Kofta Kebabs (Grilled)
Here’s a recipe for simple Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs made with onion and spices and then shaped and skewered. They are a grain-free and paleo entree for the spring grilling season.
I originally shared this recipe on April 26, 2015. I have updated the images and some of the text today.
Table of contents
Why We Love This Kofta Kebab Recipe
If you love the flavors of Middle Eastern Kofta, and want to try making it at home, this recipe for grilled Lamb Kofta is the perfect recipe for beginners!
Not only are the ingredients easy to find and you probably have all the seasonings on hand already but it is simple to prepare and ready in only 30 minutes.
This recipe is great to make for a spring or summer cookout (you can double the recipe to serve 8 people.) Or you can make it for a Mediterranean inspired weeknight dinner.
It only takes a few minutes to mix the ground lamb with the onion, parsley and spices and shape them into kebabs. Then from there, all is left to do is grill them! Wrap them in pita and add on yogurt sauce. They pair well with Cucumber Salad, tomato salad, roasted red pepper hummus and tabbouleh.
One of the great thing about this Kofta (sometimes called Kefta) is that it doesn’t have any breadcrumbs or wheat in the meat mixture, so it is gluten-free, Whole30 and paleo!
I should note that this recipe was inspired by a Lebanese Kafta recipe by Diane Kochilas from the Summer 2003 issue of EatingWell. Her Mediterranean grilling story was one of the first stories I tested when I worked in the EatingWell test kitchen.
Ingredient Notes For This Recipe
Look for lean ground lamb or minced lamb as it is sometimes called. This will make the recipe overall lower in saturated fat and calories, and it will help to prevent flare-ups on the grill. You can ask your butcher to grind leg fresh if you like.
Finely chopped onion will add moisture and flavor to the lamb. Read more about how to finely chop the onion here. In a pinch you can also peel and quarter the onion then pulse it in a food processor.
You will need cinnamon, allspice and ground cloves in addition to salt and pepper. We also added in fresh chopped garlic too for traditional and authentic flavor.
Parsley is a major component of traditional kofta. You can use either curley or flat leaf parsley. Wash it and spin it dry. Remove the stem and then finely chop it. You will need 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley for this recipe
How To Make Lamb Kofta Kebab on the Grill
Step 1a: Place the lamb, onion, parsley, garlic and spices in a large bowl.
Step 1b: Gently knead the lamb and ingredients together, but avoid overmixing.
Step 2: Once the meat is mixed in, divide it into four portions. Then shape into sausage shapes with your hands and run metal skewers through them. If you have a flat skewer, use those, because they’ll help keep the kofta from rolling as you try to turn them on the grill.
Step 3: Get your grill nice and hot, and be sure to brush it off. Right before you place the lamb kebabs down, run an oil soaked paper towel along the grates.
You’ll want to use a set of tongs and be sure to pull the towel toward you in case there is a brief flare up as the oil drips down. Oiling the rack will help to prevent the kofta from sticking.
Step 4: Add the lamb to the grill, and let it sit without turning until it releases from the grill. It may stick a tiny bit, but if you are patient, it shouldn’t stick very much at all. Use a spatula to help loosen any areas that stick.
FAQs For This Recipe
If you are not a fan of lamb, then try this with ground venison or ground beef. Please note that ground turkey and chicken are too soft to hold together when you are grilling them, so I don’t recommend using them with this formula. Try our Turkey Kofta which is tried and tested and has additional bread crumbs for the perfect texture. !
If your lamb is not very lean you may end up having flare-ups on the grill. If this happens while you are grilling the kofta, turn off one of the burners, and set the skewers over the extinguished side of the grill. Close the lid and use indirect heat to finish cooking them. For a charcoal grill, move the kofta to the edges of the grill grate, over a section where there isn’t any charcoal below.
Lamb Kofta Kebabs are usually made with a mixture of ground lamb and onions, parsley, garlic and warm Middle Eastern spices. Other meats or blends of meats can be used such as ground beef are also used.
What to Serve With Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs
- You can serve these kofta on their skewers if you like. Or to serve them in pita bread, slide them off into the pita. Or if you want, you can remove the skewers and slice them into large bite-sized chunks.
- Home-made tzatziki is a really wonderful accompaniment. Or if you’re in a rush, even serving with a dollop of plain full-fat Greek yogurt is also delicious.
- Serve warm pita or flatbreads. There are some great gluten-free ones if you are gluten-free.
- Cucumbers are a great addition. You can make this 15 minute chopped Greek Salad.
- For something a little unexpected, you can make this lemony carrot salad, grilled carrots or this Roasted Eggplant Salad.
- This Chickpea Salad and this Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad are nice hearty sides that can be made ahead. I also love the flavors of this Panzanella with these kebabs.
- Hot Moroccan Carrots, Simple Tabbouleh, and Roasted Garlic Hummus would also be great pairing options.
If you love lamb, make sure to check out our Lamb Loin Chops recipe, this Lamb Tagine with prunes and our Slow Cooker Moroccan-Style Lamb Shanks.
More Easy Grilling Recipes:
- Our Grilled Carrots are seasoned with lemon and harissa. They are fab with grilled lamb kebabs!
- Speaking of zucchini, this easy grilled zucchini side dish is drizzled with balsamic vinegar and compliments a variety of summer menus.
- For more Middle Eastern inspired menu ideas try this Grilled Za’atar Chicken Burgers with Cucumber Mint Tzatziki or this recipe for Shish Tawook an authentic Lebanese chicken skewer.
- This Grilled Chicken Fajita Salad has tons of spicy garlicky taste and a yummy avocado dressing.
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Grilled lamb kofta made with onion and spices and then shaped and skewered onto kebabs. It is an easy middle eastern inspired main course that’s ready in under 30 minutes, perfect for grilling season.
- 1 pound lean ground lamb (sub beef if you prefer)
- 1 medium Spanish onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup finely chopped curly parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Knead lamb, onion, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in a medium bowl with clean hands until the seasonings are evenly distributed through the meat.
- Divide into 4 portions. Shape each portion into a 8-inch sausage shape. Thread meat onto a heavy metal skewer.
- Soak a folded paper towel with oil. Hold the towel with tongs. Drag it along the grill grate toward you to oil grill rack. Do this immediately before adding the meat, as the oil will cook off quickly.
- Grill kebabs, turning every 3 to 4 minutes, until cooked through, 9 to 13 minutes. Let rest on a cutting board for 4 minutes before removing skewer and slicing.
Prevent flare ups:
If your lamb is not very lean you may end up having flare-ups on the grill.
For Gas Grill: If this happens while you are grilling the kofta, turn off one of the burners, and set the skewers over the extinguished side of the grill. Close the lid and use indirect heat to finish cooking them. For a charcoal grill: Plan ahead and bank your coals to one side. Use indirect heat grilling by placing the kebabs over a section where there isn’t any charcoal below. Cover the grill.
Prevent Sticking: Oiling the grill will help prevent sticking. Make sure not to try to force the kebabs to turn them. They will release from the grill once the meat has set.
- Prep Time: 16 minutes
- Cook Time: 9 minutes
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: Lebanese
- Serving Size: 1 kebab
- Calories: 245
- Sugar: 1
- Sodium: 322
- Fat: 15
- Saturated Fat: 7
- Carbohydrates: 4
- Fiber: 2
- Protein: 22
Keywords: lamb kofta,kofta kebabs,grilled kofta
Here is one of the original images associated with this post.
Is that really parsley in the pic, or coriander leaves? Which one is supposed to be in the recipe, parsley or cilantro?
Parsley. Either Italian flat leaf parsley or curly would work. I have done this recipe with either. No I would not use cilantro (or coriander leaves.)
OMG! This was so delicious! I had Speculoos seasons in the cupboard that contains cinnamon, allspice and cloves plus a couple of other spices, so I just used that. I didn’t have fresh parsley, so substituted dry. It would probably be best with fresh as it would add a moist component to the lamb as ours was slightly dry, but still delicious! I think this would be delicious just sautéed up and added to salad with a Yogurt cucumber dressing. I can’t wait to experiment with this some more. I don’t usually like ground lamb, but this was really spectacular.
I’ve made this several times and always with the tzatziki sauce. I did the same tonight, but added in the cucumber salad, mentioned at the beginning of the post, as a side dish, and it was super delicious! Your recipes never disappoint and my entire family loves them!
I know these are probably beyond amazing on the grill, but unfortunately we don’t have one so I put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (might broil for a minute next time to get the browning). Due to amount of meat we all eat, I used a bit more (added 1/2 lb of beef to the pound of lamb), and I added an extra clove of garlic and also 1/4 tsp of cumin.
Long story long… these were super yummy!! My 5-year-old daughter helped me make them and she and my son gobbled theirs up. My husband generally does not prefer lamb, so I did a happy dance when he took an extra one! We kept it simple and had some berries on the side, but I bet it would have gone great with a roasted beet salad with some pistachios or something. Thank you for a delicious and simple recipe!
Thank you for this superb recipe! Balance of flavors is delicious. Made mine with lamb shoulder fresh ground with Kitchenaid grinder with medium blade. Held together beautifully. Thanks for including the link to the tzatziki recipe as well- fantastic!