Beef Kafta

5 from 1606 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
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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.

RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL

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

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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 1606 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 202
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

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.

Course: Main Course
5 from 1606 votes (1,533 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Viv says:

    I have been making this since 2018 and it’s been in my weekly rotation as a favorite since. I love eating them with hummus and pita chips. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      A favorite since 2018? Wow!! I love that you’ve kept my beef kafta in rotation for so long—thank you!!

  2. Rita says:

    I followed this recipe exactly and did it for 3X the original—it was a hit! My kids 11, 8,&8 loved it. Only 5 of us and 3 lbs of meat was done to 4 pieces of the lady’s (small size like you made).

    I’m Lebanese 1st generation born and this was as good as my mom’s recipe! Yum!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Aww, yay! Wow I’m so glad you and your kids liked my beef kafta recipe as much as your mom’s!! That is so sweet—thank you so much, Rita!!

  3. Brenda Brydges says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ve been making it for a couple of years now and crave it after never eating Kafta in the past. I’ve been using half beef and half lamb. Beautiful, makes me wonder what else of yours I should be cooking… Thanks again

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Aww, that makes me so happy to hear!! Thanks, Brenda!

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