The secret to perfect lamb pitta burgers

Rachel Walker 

Mini burgers enclosed in pockets of pitta bread are easy to eat at a barbecue and can be stuffed with lots of delicious garnish. This tasty recipe is sure to make you the most popular barbecue host of the summer. 

This recipe is the antithesis to towering restaurant burgers which need to be deconstructed before they fit in your mouth. 

A great burger starts with top-quality mince and it's important not to scrimp. Buy from a good butcher or look for supermarket packets with the red tractor logo. The only other thing worth noting is that burgers shouldn't be wildly flipped during cooking. Hold your nerve, and only flip the patties once so they stay intact.

This recipe recommends using griddled courgette and halloumi as a garnish—but you can go to town here with a selection of diced tomatoes, slivers of red onion, crumbled feta, coleslaw, hummus and fresh herbs. If you're scaling up the recipe for a summer party, then set out bowls of garnishes, buffet-style, so people can stuff their own.



  • 500g lamb mince
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1-2 courgettes (dependent on size), cut on the diagonal
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g halloumi, sliced
  • 6 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 8-12 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
  • 4 handheld pitta-breads, halved 


burger pitta



  1. Put the lamb mince in a mixing bowl, and add the breadcrumbs, chilli and cumin. Season with salt and freshly-ground pepper, and use your hands to mix everything together, until it's well combined. Be careful not to overwork or mash it.
  2. Split the mince mixture into eight pieces, and shape them into small patties. If needed, all this can be done in advance. To do so, cover a tray with clingfilm, and refrigerate the mini patties for up to 24 hours.
  3. To cook the burgers on a barbecue, lightly brush them with oil. Put them on a grill over a bed of white hot coals, and cook them for 6-8 minutes in total, flipping half-way through cooking.
  4. To cook the burgers in the kitchen, preheat the oven to 200˚C. Put the burgers in a hot griddle pan, or under the grill for two minutes on either side, until the top and bottom turns a darker shade of brown and crisp. Then, place them in the oven for a further 6 to 8 minutes, until the patties are cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, place the sliced courgette and halloumi on a hot griddle pan or under the grill, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are lined with strips of char. Set aside on a plate.
  6. Mix together the yoghurt and mint in a dish, then season. Finally, toast the pita bread and slice in half.
  7. To put together the patties, start by slotting a mini patty into each half of the pita, then splash on some of the mint yoghurt dressing, and put the courgette and squeeze in the halloumi and courgette round the side.


Read more summer barbecue tips

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