Turkish foods to cook at home

Turkey is full of delicious food. You can find Manti, dumplings served in both a red and cream sauce; Lahmacun, a pizza-style dish; and Menemen, spicy scrambled eggs. Everything is delicious and full of flavour.

If you want a snack, you can pick up a simit, similar to a bagel. Hummus is a tasty chickpea spread.

Craving something sweet? Get some lokum, the flavoured jelly sweet commonly called Turkish Delight.

Thirsty? Turkish tea and coffee are everywhere.

It would be difficult to be hungry in Turkey. Even if you don’t want to cook, the markets offer plenty of fruits, vegetables and freshly squeezed juices. While there are many choices, some of my favourites can be found easily and can be made after returning home.

Spices in the market in Istanbul

Menemen is the perfect breakfast in my opinion. It’s full of vegetables, protein and spices.

When cooking it at home, you can change the level of spice to whatever suits your taste buds.

With simple ingredients of eggs, onion, green pepper, tomato and chili, it’s easy to make without a special shopping trip. It’s similar to scrambled eggs, but with a Turkish twist and a pinch of spiciness.

Here’s my recipe for Menemen.

Entrance to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar


Common to most Middle Eastern countries, hummus is a spread. It can be made with many different beans, but chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are the most common.

Besides the overnight soaking and letting them simmer for 2-3 hours if the beans are bought dried (you can use tinned chickpeas to cut out this step but the texture will be a bit different), it takes just half an hour to make.

I like to make garlic hummus. I use a lot of garlic and the next day the flavour is even stronger.

Here is my recipe for Garlic Hummus.

Market in Istanbul

Lahmacun (pronounced lam-ah-jhune) is a very thin pizza rolled like a cigar and eaten with lemon and parsley.

Two common toppings are spinach and feta or lamb and onion. I prefer the spinach and feta. I cheat and use pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s (shhh!).

The topping can easily be made ahead of time and put directly from the fridge to the pizza, saving time. The pizza is light because there is no red sauce but it’s still filling.

Here is my recipe for Lahmacun.

Turkish cheese (peynir)

Böreği (pronounced boar-ehy-ghee) is a savory, flaky pastry common to Turkey and the Balkan countries (known as Burek in other countries).

The recipe varies by region, but generally it is filled in a lasagne style (sheets of filo pastry between layers of filling) with spinach, cheese or meat. All are very tasty and can be found as street food or in some restaurants. I like cheese böreği and it’s extra delicious with a side of Ayran (salty yogurt drink).

It’s a little complicated and time consuming to make, but it is worth it in the end.

Here are my recipes for Böreği and Ayran.


Turkish food is delicious. Whether you want something sweet or savoury, a sit-down meal or take-away snack, there is something for every stomach in Turkey. Don’t be afraid to try new foods.

If you can’t make it to Turkey, try some of these recipes and be transported through your kitchen.

Afiyet olsun! Bon appetit!

For more delicious dishes, check out my International Recipes page and for you Bellinghamsters out there, I’ve made a list of International Food Shops in Bellingham, Washington.

Fresh, juicy pomegranate (nar) in Istanbul

6 thoughts on “Turkish foods to cook at home

  1. Ever since I’ve return home last Dec 2010, I’ve been making my own tortilla bread (many times) and Hummus (just once) to remind me of my regular diet in the USA. Yes, it’s not an American food but it’s been part of their diet.

    Now, thanks to you, Amy, I’m interested to try making my own Böreği and Ayran. I’ll try these out the next time I mess around in the kitchen. It would be a wonderful taste experience without having to travel to Turkey to try it out.

    Looking forward to more recipes, and definitely pictures help to attract me into trying them out! 😉



  2. I am literally salivating. Turkey is one of my top ten destinations. Went in 2004 & had the best time of my life. The food was another aspect that conjures fond memories. I am so tweeting this!


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