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Jun 18, 2023

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread

Rgaif is a tasty crispy pan-fried square Moroccan flatbread or pancake. It is sold at street food stands or in bakeries in Morocco, but is also made in Moroccan homes. 

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread stacked on a plate.

It's also known as rgaïf, rghaif, or r'gaif... or msemmen, m'smen, or msemen (and probably many more names). 

Rgaif is typically served with honey, jam, or another sweet spread (I love maple syrup with butter). You can also serve it filled with savory ingredients such as seafood, chicken, meats, cream cheese, veggies, or savory spreads. I dipped mine in the broth of some amazing spicy mussels. 

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread stacked on a plate.

Rgaif is also popular in Algeria, Tunisia, and other Maghreb (Western Arab) countries from Northwest Africa such as Libya and Mauritania.

It is popularly served with a hot honey butter syrup spread between the layers of the cooked bread along with Moroccan mint tea for breakfast. 

You can serve it in a lot of ways, including plain, filled with the honey, an onion and chile mixture, or with a spicy protein filling. 

I filled some of these with a caramelized onion and shallot, parsley, cilantro, and green chile filling. 

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread Onion filling in the frying pan after cooking.

You can either spread your filling, cooked or uncooked, over the stretched out dough and cook it along with the pancake, or cook the filling and stuff it between the layers of the already pan-fried rgaif and roll it up like a burrito. 

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread with filling rolled up like a burrito.

We've loved these reheated in the toaster oven or in a dry skillet and spread with jam and butter. So good. 


Flour: I used unbleached all purposed flour, but bread flour will also work. 


Instant Yeast


Olive Oil: for coating the dough and shaping the pancakes. 

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread view of the bread cut in half.

Rgaif Ingredient Variations:

Butter: While I used all olive oil for shaping and frying this rgaif, you can combine the olive oil with melted butter for further laminating the pancakes to add extra flakiness. 

Fine Semolina Flour: You can incorporate some into the pancake dough if you like. You can also sprinkle some lightly between the layers, along with the butter mixture to further enhance the lamination. 

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread dough formed into balls on a plate.

Procedure to Make Rgaif:

First, knead the dough either by hand or stand mixer for several minutes until the dough is super elastic and cohesive. 

Divide the dough into 80 gram balls (just slightly larger than gold balls) and coat them with olive oil. 

Let the dough balls rest for at least 15 minutes before you roll them out. Now is a good time to make your filling if you are using one. 

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread dough spread out on a cutting board before folding.

Using your hands, stretch out the dough as thinly as you can. Be sure to oil your work surface along with your hands. 

The trick is to get the dough really thin. It's best to stretch it by pressing it with your hands on your counter so that it doesn't spring back. You can also begin by using an oiled rolling pin and then finish the job with your hands. 

Gently stretch and stretch and stretch the dough. I stretched mine out until I could see my work surface through the dough. 

At this point, add a sprinkle of butter and semolina if you choose to laminate the dough before folding. 

You can also spread the dough with your favorite filling. 

These were fun and easy to make. I was really surprised that the dough stretched so easily and did not spring back. It's miraculous how the same ingredients, flour, water, salt, and yeast, produce such different results depending on what you do with them.

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread folded on a cutting board before pan frying.

Equipment You May Need:

While you can knead this dough by hand, it's much easier if you have a stand mixer. The dough is fairly dry and will need quite a long time, so being able to walk away while the dough is being kneaded makes this so much easier. 

You will also need a skillet or griddle for pan frying the flatbread. My favorite line of skillets is Swiss Diamond. For a griddle, the Lodge is a favorite and I love that it has a side for grilling. 

Make-Ahead Tips:

One make-ahead option is to create and oil the dough balls and then freeze them. When you are ready to make the rgaif, thaw the dough and roll it out. 

Another make ahead option is to fully make the rgaif and then freeze them. Thaw and reheat in a dry or lightly oiled skillet when you are ready to enjoy them. 

More Flatbread Recipes You May Also Enjoy:

Sourdough and Greek Yogurt Flatbread

Fig and Walnut Flatbread

Palastinian Flatbread

Nan e Barbari

Grilled Flatbreads

Hallakakor (Scandinavian Flatbread)

Lavash Bread with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Fontina

More Recipes from Africa from the Sunday Funday Group:

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread stacked on a plate.

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread

Rgaif - Moroccan Flat Bread
Yield: 10 breads
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 2 HourCook time: 15 MinInactive time: 15 MinTotal time: 2 H & 30 M
Rgaif, also known as rgaïf, rghaif, or msemmen (or m'smen) is a crispy pan-fried square Moroccan flatbread or pancake.


For the Dough
  • 500 grams flour
  • 5.5 grams instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300 grams water, more if needed
  • Olive oil for brushing and frying
  • Optional fillings (you can add any filling you want before folding the dough)
For the Optional Onion Filling
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions or four shallots, skin removed, and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded and sliced.
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


To Prepare the Optional Filling
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions, chiles, parsley leaves, and cilantro leaves and cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the spices and continue to cook until the onions begin to brown. Set aside.
To Make and Assemble the Rgaif
  1. Optional step: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. This is in case your frying step does not fully cook the flatbread. 
  2. Mix the dry ingredients of the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and mix with your hand to dampen the ingredients. Add more water as necessary.
  3. Knead with the dough hook until elastic and smooth. The dough should be tacky but not sticky, and completely clear the bowl.
  4. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (about 80 grams each) and form them into balls. Coat with olive oil. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. 
  5. With your hands, press each dough ball out onto your oiled work surface until it is very thin (thin enough so that you can see the counter through the dough). You can begin with a rolling pin and finish with your hands.
  6. Lightly brush the tops of each with olive oil. Spread with the optional fillings if using. Fold into square packets by folding opposite sides of the dough toward the center and then folding the other sides in the same way. Let the dough rest and then lightly reroll or use your hands to stretch to thin out the square one more time.
  7. Brush a large skillet or griddle with olive oil and then heat the pan over low heat. Cook one side of the squares in the pan for about 5 minutes. Brush the tops lightly with olive oil and flip the squares over and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Brush the tops lightly with olive oil. Flip the squares over one more time and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Optional: place the rgaif on a baking sheet and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes to make sure that the middle is fully cooked.
  9. Serve warm with toppings of your choice.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

10.5 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.47 g

Carbs (grams)

41.73 g

Fiber (grams)

2.38 g

Net carbs

39.32 g

Sugar (grams)

1.5 g

Protein (grams)

5.94 g

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg
rgaif, rghaif, msemmen, m'smen, r'gaif
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Good grief! Dip in spicy mussels ... how original and totally awesome! Just shows how perfectly marvelous bread can be.

    1. I'm with you Tanna. Bread is so amazing.

  2. They look beautiful! I'll need to make some more now ....

  3. Wow, I've never seen these before, definitely adding this to my to do list!

  4. Sorry for my late comment, I've been too busy here.
    Love your packages, like folded handkerchiefs, great with a musselsoup as you did. THanks so much for baking with us. (The round up will be on in an hour or so)

    1. No apologies necessary Lien. =) I'm so late on my ABC post it is shameful. But remember, this is a hobby and should be fun!

  5. It really looks great Karen! It must be also easy to make! Thanx for sharing!

  6. I'm kind of relieved that I didn't notice that rghaif is deep-fried in the south of Morocco. That sounds very decadent!

    Your pan-fried bread looks wonderful and doesn't make me wish even for a moment that I had tried deep-frying the bread. And what a fabulous accompaniment you chose!

    1. Me too on that deep frying idea. It could be addicting!

  7. Your rgaif reminds me of murtabak, one of my favorite stuffed breads. I look forward to trying a sweet version!

  8. Karen rgaif bread reminds me of the way egg kheema chapati is made in Kenya. For vegetarians they make a stuffing on onion, cilantro and green chillis. Love how crispy the flatbread appears.

    1. That definitely sounds very similar Mayuri!

  9. I love this bread and make it so often!

  10. Love the flatbread and the filling sounds amazing too!


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