Turkish cuisine is something special.
Surrounded on all sides by countries and regions with their distinctive flavors, as well as a culinary tradition that dates back to the Ottomans and older, Turkish food covers a wide range of palettes and tastes for pretty much any person to try out, from succulent and savory main courses to delightfully sweet desserts.
With such a rich tradition to draw from, it’s no wonder that it’s hard to narrow down just a few recipes.
However, with this guide that we have compiled, this task will be as simple as scrolling down a clicking a few of the favorites that you do see!
From savory to sweet, this list will have you covered!
Starting us off with a classic Turkish recipe that is known and loved around the world, we have the classic Turkish meatball.
While there are several different styles of meatballs from many different cuisines, from Italian to Swiss, Turkish meatballs (also known as kofte) set themselves apart by being made from lamb, and often being served with the perfect minty dip to help complement the incredibly meaty taste of this delicious meatball.
Infused with plenty of delicious spices to further enhance this dish, it’s no wonder that so many will swear that Turkish meatballs are the best meatballs.
If you’re looking for a meatball that is equal parts spicy and herby, you owe it to yourself to try this recipe out for yourself.
While perhaps not as well known as the previous Turkish dish, Turkish egg recipes are fast becoming increasingly popular to try out away from their home country.
Part of that new widespread appeal is down to the healthy heaping of exquisite spices that Turkish cooking is famous for, adding extra heat and flavor to a dish that, with its herbal yogurt extra that it is served with, is primed and ready for some extra heat to complement the soft and cooling flavors that this recipe is known for.
Ah yes. One of the most well-known Turkish dishes across the entire world, baklava might be Turkey’s signature (though not only) dish!
Layers of incredibly thin puff pastry layered to perfection and drowned in honey, there’s a reason that this dessert in particular is as well-loved as it is!
And, of course, that is to say, nothing of the fillings that you can have in baklava either! You could fill an entire store with potential varieties of Baklava (and trust us, they do in Turkey)!
This particular recipe is a classic take on arguably the most popular flavor, pistachio.
Simple to make, and still tasting phenomenal, if you try no other Turkish dessert, you HAVE to try this baklava dish for yourself!
4. Lentil Soup
Soup is a very common dish across all of Turkey, and this particular lentil dish is among the most popular.
Lentils are a staple ingredient in many Turkish dishes, so it should come as no surprise to find them being used in an exquisite dish like this!
This creamy soup has a lovely filling effect that is perfect for those cold winter days by the fire or those sunny days when you want to eat in the great outdoors.
The perfect soup for any time of year!
Plus, if you’re using vegetable stock for this soup, you’ll have a meal that is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly!
What more could you want?
Okay, o it technically isn’t pizza in a way that most of us would immediately recognize.
The actual Turkish word for pizza is ‘Lahmacun’, which effectively means ‘dough with meat’.
However, you’ll find that as soon as you bite into this tasty dish of freshly baked dough and minced meat that there isn’t a style o pizza quite like Turkish pizza!
Back to the egg recipes we go!
Scrambled egg isn’t exactly a new idea when it comes to recipe concepts.
However, when talking about how scrambled eggs are prepared and made in Turkish cuisine, you’ll find that there is plenty to love here that is unique to this particular kind of scrambled egg!
With tons of extra peppers and tomatoes, this is a veggie-heavy scrambled egg dish that will make the perfect quick-to-make dish for when you’re in a hurry, while still tasting great!
With so many different varieties of Baklava out there, do you think we were going to leave it at just one?
This particular recipe fills
While orzo is a very popular ingredient that is used in many Greek recipes, their neighbors over in turkey also make great use of this rice-shaped little variety of pasta.
In this recipe, they act as a great way of buffing out an already delicious soup base, absorbing all those good flavors into something hard to top when it comes to soups of this kind.
Eggplant is a very popular vegetable that is used in many Turkish recipes, with many making up the bulk of some of the Turkish cuisine’s best vegetarian dishes.
Here, however, they are used to making a recipe that is just as popular to make at home as it is in a cozy little restaurant, packed to the brim with sizzling seasoned minced meat and juicy tomatoes for an incredible dish that will catch anyone by surprise.
If you’re struggling to use up those eggplants in your pantry, why not try and see if this recipe is the solution to getting rid of them, in the tastiest way possible?
10. Turkish Gozleme
Gozleme is a Turkish dish that pretty much anyone who has visited Turkey will be familiar with, and maybe even a few who haven’t!
It’s a simple dish that requires only a little dough to be filled with all kinds of tasty goods, so why not try out this recipe and see what all the hype is about?
Time for a sweet and cheesy recipe!
You may not think that cheese and noodles would be excellent ingredients to use in a dessert recipe.
However, one bite of this dish will show you just what good Turkish food is capable of pulling off: Combining seemingly random ingredients to make some of the most unique desserts out there!
Just as there are plenty of sups in other cuisines, Turkish has more than a few ways to craft a good lentil soup!
This particular dish mixes in some rice to better absorb the amazing flavors here, as well as from the bulgur and tomatoes!
Like with the last scrambled egg dish, there are plenty of extra spices and seasonings that help set Turkish scrambled eggs and omelets apart from other types of food, and this recipe is a great bit of proof of that!
14. Turkish Simit
Simit is a type of popular Turkish bread that isn’t just a delicacy in Turkey, but is a staple of an everyday meal over there, in vendors in pretty much any city!
This bagel-shaped pastry, covered in both sesame seeds and molasses, is the perfect filler dish that can carry you between meals, whether you’re in Turkey sightseeing, or just looking to bake something at home.
15. Pistachio Kadaif
Despite how similar it is to baklava, we’re almost surprised that Kadaif is as underappreciated internationally as it is.
However, with its thin crispy noodles being soaked in syrup for extra sweetness, there is plenty about this dish that sets it apart from its more famous dessert counterparts, while still being an incredibly satisfying dish to both eat and make!
For those of you looking for a soup that is a little mintier, this is the recipe that you should be checking out.
With a healthy amount of barley and mint in this particular soup dish, this recipe will be just as good for your sinuses as it will be for your belly!
17. Doner Kebab
Finally, we are here! We have arrived at the kebab, probably the most famous Turkish recipe out there.
It’s such a ubiquitous recipe at this point, that many people often don’t realize that it is even a Turkish dish at this point!
And that’s a damn shame because authentic Turkish kebabs are still some of the best in the world. A fact that you will learn by preparing this recipe for yourself!
If you’ve been living under a rock your entire life and haven’t tried a kebab yet, we urge you to try and make this particular dish for yourself as a test run.
Trust us. With the right meat and extras added to your kebab, you’ll see why this became THE dish that everyone knows Turkey for!
The previous Turkish kebab dish that we talked about was a classic donner beef kebab and a damn good one at that.
However, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this classic Turkish dish, and that includes changing up the meat of choice that you want to go with.
Take this chicken kebab, for example. It has all the spices and vegetables that you could want in a classic Turkish dish, whilst also using some succulent chicken instead, adding new flavors, as well as being a little leaner on the fat too!
If beef isn’t your style, you should check out this particular kebab recipe!
This particular Turkish dessert requires only two ingredients from you: some crispy fried dough, and a ton of syrup to boot!
If you want to see what such a simple combination of ingredients and cooking styles can do, check out this recipe right here!
When it comes to foods that can be stuffed, you have pretty much endless potential for flavor combinations.
This is why we are recommending not just one eggplant recipe on this list, but two!
While perhaps not famous for its bread recipes like it is with kebabs and baklava, Turkey still has a few incredible bread dishes tucked up its sleeves
Pide is one of them. This hollowed-out flatbread is the perfect bread to stuff with all kinds of ingredients, from olives to fish, to cheese and tomato to make a pide pizza!
How’s that for versatility?
22. Stuffed Eggplant
Well, why stop at two eggplant recipes, when three have even more flavor experiences to try out?
For the perfect full dish, serve this eggplant dish with some orzo pasta to make an unforgettable
Turkish delight recipe (Not to be confused with actual Turkish delight. Don’t worry, folks, we’ll get there.)
23. Turkis h Lokma
Drizzled in sweet syrup, lokma is a classic treat that dates back to the Ottomans, so you’d best believe that it is good to have survived this long!
Fried in oil, and served under a drizzle of honey or other sweet syrup, it’s not hard to see why it is still so popular!
Chicken kebabs are some of the most popular forms of kebab across the world, thanks in part to poultry being such a universally popular ingredient.
With such a common ingredient, is there any wonder why there are so many great chicken kebab recipes like this out there?
25. Turkish Borek
While this is yet another pastry dish from Turkish cuisine, this particular recipe changes things up a little by stuffing it with minced meat instead of honey or nuts!
Manti dumplings are unlike any other that you have tasted out there. These small squares of dough are usually served with anything from pasta to yogurt, and taste great with just about anything!
Here, we have the other dessert recipe that many people will probably recognize as Turkish!
Turkish delight has become a delicacy in many countries around the world, so having authentic stuff is a real special treat!
It’s certainly not a recipe for novices and can be quite tricky to pull off for amateurs of Turkish cooking.
However, if you can get it right, you’ll have an unbeatable dessert recipe under your belt!
Why stop at just one Turkish pizza recipe, when you can have two?
This dish is incredibly easy for anyone to make, and takes surprisingly little time as well.
If you’re in a rush, you can even use store-bought pizza bases instead!
29. Turkish Rice
While we haven’t covered many Turkish rice dishes that are made in the country, e can assure you that this is one of the best that you’ll find!
30. Shepherd’s Salad
Finally, we’ll end this recipe list on a slightly lighter note, food-wise!
This salad is the perfect side dish to have handy with pretty much any Turkish main course that you could prepare. With avocados, lettuce, and tomatoes for days, it’s both delicious and filling!
So, which recipe will you try first?
Frequentlhy Asked Questions
With such a variety of different ingredients used, many people may be wondering how healthy Turkish food is in general, and whether or not it is good to add to a diet of some kind.
With it being a large country, there is plenty of room to grow a variety of different vegetables, from peppers to eggplants, and everything in between, alongside fresh meats and fish being cultivated and caught.
Add to this plenty of spices and other nutritious foods, and you have a cuisine that is generally considered one of the healthiest in the Mediterranean, outside of maybe Greece or the Iberian Peninsula.
Plus, with how many different recipes you can find in Turkish cuisine, there will almost certainly be a recipe that is just right for you. All it takes is a little research and practice, and you’ll have your new favorite dish that is perfect for your current diet!
By this point in the list, you will have noticed that there is an abundance of different kinds of meat that are used in Turkish cooking, from fish meat to beef, to chicken.
However, which one of these is the most eaten, do you suppose?
Well, while the exact answer will vary from region to region, lamb is considered the most popular meat to use in Turkish meals, from kofte to casseroles, to kebabs.
Chances are, if you ask for meat in Turkey, the answer you will get is some kind o lamb dish!
With such a wide variety of different flavors on offer, many people may wonder where exactly Turkish cuisine gets its inspiration from, and why there are so many different flavors and palettes that can be catered to in what is ostensibly a single cuisine.
Well, like any other signature cuisine of a country, Turkish recipes draw on a long history of traditions and local recipes that have been built on for centuries. The same is true in places like Italy, China, and Vietnam.
And with a history as long and vast as Turkey’s, there is plenty of inspiration to go around in the toolbox.
Thanks to its geography, and the territories that Turkey’s predecessor, the Ottomans, occupied, Turkish food takes lots of inspiration from its immediate neighbors, such as Greek, Balkan, and Arabic cuisine.
Add to that the historic range of Turkish culture, and you have even more inspiration from Levantine recipes, West and Central Asian cuisines, and even North African styles such as Egyptian cooking.
Add to that already extensive list a healthy amount of Western European cuisines such as Italian and Spanish in recent history, and it’s no wonder that there is such a variety of different flavors on offer in Turkish cuisine alone!