Turkish cuisine has a very large selection of borek recipes of all types and Kiymali Borek (Turkish Meat Burek) is probably one of the most popular among them.
These scrumptious Turkish pastries are made with spiced mince and onions wrapped in yufka sheets.
These Turkish Meat Bureks are perfect for parties as finger food as well as for breakfast/brunch, picnics, or packed lunches.
Traditionally a borek-burek is made with thin pastry sheets called "yufka" but you can use filo pastries instead.
These tasty savory pies are very much loved street food in Turkey and it is easy to make your own version at home.
If you are not a meat eater, there are vegetarian versions of these delicious Turkish pastries such as Potato Borek, Spinach and Feta Borek, Turkish Rolls( Sigara Boregi), and Spinach Borek (Ispanakli Borek).
What is Yufka?
Yufka is a thin, unleavened flatbread that is a staple in Turkish cuisine.
It is similar to phyllo dough but slightly thicker and is made from flour, water, and salt.
Yufka is commonly used to make borek recipes such as Cheese Borek - Peynirli Borek as well as Lamb Beyti Kebab.
These round-shaped thin dough parcels are easy to find online or from Turkish or Middle Eastern food shops.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Yufka - You can use filo pastries instead which are similar but thinner than yufka, and they come in rectangular shapes. Filo (or phyllo) pastries are available in most supermarkets and shops, and you can buy them fresh or frozen.
- Minced meat - Use beef or lamb, or a mixture of both. Try and use mince with a minimum of 15-20% fat for extra flavor. Mince with a high-fat ratio releases enough fat to saute the onions when you brown them, therefore, you don't need to add any olive oil!
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a great flavoring that adds sweetness and nuttiness to dishes. Turn it into a paste with a Mortar and Pestle or grate it using a Microplane Zester Grater. I use two large or three small fresh garlic cloves for this recipe.
- Yogurt - Use plain or natural yogurt with no sugar & flavor added. Yogurt gives the borek a fluffy and light texture.
- Melted butter - Apply with a pastry brush on top of the borek before baking in the oven. Butter makes the borek extra crispy and delicious! Use egg yolk and yogurt mixture if you don't want to use butter.
Please see the recipe card below for exact quantities.
How to Make Turkish Meat Borek?
Making these scrumptious Turkish pastries is easier than you think.
However, to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Prepare the Mince Filling
Put a heavy-based pan on medium heat and brown the mince until it releases its fat.
Depending on the fat ratio of your mince, you might have some fat enough to sauté the onions.
If not, add the olive oil to the pan and then sauté the onions along with the garlic until soft and translucent.
Add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika, remove from the heat, and then let it cool down while preparing the sauce.
Prepare the Sauce and Build the Borek
To make the sauce, whisk an egg in a medium-sized bowl.
Add vegetable oil, milk, yogurt, and vinegar to the eggs, and then whisk until combined.
Preheat the oven to 180° C (360° F) and then start building the borek parcels.
Lay one sheet of yufka on a clean work surface and then drizzle 1-1 ½ tablespoon of the sauce, spread it evenly using a brush.
Fold one rounded side towards the middle and then fold the opposite rounded side to meet in the middle.
Drizzle some more sauce, just enough to lightly cover the pastry, and spread it with the brush.
Fold the other rounded sides towards the middle to form a square parcel.
Brush lightly with sauce and then cut them into four squares.
Place a large spoonful of mince filling in the middle of each pastry square.
Fold each of the corners toward the middle to form a square parcel.
Gently press in the middle where all the corners meet, and then turn the pastry upside down.
Repeat the same steps for the 2 other yufka pieces.
Line a baking sheet with silicone paper and then place the borek parcels ½ cm away from each other.
Add melted butter to the sauce.
If you don't have any sauce left, don't worry, melted butter is enough to give enough crunch to borek.
Brush your pastries with the sauce evenly.
Sprinkle on some sesame seeds, nigella seeds, or poppy seeds.
Place the tray in the hot oven and then bake the boreks for 30 to 35 minutes, until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
Please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full ingredients list with measurements, complete recipe method, recipe notes, and nutritional information.
Top Tip From the Chef
- Double the recipe up and keep extra borek parcels in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- They are great for last-minute emergencies or guests and very easy to reheat from frozen.
Kiymali Borek (Turkish Meat Burek) is very versatile and can be served for breakfast/brunch, lunch, or even dinner.
They are also great as a snack or party food. There are many ways to enjoy these delicious savory Turkish treats.
Try them with a bowl of soup such as Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, Turkish Lentil Soup (Mercimek Corbasi), or Spiced Butternut Squash Soup.
If you want to serve them as a light lunch, they go perfectly with a bowl of salad such as Greek Cucumber Salad, Tomato & Walnut Salad (Gavurdagi Salatasi), or Indian Chickpea Salad (Chana Salad).
If serving them for breakfast, a cup of tea or freshly cut cucumbers and tomatoes is all you need!
It is very easy to reheat the borek and you can reheat them straight out of the freezer without defrosting.
Wrap them in tin foil and then place them in a preheated oven (180° C - 360° F) for about 10 minutes, or until they are piping hot in the middle. Give extra 5 minutes for frozen boreks.
Alternatively, you can reheat them in a microwave for a couple of minutes but they would lose their crispness.
Gozleme is usually cooked in a pan, hence they are called "Turkish Pancakes" in Western countries.
Borek is generally baked or pan-fried. Also, gozleme is generally made with a thicker dough than yufka or filo sheets which are usually rolled out by hand.
The leftover boreks would keep for up to 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Let them totally cool down before placing them in the freezer!
For more delicious Turkish Borek Recipes why not try:
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out! Leave a comment below and tag @cookingorgeous on Instagram and hashtag it #cookingorgeous.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this scrumptious Kiymali Borek (Turkish Meat Borek) as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet olsun!
Kiymali Borek (Turkish Meat Borek)
For the Mince Filling
- 400 g minced beef (you can use lamb or mixture of both)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium onions (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika (use chilli or hot paprika if you want spicy)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Sauce
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup milk
- 2 tablespoon Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
For Building the Borek
- 3 pieces yufka sheets
- 30 g melted butter (for the top)
- sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds
Preparing the Mince Filling
- Put a heavy-based pan on medium heat and brown the mince until it releases its fat.
- Add the olive oil to the pan and saute the onions along with the garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika, remove from the heat and let it cool down while preparing the sauce.
Preparing the Sauce
- Whisk an egg in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add vegetable oil, milk, yoghurt and vinegar to the eggs and whisk until combined.
Building the Borek Parcels
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (360° F).
- Lay one sheet of yufka on a clean work surface.
- Drizzle 1-1 ½ tablespoon of the sauce and spread it evenly using a brush.
- Fold one rounded side towards the middle and then fold the opposite rounded side to meet in the middle.
- Drizzle some sauce just enough to lightly cover the pastry and spread it with the brush.
- Fold the other rounded sides towards the middle to form a square parcel.
- Brush lightly with sauce and cut them into 4 squares.
- Place a large spoonful of mince filling in the middle of each pastry squares.
- Fold each of the corners toward the middle to form a square parcel, gently press in the middle where all the corners meet and turn the pastry upside down.
- Repeat the same steps for the 2 other yufka pieces.
- Line a baking tray with silicone paper and place the borek parcels ½ cm away from each other.
- Add melted butter to the sauce. If you don't have any sauce left, just use the melted butter.
- Brush your pastries with the sauce and butter mixture evenly.
- Sprinkle on some sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds.
- Place the tray in the hot oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
- Double the recipe up and keep extra borek parcels in the freezer for up to 3 months. They are great for last-minute emergencies or guests and very easy to reheat from frozen.
- You can use filo pastries instead of yufka which are similar but thinner than yufka, and they come in rectangular shapes.
- The leftover boreks would keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- It is very easy to reheat the borek and you can reheat them straight out of the freezer without defrosting. Wrap them in tin foil and then place them in a preheated oven (180° C - 360° F) for about 10 minutes, or until they are piping hot in the middle. Give extra 5 minutes for frozen boreks.
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I finally found some yufca pastry and made this borek last night. Turned out delicious. Great recipe!
So glad it turned out great.
I am in the process of making borek right now. For some reason the meat filling doesn't have the 'brightness' of the borek I had in Istanbul every morning. I have yet to add green onions and then wrap and bake the borek. I am thinking it may take a lemon infused yogurt with dill to pull up the heavyness of what I have now. Thanks for any help you can give.
I am sorry the filling doesn't have the brightness you are after.
The main reason for that is the taste and the quality of the ground meat you are using. What meat did you use? The ingredients for the filling are very simple: sautéed onions, garlic, paprika, and pepper. My recipe doesn't recall any green onions.
Made this for dinner tonight, very easy to put together, came out amazing! This recipe is just perfect...
Thank you for a wonderful recipe. A big hit tonight for my family! My husband just raved about it. Thank you for sharing this!
Alya. Thank you for responding. I used fresh ground lamb from local halal butcher. I used your recipie but have decided to add green onions to try to pull up the heaviness of what I have now. Maybe I should add an equal amount of ground beef?
Ground lamb might be too heavy for such a dish that only uses a few ingredients, so yes, definitely go for a mixture or just beef next time. But again, some lamb tastes heavier than others and also is a bit of a personal taste. I would suggest adding some chopped parsley to your filling to lighten it up. Hope your borek turns out great after wrapping and baking them, yufka might take some of the heaviness. Please let me know how it turns out for you!
Parsley sounds like a good idea. Yes the lamb is rich. I will go 50/50 next time. Thank you for all of your help and I'll let you know how it turned out.
Ayla - apologies for spelling your name wrong last evening I was using my phone to comment. We just had it and it (apologies) didn't turn out that great. I followed the directions to the letter up until the meat was done. The meat by itself with spices just had this heavy, oily feeling to it and not the light and bright borek I recall from Istanbul. I started searching the internet for what could possibly be done and green onions and parsley seemed like likely candidates. The assembly came out OK but I should have put the phylo dough out of the freezer much earlier. After our first few bites my wife was asking if we needed to make a yogurt dipping sauce - I agreed. Fresh dill, lemon infused yogurt helped bring up the borek but not even close to what we had in Turkey and on the whole not great. It's quite possible that what I had in Turkey wasn't even borek but some borek like concoction that this small vendor happened to make very well. If you click on this link I believe it's that man and that's his shop to the left. It's just a few hundred yards from the Blue Mosque. Another odd thing - the best izgara kofte we had while in Turkey was on the plane as we flew in to Istanbul. (turkish airlines)
Anyway thanks for the help. I'll probably try again with a mix of lamb and ground beef and let you know.
Thank you for sharing your experience and sorry my recipe wasn't what you were looking for.
From the map you have sent me, all I can tell is they are making doner kebabs, not boreks. They are not typically sold together.
I have been making this borek (and another 20+ different types of boreks) for over 25 years and never disappointed me or my husband&family.
If you go again to Turkey, take a note of the name of the dishes you like. It would be much easier to look for them on the internet.
My friends loved this recipe. It was very tasty and everyone asked for more. I will make it again for sure.
I am so glad to hear that!
This was absolutely delicious. Everyone was so impressed. Thank you for sharing this