Greek Meatballs

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Greek Meatballs, or keftedes, boast a rich blend of ground beef, fresh herbs, and spices, creating a bold flavor profile with juicy interiors and crispy exteriors. Serve these completely irresistible meatballs in toasted, warmed pita with fresh veggies and a quick tzatziki sauce for one of the best meals ever!

Image of the Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)

Greek meatballs, also known as keftedes, are among my top favorite dishes! They boast bold flavors and an incredible texture, featuring juicy insides and crispy, well-charred exteriors.

These meatballs owe their deliciousness to a mix of ground beef, fresh herbs, and spices, which impart a delightful richness. The parsley and mint contribute freshness and an enticing aroma. The blend of spices like oregano and cumin adds complexity and a burst of flavor. Grated onion enhances the depth and moisture of the meatballs, resulting in a tender and juicy texture. The secret ingredient, beef bouillon powder, lends a deep, savory beefiness to the meatballs.

For a truly special experience, serve these meatballs in warmed, toasted pitas topped with fresh veggies and homemade tzatziki sauce. This tzatziki sauce in this recipe is the perfect refreshing topping to complement the meatballs.

Ingredient shot-- image of all the ingredients used in this dish

Greek Meatball Ingredients

In this recipe, various ingredients come together to create flavorful and tender Greek Meatballs. Here are a few notes on specific ingredients:

  • Panko breadcrumbs: Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb that adds softness and juiciness to meatballs while serving as an excellent binder. It is typically found in the Asian food aisle or near other breadcrumbs at your local store.
  • Parsley: This herb brings a refreshing element to the meatballs. Opt for flat-leaf Italian parsley, not curly parsley. Flat-leaf has a lot more flavor!
  • Mint: This aromatic herb adds a hint of freshness and a subtle, unique flavor. The mint complements the other herbs and spices in the recipe, creating a more complex and well-rounded flavor profile. (If you have leftovers, you have got to try out this Virgin Mojito Recipe!)
  • Red onion: Although any onion variety can be used, red onion imparts a milder flavor to the Greek Meatballs, enhancing the flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
  • Egg: The egg plays a crucial role in binding the meatballs and adds to their overall flavor.
  • Beef bouillon powder: Although it might not be a conventional ingredient in Greek Meatballs, this addition brings a robust, meaty taste that intensifies the beefiness of the dish. Don’t skip it!
  • Oregano, ground cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper: These ingredients all do a lot to elevate the flavor of the meatballs.

Process shots of Greek Meatballs-- images of the red onion being grated

Let’s Talk Beef

First, let’s talk about the ground chuck used in these Greek Meatballs. We recommend using 80/20 ground chuck because of its fat content. (The 80/20 ratio refers to the fact that it contains 80% lean meat and 20% fat.)

This particular blend provides several benefits for meatballs:

  • Flavor: Fat is a significant contributor to the taste of meat. The 20% fat content in ground chuck enhances the flavor of the meatballs, making them more savory and delicious.
  • Moisture: The fat in 80/20 ground chuck helps retain moisture in the meatballs, preventing them from becoming dry and tough. When cooked, the fat melts and is absorbed by the meat, creating a juicy and tender texture.
  • Binding: Fat also plays a role in binding the meatball mixture together. As the fat melts during cooking, it helps hold the meat and other ingredients together, making the meatballs less likely to fall apart.
  • Browning: The fat content in 80/20 ground chuck promotes better browning and caramelization on the surface of the meatballs, resulting in a crisp and flavorful exterior.

Image of a measuring cup filled with the grated onion

How To Serve Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs can be served in so many different ways! Here are some suggestions:

  • In a pita: Place the meatballs inside warm, toasted pita, and add fresh veggies like lettuce, tomato, and onion. Top with homemade tzatziki sauce for a refreshing and tangy complement to the meatballs.
  • With rice: Serve the meatballs alongside a bed of rice, such as Lemon Rice or a Greek-style pilaf. Add a side salad or roasted vegetables for a complete and balanced meal.
  • As an appetizer: Skewer the meatballs with toothpicks or small skewers and serve with tzatziki or another dipping sauce, like a spicy feta dip, for a tasty appetizer or party snack.
  • On a mezze platter: Include the meatballs as part of a mezze platter, featuring other Greek appetizers such as Hummus, Dolmas, olives, feta cheese, and marinated vegetables.
  • With pasta: Serve Greek Meatballs over pasta, like orzo, tossed with a light tomato sauce, crumbled feta cheese, and fresh herbs.
  • In a salad: Add the meatballs to this Greek Quinoa Salad or Greek Couscous Salad.

Process shots of Greek Meatballs-- images of all the ingredients being combined and mixed together and measured out

What To Serve With Greek Meatballs

There are several side dishes that pair well with Greek Meatballs, complementing their flavors and textures. Here are some options to consider:

  • Tzatziki sauce: This refreshing Greek yogurt sauce, made with cucumber, garlic, and herbs, is a perfect dipping accompaniment for the meatballs. It’s our favorite!
  • Greek salad: A classic Greek Salad works well as a fresh and flavorful side.
  • Cucumber salad: Nothing beats the light crunch of cucumbers with these meatballs– we’re obsessed with this Cucumber Feta Salad or this balsamic-dressed Cucumber Salad.
  • Lemon rice, couscous, or orzo: A side of lemon-infused rice, Couscous, or orzo complements the meatballs nicely.
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables: Serve the meatballs with a side of grilled or roasted Mediterranean vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Pita: Warm, toasted pita is great for scooping up the meatballs and any accompanying sauce.
  • Feta cheese and olives: A plate of crumbled feta cheese and a selection of olives adds a salty, tangy element that pairs well with the meatballs.

Image of each meatball being dipped in flour, sprayed with cooking spray, and baked


Storing Leftover Greek Meatballs

Refrigerate leftover Greek meatballs (without sauce) in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

To freeze, cook and cool the meatballs, place on a parchment-lined sheet pan, and freeze uncovered for an hour or until solid. Transfer to a labeled, dated, freezer-safe container and store for up to 3 months.

To reheat, place frozen meatballs on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake at 300°F for 15 minutes or until fully thawed and heated through.

Up-close image of the Greek Meatballs in a pita with all the toppings ready to be enjoyed

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Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)

5 from 2 votes
Greek Meatballs, or keftedes, boast a rich blend of ground beef, fresh herbs, and spices, creating a bold flavor profile with juicy interiors and crispy exteriors. Serve these completely irresistible meatballs in toasted, warmed pita with fresh veggies and a quick tzatziki sauce for one of the best meals ever!
Print Recipe

Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)

5 from 2 votes
Greek Meatballs, or keftedes, boast a rich blend of ground beef, fresh herbs, and spices, creating a bold flavor profile with juicy interiors and crispy exteriors. Serve these completely irresistible meatballs in toasted, warmed pita with fresh veggies and a quick tzatziki sauce for one of the best meals ever!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Greek, Healthy
Keyword greek meatball pitas, greek meatballs, keftedes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Chelsea Lords
Calories 280kcal
Cost $7.79


  • Olive oil cooking spray


  • cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1 large red onion, separated use (Note 1)
  • 1 pound ground beef 80/20
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped, optional
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon each: dried oregano, ground cumin, beef bouillon powder
  • teaspoons minced garlic (~2 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fine sea salt & pepper

Optional, Serving Suggestions:

  • 6 pitas, 12 tbsp. whole milk Greek yogurt, 4 Persian cucumbers (sliced thinly lengthwise), 6 pieces green leaf lettuce, diced cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions, homemade or store-bought Tzatziki sauce (Note 2)


  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a dark-colored rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray and set aside. Add flour to a small bowl and set aside.
  • MEATBALLS: Peel the onion and cut in half. If desired, make pickled red onions with one half (See Note 1) or save for another recipe. Grate the other half on the large holes of a cheese grater until you have a completely filled ½ cup of grated onion. Add onion to a large bowl. Add remaining meatball ingredients (except for the flour). Season to taste with salt & pepper (I add ¼ tsp pepper and ¾ tsp salt). Gently knead the ingredients until they are integrated, being careful not to overwork the meat.
  • MEATBALLS CONT.: Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture and roll it into an evenly-sized ball. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture to make around 24-27 meatballs. (I find it helpful to lightly grease my hands with cooking spray to make rolling the balls easier.) Working with one meatball at a time, roll to lightly coat in the flour, shaking off the excess. Arrange the meatballs, spaced apart, on the sheet pan.
  • BAKE: Generously spray the meatballs with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes; then use a metal spatula and your fingers (careful, they're hot!) to gently flip the meatballs over to the other side. Bake for another 5-8 minutes, or until nicely golden brown/charred on each side and baked through.
  • TZATZIKI: Meanwhile, prepare optional tzatziki. (See Note 2.)
  • SERVE: Lightly toast the pita (Note 3). Spread 2 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt inside each pita and sprinkle with salt to taste. Layer in lettuce, cucumber slices and, if desired, add in pickled red onions (Note 1). Add 4-5 meatballs on top and drizzle lots of sauce over the pitas and enjoy immediately.


Recipe Notes

Note 1: Pickled onions: We love pickled red onions on these; here's my super-simple version: Very thinly slice half the red onion and place it in a bowl. Top with 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1-1/2 tsp sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Toss every 5-10 minutes or so until softened (~30 mins). I usually start these first and stir throughout the process.
Note 2: Tzatziki sauce: Nothing beats this homemade sauce with these meatballs! You can make it the day before. To make: grate an unpeeled Persian or English cucumber on the largeh oles of a cheese grater to get a full 1/2 cup. Line a small bowl with a few paper towels (or a clean kitchen towel) and place the grated cucumber on top. Squeeze out as much extra moisture as you can; add to a bowl with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1-1/2 tsp red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, & 1/8 tsp pepper. Stir and refrigerate until ready to use.
Note 3: Toasting pitas: To toast the pita, spray both sides of the pita with olive oil cooking spray and char directly over the gas flames (at medium to medium-low heat) for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until pitas are lightly charred.
Nutrition information is calculated for four meatballs, without pita or tzatziki.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 8servings | Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 281mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 291IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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  1. I’m guessing it’s straightforward, but can you give more detail on the greek salad that is pictured – it is drool worthy and I want to recreate it!

  2. Hey Chelsea,
    I really like what I see w/ your recipe.
    I’d love to have your full post for the Greek salad dressing.
    Greek dressing as simple as it may seem, can be difficult for someone like me, to replicate from wonderful restaurant quality recipes.
    I’m hoping you could now give a complete list of ingredients & directions to complete a meal w/in one post.
    Thanks a million,

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