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GREEK LAMB MEATBALLS

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These savory Greek lamb meatballs (keftedes) are bursting with Mediterranean flavor. Slightly crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, they’re so delicious. Make this easy recipe in 30 minutes.

PIN GREEK LAMB MEATBALLS

Serving of Greek lamb meatballs alongside hummus, cucumbers. microgreens and pita bread.

Like baked chicken meatballs, Swedish meatballs, and buffalo chicken meatballs, these baked lamb meatballs boast the perfect blend of fresh and dried spices. They’re herby and garlicky with an enticing sumptuous flavor. Make large meatballs for dinner, and tiny ones for appetizers and snacks.

This flavorful recipe is a make-ahead dish. Assemble a double batch of keftedes (Greek meatballs) and freeze half for later.

For a party appetizer, place them on a platter over a bed of fresh baby spinach. Arrange thin strips of red onion on one side of the platter for a beautiful pop of color. Present this healthy snack with warm slices of pita bread, hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, and Kalamata Greek olives.

For an easy hand-held meal, make a meatball gyro sandwich. Add meatballs to warm piece of pita bread and top with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, crumbled feta, cucumber and tzatziki sauce.

For dinner, serve Greek lamb meatballs over a luscious smear of creamy roasted garlic hummus or plain yogurt. Garnish with crumbled feta and julienned mint or fresh oregano. The best sides include flat bread, arugula salad or Greek salad, veggies, lemon rice pilaf or orzo, and lemon wedges.

Keftedes can also be served in tomato sauce – although I don’t usually serve them with plain marinara. These meatballs go especially well with Arrabiata sauce or a shakshuka-style / harissa-based sauce.

Greek lamb meatballs sprinkled with feta cheese and fresh oregano leaves. Served with hummus and flatbread.

INGREDIENTS

  • LARGE EGG: Helps bind the meatballs together so they aren’t too crumbly. For extra richness, use 2 egg yolks instead of 1 whole egg.
  • PLAIN UNSEASONED BREADCRUMBS: Help absorb any extra moisture so we end up with juicy, not soggy, meatballs. For softer meatballs, use Panko breadcrumbs.
  • ONION: Adds an earthy flavor that’s a classic addition to meatballs. Make sure to mince it very finely (or grate it). No one likes a finding a huge bit of onion in their meatballs.
  • FRESH PARSLEY: Adds a subtle grassy flavor that enhances the meatiness and earthiness of the lamb meatballs.
  • FRESH OREGANO: Adds an unmistakable Mediterranean flavor, and helps bring out the freshness in the lemon.
  • GARLIC CLOVES: This rustic ingredient is a classic addition that pairs perfectly with lamb.
  • LEMONS (for juice and zest): Together, lemon juice and zest emphasize the lemon flavor in the Greek meatballs. Be sure to zest the lemon before you juice it.
  • SEA SALT: Encourages meat to release its liquid, which results in juicy flavorful meatballs. It’s also an important seasoning. It ensures all the components of the recipe will taste their best.
  • GROUND BLACK PEPPER: Adds depth of flavor to the meat along with a vibrant spicy kick.
  • DRIED ITALIAN SEASONING: Adds more herby flavor to the meatballs.
  • RED PEPPER FLAKES: Help round out the seasoning with just a bit of heat. If desired, it’s okay to leave them out and use more ground black pepper instead.
  • GROUND LAMB: This ingredient is the star of the show! But if desired, you can make this recipe with beef, pork, or a mixture of beef and lamb.
  • OLIVE OIL: Helps coat both the pan and the lamb meatballs to ensure they crisp up on the outside while staying juicy on the inside.

FOR GARNISHING: Sea salt, feta, fresh oregano, lemon wedges

Ingredients for lamb meatballs recipe.

RECIPE STEPS

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it’s heating up.

  • STEP 1: In a large bowl, whisk egg until the texture is smooth and uniform. Add breadcrumbs and mix briefly. Let crumbs sit for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they’ve absorbed the liquid from the egg. Once mixture has a paste-like consistency, add onion, parsley, oregano, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
  • STEP 2: Add ground lamb to the bowl.
  • STEP 3: Mix the ingredients together very gently. We don’t want to compact the meat. If that happens, the Greek meatballs will be very tough and chewy.
  • STEP 4: Once the meat is well combined, divide it into 12 equal pieces. With pot holders, carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Brush the tray with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Coat your hands with the remainder of the olive oil. With a light rolling motion, gently form the 12 meat pieces into smooth round balls. Work quickly. We want the pan to stay as hot as possible.

RECIPE TIP: For meatball recipes where you don’t want large chunks of onion visible, grate the onion instead of chopping/mincing.

How to make lamb meatball recipe in 4 easy steps.

STEP 5: Return the baking sheet to the oven. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until lamb meatballs are crisp on the outside and register 160°F on an instant-read food thermometer. Serve keftedes immediately.

Fifteen oven-baked lamb meatballs on a small rimmed baking tray.

RECIPE FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions when making this Greek lamb meatballs recipe, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

WHAT IS THE BEST SIZE FOR MEATBALLS?

When meatballs will be served on their own, medium-size meatballs (about 2-inches in diameter) are the appropriate size. If the meatballs will be served as appetizers, form them into 1-inch balls.

WHAT CAUSES MEATBALLS TO BE TOUGH?

The most common culprit for tough meatballs is compacting the meat too tightly when mixing the meat with other recipe ingredients, or when shaping the balls. Other culprits include using extra-lean meat, or having too much breadcrumbs in the meat mixture.

HOW DO YOU REHYDRATE MEATBALLS?

If the meat mixture is dry, gently work ice water or melted butter into the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. This will remoisten the uncooked meat and keep it tender and juicy during baking. If cooked meatballs are dry, brush them with melted butter or olive oil to rehydrate.

HOW LONG DO BAKED LAMB MEATBALLS LAST?

When stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, the meatballs will stay fresh for up to 2 days.

HOW TO FREEZE COOKED OR UNCOOKED MEATBALLS?

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Arrange meatballs in a single layer on the tray. Slip the tray into the freezer. Once meatballs are frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag or an airtight plastic container lined with parchment paper. If layering within the container is needed, divide the layers with parchment paper. Freeze up to 1 month.

IS IT BETTER TO FREEZE MEATBALLS BEFORE OR AFTER COOKING?

For quick make-ahead meals, it’s much easier if the meatballs are already cooked, ready to be defrosted and warmed. To reheat, brush a baking tray with olive oil and preheat oven to 300°F. Arrange frozen meatballs on the tray and cover with foil. Bake until heated through.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH GREEK LAMB MEATBALLS?

Serve Greek lamb meatballs with hummus, tzatziki sauce or plain yogurt. Include halved baby tomatoes, cucumber slices, cubes of feta cheese, pitted Kalamata olives, lemon wedges, and warm pita bread. Other sides include: Greek salad, microgreens drizzled with olive oil, orzo pasta, or rice pilaf.

Greek Lamb Meatballs sprinkled with feta, served with hummus, pita bread, cucumber, lemon and microgreens.

MORE TASTY RECIPES TO TRY

If you enjoyed these Greek lamb meatballs, you’ll also want to try these easy tasty recipes. Print out your favorites, or pin them to Pinterest.

Baked Greek lamb meatballs on 2 dinner plates with fork.

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Friends who’ve tried these baked lamb meatballs loved their deeply savory taste. Comments were made about their well-balanced flavor, lightly-crisp exteriors and juicy centers.

If you agree this easy keftedes recipe is absolutely delicious, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero! Share it with a friend.

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Serving of Greek lamb meatballs alongside hummus, cucumbers. microgreens and pita bread.

GREEK LAMB MEATBALLS


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 12 Meatballs 1x

Description

Packed with flavor, these savory Greek lamb meatballs are crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside. Garnish with salt, crumbled feta, and fresh oregano or mint. Enjoy keftedes with hummus and pita bread.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

OPTIONAL GARNISHES: Sea salt, feta cheese, fresh oregano or julienned mint

 

 


Instructions

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it’s heating up. 

  1. In a large bowl, whisk egg until the texture is smooth and uniform. Add breadcrumbs and mix briefly. Let crumbs sit for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they’ve absorbed the liquid from the egg. Once mixture has a paste-like consistency, add onion, parsley, oregano, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
  2. Add ground lamb to the bowl. Mix the ingredients together very gently. We don’t want to compact the meat. If that happens, the Greek meatballs will be very tough and chewy.
  3. Once the meat is well combined, divide it into 12 equal pieces. With pot holders, carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Brush the tray with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Coat your hands with the remainder of the olive oil. With a light rolling motion, gently form the 12 meat pieces into smooth round balls. Work quickly. We want the pan to stay as hot as possible.
  4. Return the baking sheet to the oven. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until lamb meatballs are crisp on the outside and register 160°F on an instant-read food thermometer. Serve immediately. 

Notes

WHAT TO SERVE WITH GREEK LAMB MEATBALLS: Traditional ideas include hummus, tzatziki sauce or plain yogurt, halved baby tomatoes, cucumber slices, cubes of feta cheese, pitted Kalamata olives, lemon wedges, and warm pita bread. Other sides include: Greek salad, microgreens drizzled with olive oil, orzo pasta, or rice pilaf. 

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER MEATBALLS: Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. The meatballs will stay fresh for up to 2 days. To reheat, brush a baking tray with olive oil. Arrange meatballs on the tray in single layer. Cover with foil. Bake at 300°F until warmed through.

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Dinner, Appetizer
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean

Keywords: Greek Lamb Meatballs, Greek Meatballs, Lamb Meatballs, Ground Lamb Meatballs, Lamb Meatballs Recipe

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

GREEK LAMB MEATBALLS > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Have you ever tried Greek lamb meatballs that were oven baked? Do you prefer them as appetizers or as part of a meal? What are your favorite condiments and sides for keftedes? Share your thoughts below.

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