Homemade Turkish Meatballs Kofte Recipe

Homemade Turkish Meatballs served with bean salad and cucumber dip

4.9 from 11 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