Lebanon is known for its fresh, healthy, and simple foods using quality ingredients. Lebanese breakfasts are no exception, with various savory and sweet options that satisfy.
Every meal is an opportunity to gather together and share food in Lebanese culture. Lebanese breakfast is considered a meaningful way to start the day and is always best enjoyed with others.
With a variety of fresh cheeses, vegetables, fruit, and bread, breakfast in Lebanon is anything but boring. Always enjoyed with a cup of juice, hot coffee, or tea, breakfast is truly the day’s most important meal.
This article explores the most popular and common Lebanese breakfast items. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll want to hop on a plane and visit Lebanon to taste these incredible Lebanese foods.
Most Famous Lebanese Breakfast
Manakish (Lebanese Flatbread)
Bread is an integral part of mealtime in Lebanese cuisine. Typically served during Lebanese breakfast, Manakish is a flatbread topped with various seasonings, cheese, or meat like a pizza.
The most popular topping for Manakish is the spice blend za’atar. Za’atar is generally a combination of thyme, dried oregano, marjoram, sumac, and sesame seeds. This bright and tangy spice blend is incredibly delicious, combined with olive oil and baked onto the bread.
Another typical topping for Manakish is a fresh cheese known as Akkawi. Similar in texture to mozzarella or feta cheese, this salty white table cheese is a perfect topping for crispy Manakish during breakfast in Lebanon. Manakish can also be enjoyed sweet, with butter, sugar, and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
Manakish is a yeast dough typically baked in a wood-burning oven, giving it an excellent crispy characteristic. The textures of this simple bread are pretty satisfying and can accompany a traditional Lebanese breakfast spread or be eaten alone.
Savory Lebanese Breakfasts
Ka’ak (Sesame Bread)
Also called Lebanese purse bread, Ka’ak is a teardrop-shaped bread with a hole in the center. Ka’ak bread is a traditional Lebanese breakfast option with a soft inside and crusty exterior coated in sesame seeds.
Vendors typically sell Ka’ak on wooden trays along the sidewalks of Beirut. This time-honored Lebanese breakfast is made fresh daily and often served with eggs, hummus, cheese spread, or just za’atar spice.
A sweet version of Ka’ak is also a popular Lebanese breakfast, made with sweet dough and instead covered in a glaze of milk and sugar. Like a cookie, sweet Ka’ak is excellent dipped in coffee or tea.
Eggs Awarma (Spiced Lamb with Eggs)
This savory Lebanese breakfast is made by rendering the lamb’s fat and preserving the meat with it. Also known as confit, this process dates back to before refrigeration to ensure that there was plenty to eat through the winter months.
Eggs Awarma is traditionally baked in a clay skillet, but chefs can make it in a cast iron on the stove. This hearty and savory breakfast in Lebanon is full of flavor from the gamey lamb and is often served with Manakish.
Mouajanet (Savory Lebanese Pastries)
Mouajanet is a savory pastry that can be enjoyed anytime but is a famous Lebanese breakfast item. These dough-based delicacies are relished in just a few bites and have various filling options.
Often served as street food, Mouajanet is one of the quickest Lebanese breakfasts to grab and devour on the go. These savory pastries come in a variety of shapes and sizes but tend to be on the smaller side.
Typical fillings for Mouajanet are cheese, spinach, meat, and tomato with spices. If you are overwhelmed with choices, try one of each for a hearty Lebanese breakfast that is satisfying and versatile.
Lahme Baajin (Meat Pizza)
Lahme Baajin or “Sfiha” is similar to Manakish, except topped with ground meat, veggies, and spices and then baked. This typical Lebanese breakfast is filling and full of flavor.
The flatbread is topped with a combination of onion, tomato sauce, and spices, similar to a meat pizza. With a squeeze of lemon on top, Lahme Baajin is actually a relatively light Lebanese breakfast, and often, more than one is consumed as a complete meal.
This simple breakfast in Lebanon, packed full of protein and spices is a perfect example of basic ingredients in Lebanese cooking coming together to make something mouthwatering.
Keshek (Fermented Yogurt and Bulgur)
Keshek is a dried fermented yogurt and bulgur powder used in several Lebanese breakfast applications. This unique food dates back to when preservation techniques were necessary to keep enough food throughout the winter months.
Yogurt and Bulgur are combined with salt and then fermented in clay pots for around three weeks. Eventually, the mixture is laid out on a clean cloth to dry, becoming a powder-like substance.
Typically, Keshek is mixed with tomato paste and spread on Manakish before it is placed in the oven.
Keshek can also be used to make a soup served for Lebanese breakfast or lunch. The fermented powder is exceptionally healthy and full of nutrients, making it an inexpensive meal traditionally familiar in more rural areas.
Shakshuka (Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce)
Shakshuka is a traditional Lebanese breakfast made of poached eggs in a fragrant tomato sauce seasoned with typical spices of cumin and paprika. Often, ground meat is added to the Shakshuka, making it even more hearty.
Shakshuka is usually made in a shallow heavy-bottom pan and can be cooked on the stove or finished in the oven once the eggs are added. The result is comforting and incredibly flavorful.
Like many Lebanese breakfasts, Manakesh or pita bread is served along with Shakshuka, to dip in the egg yolks and tomato sauce. It’s no wonder Shakshuka is a popular breakfast throughout the Middle East.
Lebanese Mezze Breakfast
A typical breakfast in Lebanon often consists of a flavor-packed mezze spread with various small dishes. Mezze is a common way for Lebanese people to eat, with many choices and fresh ingredients for everyone to enjoy.
Savory Lebanese breakfasts are the norm, and a bunch of different spreads, several fresh kinds of cheese, vegetables, fruits, and meats play right into that. Always accompanied by fresh Manakish, Mezze is an ideal breakfast.
The highlight of a breakfast Mezze is the fresh cheese. Labneh, Akkawi cheese, and grilled Halloumi are all typical Lebanese cheeses included on a Mezze spread. Typically topped with olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh herbs, these cheeses are irresistible.
Sweet Lebanese Breakfasts
Kanafeh ( Cheese Pastry)
Often served as a dessert, Kanafeh is the perfect Lebanese breakfast for those with a sweet tooth. Akkawi cheese is layered with shredded phyllo dough that is baked until crispy and melted.
Kanafeh is topped with sweet syrup made of rose water and orange blossoms, giving this slightly savory dish a subtle sweetness. Crushed pistachios are sprinkled on top of the pastry to complete this well-loved dish.
Kanafeh is best enjoyed hot so that the cheese is melted and stringy. Sometimes, when eaten as part of breakfast in Lebanon, Kanafeh is sandwiched between two slices of Ka’ak bread, making it even more hearty. Kanafeh is also one of the most popular Lebanese desserts for after a meal.
Bulgur with Fruit and Nuts
This simple Lebanese breakfast contains fruit, nuts, and sweet honey. Bulgur is a filling whole grain cereal that you can cook in many different ways. When enjoyed for breakfast, it is more like oatmeal.
Bulgur with fruit and nuts is a perfect balance of sweetness and crunch from the nuts fruit as a typical Lebanese breakfast. Honey and cinnamon give the Bulgur added sweetness, and any combination of other toppings can be used to complete this typical dish.
Arishe with Honey (Spreadable Cheese topped with Honey on Flatbread)
Fresh cheese drizzled with honey and then wrapped in a crepe or pancake-like flatbread, a no-frills sweet Lebanese breakfast.
Arishe cheese is like ricotta cheese, made with milk, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. After the whey is strained out through a fine mesh colander, Arishe cheese is ready to be enjoyed.
You can also eat Arishe cheese with chopped dried fruit like raisins.
Instead of honey, a small amount of sugar can be mixed with the fresh Arishe cheese before being layered onto the pancake. Whichever way you choose to savor it, this Lebanese breakfast is a perfect treat to start the day for those with a sweet tooth!
Healthy Lebanese Breakfasts
Fattet (Crispy Pita with Hummus and Yogurt)
Fatteh is a healthy Lebanese breakfast made of crispy pita, yogurt, chickpeas, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Full of protein and nutrients, Fatteh is a one-dish breakfast that is super filling and tasty.
Like the Lebanese salad dish Fattoush, which uses crisped pita to top cold salad greens, Fatteh mixes pita into a yogurty base. The fresh flavors of the herbs and some squeezed lemon top off this simple traditional Lebanese breakfast dish.
Fatteh is served immediately after being assembled so as not to make the fried pita too soggy, changing the texture. The yogurt is often infused with lots of garlic, then topped with fried pine nuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.
Ful Medames (Stewed Fava Beans)
This very well-loved Lebanese breakfast dish is entirely vegan and packed with flavor. Stewed fava beans are topped with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh chopped onions and tomatoes.
Ful Medames is similar in texture to a chunky bean dip and is often eaten with flatbreads or vegetables dipped in the stew. The typical flavors of the Middle East come through in this light and healthy Lebanese breakfast dish, keeping you full for hours after enjoying it.
Hummus Balila (Warm Chickpeas)
Hummus Balila is often served alone or over Ful Medames. This super simple Lebanese breakfast dish consists of chickpeas, olive oil, cumin, and paprika.
Hummus Balila is the way to go for a very light but filling breakfast. Like most dishes eaten for breakfast in Lebanon, Balila is accompanied by plenty of fixings. Typically Manakish, pickled and fresh vegetables, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers are served alongside Hummus Balila.
Whether vegan or not, you will enjoy this stewed bean dish typical of Lebanese breakfasts.
Labneh and Za’atar (Strained Yogurt with Spices)
Last but not least of incredible Lebanese breakfasts is Labneh and Za’atar, drizzled with olive oil. Simple and delightful, this dish is a great way to start your day.
Labneh is a strained yogurt with the consistency of cream cheese and a similar tang. Common in Lebanese cuisine, Labneh is accompanied by the spice blend Za’atar and a generous drizzle of olive oil. It is no exception for breakfast in Lebanon.
Labneh and Za’atar can be found as part of a Mezze served for any meal but is beloved for breakfast. Served with Manakish, cucumbers, olives, and tomatoes, this spreadable yogurt is versatile and filling.
Discovering Tasty Lebanese Breakfasts In Lebanon
There is no denying that breakfast is an important meal to fuel you for a day of exploration ahead.
In Lebanon, breakfast is a sacred time to enjoy good food with family and friends. From hearty stews to light and refreshing dishes, these are just some of the Lebanese breakfasts you can choose from.
Be sure to give them a try while you are traveling in Lebanon, and start your day all pumped up and right.