These arayes are a fun crispy pita pocket filled with flavorful seasoned meat. This popular Middle Eastern street food makes a great appetizer, lunch, or main course. Great for grilling season, but can be made indoors any time of the year!
Firing up the grill for summer? These arayes (also spelled areyas) work great on the grill! You can also try Pargiot (Grilled Israeli Chicken Thighs), Grilled Peach Toasts, or Grilled Short Ribs for more summer grilling recipes.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Multiple cooking methods. This arayes recipe has directions for different methods of cooking including stove top, outdoor grill, oven baked, and air fryer methods.
- Great as an appetizer or main course. I’ve made these as party appetizers, and they were the talk of the party! They also work well as a lunch with an Israeli salad, or as a dinner main course with your favorite sides.
- Versatile dish. Serve these as a quick weeknight dinner, casual shabbat dinner or a summer BBQ cookout. They also make a fun entree in the sukkah for Sukkot. Since they are triangle shaped, they work for Purim too!
What are arayes?
Arayes are ground meat stuffed pitas that are cooked on the grill. You can make them with ground beef or ground lamb.
They are a popular street food in Israel and throughout the Middle East. The meat is seasoned with middle eastern spices, onions, and fresh herbs. The pita gets crispy when grilled.
Dana’s note: I have this dish on repeat all summer long on the grill! When the weather cools down, this dish is easy to make on the stovetop or in the oven or air fryer.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Ground beef - Arayes work best with lean ground beef so they don’t get soggy. Look for 85%-90% lean ground beef. You can also use other meats like ground lamb or do a combination of both.
- Baharat seasoning - This is a spice blend commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking. It usually contains ground cumin, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, paprika, and black pepper. There are many brands you can purchase. I like the Sadaf baharat seasoning mix. Each brand varies slightly in exact ingredients and ratios. You can substitute with similar blends such as ras el hanout or Middle Eastern 7 Spices. You can also make your own spice blend by combining individual spices. I have made the baharat seasoning recipe by Beth Lee at OMG!Yummy.
- Pitas - Look for pitas that are 4-6 inches across.
- Optional dipping sauce - These arayes go well with this tahini garlic dipping sauce! You will need tahini, garlic, and lemon.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Finely chop parsley.
Grate onions and squeeze out excess liquid.
In a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, baharat, salt, and parsley.
Combine all ingredients until mixed.
Evenly fill each of the pita bread pockets with ¼ cup of ground beef mixture.
Cook pitas in a little olive oil until browned and crispy on each side, and meat is cooked through.
Other cooking methods
On the grill
To grill, clean grill and turn it to high heat. Brush each side of the pita halves with olive oil, and place arayes on the grill. Grill them over direct heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes, and then flip and cook the other side. Move the arayes to indirect heat, and continue cooking until meat is done, about 5 more minutes.
To air fry, brush each side of the pita halves with olive oil, and bake at 375ºF for 10 minutes, flipping the arayes halfway through.
In the oven
To bake in the oven, brush each side of the pita halves with olive oil, and place onto a baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes, flipping the arayes halfway through.
- Lean ground beef. To prevent soggy arayes, use lean ground beef.
- Grill pan. If you make these inside, but still want that grilled feel, cook them on a stovetop grill pan.
- Baking rack. If you find the oven baked arayes need to be crispier, try baking them on a wire rack to help air flow circulate better.
Make the meat mixture earlier on the day of serving and refrigerate. Stuff pitas with meat mixture up to 30 minutes before cooking.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Arayes are best enjoyed fresh and hot, but you can store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
How to freeze: I do not recommend freezing these once they have been made.
Reheating directions: Reheat arayes in an oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.
What to serve with arayes
Here are some main dish and side dish ideas to serve with these tasty meat-stuffed pitas!
- Cole slaw
- Potato Salad
- Jerusalem Tomato Cucumber Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Salad
- Oven Baked Chicken Schnitzel
- Pargiot (Grilled Israeli Chicken Thighs)
- Lemon Herb Green Tahini Sauce
- Crispy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes
More summer recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
You can substitute with similar spice mix blends such as ras el hanout or Middle Eastern 7 Spices.
Yes, you can also use ground lamb to make these, or use a combination of lamb and beef.
- Skillet or grill
- Mixing bowl
- Cutting board
Tahini Garlic Sauce Ingredients (optional)
- ½ cup tahini paste
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lemon juiced and zested ⅓ to ¼ cup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup water may not use all of it
- In a large bowl, add ground beef, baharat, salt and parsley.
- Grate the onions, and squeeze out the excess juice. Add to the mixing bowl.
- Using your hands (use disposable gloves if desired), combine the ingredients until evenly blended. At this point, you can cover the mixture and refrigerate for several hours until you are ready to cook.
- Cut each pita in half, and gently open the pockets.
- Scoop up about a ¼-cup of ground meat mixture, and stuff it into a half pita. Gently press down the pita to spread the meat evenly. Continue doing this with the rest of the pita halves.
- To cook on the stove, heat your pan over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When oil is hot, place two pita halves in the hot pan. Cook until bread is browned and crispy, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side until crispy and the meat is cooked through. *See notes for other cooking methods.
- Serve warm with tahini dipping sauce. For an entree, serve 2 pita halves per person. For an appetizer, cut each pita half in half again making quarters. Serve a platter of arranged pita quarters with a bowl of dipping sauce.
Tahini dipping sauce
- In a small bowl combine the tahini, garlic, and lemon juice.
- Add salt and pepper to desired taste.
- Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk until smooth. You want enough water to make the sauce pourable but not too watery where it doesn’t coat whatever you are dipping.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Store leftover sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
- The longer it sits, the thicker it gets, so you may need to whisk in additional water to thin out.
- Substitute baharat with similar spice mix blends such as ras el hanout or Middle Eastern 7 Spices.
- How to store: Arayes are best enjoyed fresh and hot, but you can store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- How to freeze: I do not recommend freezing these once they have been made.
- How to reheat: Reheat arayes in an oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes.
- Make ahead: Make the meat mixture earlier on the day of serving and refrigerate. Stuff pitas with meat mixture up to 30 minutes before cooking.
- OTHER COOKING METHODS
- GRILLED ARAYES: To grill, clean grill and turn it to high heat. Brush each side of the pita halves with olive oil, and place arayes on the grill. Grill them over direct heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes, and then flip and cook the other side. Move the arayes to indirect heat, and continue cooking until meat is done, about 5 more minutes.
- AIR FRYER ARAYES: To air fry, brush each side of the pita halves with olive oil, and bake at 375ºF (190°C) for 10 minutes, flipping the arayes halfway through.
- OVEN METHOD: To bake in the oven, brush each side of the pita halves with olive oil, and place onto a baking sheet in a single layer. If you have a baking rack, place the pitas on top for better air flow. Bake at 400ºF (205°C) for 20 minutes in a preheated oven, flipping the arayes halfway through.