optional Step: As the meat cooks, you’ll notice it may let off a lot of liquid. When it’s all been browned, try and remove as much of the liquid as you can by moving the pot over to a sink and spilling the liquid out. Be SUPER careful though because it’s hot and you also don’t want to lose the meat in the sink. Another easy way to do this is simply transfer the meat into a strainer and then back into the pot.

Step 5: Next add in your onions and sauté with the meat. Season with salt, pepper, and all-spice to taste. Give it a taste. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Step 6: Add the tomatoes, continue to cook over medium-high for about 30 minutes and all the tomatoes are cooked down and it looks like you have a nice thick sauce. This is also a good time to taste and add salt and spice, if needed.

Step 7: Remove the meat sauce from heat and allow to cool.

Step 8: Once the meat sauce is done, if you feel like it’s too watery you can transfer it into a strainer. You want to drain out only some of the liquid and then transfer it back into the pot or another bowl. If you keep too much liquid and spoon it onto the dough, it will make the sfeeha soggy. If you drain too much, the meat will come out really dry on the sfeeha. I would say you want it to be “sloppy joe consistency”.

Step 9: Preheat your oven to 475-500°F.

Step 10:  Transfer balls of dough to an oiled baking tray or one lined with parchment paper. Flatten dough — if you’re having a hard time you can also use a rolling pin, but dough should be soft enough to flatten with your hands. Top with a tablespoon of the meat sauce and pine nuts.

Step 11: Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the sfeeha is golden on top and bottom.

Step 12: Enjoy with fresh veggies, a salad, or plain yoghurt.


2 thoughts on “Sfeeha – Meat Pies

  1. Hello! In your recipe for the flour measurement you say mugs, do you mean cups?

    Thanks so much! Can’t wait to make these!


    1. Hi Christine,

      I know it throws off many people but I actually did mean mugs – like your typical coffee mug. For whatever reason, when it comes to making some of the savory Middle Eastern pastries my mom and aunts have always used mugs for the dough. I would say that you would need 5-6 cups if you’d like to try that. In the end you just want a dough that isn’t too sticky and will be easily to work with.

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