These Greek meatballs are the best meatballs ever! You can serve these delicious Greek meatballs as a crowd pleasing appetizer or a complete meal.
If you love Mediterranean recipes as much as we do and are a big fan of moussaka, green lentil soup and falafel, you’re going to love this Greek meatballs recipe. It’s an easy meatball recipe that’s bursting with flavor in every bite!
What are Greek Meatballs called?
Greek meatballs are also called Keftedes and they are delicious juicy meatballs made with lamb or a combination of beef and lamb. They are traditionally fried in a pan, however, I’m going to show you how to make Greek meatballs in the oven as well. These Mediterranean meatballs are moist and packed with fresh Mediterranean flavors thanks to spices and herbs such as thyme, cumin and mint.
What are Keftedes made of?
Keftedes or Greek meatballs are made of ground beef and lamb, spices such as mint, thyme, cumin and cinnamon. These tasty meatballs are very tender inside thanks to grated onion and bread crumbs.
How to make Greek meatballs
In a large bowl or in a food processor, mix ground lamb and ground beef. Add in bread crumbs and grated onion to the mixture and mix well. Add in minced garlic, egg, and the spices and pulse until fully combined.
Shape the meatballs and set them aside. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the meatballs for about ten minutes, stirring a couple of times so they cook evenly. This easy Greek lamb meatballs recipe will be your go-to meatball recipe! The cinnamon and cumin give such nice flavor to the lamb and beef.
There are two additional instructions to make Greek meatballs:
- Baked Greek meatballs: Follow the recipe to make the meatballs as mentioned in the recipe. Instead of cooking them with olive oil, preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and coat them with just a little bit of cooking spray. Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until they are brown and fully cooked. This is a great method to make tasty meatballs when you’re feeding a crowd.
- Greek lamb meatballs: Leave out the beef and use 1 1/2 lb ground lamb to make the meatballs. The instructions are the same.
What to serve with homemade Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)
These tasty meatballs make perfect dinner with some easy sides such as:
Can you freeze Keftedes?
Greek meatballs freeze very well and you can have them easily at any time. You can freeze these meatballs cooked or uncooked:
- Freeze cooked Greek meatballs: Once all the keftedes are cooked and cooled completely, place them in a ziploc bag and freeze them up to one month. Thaw them in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or in a pan.
- Freeze uncooked Greek meatballs: Shape the meatballs and place them in a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for one hour until the meatballs are frozen. Then place them in one single layer in a ziploc bag and freeze them for up to one month. Thaw them in the fridge and follow the instruction in the recipe to cook them.
Notes and tips to make Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)
- To have very tender meatballs that are not dry, grate the onion and add it directly to the beef and lamb mixture. The juice of grated onion gives moisture to the meatballs.
- Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to have evenly shaped and portioned meatballs.
- If you don’t use a food processor to make Keftedes, make sure you mix the ingredients very well in a large bowl using your hands.
- If dried mint is not available, use 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint.
- When cooking the meatballs in a pan, make sure not to over crowd the pan. Over crowding the pan will cause the meatballs not to cook evenly.
Easy Greek Meatballs Recips (Keftedes)
- 1 lb ground beef 90% lean
- 1/2 lb ground lamb
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs
- 1 onion grated
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
- Place the ground beef and lamb in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times so they're combined.
- Add in bread crumbs, onion and garlic. Pulse again for a couple of times.
- Add in the egg, dried mint, thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Pulse for about 30 seconds until all the ingredients are perfectly combined.
- Shape the meatballs using an ice cream or cookie scoop and place them on a baking sheet. If the mixture is too sticky, wet your hands and then shape them.
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil and place the meatballs to cook.
- Cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes and stir them a couple of times to make sure they're brown on all sides and cook evenly.
- Serve with pita, Mediterranean salad and tzatziki sauce.
- Don't overcrowd the pan when cooking the meatballs. Overcrowding will prevent the meatballs from cooking evenly.
- You can use 1 1/2 lb ground lamb instead of beef.
- Baked Greek meatballs: Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are brown and fully cooked.