Egyptian Hawawshi

An Egyptian street food, hawawshi (pronounced ha-WOW-shi) is a riff on the hamburger, if you will. It is basically dough (or pita in this case) stuffed with a mixture of ground meat—lamb or beef—that is seasoned with tantalizing warm spices, onions, garlic, hot peppers and fresh herbs.

There are three components to making these hawawshi patty sandwiches: the seasonings, the meat mixture, and pita pockets—we used the multi-grain variety. This satisfying sandwich is typically served hot without much else to accompany it, although we both felt it needed a sauce of some sort, such as tahini or tzatziki, neither of which we had. Instead, we made a quick mixture of mayo and Sriracha and spread it in the pocket. And it’s never a bad idea to add a side salad…

Since the original recipe (shown below) made 12 sandwiches, we cut it in half, which also gave us a few leftover for lunches.

Egyptian Hawawshi

  • Servings: 12 pockets
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 large yellow onion quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded (leave some of the seed if you like heat)
  • ½ oz. fresh parsley stems, trimmed
  • 2 lbs. lean ground lamb or beef
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 pita pockets

For the Hawawshi Seasoning (Spice Mixture)

  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¾ tsp. cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, add the spices and mix to combine.
  3. Put the onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, pulse a few times until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a sieve to drain excess liquid (it helps to push with the back of a spoon).
  4. Transfer the onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the ground beef and tomato paste. Mix to combine. Add the spice mixture and a dash of kosher salt. Mix again until the mixture is well combined and the spices are well distributed within the meat mixture.
  5. Cut the pita loafs in halves to create 12 pita pockets.
  6. Prepare a large sheet pan brushed with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Stuff each pita pocket with ⅓ cup of the meat mixture. Using the back of a spoon, spread the meat mixture inside the pita pockets.
  8. Arrange the pitas in the prepared sheet pan. Brush the pita pocket tops with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Bake in the heated oven for 15, then carefully turn the pitas over and cook on the other side another 5 to 10 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and the pita is crispy on both sides.

Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh

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