Beef Kafta

5 from 1079 votes

This is a Lebanese style Beef Kafta recipe that's made with ground beef, parsley, onions and a blend of Middle Eastern spices- perfect on the grill or stove

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When it comes to grilling, we love our burgers and hot dogs, but we are definitely more partial to Lebanese style grilling, which includes grilled chicken kabobs, shish tawook and this Beef Kafta recipe. It’s perfect for grilling outdoors or on a grill pan and is so full of flavor, but only requires four basic ingredients: ground beef, onions, parsley and spices.

Lebanese style beef kafta served over rice

What is kafta?

We call it Kafta in Lebanon and it’s also widely known as Kofta in other Middle Eastern countries. It’s basically a meatball using either beef, chicken or lamb, mixed with herbs, Middle Eastern spices and onions. All you really need is 4 ingredients: ground beef, onions, parsley and a spice blend similar to all spice.

Traditionally it’s served on pita with hummus, or you can also serve it with cauliflower rice or rice pilaf and a salad as pictured here.


How do you make beef kafta?

Do all the prep in a food processor. It makes everything super fine and that way when it’s all mixed together, the flavors are more robust! Start with about ½ bunch of parsley, remove the stems, wash and dry them, and pulse in the food processor. You should get about ¼ cup chopped parsley.

Then, remove the parsley and set aside in a small bowl. No worries if some remain in the bowl of the food processor. Next, throw in one yellow onion in the food processor and pulse it until it’s also finely chopped.

Food processor with the parsley getting chopped, then the onions getting chopped

Now, put everything together. The parsley comes back to the food processor with the onions and you can add in the ground beef and the Kafta spices. Pulse the food processor a few times until everything is well combined and forms a pasty meat mixture like this.

Process shots of the beef, onions, parsley and spices before and after mixing

Time to form the patties! Well they’re not really patties. They have a unique beef kafta shape that’s oblong. When you shape the kafta, you can shape them around a wooden skewer to make grilling easier or just shape them with your hands if you’re grilling indoors.

Kafta kebobs right before cooking

The result is a juicy, flavorful protein packed beef kafta that is the hero to so many wonderful Lebanese side dishes.

What do you eat with beef kafta?

  • Fattoush Salad – Great option if you’re doing low-carb or keto.
  • Hummus – This works well for making sandwiches with the kafta.
  • Lebanese Rice – It’s the classic and comforting side dish for kafta.
  • Bulgur Pilaf – When you want some grains but not plain white rice.

Watch this video to learn how to make beef kafta.

Top tips to make beef kafta

  1. Use a good quality beef with 10-15% fat for this recipe. Making kafta is like making meatballs which requires some moisture to help it bind and stay juicy. The fat provides that much-needed moisture since we’re not using eggs.
  2. Pulse the beef only with the onions and parsley. It’s important to already have the parsley and onions chopped and then just pulse lightly with the beef in order to avoid over-mixing. Over-mixing can lead to overworked dry meat.
  3. Form the beef kafta into evenly sized shapes. This ensures that everything is finished cooking together making it all tender and juicy without anything being overcooked.
  4. Do not overcook the kaftas. They should be cooked to medium, this way they are more flavorful and aren’t dry. Keep in mind they’ll continue to cook when they’re resting off the grill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make beef kafta ahead of time?

Cooked kaftas will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. They can be reheated or eaten cold. They also freeze well and will last for up to 3 months.

Can you use other meats instead of beef?

I love making kaftas with beef, but you can also use a ground lamb or ground chicken if you prefer. A lot of kaftas are made with a mix of beef and lamb mince for a really rich flavor.

Can you bake the kafta in the oven? instead

Yes, these work really well in the oven. Bake at 350ºF for around 15 to 20 minutes until they are cooked through.I do prefer the flavor of the kafta when grilled though.

What do you serve with kafta?

We love eating kafta with a salad, with Lebanese rice, in a stew or in. wrap. You can also eat it on its own with tahini sauce or cucumber yogurt sauce for dipping.

Lebanese style beef kafta served with vermicelli rice and a salad

More Lebanese recipes

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Beef Kafta 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!

This Beef Kafta recipe was originally published on September 2, 2018. I’m re-sharing it with more step-by-step photos and a recipe video. Here’s the original photo!

This is a Lebanese style beef kafta on a bed of rice

Beef Kafta

This is a Lebanese style Beef Kafta recipe that's made with ground beef, parsley, onions and a blend of Middle Eastern spices- perfect on the grill or stove
5 from 1079 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 202
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins



  • Place the parsley in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, remove and set aside.
  • In the same food processor bowl used to chop the parsley, place the quartered onion and pulse until finely chopped. Drain the onions slightly to release excess moisture.
  • Return the parsley back to the bowl of the food processor with the onions. Add the ground beef to the food processor in addition to all the spices. Run the food processor on pulse once or twice until ingredients are well combined and form a pasty meat mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a large bowl and form the Kafta into an oblong shape about 1 inch in thickness. You can form them on a wooden skewer or without. 
  • Grease the grates of a gas grill or indoor grill pan, and preheat it to medium high heat. When heated through, transfer the kafta to the grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on your preferred level of doneness.
  • Serve hot off the grill with your choice of side.



Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Make Ahead: You can make the patties ahead of time and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to grill them, thaw in the fridge overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.
Sourcing: You can find the the spices mentioned at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients. Sometimes you might even just find “Kafta” spices which has the spices all combined. In that case, you can use 1 ½ tablespoon of the kafta spice in place of all the other spices. If you can’t find 7 Spice, substitute All Spice.


Calories: 202kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 52mg, Potassium: 237mg, Vitamin A: 75IU, Vitamin C: 2.1mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 1.7mg

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

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Lebanese style beef kafta served over rice

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  1. Hi, I’m absolutely loving your site and all you delicious recipes!
    I was wondering, could I make these in an air fryer instead of a grill?
    If so, what would your suggestion be on time and temperature?
    Thanks for sharing such yummyness!

    1. Yay, so glad to hear it! I’ve actually never made the beef kafta in the air fryer. But it would totally be easy to do so. I would recommend 400ºF for 8-10 minutes.

  2. I’m confused on the 7 spice.

    Do you use the 7 spice AND the other measured spices? Or are the other spices used if you don’t use the 7 spice?

    Thank you – I’m getting ready to make this.

      1. Thank you for getting back to me.

        I doubled my recipe so we would have leftovers and used lamb. I only used the 7 spice (I made it before your reply) It turned out very good! However, I would add the others measurements of spice next time. All in all, it was a hit with our family. I’m new to your recipes and I’m enjoying reading and watching the videos. Next on the list is the feta-tomato pasta! 🙂

        1. Of course! I’m glad it was a hit with your family. Can’t wait to hear what you think about other recipes on my website!

  3. I had trouble with the kafta staying together. I formed them and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Greased the indoor grill like you said, and they still feel apart. Any recommendations?

    1. Did you use a good quality beef with 10-15% fat for this recipe? The moisture helps it bind and stay juicy!

  4. I absolutely love this recipe and so does my whole family. I highly recommend everyone to try this recipe ❤️❤️❤️

  5. This recipe is absolutely delicious. I couldn’t say which recipe here is my favorite because I haven’t been disappointed with any of the ones I’ve tried. But there’s something about the flavor in this Kafta that left me thinking about it next next day, craving for more. It was so juicy and the combination of the flavor is well balanced. I served it with a shawarma salad and Naan bread. The next day, I made a melt in a Quinoa Wrap topped with salad. I couldn’t stop talking about it. Out Of This World.

  6. This is one of my go to recipes. It is simple to make. Everyone loves it. Sometimes I use ground turkey and I bake them. So delicious. I would rate this recipe higher if I could.

      1. The proportions on this recipe are perfect. I have used different meats and spices while following the steps and measurements and it’s always delicious! I love it for lamb or sheep meat.

  7. I had a meal kit from Sunbasket with meat and seasoning to make the “kafta.” I thought there had to be more to make it tasty, so I searched and found your recipe. The addition of onion and parsley made a big difference. Thanks!

  8. Howdy!
    I needed to incorporate some more spice in my life and of course introduce the kids to “other” meatballs. At first, I was skeptical about the cinnamon (never put cinnamon in meat before). But I followed your way to the T and made two batches that my family of 4 chowed down same day! I also made your baba ganoush. Now, I just need help with Basmati rice bc it still comes out sticky’ish.

    1. So glad you went through with it and enjoyed! That sounds like a perfect meal. Be sure to check out my How to Cook Brown Rice post!

  9. Just a question, I just purchased Kafta spice in a jar, how mush would you use of a premade spice in this recipe?

    1. I would use around 1 teaspoon if you’re just planning to add that spice to the recipe and not use it to replace any of the spices that are already in the recipe.

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