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  • Sibel Akcekaya

Turkish Grilled Meatballs Recipe (Köfte)

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Turkce tarif icin bu linki tiklayiniz.

When it comes to Turkish food köfte is probably one of the most popular meat dishes in Turkey. It is kind of Turkish hamburger as it is made with ground red meat. Usually beef and lamb. There are unlimited variations of köfte in every region. Sometimes we grill it, sometimes we fry and sometimes we cook it in a stew. Köfte can also be made without meat like vegetarian lentil meatballs which we made it on our blog before.

I wanted to start with this simple meatballs that everybody knows. If you go to a Turkish restaurant and ask simple grilled meatballs this is what you will get. These meatballs are also called mother meatballs because in traditional homes where mothers cook, they always cook them for the family. Many people feel that their mother meatballs are the best. It is a very good childhood memory.

Köfte as a name comes from Persian word "küfben" which can mean beating, hitting, crushing and pressing. And actually this meaning is the key action that we need in this recipe. We want to knead and beat meatballs very well.We serve them either with rice pilaf, bulgur , French fries or piyaz (white bean salad)

Turkish Burger Meatballs Kofta Ingredients

Course Main Course

Cuisine Mediterranean, middle east, Turkish

Servings 16 meatballs


500 gr. ground beef, medium fat

1 medium onion grated or very finely chopped

1 garlic clove finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp ground sweet red pepper (optional)

1 tsp ground black pepper (optional)

1 cup breadcrumbs

5 gr. baking soda (1 tbsp)

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup water

chopped parsley (optional)

1 egg ( optional)


The most important part of this recipe is mixing all ingredients very well. Your meatballs will be tastier if you knead/mix it well. You can also use Kitchen Aid to mix everything.

Add ground beef to a wide big mixing bowl.

In a regular drinking glass mix 1 tbsp baking soda with 1 tsp lemon juice to solve the baking soda. Then add 1/2 cups water. Add this mixture to the ground beef and knead the beef until it absorbs all water.

Add breadcrumbs and mix it again.

Add all the spices at this point. Ground cumin, salt, ground sweet red pepper and ground black pepper. Mix them well.

At this point we can cover our mixed meatballs with plastic wrap and wait in the refrigerator overnight. If you do not have time, wait at least 1 hour.

Then add grated onions. Remove onions water before adding. Dampen your hands and Mix well

At this point dampen your hands and start kneading to add some water to the mix.

When you are ready, have a small bowl of water ready

In order to shape the meatballs dampen your hands and start to pick small amount of the mix (1 tbsp), amount should fit between your palms. Shape them as shown in the picture

Heat a grill pan and grill meatballs until both sides change color, see the picture below​


Menu Suggestions​

Kofta can be served as a main entree with French fries, white bean salad (piyaz) or Turkish rice pilaf with Turkish Shepherd salad

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