Kafta: How To Make Lebanese Kafta

A kafta is a group of meatballs or meatloaf dishes found in Indian, South Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Central Asian subcontinent cuisines. Kaftas consist of the purest form of pickled or ground meatballs, usually beef, chicken, lamb, or pork, mixed with spices or onions. 

Kaftas are typically made from lamb, beef, mutton, or chicken in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. At the same time, Greek, Cypriot, and Balkan versions may use pork, beef, lamb, or a combination of the three. Ultimately, the recipe is highly customizable depending on the cook’s preference. 

There are also vegetarian variants known as hortokeftedes in Greece and Cyprus, which are often consumed during times of fasting such as Lent. This is because devote followers often refrain from eating meat during the time of Lent.

Lebanese Kafta Recipe

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Lebanese

Kafta is a Lebanese variant of a kebab that is commonly grilled in the summer but can also be made indoors. The whole preparation and cooking time is 45 minutes. This recipe is suitable for at least 4 servings. 

Image source: simplyleb.com

Lebanese Kafta Ingredients

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 3 teaspoons of 7 spice
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil

Lebanese Kafta Instructions

Step 1: Chop the onion thinly and 1⁄2 bunch of parsley. Put the ground beef into a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: Next, add the parsley, chopped onion, and remaining ingredients. Mix well with your hands.

Step 3: Shape the kafta into fingers or patties.

Step 4: Grill at medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Keep turning the kafta around to get grill marks on all sides.

Step 5: When cooking in a skillet, saute for about 5 minutes in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Flip over the kafta, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Step 6: Next, you can now add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and a large sliced onion to the kafta and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the onion is tender.

Step 7: Finally, add sliced tomato and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lebanese Kafta Additional Information

  • Per serving, this recipe has 218 calories, 14g of total fat, 4g of carbohydrates, 220mg of potassium, and 21mg of calcium. 
  • This recipe will make four servings.
  • It will take 45 minutes to prepare this recipe.
  • The uncooked variant, called Çiğ köfte, is also made in Turkey. In India, vegetarian varieties include potato, calabash, paneer, or banana kaftas. Kafta is often served in kebab shops in Europe, as a fast-food sandwich.

Image source: thehealthyfoodie.com

About Lebanese Kafta

The meat is often combined with other ingredients, such as rice, bulgur, vegetables, or eggs, to create a smooth paste. Most recipes make their kaftas by grilling, frying, steaming, poaching, or baking, the meat. Kaftas are sometimes made from fish or vegetables rather than red meat. In North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and India there are many variants of this dish. They can be made into patties, meatballs or shapes similar to cigars.

According to several studies, old recipes (included in some of the earliest known Arabic cookbooks) usually concern seasoned lamb wrapped in orange balls, and glazed with egg yolk and sometimes saffron. This approach has been taken to the West, and is called “gilding” or “endoring.”


Just like many recipes, kafta has been proliferated all around the world and now appears in many different variations. Through the years, it remained to be a staple food in Lebanon. For more international recipes, click here.

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