Msemen: Square Moroccan Pancakes
Image Credit: Msemen/youtube

Msemen (pronunced as- mesimen) is a square-shaped, crispy Moroccan pancake or flatbread created with a mixture of semolina and whole wheat flour. It goes well for  breakfast or as an evening snack, especially with the  Moroccan Mint Tea or coffee. Msemen’s popularity extends beyond Morocco to Tunisia and Algeria, where are a must have as a morning or an afternoon snack. 

Msemen means "oiled" in Arabic, and it suits wonderfully here because we use quite a bit of oil in the preparation and cooking. It is quite similar to the Indian flatbread known as Paratha. It's time to try one if you haven't already!  The sweet version has melted butter and honey on top. Others refer to them as Moroccan pancakes.

Here’s how you can make your own Msemen bread at home with this simple recipe. Let’s go!


1. 150g Fine Semolina

2. 150g All Purpose Flour

3. 75g Butter

4. 170ml Water

5. 1/2 Tsp salt

6. Vegetable oil


1. As you can imagine, msemen are really delectable. Making msemen is all about making a dough, flattening it, folding it and finally pan-frying it! Start with mixing Semolina, Flour and salt together, Add water to form rough dough balls. Knead the dough in the same manner as you would for making any bread until it is soft and smooth. Flatten and fold the dough into squares.Once a rough ball forms, knead by hand for 5 minutes, or in a stand mixer for 3 minutes, until the dough ball becomes smooth and not sticky to the touch

2. Apply a bit of oil on the surface of the bowl, so the dough doesn’t stick to it. Leave the dough for while (longer the better), which will make it easier to stretch. 

3. Once rested, cut the dough in 6 equal squared shapes of 15 x 25 cms. 

4. Stretch the cut pieces of dough outwards such that they become double the size. 

5. Sprinkle melted butter and semolina on the entire top surface of the dough

6. Fold 1/3rd of the dough towards the centre, then apply butter and semolina again, before folding the other side

7. Repeat steps 6,7 this time folding the top, to fold the dough into a square

8. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes, then stretch out to double it in size

9. Preheat a pan over high heat, then add the bread. Cook for 4 minutes, flipping every minute, until well browned all over.

Msemen/ Instagram- villakalimarrakech

The process of flattening and rolling the dough might seem intimidating, but these layered breads are actually not complicated or very time-consuming to make. It can also be stuffed and cooked differently, with beef, chicken, vegetables or cheese, the list is in fact as short as your imagination.