Keftedes are beautifully flavored Greek meatballs that are slightly crispy, and totally delicious!
They’re often served as part of a mezze platter with pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives and tzatziki sauce.
If you agree that there can never be too many types of meatballs, it’s time to add these keftedes to your cookbook!
Greek food is amazing in its variety. Maybe that’s why we’re always cooking it!
Now we can’t get enough of these keftedes. They’re our second go at Greek meatballs, after Soutzoukakia. We can’t decide which we like better!
What Are Keftedes?
Keftedes are a traditional meatball appetizer or side dish from Greece. Unlike most meatballs, they are lightly floured and pan fried, giving them a distinctive crispiness.
Inside that crisp outer layer is tender and juicy meat that has been well seasoned with spices and fresh herbs, most notably mint.
Traditionally, either ground lamb or a mix of ground lamb and ground beef are used. A mix of ground beef and ground pork also works well, as they are more readily available.
Like Chicken Souvlaki, these Greek meatballs make a great meal tucked inside pita bread with tzatziki and all the fixings like cucumbers, tomatoes and olives.
Ingredients for Keftedes
- Ground meat – beef and pork, unless you have lamb available.
- Binders – breadcrumbs and eggs
- Aromatics – garlic and onion
- Herbs – mint, parsley and oregano
- Spices – coriander powder, cumin, cinnamon, red chili flakes, salt and pepper
- Milk – just a bit, it helps keep the meatballs moist
- Flour – for dredging
- Oil – for frying
How to Make Keftedes
In a large bowl, combine meat, binders, aromatics, herbs, spices and milk. You want everything well incorporated, but don’t overwork it. This can make the meatballs tough.
Tip: If you plan ahead, keep the mixture in the fridge for at least one hour. This will make it easier to work, and allow the flavors to mix together nicely.
Roll the meatballs into equal sized spheres. As they will go in pita bread, these aren’t giant meatballs, around 1.25 inches. This recipe makes around 28-32 meatballs.
Spread the flour on a plate, then dredge the meatballs in it, so they get a light dusting.
Working in batches if necessary, fry the meatballs in a little olive oil till brown on all sides.
Can You Bake Keftedes?
Yes, you can bake them for a lighter option.
Spread the Greek meatballs on a lightly greased sheet pan, about 1 inch apart.
Cook in a preheated oven at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. The finished internal temperature should be 165°F.
Meal Prep and Leftovers
Keftedes make a great meal prep option. Refrigerate cooked keftedes in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Or freeze cooked, fully cooled meatballs in a freezer bag for 2-3 months.
If you wish to make a bunch of meatballs and freeze them before cooking, first freeze them individually on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. You can keep uncooked meatballs frozen this way for 2-3 months, while still maintaining good quality.
Take out as many frozen meatballs as you wish and thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking.
The next time that meatball craving hits, go the Greek way, the keftedes way.
With summer almost here, these herby meatballs are a great alternative to the usual sauce drenched variety. Light Mediterranean style meals like this are just what are needed for those hot months to come.
Save or pin this keftedes recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes!
Keftedes, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1lb ground beef
- 1lb ground pork (or replace the beef and pork with 2lb ground lamb)
- 1 cup panko
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1/2 small red onion, grated or finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 /2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except flour and oil. You want everything well incorporated, but don’t overwork it. This can make the meatballs tough.
- Roll the meatballs into equal sized spheres. As they will go in pita bread, these aren’t giant meatballs, around 1¼ inches. This recipe makes around 28-32 meatballs.
- Spread the flour on a plate, then dredge the meatballs in it so they get a light dusting.
- Working in batches if necessary, fry the meatballs in a little olive oil till brown on all sides.
- Serve with pita bread, tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes and kalamata olives.
- If you plan ahead, keep the meat mixture in the fridge for at least one hour. This will make it easier to work, and allow the flavors to mix together nicely.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 480Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 151mgSodium 650mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 34g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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