Beef Kafta

By Rena Awada | Updated On November 21, 2023

This Lebanese-style beef Kafta is one of our favorite dishes! They are so flavorful, juicy, easy to make, and takes just about 20 minutes to get it on your dinner table. Enjoy this dish all year round.

top view of 4 skewers of beef kafta on a round plate  with salad and hummus


Authentic Lebanese or middle eastern beef kabob recipe made with ground beef, minced onions, chopped parsley, and seasoned with some middle eastern spices. They are then made into an oblong shape and placed in skewers for grilling. Don’t like beef? You can simply use ground chicken! It is just as delicious using ground chicken instead of beef. Kafta is very versatile in terms of what you choose to serve it with. Most middle eastern love to serve it with some pita bread, hummus, baba ganoush, and salad. Served with rice and grilled veggies.

Why we love this Lebanese kafta recipe

  • Scrumptious: So juicy and full of flavor. Takes your beef grilling to a whole other level.
  • Healthy: Use lean ground beef or lamb. Made with no added sugars or unhealthy ingredients. Made simply with ground beef and spices.
  • Easy: they are so easy to make! It takes just about 10 minutes to mix the beef with spices and then another 10 minutes of grilling.
close up view of beef kafta skewers on a plate with tomatoes and hummus

Ingredients you will need

  • Lean ground beef: you may use any ground meat. If you like lamb, you may use ground lamb instead of ground beef. The taste varies slightly.
  • White Onion, grated: This ingredient is important and cannot be omitted and you can’t substitute it with onion powder.
  • Garlic cloves and chopped parsley
  • Salt and Ground black pepper
  • Spice Blend: cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and sumac
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • Optional ingredient: Fresh Parsley- you may add about 1/4 cup of fresh parsley along with the ground beef.
  • Optional sides for serving: Curly parsley, Fresh feta, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Red onions, rice, hummus, baba ganoush.

How to make this authentic kafta kabob

  • First, prepare the beef: In a mixing bowl place the ground beef, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, sumac, and cinnamon.
  • Next, add in the grated onion, chopped parsley, and garlic.
  • Then, using your clean hands shape the kafta on the skewers: Form the meat mixture into an oblong shape of about 1 inch in thickness. Use a skewer to form this shape onto 2/3 of it, keeping the skewer stick right into the middle of the meat. Repeat with remaining meat, then let the kafta sit in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, or until you prepare the grill.
  • Grill the kafta: Grease the grill grates with some olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
    Place the kafta onto the preheated grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes until browned, turning a couple of times with a tong, to ensure even browning.
  • Prepare the veggies to serve with kafta: Meanwhile slice the cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion. Place the veggies into a bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season
    with salt and pepper; mix well.
  • Once the kafta is cooked through, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Finally, garnish with parsley and crumbled feta cheese, if desired. Serve with the optional sides and enjoy!

Expert tips

  • Beef: use the leanest beef possible. You may use ground chicken or ground turkey. You can always use a food processor to grind your own meat of chicken.
  • Oil: use olive oil, avocado oil, or any other bland oil.
  • Refrigerating the beef kafta after you season it will allow everything to hold together nicely. This is optional if you are running out of time.
  • Do not cook it too fast. It will cause the beef to burn too quickly on the outside and still pink on the inside.
  • We prefer serving kafta well done. You may serve it medium-medium well.
  • Serve with white Lebanese rice, quinoa, hummus, salads, and so on. They are very versatile.
hand holding a grilled beef kafta skewer over a grill pan with other grilled kafta kabob

Frequently asked questions

What is Kafta Kabob?

Kafta (or kefta) is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made with ground beef or lamb, minced onions, chopped parsley, and seasoned with Middle Eastern spices. They are made into patties or kabobs and are typically grilled. They are widely known in the Middle East and now all around the world. Kafta is also made using ground chicken and is very versatile in terms of what you serve it with.

Can you bake kafta in the oven?

Yes! You can certainly bake kafta in the oven if you are unable to grill or use a grill. Shape the kafta into whatever shapes you like. They can be shaped into patties or mini logs. Place them on a baking sheet pan that’s lined up with foil for easier cleanup, and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until the kafta looks golden crisp. When baking, the kafta will emit some juices on the pan so don’t be alarmed. This is normal.

What is the difference between Kafta and Kofta?

They are essentially the same thing. Kafta is a Middle Eastern dish and it is simply pronounced differently in every culture and country. In Lebanon is called Kafta, and is made the same way throughout the Middle East.

What country did Kafta originate from?

We would just like to say that this dish is authentic to the Middle East. The argument over where it originated from is a never-ending story. As a Lebanese myself I would like to say Kafta originated from Lebanon. Wikipedia says Lebanon and India.

top view of 4 grilled kafta with hummus and veggies

other recipes you may like

top view of grilled kafta skewers on a round plate  with hummus, fresh tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese

Storage and reheating

  • Storing in the fridge: If you have any leftovers, wrap them in aluminum foil and place them in the fridge for an easier oven reheating option, or place them in a sealed container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the seasoned beef kafta before baking it in the fridge in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. This option is great if you want to prepare ahead and freezer for later use and save on prep time. Freeze uncooked for up to 6 months. Freeze leftover cooked kafta for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Preheat the oven to 350F and place the leftover kafta that’s wrapped in foil in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes until it is heated through. To reheat in the microwave, place the kafta in a microwave-safe dish and reheat it for 60-90 seconds until heated to your liking.
side shot of beef kafta kabobs on a plate with hummus and fresh tomatoes

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top view of grilled kafta skewers on a round plate with hummus, fresh tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese

Easy Beef Kafta Kabob

Mediterranean kafta recipe made with lean beef, onions, parsley, and spices. Easy to make and ready in just 20 minutes. Served over rice, hummus, or salad.
4.96 from 25 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Diet: Halal
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Regrigerate: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 344kcal
Author: Rena

Equipment

Ingredients

For kafta:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parlsey
  • 2-3 garlic cloves grated or minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil for cooking

Optional sides for serving:

  • Curly parsley to garnish
  • Fresh feta
  • Hummus
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • rice or quinoa

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl place the ground beef, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, sumac, and cinnamon.
  • Add in the grated onion, chopped parsley, and garlic; using your clean hands, mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Form the meat mixture into an oblong shape of about 1 inch in thickness. Use a skewer to form this shape onto 2/3 of it, keeping the skewer stick right into the middle of the meat.
  • Repeat with remaining meat, then let the kafta sit in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, or until you prepare the grill. (refrigerating is optional)
  • Grease the grill grates with some olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Place the kafta onto the preheated grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes until browned, turning a couple of times with a tong, to ensure even browning.
  • Meanwhile slice the cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion. Place the veggies into a bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Season with salt and pepper; mix well. Once the kafta kabobs are done, remove from the heat and transfer to a serving dish
  • Garnish with parsley and crumbled feta cheese, if desired. Serve with the optional sides and enjoy!

Notes

Makes about 8 skewers. Serving size is 2 skewers
Substitutes
  • Beef: use the leanest beef possible. You may use ground chicken or ground turkey
  • any other oil can be used.
  • Refrigerating the beef kafta after you season it will allow everything to hold together nicely. If you are pressed for time you may skip this step.
  • Do not cook it too fast. It will cause the beef to burn too quickly on the outside and still pink on the inside. 
  • We prefer serving kafta well done. You may serve it medium-medium well.
  • Serve with white Lebanese rice, quinoa, hummus, salads, and so on. They are very versatile.
Storage:
Place leftovers in a container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave when ready to eat. You can freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutritional facts:
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 443mg | Potassium: 834mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @HealthyFitnessMeals or tag #HealthyFitnessMeals!
close up view of kafta skewers on a round plate with crumbled feta and slices fresh tomatoes with a side of hummus

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Mark B. says

    5 stars
    Very easy to prepare. Flavor is quite good. However, using the leanest beef available and cooking it to well done leaves it very dry.

  2. Eddie says

    5 stars
    Probably our favorite Kafta recipe. Easy to make with readily available ingredients.
    You don’t need to go to a Middle East grocer for this stuff… Even Sumac is stocked at the larger chains now.
    While these can be cooked several ways, there’s nothing like the flavor of direct heat over charcoal briquets! Make some medium and some well done (or make some thicker for medium).
    We serve them with Tzatziki sauce, fresh-sliced tomatoes and sweet onion (just like a Gyro) wrapped in Pita Bread.
    A Tomato, Cucumber, Onion and Feta Salad (look up Village or Horiatiki Salad) pairs perfectly.

  3. Emily says

    5 stars
    Turned out even better than I expected!! I substituted lemon pepper seasoning for the sumac, and I decided to pan fry these as meatballs. Will definitely be making this again!!

  4. Ashley says

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe and so did my 12 month old and husband! Easy and quick for a week night. I didn’t have fresh parsley so I just used dried. No sumac and used some “Kafta” seasoning I found at the middle eastern store. Extra minced garlic as well and they were full of flavor !

  5. Allison says

    5 stars
    This was such an easy and delicious recipe! My family enjoyed it so much – thank you! I cooked the kafta in a grill pan on the stove. I formed them into small patties and didn’t use skewers. I didn’t have plain sumac so I used za’atar in its place (which had sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds). I served the kafta with rice (cooked in vegetable broth instead of plain water) and a salad of arugula, cucumber, tomato, and feta with a lemon vinaigrette. Thanks for the great recipe – I know I’ll make it often!

  6. ashok says

    5 stars
    Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

  7. Jennifer says

    5 stars
    I made these last night for dinner for me and my daughter. They were so good and she loved how easy the meat was to get off of the stick. I didn’t have any sumac so I used lemon zest instead. These were wonderful and I’ll definitely make them again. Thank you!

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