Kofta Kebab – Skewers of ground beef and lamb with fresh herbs and loads of warm Mediterranean spices grilled to charred perfection make this kofta kebab recipe an absolute delight to eat. But wait, is it kofta or kefta? There are many different spelling variations for this dish: kofta, kefta, kafta—don’t worry about how it’s spelled, just dig in! 😋
This beef and lamb kofta kebab recipe can feed a crowd. It’s easy enough to make for a quick and delicious midweek meal, but it’s also a dish I love to serve at parties. Plus, loads of salads and sides go beautifully with this recipe, but you’ll find more ideas further down.
There are other reasons I love this kabob recipe too. (No, that’s not a typo. Even “kebab” has a few spelling variations depending on who you ask, but I digress.) It’s pretty customizable, and you can make it your own by adjusting the meats, spices, and other ingredients. 👍
What is Kofta or Kefta Kebab?
Throughout the Middle East, kofta kebabs are a popular dish. The word kofta (or kefta) originates in Persian, meaning pounded or grounded. This makes total sense, considering how the meat is prepared for these kebabs. Since the word kofta has to do with preparation methods, technically, you can make meat kofta, vegetarian kofta, or even seafood kofta.
- Kebab Mixture – For this recipe, we are using a more traditional kebab meat mixture, which includes beef and lamb. You could use one or the other if you’d like, or another ground meat, such as chicken or turkey.
- Kofta Spices – The warm combination of Mediterranean kebab spices in generous portions make this recipe such a winner. Spices include paprika, allspice, pepper flakes, cumin, cardamom, sumac, nutmeg, and rosemary.
- Fresh Herbs – Fresh parsley, garlic, bell pepper, and onion (ok, so some are technically veggies 🙊) added to the kebab meat mixture give these kebabs an herby, fresh flavor that is just lovely. 😋
- Breadcrumbs – This ingredient helps bind the kebabs together and makes them easier to grill.
How to Make Kofta Kebabs
Prepare the Kofta
- First, add the ground beef and lamb to a large bowl and set aside. (Photo 1)
- Next, blend onions, garlic, and parsley in a food processor or blender. (Photos 2-3)
- Transfer the mixture into a fine sieve and then use a rubber spatula to press out as much liquid as possible out of the minced vegetables.
- Add the mixture to the bowl with all the spices and breadcrumbs. (Photo 4)
- Finally, using your hands, mash the mixture together until evenly combined.
Shape the Meat Mixture
- Take a scoopful of the mixture and mold it on a wooden skewer. (Photos 6-7)
- Then, press the meat to cover the extent of the skewer and set it aside. (Photo 8)
- Continue with this process until all the beef mixture has been used up.
Grill the Kofta Kebabs
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- If you’re using a grill pan, lightly spray or oil it to prevent the kofta from sticking to the pan. (Photos 9-10)
- Next, place the kofta kebabs right onto your grill and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned on both sides and cooked through. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the kebabs.
- Remove and serve with fattoush salad, pita bread, and dill sauce. Enjoy!!!
- You can easily make these kofta kebabs gluten-free by omitting the breadcrumbs. If you find the meat mixture isn’t shaping as easily without them, simply put the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm it up.
- If you don’t have a grill or grill pan, you can still make kofta kebabs. Just bake them on a sheet pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-18 minutes, or until they are cooked through. If you want to brown them up a little more at the end to mimic the char you get from the grill, turn on the broiler for two or three minutes. And one more tip: if you are baking your kofta kebabs, skewers are purely optional.
Tips and Tricks
- If you use wooden skewers, there is an easy way to prevent them from catching fire on the grill. Soak the skewers for 30 to 60 minutes, totally submerged in water, before placing the kofta kebabs on them and grilling.
- Sometimes, I like to shape my kofta on two skewers per kebab. It helps when turning the kofta and makes grilling all sides evenly a lot easier. 😅
- If you want to get these kebabs grilling before your guests arrive, you can keep already grilled kebabs warm in the oven for about an hour at low temperatures before serving. I usually set my oven to about 165℉/74℃.
You can make kefta kebabs a day ahead of time if you’d like. Prepare the kebabs as per the recipe without grilling them. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container and then grill the following day when you are ready to serve them.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve these kebabs fresh off the grill if you can. They definitely taste the best that way. Serve with plenty of salads, dips, and sauces. You’ll find some good ideas for what to serve them with below.
Store any leftover kebabs in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container. To reheat them, you can microwave them (sans metal skewers, of course! 💥), but I think they taste the best if you reheat them on the grill. Heat up your grill to medium-high heat, and then give the skewers about two or three minutes on each side to heat up.
Yes! Kofta kebabs have plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and they will keep you feeling full and satisfied for a long time. Plus, all the fresh herbs and the mix of spices are great for you.
I actually prefer kofta kebabs because they are infused with many wonderful spices. Shish kabobs are a close second, though, with chunks of meat instead of ground meat and lots of veggie slices skewered on, too; they are another one of my summer grilling faves for sure.
The grated or minced onion in these does wonders to help keep the kebabs moist! However, the number one key to a moist kebab is not overcooking it. If you are unsure whether they are done or not, you can check the internal temperature. It should read 160℉/71℃.
What Goes with Kofta Kebabs
Salads, pita bread, and sauces! I love to serve kofta kebabs with a Mediterranean chickpea salad, a Greek salad, or Israeli couscous when it comes to salads.
As for dips, there are so many good ones for this. Homemade dill sauce is definitely a favorite, but tzatziki is a great choice too.
More Easy Mediterranean Recipes to Try
So go ahead and fire up that grill! This summer grilling recipe is perfect for days spent enjoying the great outdoors and warm weather. What is your favorite Mediterranean dish? Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments section below!
Watch How to Make It
Skewers of ground beef and lamb with fresh herbs and loads of warm Mediterranean spices grilled to charred perfection make this kofta kebab recipe an absolute delight to eat.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 30 mins
Soak skewers, if using wooden skewers, for at least 30-60 minutes, totally submerged in water before using it to prevent burns.
Add ground beef and lamb to a large bowl and set aside.
Blend onions, bell pepper, garlic, and parsley in a food processor or blender.
Transfer the mixture into a fine sieve and then use a rubber spatula to press out as much liquid as possible out of the minced vegetables.
Add the mixture to the bowl together with meat, all the spices, and breadcrumbs.
Using your hands, mash the mixture together until evenly combined.
Take a fistful portion of the meat mixture and mold it on a wooden skewer. Press the meat to cover the extent of the skewer and set it aside. Also, feel free to use two skewers because it helps when turning the kofta to grill all sides.
Continue with this process until all the beef mixture has been used up.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If using a grill pan, lightly spray or oil to prevent the kofta from sticking to the pan.
Place the kofta kebabs right onto your grill and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the kebabs.
Remove and serve with fattoush salad, pita bread, and dill sauce. Enjoy!
Serving: 240g| Calories: 365kcal (18%)| Carbohydrates: 12g (4%)| Protein: 20g (40%)| Fat: 26g (40%)| Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)| Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g| Monounsaturated Fat: 11g| Trans Fat: 1g| Cholesterol: 85mg (28%)| Sodium: 417mg (18%)| Potassium: 423mg (12%)| Fiber: 2g (8%)| Sugar: 1g (1%)| Vitamin A: 1594IU (32%)| Vitamin C: 22mg (27%)| Calcium: 58mg (6%)| Iron: 4mg (22%)