Middle Eastern Grilled Kofta Kebabs

Kofta Kebabs

Philip Wilkins / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Total Time: 18 min
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 8 min
Servings: 4

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

197 calories
12g fat
3g carbs
18g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 197
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 1178mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 0g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 18g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 314mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Kofta kebabs are a popular dish originating from Turkish cuisine. They are made from ground meat, including beef, lamb, mutton, or veal, and are highly spiced with traditional seasonings. This easy recipe has a nice amount of heat that you can adjust to your tastes.

These kebabs contain many herbs and spices that contain studied beneficial properties including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.


  • Oil for the grill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp of cayenne or other hot pepper (or a little Harissa paste)
  • 3 tbsp onion, finely minced (or 2 teaspoons onion powder)
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  1. If you plan to use wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 1 hour and remove them when you're ready to use them.

  2. Lightly oil the grates on your grill and preheat for about 20 minutes on medium-high.

  3. Mash the garlic into a paste with the flat side of your knife or with a mortar and pestle.

  4. Squeeze any water out of the meat.

  5. In a large bowl, mix the garlic in with the meat, coriander seed, cumin seed, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, onion, parsley, and salt. Mix until well-blended.

  6. Mold into long meatballs, about 3 to 4 inches long and 1-1/2 inches in diameter, and put on skewers to grill. (Skewers are totally optional.)

  7. Grill the kebabs on medium high for about 4 minutes.

  8. Turn over and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Variations and Substitutions

  • These kebabs can be made with any ground meat or ground meat blend, including the traditional lamb, though the nutrition information will be different.
  • If you don't have kabob sticks, you can simply form the meat into oblong patties instead.
  • You can adjust the cayenne or hot pepper to taste for more or less heat.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • Try mincing your onion and garlic in a food processor and then adding everything else into the processor and mixing well.
  • Go ahead and make the kebabs ahead of time. When you're finished, put them on a baking sheet and cover. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours before grilling.
  • To save money, buy your spices in bulk at a health food store, Middle Eastern, or Asian market.
  • It's easiest to mix all the ingredients together, but you might find that the flavors come out a little more if you warm the spices in about a tablespoon of olive oil until they sizzle.
  • Try serving with tzatziki with mint, a yogurt-cucumber side dish, and a salad.
  • These kebabs are also delicious served with pita bread or flatbread, lettuce, tomato, and yogurt.
  • Another tasty option is to serve the kebabs over rice with a variety of dipping sauces.

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1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Vázquez-Fresno R, Rosana AR, Sajed T, Onookome-Okome T, Wishart NA, Wishart DS. Herbs and spices- Biomarkers of intake based on human intervention studies – A systematic review. Genes & Nutrition. 2019;14(1). doi:10.1186/s12263-019-0636-8

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