This tutorial is all you need to make the BEST authentic Kofta kebab recipe. Grilled kofta (or kefta) are skewers of ground beef and lamb mixed with fresh parsley, onions, garlic and warm Middle Eastern spices! These kabobs will feed a crowd and there are many sides and salads you can serve alongside (lots of ideas at the bottom of this post). And be sure to watch the video and the step-by-step tutorial! 

Kofta Kebabs served on a platter with tomato wedges and pita bread

Watch the video for how to make these Kofta Kebabs

The Middle East boasts a few signature foods: vegan-friendly falafel; shawarma; and of course, kabobs of all sorts, including kofta!

What is Kofta or Kefta?

Let's chat kofta kebabs. The word kofta (or kefta) has its origins in Persian, and it means grounded or pounded. You can have meat kofta, seafood kofta or even a vegetarian kofta.

But today's kofta kebab recipe is one of the more popular dishes in Egypt--a mixture of ground beef and lamb, blended with onions, garlic, parsley and a few of my favorite Middle Eastern spices including, allspice, cardamom, sumac, and nutmeg. Flavor heaven! In fact, I use the same exact spice blend to make meatballs with hummus, depending on my mood.

Grilled Kebabs with a side of pita bread, garnished with fresh parsley

My earliest memory of kofta kebab goes back to my elementary school days and a place called Abdu Kofta, a family-owned restaurant near Port Said's boardwalk.

The place was iconic and known for it's delicious kofta kebabs, heavy on the spice and cooked over open fire till perfectly charred.

Close-up of spices on Kofta Kebab

There are more than a dozen ways to prepare kofta kebab. This kofta kabab recipe is easy and fairly authentic. It is my best rendition of Abdu Kofta's; and a tribute to Port Said, my Mediterranean hometown.

Let me show you step-by-step how easy it is to make kofta (Kefta), and I have a bunch of ideas below for what you can serve along.

Step-by-Step for this Grilled Kofta Recipe:

*Note: If you're using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using so they don't catch on fire.1. Chop onions garlic and parsley in food processor.

Onions, garlic and parsley chopped in food processor

2. Now, add ground beef, lamb, bread (make sure to squeeze out any water out of the bread), and spices. Run processor. Scrape sides of processor and run again until the meat mixture is well combined.

Meat Mixture for Kofta Kebab Recipe

3. Remove the meat mixture from the food processor and place in a large bowl.  Take a fistful portion of the meat mixture and mold it on a wooden skewer. Repeat the process until you have run out of meat.

Molding meat mixture onto wooden skewers for kofta kebabs

3. b) Be sure each kofta kebab is about 1 inch in thickness, this is best for grilling. Lay the kofta kebabs on a tray lined with parchment paper for now.

Raw kofta kebabs assembled on tray before grilling

4. Place kofta kebabs on the lightly oiled, heated gas grill. Grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes on one side, turn over and grill for another 3-4 minutes (total of 7-8 minutes.)

Kofta kebabs on grill

5. Serve the kofta kebabs immediately with pita bread, tahini and fixings (tomato wedges, onions, more parsley) and other sides you prepared (see ideas just below!)

Kofta with a side of tomatoes, tahini and pita

What to Serve Along Kofta (Kefta)? 

These kofta kebabs are a big crowd pleaser, and you can easily turn them into a big Mediterranean picnic by adding a few sides and salads. The possibilities of what to serve alongside kofta kebabs (or kabobs) are endless! Here are just a few thoughts..

Salads: Fattoush; Tabouli; 3-Ingredient Mediterranean Salad; or this Fresh Tomato Salad.

Sauces and Dips: Tahini Sauce, Creamy Hummus, or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Sides: Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables; Spicy Skillet Potatoes (Batata Harra); Lebanese Rice; Roasted Eggplant; Persian Rice With Potato Tahdig

Similar Recipes to Try:

Greek Lamb Burgers

Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs

Salmon Kabobs

Loaded Lebanese Rice: Hashweh


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Kofta kebabs on grill

Kofta Kebab Recipe

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4.8 from 52 reviews


A must-try authentic Kofta kebab recipe: ground beef and lamb mixed with fresh parsley, onions, garlic and Middle Eastern spices. Add some Mediterranean sides and salads for your next picnic! (Ideas and video in post above)


  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 whole bunch parsley, stems removed (about 2 packed cups parsley leaves)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ lb ground lamb
  • 1 slice of bread, toasted until browned and soaked in water until fully tender
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground green cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground sumac
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Pita bread to serve

For the Fixings:


  1. Soak 10 wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from water when you are ready to begin. Lightly oil the grates of a gas grill and preheat it to medium-high for about 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare pita bread and fixings. If you plan to, make the tahini sauce from this recipe. Prepare other sides and salads before you begin grilling.
  3. In a food processor, chop the onion, garlic, and parsley.
  4. Add the beef, lamb, bread (be sure to squeeze out the water completely), and the spices. Run the processor until all is well combined forming a pasty meat mixture.
  5. Remove the meat mixture from the food processor and place in a large bowl. Take a fistful portion of the meat mixture and mold it on a wooden skewer. Repeat the process until you have run out of meat. For best results, make sure each kofta kebab is about 1 inch in thickness.
  6. Lay the skewered kofta kebabs on a tray lined with parchment paper
  7. Place the kofta kebabs on the lightly oiled, heated gas grill. Grill on medium-high heat for 4 minutes on one side, turn over and grill for another 3-4 minutes.
  8. Serve the kofta kebabs immediately with pita bread, tahini and the fixings you prepared. See suggestions for sides and related recipes.


  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
Kofta Kebab Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Authentic kofta kebabs with ground beef and lamb, garlic, onions, fresh parsley and warm Middle Eastern spices. See the step-by-step tutorial on The Mediterranean Dish.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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  1. Adam says:

    Sumac is an underrated spice, I love that it's incorporated into the recipe. These turned out awesome!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Sumac is the BEST, isn't it!! 🙂

  2. Ian says:

    Why isn’t there cumin in the recipe? Cumin is a staple of middle eastern cooking. I will also agree with the comment below that mixing by hand or with a stand mixer works way better than a food processor

  3. Jorge T. says:

    Thanks for all the great recipes Suzy. They're all very tasty and healthy.

  4. Christi George says:

    What type of bread do you recommend?
    Thank you!

    1. TMD Team says:

      We love this with pita! Enjoy!

  5. Emm says:

    I made this recipe a few days ago & I like it soo much that I’m making it again today! I served my kebabs with basmati rice, charred tomato & onions with a salad on the side. It was wonderful!

  6. Carmie says:

    Could these be made ahead and frozen?

    1. Suzy says:

      Sure, Carmie! In the past, we have prepared these 1 night in advance and saved them (uncooked) on a large tray in the fridge with parchment paper separating the layers of skewers. Be sure to cover well though! You can also freeze the uncooked mixture by forming the kabobs and placing them in a vacuumed freezer bag or freezer-safe container and freeze. When you're ready to cook them, thaw the meat out in the fridge the night before and skewer it. Hope that helps!

  7. Sabrina says:

    I’m trying to be better about using what I have on hand and was searching for a recipe to use some Impossible beef I had. I made hummus earlier today, along with a lentil, quinoa, and kale salad, and thought kofta flavors would pair well. I had everything except the parsley (I know!), omitted the salt to account for the impossible meat salt content, and baked the portions in patties instead of using skewers—they were delicious! I also mixed everything in a bowl instead of using a food processor since vegan meat behaves slightly differently. Would 10/10 make again.

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing, Sabrina!

  8. Lisa says:

    I highly recommend mixing these by hand if you want them to hold together. My first batch I used the food processor and it literally looked like thick icing. It was impossible to get them to form any shape! The second batch I chopped the onion and parsley very fine with a knife and mixed everything by hand and they were much easier to form on the skewers. I would also recommend sampling the spices before adding and substituting with what you like bc some of the spices can be very overpowering!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lisa!

  9. Marina says:

    I made this recipe but it turned out watery and not holding itself. Did you squeeze the water out of the onion after you put it in the food processor?
    I love all your recipes btw 🥰

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Marina. Yes, squeezing the water out may help you here. Another reader recommended grating the onion, then placing it in cheese cloth or a thin kitchen towel and squeeze out the onion juice.

  10. Margaret says:

    I have not made this yet, but look forward to doing so. Question: For the ground beef is it better to have lean or regular, for example 93% lean, or 85% lean?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Margaret. For this recipe, I typically use 93% lean.

  11. Judy says:

    I made this for my in-laws, served with a hummus dipping sauce, over lentils and whole grain millet, over baby gem lettuce leaves, and sides of grilled vegetables, and sautéed spinach. I garnished with fresh mint, cilantro and parsley. They really loved the kebabs, my husband and I don’t eat meat so I made mushroom kebabs with your suggested spice blend, instead of allspice, I’m out if it, I used za’Atar It was easy to prepare and enjoyed by all. Thank you for your energy and enthusiasm! I really enjoy your blog.

    1. Suzy says:

      Sounds wonderful, Judy! Thank you for sharing!

    2. repiper says:


  12. Sonia Naz says:

    My mouth really watered to see your recipe. I'll try it myself tomorrow. Is it really tasty in real?

    1. Suzy says:

      It's delicious, Sonia! Hope you give it a try!

  13. Karen Stoeckle says:

    Love this recipe! Making it again for New Years Eve. So fun, delicious and easy!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks so much, Karen!

  14. Ada Robinson says:

    Too much all spice. It overpowers the other flavours.

    1. Cleeo2 says:

      Yes, it does. I made them tonight and felt the same. Plus the spices gave me heartburn.

  15. John Mayer says:

    Does ground lamb typically have a bad odor, or did I buy the wrong type? I purchased grass fed ground lamb at Safeway (only lamb I could find from multiple stores). The kebab came out great and tasted very good, however, while cooking and eating it gave off a very strong odor that almost made me nauseous. I could only eat part of it and had to get rid of the rest. I've eaten this dish many times at Turkish restaurants while living in Germany and never experienced this type of odor. Where did I go wrong?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hard to say, John. It could have been that the lamb wasn't the best. Ground lamb does typically have a gamey odor, but if it's particularly sour or bad smelling, I would return it to the store.

    2. Kryss Crocker says:

      Lamb has a gamey smell, but it shouldn't smell bad. I used to buy lamb at Safeway but do not anymore. Nine times out of ten, I'd get it home, and it was rotten and I'd have to go back to get my money back. After that, I'd make them open the package in the meat department, and I'd smell it and decide to buy it or not. Bottom line: Don't buy any lamb products at Safeway!

    3. Leslie says:

      Tastes amazing! Family favourite

  16. Jacqui says:

    I mixed all the ingredients, refrigerated overnight, and grilled them the next day using flat metal skewers. I adjusted some of the spices (used more) to suit my family's taste and substituted fresh lemon zest and ground black pepper for the sumac. They were very easy to shape and grill and tasted fantastic. Will definitely make again. Thanks!

    1. Suzy says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Jacqui!