Beef Kofta Recipe (may also use lamb)

Beef Kofta Recipe (may also use lamb)

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You might be wondering “what the heck is this Beef Kofta Recipe all about?” “Kofta” is a word used throughout the Middle East, which means “ground meat.” It also describes this mouth-watering, perfectly seasoned and grilled ground meat.

kofta kabob with rice and asparagus

Today, there are many kabob variations, including fruit kabobs, veggie kabobs, and even dessert kabobs. However, there was a time when “kabob,” referred to “skewered meat.” This Kofta kabob recipe specifically, refers to kabobs that are made with ground meat.

Beef Kofta Recipe Variations

Kofta kabob comes in quite a few options. Let’s look at some of these options:

  • Ground Beef — Ground beef kabobs are probably the most popular of the kabob options. Ground beef is mixed with onion, parsley, and a mix of spices then formed onto a skewer and grilled.
  • Lamb— Another popular kofta kabob option is lamb. Lamb is quite popular throughout the Middle East and has a distinct flavor that I personally adore.
  • Combination—You will also find that kofta is sometimes prepared with a combination of beef and lamb. You can say it’s the best of both worlds.
  • Ground Chicken— Finally, if you are not a meat fan, you can make kofta kabobs using ground chicken instead. The mix-in ingredients are the same wether using beef, lamb, or chicken.

I would also like to point out the difference between kofta kabobs and Shish Kabobs. The latter refers to marinated and skewered chunks of meat, instead of a ground meat mixture.

Ingredients and Tools for Making Kofta Kabob

  • Sumac — Luckily, sumac is the only elusive ingredient in this recipe. But, you can follow the Amazon link above or purchase sumac at any Middle Eastern market.
  • Food Processor— If you like to cook, you probably already have a food processor. It will come in handy for grinding the onion and the herbs into a fine pulp. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting this one!
  • Skewers—I also recommend purchasing some flat skewers. Although I’ve seen people use wooden skewers, it’s not the authentic way of making kofta kabob. The meat mixture is traditionally formed onto the flat skewers, giving the kabobs their distinct shape.
kofta on a grill
If you don’t have skewers, don’t let that stop you from making kofta…
kofta kabob on the grill
Just shape the kofta mixture into kabobs and grill!
kofta kabobs

Kabob Serving Suggestions

Kofta kabobs are served with vermicelli rice, pita bread, a salad or grilled vegetables. Additionally, tahini sauce, pickled turnips, and sumac are usually served on the side.

kofta kabob

This recipe will yield eight 12″ kabobs or sixteen 6″ kabobs. Finally, be sure to stop by after you try this recipe to leave me a recipe review. I love hearing from YOU!

You may also like the following recipes: lamb cracklins, Masgouf (Iraqi Grilled Fish), Shawarma, and Lamb Shishkabobs. 

Don’t forget to check out my  Classic Middle Eastern Food Combinations. And if you’re ready to try something completely different, check out my Gourmet Elk Burgers recipe!

Do you Pinterest? Please help a girl out by pinning and sharing!

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kofta kabob

Beef Kofta Kabob (Kebab) Recipe

Tender and juicy beef kofta kabob recipe. May also use lamb or a mixture of both.
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Assyrian, Middle Eastern
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 363kcal


  • 1 large onion
  • 2 T. dried parsley (or 1/2 cup fresh)
  • 2 tsp. dried mint
  • 2 lbs. ground beef 20% fat
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 2-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. sumac powder
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon


  • Place the chopped onion, parsley, and mint in a food processor.
  • Pulse the food processor until the onion is liquified.
  • Pour the onion mixture into a large bowl, along with the remaining ingredients. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  • Divide the meat into 8 or 16 equal portions, depending on which size kabobs you’re making. Take one portion of the meat mixture and roll into a meatball. Push a flat skewer through the meat. Using the same hand that’s holding the meatball, begin forming the meatball onto the skewer. If the meat is too sticky, wetting your hand will help. Flatten the meat onto the skewer until you have formed a 6″ kabob. If you want to make 12″ kabobs, use twice as much meat.
  • Heat and oil the grill. Place skewers at an angle to give the kabobs the grill marks.
  • After a few minutes turn the skewers over. If they get stuck, use a spatula to carefully free them from the grill. Cook five minutes or less per side.
  • If you don’t have skewers, just shape the meat into long, flat patties and grill the same way mentioned above. Once both sides are browned, remove from the grill.


Serving: 2small kabobs | Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 974mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @HildasKitchenBlog or tag #HildasKitchenBlog!

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4 thoughts on “Beef Kofta Recipe (may also use lamb)”

  • Thanks for the comment, Kristin! I guess the fact that you haven’t tried kofta kebabs is one of the reasons why I love to blog. I love introducing new foods to others. Hope you give the recipe a try and let me know what think. It can easily be made with only beef. The key is to keep it pretty fatty; dry kebabs are not very tasty. Since you’re on Keto that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Enjoy!

  • Hi Tereasa, thanks for your comment! To answer your question, I wouldn’t
    t be surprised if it was pronounced differently in Turkey. I’m Assyrian, and we pronounce is “Koofta” Do you recall how it was cooked? Was it grilled or fried in a pan? There is another recipe called “kitlehteh,” which are football-shaped meat patties, that are usually fried in a pan. Also, I can relate to the memory comment! 😉

  • Is this pronounced like Kurfda? I lived in Turkey for a little while when I was younger and we used to eat kurfda all the time. I’ve tried to find a recipe for years. I am going to try it but it’s been so many years I probably don’t even remember what it really tastes like, lol! It’s a favorite memory of mine and that’s saying a lot as these days I don’t remember a whole lot!

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