Baked Kibbeh

5 from 152 votes

Baked Kibbeh is a quintessential Lebanese recipe that is popular throughout the Middle East - made with beef, cracked wheat, onion and spices

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One of my favorite childhood recipes my mom always makes is this baked kibbeh. For so long I was so intimidated by making the recipe because it seemed tedious. However I’ve fine-tuned all the steps to simplify it while keeping all the classic flavors intact. This Lebanese version will remind you of your family’s recipe!

Baked kibbeh (also called kibbeh bil sanieh) topped with pine nuts

What is kibbeh?

Kibbeh is an arabic word derived from “kubba”, which means ball. It is a combination of very lean ground meat, cracked bulgur wheat and spices. Some have likened kibbeh to meatloaf, which is a great way to describe it especially for this baked kibbeh version.

In this Lebanese recipe called Kibbeh Bil Sanieh, we layer the kibbeh with a hashweh mixture – made with onions, ground beef, spices and pine nuts. The layers are spread into a baking dish and then baked like a casserole. There are 4 popular ways to make kibbeh:

  1. Kibbeh Bil Sanieh (this baked version)
  2. Kibbeh Nayyeh (similar to a raw steak tartar)
  3. Kibbeh ‘Rass (balls or croquettes)
  4. Kibbeh bi Labanieh (balls cooked and served in warm yogurt)

How to make baked kibbeh

Cook the hashweh

  • Cook the onions with olive oil until softened and lightly golden.
  • Add the ground beef and cook with the onions until browned and cooked through.
  • Mix in the spices with the ground beef mixture.
  • Fold in the pine nuts, if you’re using them.
4 photo collage showing the hashweh mixture, starting with the onions, then beef, then spices and pine nuts

Combine the kibbeh mixture

  • Place the soaked bulgur, fresh herbs, kamouneh spice and onions into a food processor.
  • Blend until it’s well combined without any large chunks of onions.
  • Add the lean beef to the mixture along with salt and 7 Spice to season the beef.
  • Blend until the beef is well incorporated with the bulgur mixture. Then remove the food processor blade and divide in half.
4 photo collage showing the kibbeh ingredients in a food processor, first the bulgur, onions and spices, then the mixture, next with beef and then the final outcome
  • Spread half the mixture to the bottom of a prepared baking dish. I’m using 14-inch round. You can also use 9″x13″.
  • Add the hashweh filling on top.
  • Add the remaining kibbeh mixture on top of the hashweh in chunks so it’s easier to manage.
  • Use your hands to flatten out the meat mixture and fill in the gaps.
  • Cut diagonally to form diamond shapes, place a pine nut in the middle of each diamond, and drizzle the whole dish with olive oil.
  • When it’s done baking, the pine nuts will be toasted and the meat will pull away from the sides of the pan.
6 photo collage showing how to layer the baked kibbeh in a round baking dish

Tips for making baked kibbeh

  1. Prepare the hashweh filling layer before making the kibbeh layer. Since the kibbeh layer uses raw meat, you want to handle it for as little as possible and bake it immediately after prepping. Having the filling ready will make it more efficient.
  2. Divide the kibbeh in half and freeze half for later. This makes a very large amount with 8 generous servings. You can make in 2 smaller baking dishes and freeze one. Make sure not to add olive oil to the one being frozen until ready to bake.
  3. Use wet hands for layering the kibbeh mixture. Adding water to your hands will help to mold and shape the kibbeh mixture for the bottom and top layer so it’s smooth and even.
  4. Eliminate using water in the bulgur by adding more onions. You don’t need to soak the bulgur with water, but you will then need to add another small onion to the food processor. That moisture will help to soak and fluff the bulgur so it’s not crunchy.
Baked kibbeh Lebanese recipe in a round metal baking dish

Frequently asked questions

What do you eat with kibbeh?

We usually enjoy kibbeh with a cucumber yogurt sauce or just plain thick yogurt. My mom also loves to serve it with a fattoush salad.

Can I freeze the kibbeh?

Yes, it’s very common for families to make a double batch of this recipe or even divide this one in half to freeze some for later. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then add olive oil on top and follow the baking instructions per the recipe.

Can I make this gluten free?

While I’ve never tried it myself, I’ve heard of some success with using quinoa instead of bulgur wheat. I recommend cooking the quinoa halfway so it’s softer but not fully cooked. It will continue cooking in the oven.

What can I use for the “kamouneh” spice if I don’t have it?

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon  black peppercorns
1 tablespoon  dried rose petals (optional)
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon 7 spice

Close up shot of the kibbeh with spatula for serving

More authentic Lebanese recipes:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Baked Kibbeh recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Baked Kibbeh

Baked Kibbeh is a quintessential Lebanese recipe that is popular throughout the Middle East – made with beef, cracked wheat, onion and spices
5 from 152 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Calories 331
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins


Hashweh Filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for greasing pan & drizzling on top
  • 1 pound 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon 7 Spice
  • ¼ cup pine nuts plus more for topping

Kibbeh Mixture

  • 1 ½ cups fine #1 bulgur wheat
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil and/or mint
  • ¼ cup kamouneh spice
  • 1 tablespoon salt + 1 teaspoon
  • 1 pound 100% lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons 7 Spice


Make the Filling

  • Heat the olive oil. Add the beef and onions and cook until the beef is browned, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and 7 Spice and fold in the pine nuts.

Make the Kibbeh Mixture

  • To prepare the base meat mixture, add the bulgur wheat to a medium bowl along with the water, fluff after 10 minutes to absorb all the water.
  • Transfer soaked bulgur to a food processor along with the onion, basil and/or mint, kamouneh spice and 1 tablespoon salt. Blend until well combined.
  • Add the lean beef to the food processor, along with the remaining salt and 7 Spice. Blend again until a meat paste forms. Divide the mixture in half.

Assemble and Bake

  • Preheat oven to 400°F degrees and grease a 14-inch round baking dish with olive oil; set aside.
  • Spread half of the kibbeh mixture on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon all the hashweh filling on top of the base layer. Finally, grab handfuls of the remaining kibbeh mixture and press down on top of the hashweh. Wet your hands with water to easily spread the mixture and fill in the gaps so it's smooth.
  • Slice kibbeh diagonally to form small diamonds. Top with pine nuts, and drizzle with olive oil to coat the top layer. Bake until meat is fully cooked and pine nuts look toasted, about 40-45 minutes.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the baked kibbeh recipe for up to 3 months. While you can freeze it after cooked, it’s more common to make a second batch and freeze it before baking them. Thaw in the fridge overnight, drizzle olive oil on top and then bake as directed.
Equipment: I recommend blending the ingredients for the kibbeh mixture using a food processor. And while you can bake it in a large casserole dish, it’s more traditional to bake it in a round aluminum or stainless steel pan like this one (Amazon affiliate link).
Sourcing: You can find the bulgur at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe
  • Instead of ground beef, you can use lamb, but it’s traditionally made with beef.
  • Instead of kamouneh spice, you can mix together cumin seeds, black peppercorn, marjoram, basil, mint, cinnamon and 7 Spice. You can find a recipe for how to making kamouneh spice here or use a combination you like.


Calories: 331kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 1271mg, Potassium: 629mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 572IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Baked kibbeh (also called kibbeh bil sanieh) topped with pine nuts

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  1. Hi! I think I have made this exact recipe before yet either way I have made baked kibbeh gluten free and usually do. The secrete is hemp hearts instead of bulgar. No soaking just add in as directed! It works great! You can also use this in tabouli 🙂
    Looking forward to making this again gluten free!

  2. This really needs a video. I have grown up cooking and eating Lebanese food all my life- my mom was Lebanese. The one recipe i tend to not make is Khibbeh- The first several times one or another problem occurred and i just gave up. I was looking for a Baklava Recipe ( i make it often however i was stuck by a suggestion a Lebanese cooking site- the butter hack) and found your site. So ii said what the heck- lets try the kibbeh- and here i am. SOOO- I just assembled this- did not use basil- my mom did not use it in anything other than Italian food. Fortunately we have a middle eastern grocer so i can get all of the spices and have the meat ground especially for the kibbeh. My food processor did not like making this mixture. Also I have never used these spices- my mom tended to use only a few spices, mainly allspice. Some ladies use a dash o cinnamon – I did add some pomegranate molasses to the heshwah ( my moms addition). And reading the comments i may have not pressed it down enough but we will see!!!

      1. I didn’t actually see any comments from anyone that made the recipe. I made this exact to the recipe. It was very very dry and the spices are very harsh. I find that 100% beef seems like a very luxurious meat however- it is dry and adds nothing in flavor. So I would go with 93%. The wheat germ needs to soak in more water- my mom’s way was to soak in warm water and squeeze out excess water. Between the dry wheat germ and the dry beef it was not a good texture. I find 1/4 cup of the kibby spice plus the 7 spices was overkill. I did not like this recipe at all. SO sorry.

  3. If I want to make it ahead and bake it the next day, can I just put the raw kibbeh assembled in the fridge instead of the freezer?

    1. Unfortunately I have yet to try this with a substitute, but the majority of the carbs come from the bulgur wheat, so a substitute for that would help it be lower in carbs.

    1. Instead of kamouneh spice, you can mix together cumin seeds, black peppercorn, marjoram, basil, mint, cinnamon and 7 Spice. You can find a recipe for how to making kamouneh spice here ( or use a combination you like.

      Here is what you can use for the “kamouneh” spice if you don’t have it:
      1 tablespoon cumin seeds
      1 tablespoon black peppercorns
      1 tablespoon dried rose petals (optional)
      2 teaspoons dried marjoram
      1 teaspoon dried basil
      1 teaspoon dried mint
      1 teaspoon 7 spice

  4. I don’t want to fry kibbeh balls.
    I want to BAKE some 20 kibbeh balls.
    At what temperature and for how long should I bake them in an electric oven?

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