Ichlekli is a type of Turkmen meat pie made with meat and various vegetables.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Home » Dishes A-Z » Ichlekli

Fact: Many people consider ichlekli the national dish of Turkmenistan.

Flag of Turkmenistan#29 in Turkmenistan

Basic Information

Ichlekli: Basic Information



Alternative Name(s)

Içlekli, ishlekli

Dish Type

Cakes and pastries


Main Course


Lunch, Dinner

Popular Variations

Origin and Region

Ichlekli: Origin and Region



Continent’s Region

Central Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Turkmenistan Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Ichlekli: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Flour, butter, meat (beef or lamb), and vegetables

Main Cooking Method


Preparation Process

Cooking the filling, encasing it in the pastry, baking the pie
A Deep Dive

Ichlekli: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Part of traditional Turkmen cuisine




Crumbly outside, soft inside




Golden brown

Serving Style

On its own

Serving Temperature

Hot or warm


No accompaniment


On any occasions



Special Diets

Non diet-specific





Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Meat Pie
  2. Empanada
  3. Börek
  4. Calzone
  5. Chebureki

Popular Dining Area

Local households, street vendors, restaurants

Ichlekli, also known as içlekli or ishlekli, is a type of meat pie in Turkmenistan. It was originally baked in hot sand and embers by Turkmen shepherds, hence the English name Turkmen shepherd’s pie.

Ichlekli Infographic

Ichlekli features dough, minced meat (usually beef or lamb), and common vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

The meat and vegetables are lightly stir-fried together before being sandwiched between two layers of dough and baked.

Ichlekli is so popular in Turkmenistan that many locals regard it as their national dish alongside palaw (the Turkmen version of pilaf – a mixed rice dish). This meat pie is a typical snack, street food, and main dish in this Central Asian country.

Keep on reading for more engaging information about ichlekli, such as its advantages, disadvantages, popular queries, and similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Ichlekli is a famous type of meat pie in Turkmenistan.
  • Ichlekli is known as Turkmen shepherd’s pie in English.
  • The main ingredients of ichlekli are dough, meat, and vegetables.
  • Ichlekli is unofficially considered one of the national dishes of Turkmenistan.

Pros and Cons of Eating Ichlekli

The Turkmen shepherd’s pie has the following strengths and weaknesses.


  • Traditional Value: Ichlekli is a traditional dish that represents Turkmen cuisine and is often served on special occasions.
  • Flavor Profile: The combination of fatty meat and vegetables offers a rich taste.
  • Versatility: Ichlekli can be served as a main dish or snack to enjoy on the go.


  • Calorie Content: Ichlekli is a filling dish that is high in calories.
  • Preparation Time: Making the dough and filling from scratch can be time-consuming.

Before wrapping up the discussion of ichlekli, let’s check out frequently asked questions about this Turkmen specialty.

Ichlekli FAQs

Yes, you can make ichlekli with entirely plant-based ingredients by omitting the meat, adding more vegetables to the dishes, such as lentils, squash, and mushrooms, and using vegetable stock to enhance the flavor.

Yes, you can freeze ichlekli to prolong its shelf life by 2 – 3 months but don’t forget to wrap the pie in aluminum foil or keep it in a heavy-duty bag.

The best way to reheat ichlekli is to recook it in a preheated oven for 10 – 20 minutes.

Simple spices like black pepper and cayenne powder are regularly used to flavor ichlekli. Like other Central Asian foods, ichlekli doesn’t require complex seasoning.

Yes, you should prick small holes in the crust with a fork or knife while making ichlekli so that the steam can escape during baking, leaving the pie crust to stay flat and not puff up.

Similar Dishes of Ichlekli


Empanada is a Spanish baked or fried turnover of pastry and filling.


Börek is a family of pies and pastries in many regions of Asia, Europe, and Africa.


Chebureki is a deep-fried turnover with a meat filling crafted by the Crimean Tatars people.

Meat Pie

Meat pie is a type of flaky meat-filled pastry in many countries around the world.

Calzone Pizza

Calzones are a type of baked or fried turnover popular in Italy and America.

Adam Sam

Adam Sam

Senior Food and Drink Editor


Food Writer & Recipe Developer, Recipe Tester, Bartender, Cooking-video Maker, Editor In Chief


  • University of Gastronomic Sciences – Pollenzo (Italy) (MA Food Culture, Communication & Marketing)
  • Johnson & Wales University (US) (Baking and Pastry Arts)
  • Professional Bartender at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Adam Sam, an experienced food writer and recipe developer, is passionate about blending diverse culinary traditions, national dishes, and innovative beverages, showcasing his proficiency in both traditional and modern recipe testing.

As the Editor-in-Chief, he elevates culinary content from street food to fine dining, focusing on Western cuisine and types of drinks at azcuisines.com, and is professional in creating engaging cooking videos that simplify complex dishes and ingredients.

His passion for food is evident in his writing, where he uniquely merges various cultures, traditions, and contemporary trends, skillfully combining classic recipes with modern cooking methods.

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