Msemen Dough Recipe for Square-Shaped Moroccan Pancakes

Sam Bloomberg-Rissman / Getty Images
Ratings (65)
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 20 msemen (4-inch square)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
577 Calories
44g Fat
41g Carbs
6g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Perhaps you are familiar with rghaif, the round Moroccan pancake. This recipe uses the same dough to make msemen, a flattened square-shaped version of rghaif. Instead of rolling up the dough and making flat circles, the dough is made into square shapes.

First, the dough is kneaded like bread dough until soft and smooth. Then portions of the dough are flattened and folded into squares. Frying the dough in a pan yields a layered pancake or flatbread that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

This recipe calls for a little semolina for texture and taste, but how much to use is a matter of personal preference. Substitute more semolina for some of the white flour if you like a coarser texture.


  • For making the dough:
  • 3 1/2 cups (440 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (90g) fine semolina
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups (approx. 1/3 liter) warm water
  • For folding and cooking the msemen:
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1/4 cup very soft unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Make the dough by mixing all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water and mix to form a dough. Add more water if necessary to make a dough that is soft and easy to knead, but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, (or knead the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes), until the dough is very smooth and elastic.

  4. Proceed with folding and cooking the dough. 

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve the msemen plain with butter and honey, or jam.

  • To make a syrup from butter and honey, simply melt equal portions of butter and honey in a pan until hot and bubbly. Carefully and quickly dip the msemen in the syrup and place on a serving platter.