Ground Beef Kebabs [Kefta recipe]

Kefta is a flavorful, deliciously easy way to use a pound of hamburger! Oven-baked ground beef kebabs are oval meatballs are easy weeknight dinner but fun for company, too!

Many of us keep a pound of ground beef on hand for a quick dinner. Now you have a new way to use it!

Ground Beef Kebab recipe (oven or grill):

This recipe…

  • easy to make
  • can be made ahead
  • a fun twist for a pound of ground beef
  • can be oven baked or grilled
  • most of all, tastes good!

“This is a delicious way to use ground beef.”

Marilyn, member of Dinner Date cooking class
2 plates with ground beef kabobs with lettuce, tomato and couscous and cucumber yogurt sauce.

Ground Beef Kebobs are called kofta, kefta, and kebabs

Kabobs are chunks of meat and vegetables threaded on skewers. But when you skewer spiced ground meat, such as beef or lamb, it’s kofta or kefta, kebabs or kabobs, or koobide. Confusing, right?! These tasty bites are found throughout the Middle East, so the country and cuisine dictate the name. Whatever you want to call them, I call them good!

What is Kefta?

Kefta is seasoned ground meat that is patted into an oval or oblong shape. Baked or grilled, these are quick to fix for an easy dinner.

Cook’s note: if you don’t have all the spices and herbs, that’s A-OK. Use what you have on hand. Be sure to finely chop the onion and garlic so that they soften during cooking.

Lean ground beef, red onion, spices ready to mix beef kebabs
lean ground beef, red onion, parsley, mint, garlic, cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, cayenne

The ingredients

  • lean ground beef (or lamb): many of us have a package of hamburger in the freezer, let’s use it to make a flavorful, fun protein-rich meal!
  • red onion: choose small onions for more nutrients. White or yellow onion may be substituted.
  • fresh herbs, parsley, mint, cilantro: fresh herbs deliver beneficial plant compounds, many are interchangeable, so use what you have, if parsley is in your fridge use it.
  • garlic: to maximize health benefits, allow chopped garlic to rest 10 minutes for the compounds to commingle before cooking. Choose cloves that are firm and the paper highly wrapped around the bulb
  • seasonings and spices: ground cumin, ginger, cayenne provide antioxidants and flavor boosts

The directions

It’s kind of like making meatloaf in that you stir the seasonings into ground meat just so they’re evenly distributed. But believe me, this isn’t your mom’s meatloaf! BUT, if you want to bake this like a meatloaf, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

If you want to make this into meatloaf, just pat into a 8×5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350℉ for 50-60 minutes, until temperature reacts 165℉.

Step 1: Combine meat mixture

  • In a large bowl, gently mix onion, herbs and spices with meat until ingredients are distributed evenly.
  • Pat mixture into 6 balls (large golf ball size) and then pinch into a log shape.
  • Kebabs can be cooked as is or thread 2 kebabs on a skewer.
  • If you have time to refrigerate them for 30 minutes, that helps the flavor develop. Otherwise, you can store them covered, up to 2 days in the fridge.

Note: If using wooden skewers, soak in water while making you’re mixing the meat.

bowl of ground beef, onion and seasonings
Gently stir beef, onion, herbs and spices together
forming kefta, 5 on baking sheet
Form into balls, then into logs

Step 2: Assemble yogurt sauce

Stir together plain yogurt, mint, cumin, salt and cucumber in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

plain yogurt, chopped cucumber, garlic, spices and fresh herbs
plain yogurt, cucumber, mint, cumin, salt
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Step 3: How to cook kofta

Ground Beef kabob recipe oven

Heat oven to 350℉. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, silpat or cooking spray. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until temperature reacts 165℉.

Ground beef kebab recipe grill

To grill, heat grill to medium (350℉), grill over indirect medium heat to avoid flareups. Cook for 12-18 minutes, until temperature reacts 165℉.

ground beef kebabs with lettuce, tomato and rice on plates

Serving suggestions

Sauce: Drizzle with a seasoned yogurt sauce, sun-dried tomato hummus or tzatiziki.

Grains: warm pita or naan, turmeric seasoned rice, or couscous. Find couscous near pasta, rice and grains.

Vegetables: Nestle the kebabs around chopped lettuce and tomato, cucumber, and sliced red onion.


Store prepared meat mixture, covered, up to 2 days in the fridge.

Freeze cooked kofta up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before heating in the oven or on the grill.

More Beef Recipes

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2 plates of beef kofta with cucumber yogurt sauce, couscous and salad

How to make ground Beef Kebabs [Kefta recipe]

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5 from 1 review

Seasoned ground beef takes you to the Middle East. Bake these kebabs in the oven for a quick dinner.

  • Author: Judy Barbe
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill or bake
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern



Ground Beef Kebabs

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (or lamb)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch ground cayenne

Yogurt Cucumber Raita

  • 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


Heat grill to medium or oven to 400° F.

If baking, line baking sheet with silpat, parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.


Kebab: In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, parsley, mint, garlic, salt, cumin, ginger, and peppers. Divide the mixture into 6 similar sized balls and shape each into a log. Refrigerate until ready to cook, if you have 30 minutes, that’s great for more flavor. Though they can be made 2 days ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Cook: Grill or bake for 15-20 minutes, until 160° F.


Yogurt Cucumber Raita: Stir yogurt, cucumber, salt, cumin together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with chopped lettuce and tomatoes.


If you want to make this into meatloaf, pat into a 8x 5 loaf pan. Bake at 350℉ for 50-60 minutes, until temperature reacts 165℉.

ground beef kabobs with plates with lettuce and tomato


  1. I actually made this ! It was delish I did air fry it and they turned out delicious thank you!

    1. Author

      Hi Victoria, so happy to hear you had a good dinner. I don’t have an air fryer, so am pleased to know they worked well cooked in your AF.
      Thanks for sharing, Judy

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