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close up side view of moroccan-spiced phyllo meat pie on a serving plate garnished with cilantro

Moroccan-Spiced Phyllo Meat Pie

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  • Author: Stacey
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions (2 squares each) 1x


This Moroccan-Spiced Phyllo Meat Pie is a crowd pleaser for sure! Simple ingredients, tons of flavor and crunchiness galore.


Units Scale

For the onions

  • 1 medium onion, cut in thin slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

 For the phyllo dough

  • 11 sheets of phyllo dough (freezer section - sold in 1 lb boxes of phyllo sheets)
  • 5 tablespoons of melted butter for brushing the dough (see note#1)
  • non-stick cooking spray

For the beef mixture

  • 1/4 cup saffron water (1/4 teaspoon of saffron threads soaked in 1/4 cup of warm water)
  • 2 to 2 1/4 pounds of ground beef (80/20 blend, see note #2)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Ras El Hanout Spice (LINK HERE)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • Splashes of olive oil when needed


NOTE: You will need a 9x13 baking dish and a pastry brush for this recipe


  1. Put your frozen phyllo dough in the refrigerator to defrost the day before you make this recipe. You will find packages of phyllo dough sheets in the freezer section of your local grocery store. 
  2. Make saffron water. It takes ¼ teaspoon of saffron threads and ¼ cup warm water for this. Warm tap water is fine. Take a few pinches of saffron and put in your measuring spoon – it will overflow a little. Add saffron threads to water and let it steep while you do the prep work. You can stir with spoon if you want. Should steep 15-30 minutes. 
  3. Cut the onion in half and slice it into thin strips. Then add to a large pan with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes. 
  4. Put ground beef in a second pan (medium heat) and chop with spatula or wooden spoon. The beef needs to be crumbly by the end of the cooking process. Should take 8-10 minutes to cook. 
  5. While the onions and beef are cooking, finely chop your cilantro. You should stir the onions and beef while prepping the cilantro. Chop a little extra cilantro for garnish as well if you want. 
  6. Peel a chunk of ginger and grate it on a microplane. If you don’t have one, use fine side of box grater or finely dice with a knife. 
  7. Once the onions are soft and browning a little, add the ginger to the center of the onion pan with a splash of olive oil. Let it cook in the middle of pan for 30-60 seconds, then mix together with onions and cook another couple of minutes. 
  8. When beef is cooked through and crumbly, carefully tilt your beef pan and let the fat fall to one side of pan. Spoon out most of the fat into a bowl and discard once it’s cooled down. Leave a small amount of fat in the pan. 
  9. To the beef pan add: Ras El Hanout spice, cinnamon, saffron water, cilantro and give a good mix. Then add the onions and ginger along with salt and sugar and mix thoroughly. Taste it here. Adjust seasonings if you’d like. (eg. more sugar, salt, Ras el Hanout based on your preferences) 


  1. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in the microwave and unroll the package of phyllo sheets so they are laying flat on your counter or cutting board.
  3. Phyllo Dough Order (see note#3): Place two sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping, with excess phyllo dough hanging from the sides of the baking dish. Phyllo is thin and fragile so handle gently. Throughout this process, as you add each layer of dough gently press down on the dough to flatten. (my video shows this entire process very well, please watch it will be very helpful) 
  4. Brush melted butter on the bottom and sides of the dough. 
  5. Place two more sheets of phyllo dough, overlapping, but this time with excess phyllo dough hanging from the ends (or handles) of the baking dish. Don’t butter this layer. 
  6. Place two more sheets on top of that, overlapping, with excess dough hanging off the sides again. 
  7. Brush melted butter on the bottom and sides of the dough. 
  8. If you see any holes in the phyllo dough, just tear a few pieces from one sheet of phyllo dough and patch the holes. This would be the 11th sheet of phyllo dough listed above. If you have no holes you won’t use it.
  9. Transfer the ground beef mixture to the baking dish on top of the bottom layer of phyllo dough and smooth out to make sure the beef is distributed evenly. 
  10. Fold over the excess phyllo dough hanging from sides and ends. 
  11. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on top of the meat mixture and brush with butter. 
  12. Place two more sheets on top of that then brush with butter. 
  13. Fold over the excess hanging phyllo dough and brush the folded over edges with butter too. 
  14. Time to score, or cut, the pie into 12 squares. You must score the pie before it is cooked as it will be difficult and messy to do after and will compromise the presentation. Using a small, sharp knife works well for this. 
  15. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the phyllo dough is golden brown. Let it cool 10 minutes before serving. Feeds six people with two squares each as the portion size.


  1. When I tested this recipe, I used some of the beef fat along with butter to brush on the pastry. I also used a combination of butter and beef fat for the bottom of the baking dish. Overall, I didn’t think this changed the flavor too much and resulted in everything being too greasy. Also, some phyllo pie recipes butter every layer not every other layer like this. I was trying to cut down on the butter and fat a little. You can butter every layer if you want just remember to melt a little more butter to do so. 
  2. With the ground beef it’s hard to find exactly one pound or exactly two pounds of ground beef because of the way it’s packaged. My two packages totaled 2.17 pounds of beef. I think this recipe could hold up to 2 ¼ pounds total. 
  3. You can add more phyllo dough layers on the bottom and top if you like. I found what I used was enough, but if you want it more phyllo-ey add another sheet to each layer.