Lamb Keftedes

We’ve gone pita crazy! Seriously, ever since we unlocked the secret to Zankou Chicken’s garlic sauce (what the more Lebanese among us call “toum,”) we’ve been desperate to find new things to stuff into pita pockets to spread with the stuff.

Lamb Keftedes

Today’s recipe for lamb keftedes takes us all the way back to ancient Greece, or more accurately, to Astoria Boulevard in Queens, where things are being done to and with lamb that will change your whole outlook on life (and probably the lamb’s). These seared keftedes are particularly amazing; lamb meatballs, rolled into ovals, flattened slightly, and suitable for cooking either in the oven or on a hot grill. The outside gets a gorgeous crust, while the inside stays juicy, with tons of flavor from the fresh herbs.

Slathered with some tzatziki, or even a little Greek yogurt straight out of the carton, they’re an easy dish that you can cook once and enjoy all weekend. Enjoy!

Lamb Keftedes

5 from 1 reviews
Lamb Keftedes
Serves: 20 keftedes
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 4 slices of white bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Add milk to a shallow bowl. Dip each piece of bread in the milk, then lightly squeeze out excess. Break into chunks and place in a large bowl.
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  4. Add the lamb, onions, oregano, mint, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper in the bowl with the bread and then mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
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  6. Roll out meat mixture into balls 2 - 2½ inches in diameter.
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  8. Working in batches, cook the lamb keftedes in a skillet with the vegetable oil over high heat, flattening slightly with a spatula, until browned well on both sides. Transfer seared keftedes to a baking sheet, then transfer to oven. Bake until brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve with tzatziki or Greek yogurt and lemon wedges.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.


  1. Hi Malcom,

    Just trying your lamb tonight…it hasn’t finished cooking yet…… two minor things… there’s a little oil in the pan to sear the keftedes, not mentioned, right? Also is the oven temp 350 ?(Hope so!)

    I used about half of everything, but still came out with twenty one and a half inch balls…. did I do something wrong?


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    1. Hi Bea! I made some changes to the recipe, including adding some oil to the pan and baking the keftedes at 400 degrees. My biggest mistake, though, was in my meatball size. Mine were much closer to 2-1/2 inches. Thanks for bringing these notes to my attention…I was trying to work too fast! 🙂

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