Lamb Börek


For this lamb börek recipe, if you get your hands on the right ingredients — including about 12 good sheets of phyllo pastry — you'll find this savory pastry way easier to make than it appears. It's all thanks to an intentionally soggy dough. That's right! Lightly moisturizing phyllo with an egg, yogurt, and butter wash produces flexible, flavorful, and externally crisp layers upon baking.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 5 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
1 9-inch pie


For the Lamb Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 pounds ground lamb

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons currants

  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce

  • ¼ cup water

For the Dough:

  • 1 large egg

  • 3 tablespoons full-fat plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed, or as needed

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (Optional)

For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons very finely sliced mint leaves

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon water, or as needed

  • salt to taste

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt, and lamb. Break up lamb into small crumbles. Cook, occasionally stirring, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes. Toss in garlic, currants, pine nuts, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, and allspice. Cook and stir for 1 minute.

  2. Pour tomato sauce into lamb mixture. Add water, stir, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until lamb mixture dries up and you can stir it without seeing liquid on the bottom of the pan, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool completely before using.

  3. In the meantime, combine egg, yogurt, water, and butter in a bowl. Whisk together thoroughly.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a round baking pan or sheet pan.

  5. Place 2 sheets of phyllo on your work surface. Keep remaining sheets covered with a damp towel. Sprinkle some egg wash lightly on top and spread using a pastry brush. Layer on 2 more sheets, one at a time, brushing some more egg wash over each.

  6. Line 1/3 of the lamb filling along one wide edge of the phyllo. Roll pastry up starting from filling side and place it against the edge of the pan. Brush more egg wash on top.

  7. Shape and fill 2 more rolls with remaining phyllo, most of the egg wash, and filling. Wrap rolls along and inside the first one, filling the pan, and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

  9. Combine yogurt, mint, lemon juice, and garlic for the yogurt sauce. Mix in enough water to achieve the desired consistency for dipping. Season with salt and cayenne. Cut börek into wedges and serve with yogurt sauce.

    close up view of a slice of Lamb Börek, served with arugula salad, on a white plate
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

Save any extra phyllo, since the filling recipe above makes extra, and you can fold up some smaller, triangular böreks if you want.

Substitute chopped raisins for the currants if desired.

If you're not into lamb, this works perfectly with beef. Or try a spinach-cream cheese filling for a vegetarian version.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

449 Calories
28g Fat
24g Carbs
25g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 449
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 111mg 37%
Sodium 1086mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 554mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love