14 Turkish Recipes To Experience The Country’s Diverse Cuisine

Pilaf, kaymak, crisp-edged flatbreads, and the world's best grilled cheese sandwich

The Essentials Turkish Tools
Turkey is a vast and diverse country, where the cuisines of Asia and the Middle East blend seamlessly into the dishes of Northern Africa and Eastern Europe. “Eating across Turkey can seem like eating across nations,” says Robyn Eckhardt, author of Istanbul and Beyond, and we love the ways the continent-spanning flavors come together in some of the country’s most iconic dishes, like the classic stuffed eggplant known as imam bayildi, or lamb-stuffed manti dumplings tossed in a brown butter tomato sauce. With the right tools, and these 14 recipes, you’ll be that much closer to experiencing the flavors of this country’s alluring, distinct cuisine. Matt Taylor-Gross

Inspanakli Gozleme (Spinach-Filled Anatolian Flatbreads)

Get the recipe for Inspanakli Gozleme (Spinach-Filled Anatolian Flatbreads) »

Turkish Steamed Anchovies and Tomatoes (Hamsi Bugulama)

Turkish Steamed Anchovies and Tomatoes (Hamsi Bugulama)

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi)

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi)

Turkish Yogurt and Brown Butter Tomato Sauce

Yogurt and tomato combine to create this delicious, creamy sauce with hints of peppery zest. This sauce is a main component to manti, a Turkish spiced lamb dumpling dish. Get the recipe for Turkish Yogurt and Brown Butter Tomato Sauce »

Turkish Grilled Cheese (Kumru)

This specialty of Çesme, a small beach town in Turkey, is one of the world’s great grilled cheese sandwiches, in which the cheese itself is grilled before getting slipped into toasted bread with raw tomato and optional (but highly recommended) toppings of griddled sausage and pickled cucumbers and chiles. Get the recipe for Turkish Grilled Cheese »

Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant

A creamy eggplant purée, enriched with béchamel and Gruyère cheese serves as a bed for meltingly tender lamb shanks, slow-braised in red wine and aromatics. Get the recipe for Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant »

Freekeh Pilaf with Sumac

Freekeh—sun-dried and roasted unripe wheat berries—is a popular grain in Mediterranean cuisines, and has a mildly smoky flavor and pleasant chew. Here, chef Mehmet Gürs of Istanbul’s Mikla cooks it pilaf-style and spices it with sumac, a bright red spice that lends color and a lemony zing to anything it hits. Get the recipe for Freekeh Pilaf with Sumac »

Black Mulberry Soup with Kaymak Ice Cream

This pleasantly tart soup is a welcome break from super-sweet desserts. The accompanying ice cream is made from kaymak, a traditional Turkish dairy product; crème fraîche makes a good substitute. Get the recipe for Black Mulberry Soup with Kaymak Ice Cream »

Beef and Lamb Koftas with Mustard

Beef and Lamb Koftas with Mustard

Skillet-Braised Swiss Chard

Skillet-Braised Swiss Chard

Chilled Yogurt and Chickpea Soup

Chilled Yogurt and Chickpea Soup

Olive-Oil Poached Green Almonds with Dill

Olive Oil-Poached Green Almonds with Dill

Turkish Poached Eggs in Yogurt (Cilbir)

Looking for a March breakfast? This egg dish is perfect. Pair it with warm bread to mop up extra egg yolk and yogurt.

Turkish Flatbread With Lamb And Tomatoes (Lahmacun)

Bake these Turkish spiced lamb and tomato flatbreads on a heated pizza stone in the oven so that the crust and topping cook evenly. Get the recipe for Turkish Flatbread With Lamb And Tomatoes (Lahmacun) »

Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi)

Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi)