Easy Turkish Borek with meat and cheese

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This Turkish Borek Recipe bursts with delicious Middle Eastern/Mediterranean flavors. With its flaky, creamy layers and savory filling of cheese and spiced minced meat, this borek is one of my top Turkish recipes, perfect for pairing with other dishes.

3 portions of Turkish Borek stacked on top of each other

Turkish börek is a traditional pastry dish that holds a special place in Turkish cuisine. Made with thin layers of dough, typically phyllo dough, börek is filled with various ingredients such as cheese, spinach, minced meat, or potatoes, seasoned with herbs and spices. The layers are stacked or rolled, creating a deliciously flaky and savory treat.

Börek is often enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or even as a main course, and it’s commonly served during special occasions and gatherings in Turkish households. Its versatility, rich flavors, and satisfying texture make börek a beloved dish enjoyed by many across Turkey and beyond.

Turkish Borek is perfect for sharing or as a standout dish at gatherings. Whether served as a main course or appetizer, this recipe is sure to leave everyone craving more. You should also try our Smashed Kefta Tacos, Turkish Bulgur Pilav, Grilled Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce, Healthy Roasted Vegetable Saksuka or Turkish Meatballs with Hasselback Potatoes for a delicious lunch or dinner.

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Creating homemade Turkish börek is a breeze! While there are countless variations, this is my go-to recipe for its simplicity and incredible taste.

For Turks, börek holds a special place, evoking feelings of home. Though its exact origins remain uncertain, this dish is beloved across the former Ottoman empire and regarded as a true Turkish classic.

Watch Us Make The Recipe

Why this recipe works

This recipe is great because it’s easy and adaptable. You can use phyllo dough and fill it with whatever you like. It’s quick to make and tastes really good, perfect for any occasion.

What is Borek?

Borek, also spelt börek, is a traditional Turkish pastry made from thin layers of dough, typically filo pastry, that is filled with various ingredients such as minced meat, cheese, spinach, or potatoes.

The layers are usually brushed with butter or oil to achieve a crisp and flaky texture when baked. Borek can be prepared in various shapes and sizes, including rolls, spirals, triangles, or layered trays. It is a popular dish in Turkish cuisine, enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or main course.

Filo pastry, called yufka in Turkish, is a thin unleavened dough stretched to paper-like thinness. It’s commonly used to create layered baked treats like börek and baklava.

Ingredients to make Borek

  • Minced meat: Choose any type you like, such as beef, lamb, or turkey. Cook it until browned.
  • Onions: Chop them finely for sweetness in the meat filling.
  • Garlic: Grate or chop, fresh garlic is much stronger than garlic powder.
  • Potatoes: Peel and grate, they bind the filling together. Any type of potato is as good.
  • Crushed tomatoes: you can use fresh or a can of finely chopped tomatoes.
  • Eggs: Beat them with milk and yoghurt for a creamy and rich texture.
  • Milk: Use it to create a smooth and creamy texture in the egg mixture.
  • Plain yoghurt: Adds tanginess and richness to the egg mixture.
  • Parmesan cheese: Grate it for a salty taste in the filling.
  • Phyllo pastry: I used one pack of this pastry.
  • Butter: Brush it between layers of phyllo pastry for crispiness.
  • Olive oil: Use for sautéing onions, garlic, and mince meat.

Spices: Garlic powder, Smoked paprika, Cumin, Chili flakes or powder, Baharat spice, Salt and Pepper.

Substitutions

Here are some ingredient substitutions you can consider for making Turkish Borek, depending on dietary preferences and ingredient availability:

  • Mincemeat: You can substitute with ground chicken, turkey, or even plant-based alternatives like lentils or mushrooms for a vegetarian option.
  • Onions: Shallots or leeks can be used.
  • Garlic: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, adjusting the quantity based on taste preference.
  • Potatoes: Sweet potatoes or cauliflower can be used instead of regular potatoes.
  • Crushed tomatoes: Tomato sauce or diced tomatoes can be used as alternatives.
  • Milk: Plant-based milk such as almond, soy, or oat milk.
  • Plain yoghurt: Dairy-free yoghurt or sour cream.
  • Parmesan cheese: Nutritional yeast or a combination of grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese can be used.
  • Butter: Use olive oil for brushing between the layers of the pastry.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Large skillet or frying pan for cooking the filling.
  • Mixing bowls for preparing the egg mixture and combining ingredients.
  • Baking dish or pan for assembling and baking the borek.
  • Pastry brush for brushing melted butter or oil between layers of phyllo pastry.
  • Knife or kitchen scissors for cutting and shaping the pastry.
  • Spoon or spatula for mixing and spreading the filling.
  • Oven for baking the borek.
Freshly baked Turkish Borek with golden-brown crust, in a pan.

Variations for Layered Turkish Borek

Vegetarian: Replace the minced meat with a mixture of sautéed vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers for a flavorful vegetarian option.

Cheese: Add extra cheese like feta or mozzarella to the filling for a cheesy twist.

Spicy: Increase the amount of chilli flakes or add chopped jalapeños for a spicy kick.

Herbs: Incorporate fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or mint into the filling for freshness.

Sweet: Create a sweet version by filling the borek with a mixture of sweetened ricotta cheese, cinnamon, and chopped nuts, then dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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How to make this recipe

Ready to whip up something delicious? Give our Turkish tray börek with cheese and meat a try! This quick and simple recipe is packed with flavorful ingredients that will leave your taste buds wanting more. We’ll guide you through each step, from preparing the minced meat filling to layering the borek. Plus, your kitchen will be filled with amazing aromas as this Turkish borek bakes!

Please take a peek at our handy guide complete with step-by-step photos.

Olive oil, chopped red onion, grated garlic in a pan to make borek.
Olive oil, chopped red onion, grated garlic, minced meat, grated potatoes and spices in a pan, to make borek.

First, heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a baking dish.
Next, put all the filling ingredients (except crushed tomatoes) in a big pan. Let them cook together for around 10 minutes, stirring now and then.

Olive oil, chopped red onion, grated garlic, minced meat, grated potatoes and spices in a pan, already cooked and browned. Now adding tomato sauce.
Layers of buttered phyllo dough in a pan.

In the meantime, Place half of the Phyllo pastry sheets in the greased baking dish. Brush each sheet with melted butter as you layer them.

After that, add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and cook for 10 more minutes.

Layer of phyllo dough brushed with butter, topped with meat filling for making borek.
Eggs, milk, grated Parmesan and mozzarella, and yogurt ready for mixing.

Spread the meat mixture evenly over the layers of pastry sheets. Then, in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, plain yoghurt, and grated parmesan cheese to create a creamy and rich egg mixture.

Layer of egg, milk, Parmesan, mozzarella, and yogurt mixture atop phyllo sheets for borek.
Freshly baked Turkish Borek with golden-brown crust, in a pan.

Place the rest of the phyllo pastry sheets on top of the minced meat filling, brushing each with melted butter. Pour the egg mix over them. Bake in the hot oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. After cooling a bit, slice and serve this delicious easy Turkish borek for a satisfying meal! Enjoy!

A full list of ingredients and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.

What drinks go well with borek

Several drinks complement the overall taste of minced meat and cheese borek:

  • Ayran: A traditional Turkish yoghurt drink that pairs well with the savoury flavours of borek.
  • Turkish Tea: A strong, black tea commonly served with Turkish meals, balancing the richness of this recipe.
  • Turkish Coffee: Rich and aromatic, Turkish coffee provides a bold contrast to this dish.
  • Sparkling Water: Refreshing and palate-cleansing, sparkling water helps balance the richness of this minced meat pastry.
  • Fruit Juice: Freshly squeezed orange or pomegranate juice adds a fruity note to the meal.
  • White Wine: A crisp and acidic white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling, complements the flavours of this borek with minced meat and cheese.
  • Herbal Tea: Mint or chamomile tea provides a soothing and refreshing option to enjoy alongside this Turkish recipe.
  • Yoghurt-based Drinks: Lassi or kefir offer a tangy and refreshing accompaniment.
Freshly baked Turkish Borek with golden-brown crust, in a pan.

Side Dishes to Serve with Turkish Borek

  • Fresh Salad: A simple green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a lemon vinaigrette.
  • Yoghurt Sauce: A side of tangy yoghurt sauce flavoured with garlic and herbs.
  • Pickles: Crisp and tangy pickles, such as cucumbers or mixed vegetables.
  • Olives: Briny and flavorful olives, served as a snack or appetizer.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Seasonal vegetables roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper for added depth .
  • Rice Pilaf: Fluffy basmati rice cooked with onions, garlic, and spices like cumin and turmeric.
  • Fruit Platter: A refreshing assortment of seasonal fruits, such as watermelon, grapes, and oranges.
  • Turkish Tea: Strong black tea served in traditional glasses, perfect for sipping alongside the borek.

Storage and Leftovers

Refrigeration: Allow the borek to cool completely before transferring any leftovers to an airtight container or wrapping tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating: To reheat, place individual portions in the microwave for a few minutes until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes until heated evenly.

Freezing: If you have a large batch or want to save leftovers for later, you can freeze borek. Wrap individual portions tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before placing them in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Thawing: When ready to enjoy, thaw frozen borek overnight in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave using the defrost setting.

Reheating from frozen: To reheat frozen borek, place it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes until heated through.

Storage Tips: To maintain freshness, store any leftover borek away from strong-smelling foods in the refrigerator. Avoid leaving it at room temperature for extended periods to prevent bacterial growth.

Recipe FAQS

Yes, you can substitute the minced meat with ground chicken, turkey, or even a meat alternative like lentils or mushrooms for a vegetarian option.

Yes, you can assemble the borek ahead of time and refrigerate it before baking. Just make sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent drying out. Bake when ready to serve.

Yes, you can freeze leftover borek for future meals. Allow it to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake in a preheated oven until heated through.

Absolutely! Feel free to customize the fillings according to your preferences. You can add vegetables like spinach or bell peppers, or even experiment with different cheeses for added flavor.

Yes, you can use olive oil or melted butter for brushing between the layers of phyllo pastry. Both will result in a crispy and flavorful crust.

Looking for more? Check out +20 Best Mains Easy Recipes!

Did you make this Easy Turkish Borek recipe? Please share your experience by rating it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and dropping a comment below. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and fuels my passion for creating recipes!

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3 portions of Turkish Borek stacked on top of each other

Turkish Borek

Claudia
Burek is a delightful and easy-to-make savory pastry enjoyed in the Balkans, Middle East, and Central Asia. Its thin, flaky dough, like filo, encloses a delicious range of fillings, like meat, cheese, spinach, or potatoes. With its rich flavors, it’s a favorite among families and a delightful treat to savor! Borek is the food you eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner or just as a snack.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Turkish
Servings 6
Calories 858 kcal

Equipment

  • baking pan a 9×13-inch (22×33 cm) rectangular baking dish.
  • Brush for brushing melted butter or oil between layers of phyllo
  • Mixing bowl
  • Oven

Ingredients
  

Ingredients for the filling

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g mince meat any type you like
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves grated or chopped
  • 2 large potatoes peeled and grated
  • 350g crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes or powder
  • 1 tsp Baharat spice
  • 2 tsp salt adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper

For the egg mix

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup grated parmesan

Extra

  • 1 packet of Phyllo pastry
  • 50 g melted butter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a baking dish.
  • In a large pan, add all ingredients for the filling, except for the crushed tomatoes. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After that time, add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, plain yogurt, and grated parmesan to make the egg mix.
  • Layer half of the Phyllo pastry sheets in the greased baking dish, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
  • Spread the mince meat mixture evenly over the pastry sheets.
  • Layer the remaining Phyllo pastry sheets on top, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
  • Pour the egg mix over the top layer.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until the burek is golden and crispy.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve this delicious burek as a tasty and satisfying meal! Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Step-by-Step Guide: You’ll find a helpful step-by-step guide to making this recipe on my blog. 
Substitutions & Twists: I’ve listed some great substitutions and variations in the post above so that you can customise the dish to your liking.
Storage: Börek can be stored cooked in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for 2-3 months. Uncooked börek can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen for 2-3 months.
Tip 1: Thoroughly soak phyllo pastry: Brush each layer of phyllo pastry with melted butter or oil to ensure a crispy and flavorful result.
Tip 2: Generously top with cheese: Sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese over the final layer of phyllo pastry for a golden, cheesy crust.
Tip 3: Allow the börek to cool before serving to enhance its flavors and ensure a more enjoyable eating experience.
Keyword borek, Turkish recipe
Collage featuring freshly baked Turkish Börek with a golden-brown crust, served in a pan, and a stack of three portions of Turkish Börek.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Oh my, this is such a great-looking dish pastry! Looks incredibly delicious and very appealing too! Totally loved it!