Let's make a truly authentic gozleme — Turkish flatbread with fillings! This is our family recipe that was passed down for at least five generations. No yeast, all-flavor with three tasty filling options: spinach-feta, plant-based mince, or spicy potato! Incidentally vegan with a gluten-free option.
📋 What is gözleme and where does it come from?
Think of gözleme as Turkey’s response to a quesadilla. It is a no-yeast flatbread with fillings. Simple and delicious.
The main reason why you will always be able to find a gozleme stand no matter where you are in Turkey has to be how absolutely delicious it is although being super simple to make and endlessly versatile. Have flour, water, and salt? The dough is done. Have anything to fill it with, like potatoes or greens or cheese? Gozleme is sorted.
We don’t know exactly how long it’s been around, but the oldest reference to the word is from a Persian-Turkish dictionary (Lugat-i Halimi), published in 1477. The word itself comes from közleme — meaning “to cook on embers”. This is exactly how my lovely great-grandmother Saniyecan cooks hers with the help of a saj.
It is my go-to comfort food. Nothing reminds me of home more, mainly because it is what Saniyecan made for us every single time we visited the village. Her mother, my great-great-grandmother, did the same before she passed.
I bring Saniyecan's gozlemes with me back to the US each time I travel. I try not to think about the food safety risks of the 24+ hour journey from our Aegean village to southern California.
This recipe is also an absolute crowd-pleaser. When I made it around the Holidays this past year, everyone got a second helping and my brother-in-law dubbed it the best vegan food he's ever had!
🧂 The dough
We'll simply mix and knead flour, water, and salt at 65% hydration. You could use a stand-mixer for it, but be careful not to overmix the dough.
The dough for gozleme is traditionally unyeasted, but we still need to rest it for about half an hour to relax the gluten. The relaxed dough should minimally bounce back when poked.
Some gözleme recipes also add olive oil into the dough. When I tried this, the result was still absolutely delicious, but the gozleme was softer and surprisingly less crispy. However, it made working with the dough much easier. So it is completely up to you—traditionally, most Turkish cooks will not add oil into this dough.
You may substitute with gluten-free flour if needed, Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur brand GF flours are the best options in my opinion.
Have a Turkish market nearby you? Grab some frozen yufka, and you can get gozleme ready in a matter of minutes!
🍄 Gözleme fillings
Gozleme can be made with pretty much any filling that goes well together. My personal favorite filling for it is stinging nettle, and my husband recently suggested we make them with a samosa filling (potato and peas with spices)... so the possibilities are pretty much endless! Try it with:
- taco "meat"
- vegan cheese
- ...or feed your sweet tooth with a Nutella filling & fruit!
Below are the three classics, veganized:
Spinach & Feta
This is the most popular gozleme filling everywhere, for sure.
I like to use frozen spinach because just like our phyllo borek recipe, it makes it very easy to get rid of the water since the freeze-thaw process breaks down cell walls—and this lets you incorporate more greens! Simply thaw the spinach, season with a bit of salt, and squeeze out most of its water.
On the other hand, my great-grandma always uses fresh, chopped spinach, so you certainly can do that as well. I just found that when you’re making a smaller-sized gozleme on a skillet and not a saj, most of the fresh spinach doesn’t get a chance to cook through.
We'll then crumble up vegan feta, and mix into the spinach. You may use any store-bought plant-based feta— just be aware that if the base of it is a type of oil, most of it will melt during cooking and become invisible when hot.
This is possibly the second most popular filling and super simple to veganize! I love using vegan mince like Impossible or Beyond Meat, but you could certainly use whole plant-based foods to substitute. E.g. a walnut-mushroom or lentil mince.
We'll heat up some olive oil, add the onion, season with salt, and cook it down a bit. Then add the mince, and cook for a little longer.
I like to use this one along with a plant-based mozzarella. This is definitely the richest gozleme filling I've ever had!
I can never say no to carbs on carbs! Especially when it involves potatoes. And Aleppo pepper. This is my husband’s favorite and for good reason.
The main trick with this one is to make sure to start boiling the potato in cold, unsalted water. In fact, all starchy vegetables should be boiled starting in cold water.
Set aside the boiled potatoes, chop scallions, and prepare a spice mix. We’re adding salt, pul biber (Aleppo pepper), paprika, and cayenne. It’s quite spicy but I love it that way! Feel free to modify to suit your palate, if you don’t have any Aleppo pepper, regular chili flakes will do.
All starchy vegetables should be boiled starting in cold, unsalted water. When my mom told me this years ago, I thought it was one of those Turkish cooking myths (we do have many) and completely ignored her.
Then I happened to read the same advice in Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking" with a complete breakdown of the food science behind it. Basically, if you start with hot water, the starchy vegetables' outsides will get mushy before the insides get a chance to cook through. Salt has a similar effect, so season your starchy veggies after they're boiled. This is one of those few times where the old advice to season your food at every stage to increase flavor doesn't apply.
When the fillings are cooling/ready, we'll start rolling out the dough. Simply divide the rested dough into eight, each ball will weigh ~82grams. This is perfect for small gozlemes cooked on a regular skillet, however, if you indeed do have a saj or a large skillet—feel free to divide it into larger balls!
Roll out each ball into an approximately 8-in diameter and make sure it's super-duper thin. 1/32in (1-2mm) is ideal. The edges don't need to be perfect as they'll be folded in.
Keep in mind that if you are folding the gozleme to make squares, layers of dough underneath will take longer to cook through. Cook it on lower heat so that the outside doesn’t burn.
Alternatively, you can assemble them into half-moon shapes, which are more traditional but harder to work with on a regular-sized skillet.
🍽 Cooking, serving, and storing gözleme
We'll heat a bit of olive oil on a skillet over medium-high heat. Get multiple pans going to shorten the cooking time.
Then, cook gozleme on each side for 3-5 minutes until golden and crispy on both sides. A little charring is totally okay—most authentic gozleme will have it!
Serve immediately plain, or with pepper spread on the side. Lemon wedges are actually not popular with gozleme in Turkey, but they do go quite well in my opinion! Turkish tea or ayran would be delicious with gozleme as well.
Although best when enjoyed fresh, our authentic gozleme will keep for a few days in the refrigerator and you may freeze it in airtight bags for up to three months. Reheat on a skillet the same way, or heat up a large batch in the oven at 375°F for 12-15 minutes.
🎥 Gozleme step-by-step video
💭 Other Turkish recipes...
Looking for other Turkish recipes? Try:
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you make this authentic gozleme recipe. I make sure to respond to each one. Afiyet olsun (bon appétit)!Print