Lahmajoun (Armenian “Pizza”) Shortcut!

When I attended Chico State College in California back in 1969, I desperately needed to refer to a hard-to-find Armenian cookbook for a Food Preparation project I was doing. Roy Callan, a fellow Armenian student, came to my rescue. His mother loaned me her cherished cookbook so that I could brush-up on how to make Lahmajoun.

It was labor-intensive, preparing the dough from scratch, chopping all of the vegetables by hand, and making enough for a class of 25, plus faculty. The accolades received, however, made it all worthwhile.

In my later years, I learned an invaluable tip from a dear, departed friend who once lived in California. “Why don’t you make lahmajoun using the short-cut method?” she asked.

Short-cut? This I wanted to hear.

She told me that the Armenian ladies she knew out West made it using flour tortillas as the base. Flour Tortillas? BRILLIANT! Just make the topping, spread it on the tortilla, then bake.

OK, it’s not exactly like the commercially prepared version, but it sure is an easy way to make it when the craving strikes!

Lahmajoun (Armenian “Pizza”) Shortcut

An updated take on a classic, labor-intensive recipe using flour tortillas!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients
  

Topping

  • 1 lb. ground beef, lamb, or combination of both.
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 medium red pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 small green pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 bunch parsley ( washed well, finely chopped)
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (well-drained)
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato or red pepper paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp. flour
  • tsp. dried mint
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Base

  • 2 10-count pkgs. 8-inch flour tortillas

Instructions
 

  • To save time, process the onion, peppers, and parsley in a food processor, using the metal “S” blade. Squeeze out any excess liquid – this is VERY important! Be careful not to over-process. Vegetables should still be a bit chunky, not pureed.
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients, mixing well.
  • Preheat oven to 400° – 425°F.
  • Thinly spread about 3 Tbsp. of meat topping on the suface of each tortilla, spreading to the edge.
  • Place 2 to 3 tortillas on each baking tray. They should not overlap each other.
  • Bake on the lower rack for about 5 minutes, then on the upper rack, for another 5 minutes, or until the meat topping has browned, and the edges of the tortilla are golden.
  • Continue this procedure until topping and/or tortillas are all used.

To Serve

  • Place thin slices of sweet onion and chopped parsley in the center of the lahmajoun, fold, and eat! A squeeze of lemon gives it a nice touch, too!

To Freeze

  • After baking and cooling, stack lahmajouns, with plastic wrap in between each one. Place in plastic freezer bags & seal tightly.

To Reheat

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove frozen lahmajoun from the plastic wrap. Stack them in pairs on a baking sheet, meat sides facing each other. Heat for about 5-7 minutes. Turn once during reheating.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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62 Comments

  1. David Blasco July 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Warning: reading this blog will make you hungry!

    Reply
    1. Sonia January 6, 2017 at 6:46 am

      ha ha ha ….

      Reply
    2. Unknown December 18, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      I use Naan bread. They come out perfect!

      Reply
    3. Bob May 18, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Gosh, that's about as close as I would imagine you could get to reproduce that scrumptious crust a scratch lahmajoun provides. My Armenian friend used to make those darned things and I ate them until I nearly burst. I'm gonna give it a shot now, thanks to Robyn, Doug, and Anthony.

      Reply
    4. Robyn Kalajian May 21, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Please do try it, Bob, and let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
  2. Walter Paul November 21, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I made lahmajoun the other day using pita bread instead of homeade dough – I was going to cut the pitas in half but they were thin enough and fragile enough that I just used them whole – placed the meat mixture on top baked – and they were delicious –

    Reply
  3. Robyn November 22, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Yes indeed! Using pita bread is another easy way to get your lahmajoun fix. Thanks, Walter!

    Reply
  4. Mike December 6, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks for reminiding me its time to make lahmajoon. 🙂 Mom makes them with pita method, Grandma and I prefer just rolling the dough. Also, to add I usually omit the mint in my version for those of you who arent big mint fans.

    Reply
  5. Robyn December 6, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Absolutely, Mike. Mint is an optional ingredient, but if you like it, mint gives lahmajoun that "something special" taste.

    Reply
  6. mike January 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Wow, this is spot-on. My family never made lahmajoun (too much work, even for the Aunties who had no problem with labor-intensive paklava), but we'd get it at weddings and some larger family events. I made this recipe for the family xmas get-together last week, and the flavour was *exactly* what we grew up with. *Exactly*. Better than the stuff you can get in MA. Thanks, Robyn

    Reply
  7. Robyn January 1, 2010 at 12:43 am

    I'm so glad this recipe was such a hit! Now you can have lahmajoun any time you want – no muss, no fuss.
    Happy New Year!

    Reply
    1. Raine August 7, 2016 at 10:16 am

      My Armenian grandmother used the "no fuss, no muss" phrase often. She made her Lahmajouns with Pillsbury biscuits, as do I & my siblings. I am going to give the tortillas a try though.

      Reply
    2. Raine August 7, 2016 at 10:19 am

      My Armenian grandmother used the "no fuss, no muss" phrase often. She made her Lahmajouns with Pillsbury biscuits, as do I & my siblings. I am going to give the tortillas a try though.

      Reply
  8. Gary January 1, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I tried pita some time ago and it came out hard. So I gave up. Today I bought a bunch of tortilla and will try them. I am discouraged. I would also like to try the tortilla to make zaatar pies. It's the flexible soft dough I am trying to accomplish. Anyway thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  9. Robyn January 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Gary,
    Don't be discouraged! Give the flour tortillas a try. You know they'll taste good! If that doesn't work for you, (and I hope it will) another option is to purchase prepared bread/pizza dough. Many grocery stores or Italian markets sell it. This might provide the softness and flexibility you're after. All you'll need to do is separate the dough into balls, roll out each ball of dough, top each, and bake. In the meantime, I'd love to hear how your tortilla version comes out.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous January 2, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Hi Robyn:

    Thanks for the encouragement. I will report on the 'tortilla lahmajoun'. I just stocked up on white flour tortilla. Making the meat topping is a job by itself I suppose. Am I up to it?

    I have been buying, from a bakery, 6 "pizza shells". Didn't know until recently that they were 'partially baked' when I get them. They work real good for pizza. But not 'rollable' like I am after for the lahmajoun. I usually make a huge veggie salad (no lettuce, celery, or other water based)The bakery told me they make this shell for the Greek fast food chain stores we have here (Calgary)called Opa. Apparently they quick pan fry the pizza shell to stuff the souvlaki, pork, chicken,+tzatziki sauce. etc. Soft shell and tasty. I haven't been successful in keeping it soft.

    I use the veggies for pizza topping and to mix with ground beef, chicken or simply as a hearty salad with yogurt+spices like oregano, pepper, sumac, garlic etc.

    I think pita may be even better than totilla. I neglected greasing the cookie sheet when I did the pita long time ago. It came out hard. Another thing to try. Will let you know.

    Still learning folks. Happy New Year to all!

    G

    Reply
  11. Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Reply
  12. Ara February 17, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    It's not exactly lahmajoun, but the Lebanese have a dish called "arayes" (it means "brides").

    In the Lebanese version, you prepare a meat stuffing (like you would for stuffed keuftah), add chopped tomatoes, and stuff it in a pita that you cut in half (making a crescent). You toast or grill the resulting sandwich.

    It just occurred to me you could do exactly the same thing using lahmajoun topping (in fact, the recipe is not all that different). Then you don't have to worry about the pita getting hard.

    Reply
  13. Ara February 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Or I would just mail order some lahmajoun from one of the bakeries in LA. Sasoun Bakery is particularly recommended. If you freeze them right away, they will last practically forever.

    Reply
  14. Robyn February 18, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Some excellent options, Ara. I'm getting hungry!

    Reply
  15. Anonymous February 25, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Greetings, Thats how wifie makes lahmajoun. The topping mixture isn't ground fine like mirig's but if I complain she might stop making it. Nice site. God bless you. Dn. Richard Charshafian

    Reply
  16. Anonymous March 19, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Thanks Robyn and Walter (for the pita idea!) and to keep it soft, I may cover in foil for part of the baking. I miss my Yaya's Armenian pizza so much. I can still smell it; it had a pretty unique aroma. Oh I miss it! Aaaaah! I'm having a Lamajoun attack!
    Mark Newman
    Ottumwa, IA

    Reply
  17. tasteofbeirut May 31, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Lahmajoun to me brings back good memories of eating them hot from the Armenian bakery in Beirut and squeezing lemons on them: I could easily eat half a dozen in one sitting!
    I saw a recipe for them in Sunset magazine years ago that I clipped that used these flour tortillas; apparently ladies in Fresno did this at the Armenian festival. I love lahmajoun so much that I would not mind making them from scratch but your version is more realistic: after all I have never made them from scratch, and it has been a mere 30 years.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous October 18, 2012 at 10:58 am

      yes me too! I have been searching for a recipe for it for a very long time and yay luckily I stumbles across the idea in a cooking game I play haha now to get the motivation to make it I cant wait I so loved the early morning bakeries in beirut eating them still warm and fresh mmmm 🙂

      Reply
  18. Sara December 8, 2010 at 6:46 am

    @tasteofbeirut — when I was growing up, my grandmother lived in Fresno and thanks to her, I always associate lahmajoun with being baked atop flour tortillas. Maybe it is a Fresno thing!

    Reply
  19. Maggie Klian April 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I need the recipe of the dough. Can someone give it to me? I have tried some of the recipes but it doesn´t taste lahmajoon. I will be really greatuful.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous April 27, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Lahmajoun Dough:
    from Robyn@TheArmenianKitchen.com

    1 package dry, granular yeast
    ½ tsp. sugar
    ½ cup lukewarm water (about 105° 110° F) or more, if needed
    3 cups all purpose flour or more, if needed
    1 tsp. salt
    3 Tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter

    Dough Directions:

    1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in ½ cup lukewarm water. Set aside for a few minutes.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the dough; stir in the yeast mixture and vegetable oil or melted butter. Mix, adding more warm water if necessary. Dough should not be sticky.
    3. Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour, if needed.
    4. Place dough in a large bowl that’s been lightly greased with oil. Turn dough to coat all over with oil.
    5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Place bowl in a place free of drafts; allow to rise for about 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
    6. After 1 ½ to 2 hours, punch dough down; divide into about 14 equal portions. Shape each portion into balls and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Roll each ball into about a six inch circle.
    7. Place 2 to 3 dough circles on a greased baking sheet circles should not overlap. Spread 2 or 3 Tbsp. of topping on each spreading evenly to the edge of the dough.
    8. Bake in a preheated 450° F oven on the lower rack for about 5 minutes, then on the upper rack for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until meat is cooked and dough is golden around the edges. Since oven temperatures vary, watch closely.
    9. Continue until all dough/topping mixture have been used.

    Reply
  21. Kim May 10, 2011 at 6:04 am

    @Sara-Oh no, flour tortilla lahmajoun isn't a Fresno Armenian thing. 🙂 My Armenian grandparents (who lived in So Cal)were big on the flour tortilla lahmajouns too. I remember my sister and I making it with them as kids, and my grandfather re-doing my lahmajoun attempt because I put the mixture on too thick.
    This site is fun!

    Reply
  22. Anonymous September 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Greta recipe, thank you. I recently tried lahmajoun in Vancouver, Canada – http://lamajoun.com. For some reason they called it "La majoun" but I have never ever tried anything better.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous June 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      This guy is shilling for this website all over the web.

      Reply
  23. Leonardo November 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I would never consider making lahmajoun with tortillas. The fresh dough gives a very different flavor and texture, and is worth the effort. Well, I always make too much meat mixture, so the next day I'll use tortillas, or toast, or fry the mixture and scramble it with eggs. But fresh dough first.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous January 25, 2012 at 1:13 am

      Guerrero makes fresh,uncooked tortillas. 10 in a pack at supermarkets.

      Reply
    2. Robyn January 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      Really?? What stores? and in what states?

      Reply
  24. Rose K February 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I have made Lahmajoun from scratch two times recently and it was delicious. I made the dough from scratch and used beef instead of lamb. I also hand chopped everything as the chopper makes it watery. I baked it six minutes on
    Lower rack and six minutes on upper rack. It cannot be the same with tortillas because of the flavor.

    Reply
  25. June Bostick March 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    what about using Bridgeford Frozen Rolls?

    Reply
    1. Robyn March 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      You ask a good question, June. I've never tried using frozen rolls. Would you care to try and report back?

      Reply
  26. Novelliano July 13, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I'M STILL LOOKING FOR MY GRANDMOTHER OLIVE BREAD. IT LOOKED SOMETHING LIKE LAHMAJOUN BUT WITHOUT THE MEAT AND THE REST. JUST MADE WITH OLIVES AND OLIVE OIL. ABSOLUTELY TO DIE FOR

    Reply
  27. Anonymous January 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Thank you for the recipe of lamajoun. I recently tried one in Vancouver, Canada http://lamajoun.com and it was very yummy, but I don't think they add mint there.

    Reply
  28. Anonymous March 5, 2013 at 2:23 am

    I found a recipe years ago that used Pillsbury biscuit dough. You roll out a biscuit thin, then place the topping on top and bake. Fantastic!
    When I was a girl, my family used to buy them from a bakery on Adams street in L.A. I have no idea if it is still there or the name of the bakery.
    This recipe makes smaller lamajouns which are just the right size for appetizers or lunch.

    Reply
    1. Raine August 7, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Our family has made them for years using Pillsbury biscuits. They always turn out great!

      Reply
    2. Raine August 7, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Our family has made them for years using Pillsbury biscuits. They always turn out great!

      Reply
  29. Anonymous November 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I've not found a commercially prepared dough can be used to replicate my grandmother's lahmajoun, which I consider the best (NO bias here!!!). That said, all of these suggestions are great for less labor intensive versions. Imho, the best tasting and textured version comes from using frozen bread, pizza or "dinner roll" dough and taking the time and effort to roll it out to whatever thickness you like and proceed from there.

    Reply
    1. Inverted Extrovert April 17, 2016 at 3:36 am

      But do you think a simple lavash dough would suffice? I don't think ancient recipes from Armenia called for an Italian dough made with processed yeast.
      I ask because I'm looking for a kosher, preferably most authentic, recipe an oder woman like myself could use.

      Reply
    2. Inverted Extrovert April 17, 2016 at 3:42 am

      I apologize if my reply seems to have attitude – I re-read it, and I realized it could sound like it. I've been making sourdough starters, and I know to have truly authentic and traditional foods from any culture requires time and patience.
      But with this, I want a fix for this craving as soon as possible! If an older lavash dough will work, I'm all over it!

      Reply
    3. Robyn Kalajian April 17, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      No apology necessary… when in doubt, try it out. Why not experiment with lavash dough and let us know how it turns out?

      Reply
  30. Hamlet August 28, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Can someone help m with this info, I recall reading somewhere a while back about the history of lahmajoun, that the Armenians brought them into Syria after the Armenian Genocide and it then took on the Arabic name, but it used to also have an Armenian name as well, does anyone know it?

    Reply
    1. Robyn Kalajian August 31, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Hamlet,
      Here's a link to an article we wrote about lahmajoun and a comment by a reader:
      http://araratmagazine.org/2011/10/lahmajoun-the-carefully-crafted-centerpiece/
      There's also an explanation in the book, "Armenian Food – Fact, Fiction, and Folklore", by Irina Petrosian. She states that it's called lahmajo in Armenia, and that Arabs call it labmah ed ajeen. Petrosian also states that native Armenians referred to this as 'Akhparakan dish' because repatriates were referred to as akhpars, or brothers. In addition, she mentions that repatriates from Aleppo introduced lahmajoun to Soviet Armenians in the 1960's. She also noted that Armenians in Aleppo, who dominated the pastry and bread trade, were known for these famous meat pies.

      Reply
    2. Robyn Kalajian September 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Another name for lahmajoun … 'mesashod', as mentioned in the cookbook, "Armenian Cuisine" by Aline Kamakian and Barbara Drieskens

      Reply
  31. J March 17, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    I think they sell LAVASH bread which can be used. Armenian stores sell the exact type of bread used. This recipe does not have the 'secret ingredient' though which is the pomegranate syrup.

    Reply
    1. Robyn Kalajian March 17, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      Jay Bee, Thanks for your comment! Pomegranate syrup (or molasses) is a regional or personal preference. Some folks use it; some don't. It certainly would add an interesting note to the topping!

      Reply
  32. Belmar Armenian September 20, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    My family never made this . But I want to share my heritage at work ( and as much as I like them I am NOT rolling grape leaves!! )So I tried this. My Armenian GF from Syria makes it but with too much hot spice for my taste. This is good and I will make it for xmas party at work but next time will not use lamb ! I have not had lamb in forever and could not get over the taste of fat. Also I would love to make this with the pilsbury premade buscuit idea ! And would like the get the nest to taste more like what my aunts stuffing tasted like ( allspice?) or kufta seasonings . So glad this site is here for when I am homesick .

    Reply
  33. Knitting Emporium October 20, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    These are great. We had them for our evening meal and there were four left over so they are in the freezer. I am already looking forward to having them for lunch next week. The take away down the road has them which was the reason I looked for this recipe and I must say I am only making them myself from now on. Thanks

    Reply
  34. Anonymous December 5, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    I grew up using canned biscuit dough for quick Lahmajoun. press the biscuits as flat as possible to make about an 8" round and put stuff on top and bake. do not use butter flavor, just plain biscuits works best.

    Reply
  35. Unknown April 13, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks

    Reply
  36. Stef Dee May 25, 2020 at 3:32 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have not had a bite of lahmejun since my doctor found that I am allergic to gluten. I can hardly wait to make my own using gluten free tortillas.

    Reply
  37. Linda February 17, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I will be very soon. I love lahmajoun which my husband (who is armenian) and I buy at an armenian bakery in watertown, ma. are fantastic. I just wanted to note that in looking at the picture of these lahmajoun, they look like they are made with pita bread and not tortillas. If that’s not the case, it might be another good option. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    Reply
    1. Robyn Kalajian February 27, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Linda, These were made on flour tortillas, but pita bread is another great shortcut option!

      Reply
  38. Wayne July 13, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    5 stars
    Excuse my ignorance, but how is Lahmajoun pronounced? I’ve found all sorts of different pronunciations around the web.

    Reply
    1. Robyn Kalajian July 18, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      Its pronunciation is very simple: Lah- mah- joon

      Reply
  39. Bedros September 20, 2021 at 6:17 am

    Okay, just stumbled on this site and spending way too much time on it rather than getting work done for this morning. I do want to give a tip for the lahmajoun short cut using pita (though nothing is better than from-scratch dough). I use really fresh pita (lots of it in Dearborn, Michigan, down the street) and using scissors cut the outer edge off, then separate and use the separated halves, pressing the meat mixture down into the bread. This wets the bread enough so that when baked for 15-20 minutes it actually comes out of the oven feeling a lot like the traditional. And then I cut up the left over strips of pita into french-fry-like strips, toss in oil and seasoning and bake for a great snack.

    Reply
    1. Robyn Kalajian September 21, 2021 at 3:00 pm

      Excellent suggestions, Bedros! Using pita as a substitute base is a great timesaver – and- who can resist homemade pita ‘chips’??

      Reply

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