Grilled Turkish Kofta Kebabs are on the top of the “how I like my meat protein” category. Since they are succulent, juicy, and packed with flavor, these kebabs are a great take-on kofta the whole family will enjoy.
What I like most about this recipe is that it’s almost one-step. Just mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, shape the kebabs, and grill, easy and quick. The great thing about these kofta kebabs is the wide collection of side-dishes they can be served with in order to enhance their flavor to the max.
Juicy, Tender, and Spicy Kebabs
What Is Kofta?
Kofta, or kafta/kofte, is a traditional and popular recipe that originates from the Turkish cuisine. However, it has spread to its Persian neighbor in south Asia and has also become very common in the Middle Eastern cuisine. It fits perfectly the grilling season as an outdoor grill although you can have it at any time.
The traditional kofta is a meat mixture of ground beef, minced lamb, or a combo of both with fresh herbs and aromatic spices. In its other varieties, red meat can be replaced with a turkey mixture using lean ground turkey to make the turkey kofta recipe or turkey kofta kebabs.
No matter what type of meat you use, kofta remains a food enjoyed by people of all ages. It is one of those protein sources that is full of nutrients.
Kebabs: A Variation from Traditional Grills
The word “kebab” is originally Turkish. It indicates any food cooked on skewers. The traditional kebabs are grilled over charcoal and served hot, so they get the name “shish kebabs”.
What are Kofta Kebabs?
The grilled Turkish kofta kebabs are prepared when you place kebabs on flat skewers and grill them over the open flame of charcoal. However, you can cook them in a grill pan in the oven or simply in a large saucepan.
How to Shape the Kofta Kebabs?
If you choose to prepare the skewer kebabs, learn how to shape them for best results. At first, keep a bit of water by your side to have wet hands. This helps you fit the kofta mixture onto the skewer.
Then, grab a portion of the mixture in a meatball shape, and gently press the meat along the skewer lengthwise. Holding the skewer upright, make sure that the mixture covers the middle part of the skewer. Finally, press the ending tips of the meat kebabs to prevent them from falling apart.
If you prefer not to use a skewer, which is also an option, you can still use water to make meatballs and then change them into long sausage shapes. You can cook them oven-top on a grill or pan, or in the oven grill. Just make sure you spray the pan or baking sheet with some vegetable oil.
Kofta Kebabs That Taste a Lot Better
FAQs about the Turkish Kofta Kebabs
The best are metal skewers, but you can use wooden skewers as bamboo skewers. Just soak them in water for 10 minutes before using them so that they don’t get burnt over the grill grates.
The choices are endless. You can serve Greek yogurt, pita bread, a rice bowl, tzatziki sauce, sumac onion salad, yogurt sauce, tomato sauce, tahini sauce, rice pilaf, or simply some salad ingredients as fresh vegetables.
Yes, absolutely! You can prepare the kofte kebab ahead. Shape it into small balls, cover it well with plastic wrap, and keep it in freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer.
Tips for the Best Kofta Kebabs
To get juicy kofte mixture, avoid using lean meat. Rather, choose beef that is a little fatty (80/20). Otherwise, use a combination of beef and ground lamb. A third option is making pure Turkish lamb kofta kebabs.
In case skewers are unavailable, shape the meat mixture into small burger or meatball shapes as in the recipe card below. Now, you can roast them on medium-high heat in the grill or oven.
For extra flavor, you can prepare the mixture a day ahead and refrigerate it. This reinforces the taste with the warm spices even more.
In similar recipes, some minced veggies as onions and fresh parsley are added to the kofta mixture. If you choose this version, you have to finely dice the vegetables. Although you can chop them on a cutting board, using the food processor is also a great choice, for it saves time with the same results.
An Appetizing Meat Combo
Ingredients of the Juicy Kebabs
Meat: As I mentioned earlier, choose meat that is a little bit fatty. The meat has to be ground.
Spices: In this recipe, spices are versatile. So you can pick any spices that appeal to you. But I recommend using a mix of the following: paprika, smoked paprika, dried coriander, dried mint, turmeric, onion powder, ground cumin, and ground cinnamon. For a spicy addition, you can also use black pepper, Cheyenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and/or Aleppo pepper.
Salt: It is the balancing agent that makes all flavors stand out perfectly. It can be kosher salt or any other type instead.
Honey: It makes that unique mix of sweet and salty, thus elevating the flavor.
Olive oil: It prevents the kebabs from drying out over the medium heat.
Optional: Warm pita or pita pockets can form a bed on which to lay the kofta kebabs. Lastly, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice on top of the kofta as well.
(Scroll down for recipe details.)
Other Recipes to Enjoy
- Hummus with Spiced Meat
- Easy Rice Kabsa with Hearty Beef
- Green Bean Stew with Minced Beef (Loubia Bi Lahme)
- Ultimate Beef Shawarma Sandwich
- Tender Slow Cooked Roast Beef
- Beef Steak Fajita Bowl with a Kick
- Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Best Ways to Serve Shish Tawook – Lebanese Grilled Chicken
- Refreshing Cucumber Salad
- BEST Fattoush Salad with Dressing
Turkish Kofta Kebabs
- 1 ½ pounds ground meat
- 4 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons dried coriander
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- ½ tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Cheyenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- To the ground meat, add all the ingredients and mix in using your hands.
- Line a large platter with parchment paper.
- To make 3-inch length kebabs, use a ¼ cup scooper, and mold them with your hands.
- Spray cooking oil to assist while molding the kebabs.
- Grill or bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
- To get juicy kofte mixture, avoid using lean meat. Rather, choose beef that is a little fatty (80/20). Otherwise, use a combination of beef and ground lamb. A third option is making pure Turkish lamb kofta kebabs.
- If skewers are unavailable, shape the meat mixture into small burger or meatball shapes as in the recipe card below. Roast them on medium-high heat in the grill or oven.
- For extra flavor, you can prepare the mixture a day ahead and refrigerate it. This reinforces the taste with the warm spices even more.
- In similar recipes, some minced veggies as onions and fresh parsley are added to the kofta mixture. If you choose this version, you have to finely dice the vegetables. Although you can chop them on a cutting board, using the food processor is also a great choice, for it saves time with the same results.