Savory Lamb Kibbeh Recipe

  • 3 min reading time

For a hearty and flavourful Middle Eastern dish to add to your recipe collection, look no further than kibbeh! These football-shaped balls or flat patties are made with a mixture of ground meat, bulgur wheat, onions, and spices, and also include pine nuts for added crunch and flavour. Served as a main dish or an appetiser, kibbeh is a popular and beloved dish in many Middle Eastern countries, and now you can enjoy it at home with this easy and delicious recipe. So let's get started and learn how to make kibbeh that will impress your family and friends!


  • 2 cups fine bulgur wheat
  • 500 g ground lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon baharat spice blend (or 1 teaspoon each of allspice, cinnamon, and coriander)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Rinse the bulgur wheat in a fine-mesh strainer and drain well. Place it in a bowl and cover it with cold water. Let it soak for 10-15 minutes until the bulgur softens.
  • In a large bowl, mix the ground lamb, chopped onion, baharat spice blend, salt, and black pepper. Use your hands to knead and mix the ingredients well.
  • Drain the bulgur wheat and squeeze out any excess water with your hands. Add the bulgur to the meat mixture and continue to knead it until everything is well combined.
  • Add 1/4 cup of cold water to the meat mixture and continue to knead it until the mixture becomes smooth and sticky.
  • Spread half of the meat mixture in a greased baking dish.
  • Spread the toasted pine nuts over the meat layer.
  • Add the remaining meat mixture on top of the pine nuts, and spread it out evenly with a spatula.
  • Cut the kibbeh into diamond shapes using a sharp knife.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the top of the kibbeh.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the kibbeh is golden brown and cooked through.
  • Serve hot with a side of salad, hummus, or other Middle Eastern side dishes.

Kibbeh has its roots in the Levant region of the Middle East, which encompasses modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. The dish is believed to have originated among the Bedouin tribes of the area, who needed a portable, nutritious food that could be easily carried with them during their nomadic lifestyle. The earliest versions of kibbeh were made with raw, pounded meat (usually lamb or goat) and bulgur wheat, a staple grain in the Middle East. The meat and bulgur were mixed together until they formed a smooth paste, which was then shaped into small balls or patties and eaten raw. The dish was often seasoned with spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and cumin to enhance its flavour. As cooking techniques such as frying and baking became more widespread in the region, kibbeh began to evolve and take on new forms. Instead of being eaten raw, the meat mixture was fried or baked, which gave it a crispy exterior and a moist, flavourful interior. In some regions, kibbeh was stuffed with additional ingredients, such as minced meat, onions, or pine nuts, to create a more complex and varied flavour. In Lebanon, kibbeh became an important part of the country's culinary heritage and is considered a national dish. There are many variations of the dish throughout the country, each with its unique flavour and presentation. For example, in the north of Lebanon, kibbeh is often made with a mixture of beef and lamb and is stuffed with a filling of minced meat, onions, and spices. In the south, kibbeh is often baked in a tray and served with a side of labneh (strained yogurt) and salad. Today, kibbeh remains a beloved and iconic part of Middle Eastern cuisine and is enjoyed by people around the world. Its rich history and diverse flavour profile make it a fascinating and delicious dish to explore and enjoy.

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