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Kibbeh Meatballs with Spiced Yogurt Sauce

Kibbeh Meatballs With Spiced Yogurt Sauce is a delicious Lebanese appetizer or main dish recipe that’s traditionally made with ground lamb. These easy meatballs are made with beef, with Lebanese spices.

Kibbeh Meatballs With Spiced Yogurt Sauce

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Kibbeh Meatballs With Spiced Yogurt Sauce

A few months ago I shared a recipe for Kibbeh that I made when I was visiting my Mom.

When we made that kibbeh, we baked it in the oven, which is how I grew up making it.  This kibbeh meatballs recipe is a little different–you cook the meatballs in a skillet with olive oil.  I really enjoyed this recipe because it got the Kibbeh meatballs a little more crisp on the outside.  The flavors mixed with the ground beef (you can also use lamb for these) was perfect. They pair perfectly with hummus, fattoush and some Za’atar Roasted Carrots

plate of Kibbeh Meatballs With Spiced Yogurt Sauce

You can make these into smaller meatballs and serve as an appetizer alongside the spiced yogurt sauce, or make normal sized meatballs and serve on a bed of rice or in a pita sandwich. 


GROUND BEEF: I used ground beef in these meatballs but you can also do a combination of ground beef and ground lamb or even just ground lamb.

SHALLOT & GARLIC: The chopped up shallot and garlic add flavor to these meatballs. Feel free to also use sweet onion that is finely chopped. 

BULGUR WHEAT: The bulgur wheat helps to hold together these meatballs. It is what is used in traditional kibbeh. 

SPICES: The spice mixture in these meatballs is cumin, allspice and cinnamon. These spices work nicely together and add a warm, rich flavor to the beef. 

YOGURT: The yogurt sauce is the perfect pairing for the meatballs and a great way to serve the meatballs as an appetizer. 

Kibbeh Meatballs With Spiced Yogurt Sauce appetizer recipe

A couple of things to help you make this delicious recipe:

Note: These are affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links. This helps me keep my kitchen stocked with the ingredients I need to create delicious, healthy recipes for you!

Organic Bulgar Wheat

Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor

Kibbeh Meatballs with Spiced Yogurt Sauce

Kibbeh Meatballs with Spiced Yogurt Sauce

Yield: 6-7
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Kibbeh Meatballs are ground beef or lamb mixed with bulgar, spices and served with a spiced yogurt sauce.


  • 1 1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 1 cup shredded cucumber, seeded
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 3/4 cup bulgar, uncooked (cracked wheat)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 lb. ground beef or lean ground lamb (20% fat)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Combine the bulgar with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl. Let the bulgar stand for 30 minutes on the counter, drain the bulgar by squeezing it with your hands to get rid of excess water.
  3. Combine bulgar, meat (lamb or ground beef) and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper) in a food processor and process until it becomes a smooth mixture.
  4. Cover the meat mixture and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Form meat mixture into small balls making sure to roll each one evenly and to the same size as the others.
  6. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs (as many as fit) and cook for about 13-14 minutes, turning as they cook to brown all sides. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
  7. Let cool and serve with spiced yogurt sauce over a bed of rice, on a pita sandwich or as an appetizer.


You can freeze the leftovers warm up a few at a time as you need them. You can use ground lamb as well.

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Sarah Sullivan

Sunday 28th of June 2020

Hi! Can you clarify what kind of red pepper you used? I'm assuming spice and not a bell pepper because it's in the spice section and because of the quantity, but do you mean red pepper flakes? Cayenne? Paprika? Thanks!


Sunday 28th of June 2020

Sorry 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper- optional. Hope you enjoy!

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