Making great kibbeh is an art form and can take much practice to get right. You have to make sure the kibbeh is crunchy but not too dry.

The casing must be thin but substantial enough to balance the filling. The filling should complement the container without overwhelming it.

When you bite a kibbeh, it should be savory and moderately spiced, never too spicy or bland.

So many things to consider, but possible to perfect.

The finished kibbeh should be a manageable size. It should fit into the palm of your hand, and you should be able to finish it in a few bites.

The perfect kibbeh will leave you wanting more until you can’t count how many you’ve had.


The Lebanese are kibbeh experts, so it’s the national dish.

Essentially kibbeh is a bulgur wheat and meat-based dish mixed with many different things and prepared in various ways.

This recipe is for individually fried morsels but can also be adapted to kibbeh bil Spanish (Kibbeh in a tray), which you can find in the recipe here.

We also have kibbeh labneh here, where kibbeh is cooked in a rich garlicky yogurt sauce. If you’re feeling brave, you can also try our raw kibbeh yeh recipe.


What makes kibbeh so interesting is that the meat is presented in two ways with different textures.

The filling should be delicate and smooth, so you can’t stuff the kibbeh balls easily. Press the minced meat for the filling down with the back of a spoon to break it apart.

A good amount of onions is needed to provide sweetness and balance the savouriness.

The more you caramelize them and have patience, the sweeter they will be. I cook them on medium-high heat for the first five minutes, then turn them down to the lowest heat.


You can find kibbeh or amount spices in most middle eastern shops. However, it is always better to make your own, and we at Zaatar and Zaytoun have provided you with full recipes as below.

For the Lebanese seven spices (full recipe here)

  • 5 tbsp garam masala or allspice
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
    • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tbsp dried rose petals
    • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
    • 2 tsp dried marjoram
    • 2 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried mint
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp 7 spice
    • 1 tsp salt


  • I use a mix of lamb and beef mince, which means it’s not too fatty but just tender enough, though, of course, you can use whichever meat you prefer.
  • I use a 50:50 lamb-to-beef ratio, but you can also do 70:30, depending on your preference.
  • I know some people intentionally add extra lean lamb fat or ‘yeh,’ but I can’t tolerate that taste, so no.


  • I’ve made you a shaky video of my mum, the pro, shaping some kibbeh.
  • First, make an indent in a golf-sized ball as you turn the kibbeh. Then once you have a hollow shell, add some filling and close it up by pinching and turning in your hands until smooth.


  • Once you make your kibbeh which needs a good few hours, you will turn your nose up at restaurant-made ones, which rarely contain the love and effort required to make them this good.
  • And I don’t see the point of those fiddly kibbeh molds where you have to put them in, press it, and then clean it, bla bla. It isn’t worth the effort.


  • I like to make lots and lots of kibbeh because it’s messy and more rewarding when you can freeze several batches to be consumed later.
  • You can also make any leftover casing into ‘cheats kibbe,’ which though it has no filling, is also delicious and especially popular with children.
  • I usually shape these into flat rounds, so I know the difference.


For the Kibbe filling:

    • 500 g minced meat
    • 2-3 onions chopped
    • One teaspoon seven spice
    • 1.5 tablespoons Kibbeh Spices (Kamouneh Spice Mix)
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • One tablespoon salt
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts
    • Two tablespoon sumac

For the Kibbeh casing:

    • 1-kilo fine bulgur wheat
    • 1 kilo mince meat
    • Two onions
    • 1.5 tablespoons Kibbeh Spices
    • 1.5 tablespoon cornflour
    • One teaspoon seven spice
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • One tablespoon salt
    • Sunflower or vegetable oil


    1. Soak the bulgur wheat in enough water to cover it and set it aside.
    2. To make the filling, saute the chopped onions in regular olive oil until golden on medium-low heat.
    3. Add 500g of minced meat to the onions and cook out the beef on medium-high heat.
    4. Add the seven spices, amount of spices, black pepper, and salt, and use the back of your wooden spoon to break up the meat.
    5. Turn off the heat and add the sumac and chopped walnuts when cooked. Taste to make any adjustments, then cover and set aside.
    6. Drain the bulgur wheat and add to a large bowl. Take out the kilo of meat and prepare a food processor.
    7. In several batches, add the bulgur wheat and equal amounts of meat to the food processor and process until it clumps together and starts to roll in the processor bowl.
    8. Roughly chop two onions to go in the food processor along with the seven spices, amount spices, black pepper, and salt. Blitz well
    9. When you have combined all the meat and bulgur wheat in a bowl, add the blitzed onion spice mix and the cornflour, then bring everything together, preferably with your hands.
    10. If it is too dry, add a bit of water, you don’t want it too loose, sticky, or crumbly, but it holds together nicely. If you don’t mind tasting a bit of raw meat, check for saltiness and adjust as necessary.
    11. Add approx half a cup of sunflower to a small bowl which you can dip your fingers into when shaping the kibbeh to avoid sticking. Clean your table and arrange a workflow with a large clean tray, the sunflower oil, the filling, and the casing mix.
    12. Take some casing and roll it into golf ball size, indent the middle, then hollow out the inside with your index finger turning as you do so until you have a half shell. Add a spoonful of filling and close up the casing. Compress well with your hands and shape into classic kibbeh morsels (see video)
    13. Line up the kibbeh on the tray until you finish the filling.
    14. Deep fry your kibbeh morsels in sunflower or vegetable oil and serve with yogurt dip


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