Baked Kibbeh

5 from 48 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 48 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

Ingredients
  

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

Instructions

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.

Notes

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.
Nutritional Data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

Nutrition

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

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

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I’m gonna give it a try today! I just wanted to ask you, for the step of the “adding the meat” to the processor, the minced beef I buy is not that thin but it is 96/4 in terms of “lean”. Will the processor thin out the meat if I place it with the burghol mixture right away or do I need to put the meat in the processor alone first to soften it out and then remove it, put the other ingredients and then add the meat back?

  2. I made the Kibbeh and it tasted great. The problem that I have is that after I cook it, the 2 layers do not come out as one piece, they kind of split. What do you think I am doing wrong?
    Thanks

    1. It’s possible you didn’t have enough oil or didn’t push the down enough when layering. I can add more tips to the recipe to help clarify this. Thank you!

  3. We use cooked millet instead of the bulgar wheat and find the texture very similar to the traditional recipe, and guests have told us they actually prefer my version. We use quinoa as a substitute for the wheat in recipes where the extra little bite is appreciated, like tabbouli.

  4. I made your recipe for a gluten free friend by using red quinoa instead of bulgar and it was still delicious. The biggest difference was the course texture making it crumbly when trying to cut…but she loved it and it quickly disappeared !

    1. I’m glad she still enjoyed it! Next time, I recommend cooking the quinoa halfway, so it’s softer but not fully cooked. It will continue cooking in the oven!

  5. One of my favourite traditional recipes but living abroad never made it easy to find the right recipe and ingredients. But I tried this one and I was so happy to finally taste the real kibbe! And that I can make the kamouneh as well! Very practical and always a good idea when we are having people over to present an elegant Arabic dish! Easy peasy and absolutely delicious. Thanks Yumna!!!

    1. I recommend putting it in the freezer raw, but make sure not to add olive oil to the one being frozen until ready to bake. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw it in the fridge overnight, then add olive oil on top and follow the baking instructions per the recipe.

  6. Just used your Recipe for the baked Kibbeh, i used ground chicken and used a little curry seasoning. It came out so good! Definitely making it again, my whole family loved it!

  7. Just used your Recipe for the baked Kibbeh, i used ground chicken and used a little curry seasoning. It came out so good! Definitely going to make this again, my whole family love it!