Making homemade beef koftas from scratch is easier than you think! This beef kofta recipe only takes minutes to prep, but you can prep ahead of time (the night before serving) and finish it off the following day.
I like making beef kofta wraps or pockets with pita bread, but you can enjoy this tasty dish any way you like. You’ll find more kofta side dish recipe ideas in this post below.
Beef kofta kebabs are also perfect for meal prep. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat in a microwave, when needed.
What are koftas?
Kofta(s) are various meatball or meatloaf-style dishes, popular in many countries (The Middle East, Balkan, Central Asia, India). We tried Greek koftas when on vacation in Greece last year and we loved them, so I decided to make my own version of those. We love them and I hope you will too.
How to cook beef koftas?
You can either grill, pan-fry or bake them in the oven. My favorite way is cooking them in the oven, because it is easy and I can enjoy these simple koftas any time of the year.
I sometimes fry them in a little oil, but this method is messy and if you want to feed a large crowd, you will have to do it in batches, which means more time spent behind the stove. This also means that the first ones ready will be colder than the last ones.
If you check my photos, you can see the difference between oven-baked koftas (lighter in color) and pan-fried (darker). There was barely any difference in their taste though.
How to make beef koftas?
Kofta kebabs don’t take long to prep, so first thing to do is preheat the oven, so you don’t waste any time waiting.
In a mixing bowl, combine ground meat, pressed garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, lemon juice and lemon zest. It’s important to mix everything well so that the seasonings are distributed evenly.
I like using a medium-sized cookie scoop to divide the meat mixture into equally looking “balls” (portions). You should get about 9-10 koftas out of this recipe. Then, all you have to do is shape each into a sausage, thread it with a skewer and cook until ready.
What to eat with beef koftas
There are so many options, but if you want to go the traditional Greek way, you must make Homemade Tzatziki Sauce and serve it with some veggies (like iceberg lettuce, some tomatoes, red or white onion and pita bread (or you can also try making homemade Potato Flatbread which is delicious as well)!
Other delicious options are:
- Pickled/marinated chilies – these go well with kebab, so I like to use some with these easy koftas recipe, if I have them on hand.
- On a bed of couscous (or this Couscous Salad).
- Parmesan Roasted Potatoes and Traditional Greek Salad.
- Salsa or pico de gallo.
- Instead of a tzatziki sauce, you can also make Garlic Dip which goes so well with this kind of meals.
Tips for making the best Greek style koftas
- Please note that the cooking time may vary slightly. This will depend on the thickness of your koftas as well as on your oven. If you are not sure, check the internal temperature with a food thermometer (see the link below).
- This Cooking Temperature Chart shows you the cooking temperatures for all kinds of meats.
- You can use any ground meat you like or have on hand. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork or lamb koftas will be equally delicious. A combination of meats work also really well.
Other (optional), see note 5
- Pita bread
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit (180° Celsius).
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, pressed garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice and ground ginger. Mix everything well using your hand or a fork. Use a medium-sized ice cream scoop to divide the mixture.
- Form each ball into a sausage and thread on a wooden skewer. Cook at 350° Fahrenheit (180° Celsius) for 15 minutes or until cooked through (see note 4).
- Serving suggestion: pita bread, tzatziki sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, onion or anything you like!
- Feel free to use any kind of ground meat: turkey, chicken, beef, pork, lamb or a combination of these.
- Oregano can be substituted with dried marjoram or basil.
- You will need zest from 1 small lemon and juice from half of a lemon (about 1 tablespoon).
- To be sure the koftas are done, check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. If your koftas are longer, but thinner than mine, they will need less time in the oven.
- Please read the full post above this recipe card for more serving suggestion ideas and more tips on how to make the best koftas.
- Count with 2 koftas per person. If you shape them into longer, but thinner sausages than I did, you will need less time to cook them and you probably end up with more pieces (which means you can serve more per person – i.e. 3 per head).