Kafta skewers with hummus and tabouleh served on a plate.
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"It's called kafta, not köfte!" Again and again I have to say this to friends when I serve them these delicious Lebanese kebabs made of minced meat and parsley. Well, Köfte at least goes in the right direction, but the meatballs differ in the spices. And it's just the Turkish version and not the Lebanese.

What is Kafta?

Kafta is the Lebanese equivalent of the German frikadelle, the Turkish Köfte or the Ćevapčići of the Balkans. The basic recipe is very changeable and finds its home in a wide variety of dishes. Whether in the oven with tomatoes and potato slices, as oval meatballs from the grill, hidden in pita bread or in a strong tomato sauce - the spicy kebab skewers are always welcome on my plate.

The basic recipe

For my family's basic recipe, you'll need:

  • Ground beef or lamb
  • Onions
  • flat leaf parsley
  • Pomegranate syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

The beauty of Kafta is the quick preparation time: onion and parsley are chopped in no time, add fresh minced meat, a handful of spices & herbs and your basic mixture is ready. You can't get the grill or oven preheated any faster. You can then put the mass directly on skewers or form into balls and cook. What awaits you then is an absolute taste grenade. The usual suspects on the grill quickly look boring. Especially when you serve Kafta with a good blob of hummus and a portion of taboulé.

The insider tip

My recommendation is sumac onions. Sumac is a somewhat sour spice that is extracted from sumac berries. If you want to learn more about sumac, I encourage you to read my extensive post. The fruity, tart and tangy sumac onions go great with kafta. You can find the recipe for it here.

Either way - you'll love it, I'm sure. Bon appétit.

Recipe for Kafta

Kafta skewers with hummus and tabouleh served on a plate.
Print recipe Save recipe
Preparation time 15 minutes
Preparation time 15 minutes
Total time 30 min.
Servings 4 People
Calories 330



  • Finely chop the onion and parsley.
  • Mix the chopped onion, parsley, pomegranate syrup and cinnamon with the minced meat to form a mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Grill or roast the kafta either on the grill, in a pan or in the oven.
  • You can put the kafta on skewers or use it as a meatball.


*Recipe contains affiliate links. 

Nutritional values

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 22IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 3mg

Also try kafta on labneh, the potato stew with kafta and definitely the cheese pearl couscous with kafta and chili butter.

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  1. 5 stars
    Kefta is Arabic and does not only exist in Lebanon but also in the Maghreb!

    1. Hello Michael,
      that's absolutely right. Kafta, kefta, köfte exist in many regions and countries. Food connects 🙂

      Kind regards

  2. 5 stars
    Very tasty. I've already prepared several versions of Köfte/Kofta/Adana myself. Yours taste really great and I combined them with your manakish yesterday. Instead of cinnamon (I'm not the cinnamon type) I used Ras-el-Hanout (yes, I know, there's cinnamon in it too, but not as much 🙂 ) With fresh minced lamb from the shoulder it was a revelation. Thank you Rafik.

    PS. I'm still looking for a good recipe for kibbeh hamis, but I can't find it on your site.

    Greeting Christian

    1. Hey Christian,
      that sounds like a real feast 😀
      It's great that you like it so much.

      the topic of kibbeh is still on my to-do list 😉

      Kind regards

  3. Hello Rafik,
    I've been following your site for a while now, find it by far the best site for Lebanese food and have cooked a lot.
    At the weekend I went out for dinner (Syrian, I hope you'll forgive me for comparing it to Lebanese), and had Kebap Batingan (I don't know if this is an existing term). Basically ground beef marinated. They grilled it there on coals and it tasted wonderfully "smoky". I don't know if it's the marinade (flavour enhancer???) or actually the special charcoal/wood?
    Now I wanted to ask you how you grill and whether you have any tips on how to grill such delicious smoky kebab spits. I have a gas and charcoal grill.
    I am grateful for any ideas and please keep up the good work!
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hello Pascal,
      thank you very much for your great feedback 🙂
      Kebab Batingan means "aubergine kebab". I assume that grilled/slightly burnt aubergines were also used here. The same is done with Babab Ghanoush - you grill the aubergine directly over an open flame to give it that smoky flavour.

      Kind regards

  4. 5 stars
    Ah eider I must complain... unfortunately far too good....
    Thanks a million for your great recipes. Absolutely addictive!

    1. Hey Chris,
      Thank you very much for your great feedback! I'm really pleased that you like it so much 🙂

      Kind regards

  5. 5 stars
    Hello Rafik,

    yesterday prepared and sooooo brilliantly delicious - my husband actually does not like "greens" speak parsley in his "Frikadelle" - late at night he has still another small particle gemopst and just eaten without anything:-). That means something ...!
    I served your Kafta in combination with your tomato salad (sumac onions) and hummus.

    So glad to have discovered your site!
    Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your awesome recipes!
    LG, Mone

    1. Hi Mone,
      thank you so much for your great feedback 🙂 .
      Glad I could even convince your husband with the kafta of greens in meatballs 😀

      You continue to have fun cooking.

      Kind regards

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