Homemade Turkish Meatballs Kofte Recipe

Homemade Turkish Meatballs served with bean salad and cucumber dip

5 from 7 reviews

Spicy and juicy Turkish meatballs from scratch. You can use the same recipe to make hamburgers.


  • 2 pounds ground beef, 80% lean
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 onions, finely chopped or pureed
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed (optional)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, optional
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, finely diced onion and mashed garlic.
  2. Add in the spices.
  3. In a small bowl, mix baking soda, water and lemon juice. Pour this into the ground beef mixture. Mix well with your hand. Knead it for about a minute so that everything is combined well.
  4. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or at least 2-3 hours.
  5. Roll them into meatballs.
  6. Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan or any non-stick pan. Cook the meatballs over high heat, flipping them over or shaking the pan occasionally so that all sides are cooked for about 3 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pan, cook the meatballs in batches until they finish or save some to freeze.


If you can’t find 80% lean beef, use a mixture of lamb and beef (50% lamb, 50% beef).
Prep time includes waiting the meatballs in the refrigerator.


Keywords: kofte recipe, turkish meatballs, kofta recipe