A quick and easy recipe for juicy and flavorful grilled beef Kafta Kebabs. This easy Lebanese Kafta recipe made with lean ground beef requires only a handful of basic ingredients and can be ready in less than 30 minutes.
Grilled beef Kafta Kebabs are a summertime favourite and are often on my menu during the summer season. It's such a simple dish to prepare and the flavor of beef, onion, spices and fresh parsley combined together is amazing.
The smell of these kebabs cooking on the barbecue is sure to have you salivating in anticipation of your first bite.
How to Make it
Kafta Kebabs are popular throughout the Middle-East. They are most often made with lamb or beef, but they can also be made with ground turkey or chicken.
This is one of those recipes where it takes only a handful of basic ingredients to obtain a delicious flavourful dish.
Here is an overview of the ingredients and steps for making homemade Kafta kabobs. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for amounts needed.
- Ground beef. Preferably lean beef. There needs to be some fat in the ground meat for moist and juicy kebabs. Extra-lean beef will produce drier kebabs which won't be as tasty.
- One medium yellow onion.
- Fresh parsley: Either flat-leaf or curly parsley.
- Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and seven spices: Seven spices is a blend of flavourful spices often used in Middle-Eastern cooking. You can find the pre-mixed spice blend in Middle-Eastern food stores or online.
If you are using wooden skewers for grilling they'll need to be soaked for about half an hour so they don't catch fire and burn.
If you would rather not use skewers, you can also shape the Kafta into patties and grill them that way.
- To make the Kafta mixture, peel the onion and quarter it.
- Wash the parsley thoroughly and pat it dry to remove the excess water.
- Place quartered onion and parsley in the bowl of your food processor and process until finely chopped.
- Add the ground beef, the spices and the finely chopped parsley and onion mixture to a large bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. I like to use my hands to combine everything really well.
- To form the kebabs, take some of the ground meat mixture and mold it around the skewer. The meat around the skewer should be about an inch to an inch and a half thick. Repeat until you have used up all of the kafta mixture.
If you're not using skewers, shape the kafta into patties that are about an inch thick. You can shape them into round patties and enjoy them as Kafta burgers or into the more traditional oblong (oval) patties.
- Prepare your gas or charcoal grill. If using a gas grill, preheat it to medium-high and brush the grill with oil.
- Place skewers of kafta on the pre-heated grill. Grill kebabs on one side for about 4 minutes before turning over and cooking for another 4 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
For juicy and tender kebabs, it's important not to overcook them, if you're unsure if they are cooked, just cut a piece off of one and check the inside of the kebab.
If you don't own an outdoor grill or prefer to bake them in the oven, Kafta can be baked on a baking sheet in a 375ºF oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Larger and thicker patties will take longer to cook so you should check them for doness before serving.
Kafta Kebabs are traditionally served with fresh pita bread, hummus or baba ganoush and salad.
Some of my favorite salads to serve with grilled Kafta are Tabbouleh (Parsley Salad), Fattoush (Pita Bread Salad), Lebanese Cucumber Yogurt Salad and this Mediterranean Pasta Salad.
I also like serving these kebabs with a side of rice and Roasted Grape Tomatoes.
Refrigerate leftover Kafta kabobs or patties in an airtight container for up to 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze cooked kafta for up to 3 months. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator and heat before serving.
Raw Kafta meat can also be frozen. Store Kafta mixture in a freezer safe container. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before preparing the kabobs for grilling. You can also bake it in the oven as indicated above.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, this Kafta recipe does not include any ingredient containing gluten, therefore this Kafta is gluten-free.
This Kafta recipe is made with lean ground beef. Using lean ground beef keeps the percentage of fat content in the kebabs low. Ground beef is an excellent source of protein, iron and B vitamins.
Kafta is also low in carbs so it's a great option for those following low carb and keto diets.
Shish is the Arabic word for skewer. Therefore, Shish Kafta is a skewer of Kafta.
More Recipes to Try
- Watermelon and Feta Salad
- Mediterranean Kale Salad
- Easy Spanakopita
- Rainbow Trout Fillets with Roasted Broccoli
- 1 medium yellow onion quartered
- 1 cup fresh parsley washed and patted dry
- 600 grams ground beef lean
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon seven spice pre-mixed spice blend
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne more to taste
- In the bowl of your food processor, add quartered onion and fresh parsley. Process by pulsing the ingredients until finely chopped.
- To a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, finely chopped parsley and onion mixture, and all of the spices. Using your hands, mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- To form the kebabs, take some of the mixture with your hands and mold it around the skewer. The meat around the skewer should be about an inch to an inch and a half thick.
- Prepare your charcoal or gas grill. If using a gas grill, preheat it to medium-high and brush the grill with oil. Place skewers of kafta on the grill. Cook one side for about 4 minutes before turning it over and cooking for another 4 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
- Serve immediately.
- If using wood skewers, soak skewers in water for half an hour before using.
- Seven spice is a spice blend commonly used in Middle Eastern recipes. It can be purchased in Middle-Eastern markets. If you can't find seven spice, a good substitute is allspice.
- If you’re not using skewers, shape Kafta into patties that are about an inch thick. You can shape them into round patties and enjoy them as Kafta burgers or into the more traditional oval patties.
- If you don’t own a grill or prefer to bake them in the oven, Kafta can be baked in a 375ºF oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Larger and thicker patties will take longer to cook so you should always check them for doneness before serving.
- Leftover Kafta can be refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator and heat before serving.
Monday 28th of November 2022
For a more authentic taste use equal amounts of ground beef and ground lamb. The beef should be at most 85/15, 80/20 is good for a juicy kebab. Grilled tomatoes, mint leaves and thinly sliced onions with parsley and sumac in pita makes it perfect
Fida | Sweet and Savoury Pursuits
Sunday 4th of December 2022
Saturday 9th of July 2022
I am having Syrian friends over for bbq. Could I make these the day before, shaped into patties and cook at noon next day
Recipe looks great
Fida | Sweet and Savoury Pursuits
Saturday 16th of July 2022
Hello, Yes, you can definitely prepare and shape the Kafta one day and cook them the next day. Hope you enjoy it. Fida