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Turkish Meatballs – Kofte

Turkish Meatballs – Kofte

When I first ordered, Köfte, or Turkish Meatballs (Kofta) in Istanbul I was completely surprised by the flavor. They were like no other meatball that I had ever tried.

The Turkish are not afraid of using exotic spices combinations and this dish is no exception.

We found Kofte on most Turkish menus, and were told that it is often found on the dinner table in homes throughout the area. “When we don’t know what to make for dinner,” I was told by a spice vendor, “we make Köfte.”

The “Turkish Meatball Spice Mix” (a blend featuring herbs such as cumin, cinnamon and ginger) is readily available in every spice stall in the Egyptian Spice Market in Istanbul, but you can easily mix up a batch at home. See our recipe below.

Don’t forget to pin or bookmark the recipe for later! Turkish Meatballs (Kofte) Recipe

In Istanbul the Kofte are either served as a main course with french fries, rice (or rice pilaf) and tomatoes. They are also a common item on a mezze platter (assortment of cold and hot appetizers), typically with a yogurt sauce.

See our links below for additional recipes to make your own Turkish mezze platter.

Afiyet olsun! (Bon Appetite in Turkish)

Here are some additional Turkish Recipes you might enjoy

Yield: 12

Turkish Meatballs - Köfte

Turkish Meatballs

Turkish Meatballs, or Kofte, are made with an exotic blend of spices, and are wonderful served as a main dish or as part of a mezze platter (appetizer platter).

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • Makes Approximately 12 Meatballs
  • 1 Pound (.45kg) Ground Beef or Lamb, or a combination of the two
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup (50g) Bread Crumbs
  • 3 Teaspoons (6.4g) of Meatball Spice Mix, recipe below
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Parsley, minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Small Onion, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon (5.9g) Salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Do not over mix which will change the texture of the meat.
  2. Form the mixture into a flattened oval shape.
  3. The balls can either be grilled or fried in a pan. Cook until done all of the way through (about 5 minutes on each side).

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 154Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 57mgSodium 263mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 13g

Meatball Spice Mix

Turkish Meatball Spice Blend

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 Teaspoon (2.5g) each of Cumin, Coriander, Sweet Paprika and Sumac. 1 teaspoon (.26g) Dried Mint 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon (1.23g) each of Cinnamon, Allspice, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cayenne Pepper (optional)


  1. Combine all of the dry spices.

This spice blend is also a commonly used in Turkish marinades and soups.


This spice combination can also be used in marinades and soups.

Kevin Dent

Friday 13th of March 2020

What amount of meat would the spice mix be enough for?


Thursday 30th of January 2020

Kofte is one of those dishes that every mom and every region has a slightly different variation, however, for all the year's I've had kofte in many households and regions of Turkey, I have never seen or tasted cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or allspice being part of the recipe. Those are more likely part of savory dish called dolma which is a stuffed vegetable dish and rice is the main ingredient instead of ground beef or lamb. For kofte, type of meat is utmost important that fat is present. Otherwise keep the recipe given and replace the spice mix with combination of black pepper, cumin, very little salt(much of it will ruin the taste) red pepper flakes and a bit of baking soda(necessity for street kofte)

Afiyet olsun (bon appetit)


Friday 24th of January 2020

What is the small bag of carbonate they sometimes add in the meat mixture to make kefts kebabs to give that supple feel. Is it it baking soda? Cause I have never seen those carbonate small packs in US. Any suggestions?


Thursday 21st of November 2019

Hi Debra! I'm sure that you can make them a day ahead. I also think that baking them would work too, although I haven't made them that way. I would think 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes, turning them once during cooking would work. Best of luck with you luncheon.

David Peller

Thursday 18th of July 2019

Many years ago, I visited Izmir, Turkey and was treated to Kefte (at lest that's the way I thought it was spelled). Although your recipe looks delectable, I believe (its been many years) that the "meatballs" contained pinecone nuts. Are you award of such a recipe which WOULD contain the nutes?

Thanx. Davidf


Saturday 11th of December 2021

@David Peller, You are right about pine nuts but not kind of kofte(name icli kofte) means you can make little hole and fill with pine nut mixture and cove it. You can only fly that kofte hope help.


Saturday 23rd of November 2019

David, while Kofte do not contain pine nuts, nearly every dolma filling in Turkey does. The fillings are typically rice, aromatics, spices and pine nuts, but can also include ground lamb.


Friday 26th of July 2019

I have had Kofte (or Kefte) many times and don't recall the ones that I have tasted containing nuts.

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