Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)
Greek Meatballs also known as Keftedes, are full of flavor and super delicious. These have all the greek flavor and super easy to make!
Greek food is so good, make this a full greek meal and serve this dish with some Greek sides. Try my tried and true Pasta Salad or Green Salad and then top it off with some sweet Baklava.
Greek meatballs or keftedes, are tender, juicy meatballs that are often served as an appetizer on what’s known as a meze platter. Usually they are served with pita bread, greek olives, cucumbers, onions, and almost always, tzatziki sauce. Although they are an appetizer, these are so good you could make a meal out of them. Use the meatballs instead of chicken in gyros or sliders. Super delicious.
Traditional keftedes are usually made with ground beef and ground lamb. I used ground pork instead of lamb which can sometimes be hard to find. It will still give you that tender juicy inside and tons of flavor. Do not be afraid to use the mint in these meatballs. Mint is traditional herb used in Greek cooking and it pairs beautifully with the other spices and herbs. You and your whole family are going to love these Greek Meatballs!
Ingredients for Easy Greek Meatballs
Use extra lean ground beef and pork so that the meatballs are not too fatty. If you can use find fresh mint and parsley that works best, but you can use dried if unable to find. Just reduce the amount by about 1/3.
- Ground Beef: Use extra lean or lean ground beef to reduce the amount of grease.
- Ground Pork: Using pork as well adds a ton of flavor, do not skip this.
- Breadcrumbs: Adds moisture and helps the meatballs to be tender.
- Egg: This is a binder that keeps it all together.
- Red Onion: Brings flavor and a bit of texture. Finely mince or grate.
- Garlic Cloves: Minced finely or grated.
- Fresh Parsley: If you cannot find fresh use about 2/3 the amount of dried.
- Mint Leaves: It adds a classic greek flavor, but will not be minty.
- Dried Oregano: Another stable in Greek cooking.
- Salt and Pepper: Add to taste.
- Milk: Adds moisture and acts as a binder.
- Olive Oil: For cooking the meatballs in.
- Flour: Rolling them in flour helps hold it together and gives a nice flavorful coating to the outside that browns and crisps while keeping the inside tender and moist.
- Pita Bread: Buy your pitas or make this flavorful homemade Naan that will work and tastes amazing!
- Cucumbers: Sliced and diced, adds a great fresh flavor.
- Red Onion: Thinly slice the red onions.
- Tzatziki Sauce: Make your own tzatziki sauce that is super easy and absolutely divine.
How to Make Greek Meatballs Keftedes
These keftedes may look complicated, but they could not be simpilier. Combine, cook and enjoy!
- Combine: In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the ground beef, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, parsely, mint, oregano, salt, pepper and milk. Mix until it is all incorporated.
- Form: Shape into 2 inch meatballs.
- Heat: Add the olive oil to a medium sized skillet and turn to medium high heat.
- Roll and Cook: Roll the meatballs in the flour and place them in the pan. Cook on each side until no longer pink.
- Serve: Serve with pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, and tzatziki if desired.
Tips and Variations For the Best Greek Meatballs
Greek meatballs are not like other meatballs. Their flavor is distinctly Greek. Served with the tzatziki and pitas it just makes them delicious.
- Shape: Use an ice cream or cookie scoop to form your meatballs so they are all the same size. This way the keftedes will cook at the same rate and time. If you do not have a scoop use a spoon to make the roughly the same size.
- Roll it: To keep the meatball mixture from sticking to your hands, grease them with a bit of cooking spray.
- Mix It: To really mix up the meat mixture use a food processor. This will also help grind up the onion and garlic really infusing it into the meatballs. Everything gets mixed up really well and evenly with a food processor.
- Mint: If you cannot find mint you can use fresh basil instead. Basil is often substituted for mint when you cannot find it. Dried mint or basil will also work if you cannot find fresh.
- Let it sit: To allow the flavors to really saturate and infuse into the meat mixture, make it at least an hour or more ahead of time. Cover it tightly and place in the fridge for up to 4 hours a head of time.
- Lemon: Add some fresh lemon juice to the mixture to brighten the meatballs and add a little bit of zing.
- Flour: Rolling the meatballs in the flour before frying keeps the meatballs moisture and juices locked in. The flour almost creates a barrier. It also adds a nice crust that creates a delicious texture to each and every bite! Be sure to shake off excess, however, you do not want them to be caked in it.
- Toppings: Also serve with tomatoes, feta and greek olives.
- Grate: The best way to distribute the onion flavor without chunks is to grate the onion. If you do not have red onion, yellow onion will work just fine. I prefer the extra bit of bite from the red onion however.
How to Bake Greek Meatballs
If you need to make a ton of meatballs for a large crowd you can bake a large batch in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the aluminum foil. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and coat them with just a little bit of cooking spray. Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until they are brown and fully cooked. The internal temperature should register 160 degrees.
Storing and Freezing Meatballs
- Storing: Keep leftover meatballs in the fridge tightly covered or in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Leftovers can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave.
- Freeze: These meatballs are great for freezing, and then you can pull them out when you need a quick meal. After the meatballs have completely cooled place them in a freezer safe bag and keep in the freezer for up tot 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and warm in the microwave or in pan on the stove.
Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork or lamb
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 red onion finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 6 mint leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- Pita bread
- red onion
- tzatziki sauce
In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the ground beef, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, parsley, mint, oregano, salt, pepper and milk. Mix until it is all incorporated.
Shape into 2 inch meatballs.
Add the olive oil to a medium sized skillet and turn to medium high heat.
Roll the meatballs in the flour and place them in the pan. Cook on each side until no longer pink.
Serve with pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, and tzatziki if desired.