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Lamb kofta balls with pine nuts

This super easy lamb kofta recipe is a favourite in our house. Juicy, tender and with hints of cinnamon and pine nuts, these lamb kofta balls are tasty, freezer-friendly and perfect for the barbecue or the frypan.

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What is kofta?

Kofta is a meatball recipe popular in the Middle Easter cuisines. It consists of ground meat mixed with onions and warm spices such as cumin and sumac. I also like to add a dash of cinnamon to the mix as well as pine nuts.

You can cook lamb kofta balls (lamb is my preferred mince here) in a frying pan, but they are delicious cooked over a gas or charcoal barbecue. Alternatively, thread them onto skewers in a sausage shape. You can also cook the lamb kofta recipe into burger patties – it makes about 6 patties.

lamb kofta recipe, how to make lamb kofta, kofta balls recipe

What mince can I use in kofta recipe?

Lamb is a traditional mince for a kofta balls recipe.

You may have noticed that apart from the occasional lamb shanks or frenched lamb cutlets I don’t cook much lamb. It may be the fact that I grew up in those parts of the world where mutton was much more widely available than lamb, and because of its extra-strong flavour it was never a meat of choice at my Mum’s. But, every now and again, I get a little craving for lamb. I have found that using mince, as versatile as it is, is great to make the strong flavours of lamb more palatable. 

However, you can also use beef or even chicken mince to make the kofta balls. It’s best to use fattier mince, which helps keep the balls moist and imparts a more delicious flavour.

lamb kofta recipe, how to make lamb kofta, kofta balls recipe

Serving ideas

If you’re wondering what to serve lamb kofta balls with, the possibilities are endless.

Serve lamb kofta balls with hommus, salads and homemade flatbreads as a tasty and fun meal. You can also pop them into a soup. Or add to saucy curries.

lamb kofta recipe, how to make lamb kofta, kofta balls recipe
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Lamb kofta balls with pine nuts and spices

Juicy, garlicky and filled with warm spices, these lamb kofta balls are best cooked on the barbecue. But you can make them just as well in the frying pan.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings: 20 balls


  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 sprig spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 slice bread stale is best
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 500 g lamb mince
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 4 sprigs coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 slice bread stale is best
  • 1/2 cup water

To serve (choose any):

  • Flatbreads
  • Eggplant dip or hommus
  • Tabbouleh salad
  • Corn kernels
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Minted Greek-style yoghurt


  • Peel and finely dice brown onion. Finely dice spring onion. Heat oil in a small frying pan set over medium heat. Cook onion and spring onion for 2 minutes, stirring, until translucent.
  • Tear bread into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Add water and mix, you want the bread to soak up the water.
  • Place mince in a large bowl. Add pine nuts, spices, cooked onions. Squeeze excess water from the bread and add bread to the mince. Using your hands mix and knead the mince well for about a minute.
  • Form about 20 small bite-sized meatballs.
  • Cook on a medium hot barbecue or in large frying pan (in batches) for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Serve with hommus, flatbreads, tabbouleh, sliced cucumber and corn salad and minted yoghurt.
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