These Greek Meatballs (aka Keftedes) are made with ground beef and lamb or pork mixed with fresh garlic, feta cheese, other herbs and spices, then cooked to tender, savory perfection. They go perfectly with tangy tzatziki sauce, sliced red onions, tomatoes, and soft, grilled pita bread to create a meatball gyro sandwich or mezze platter for an easy dinner or party appetizer that is ready in under 30 minutes!

If you love Greek food as much as we do, be sure to try our Greek 7 Layer Dip, Greek Marinade for chicken, and Skordalia (a delicious garlic-potato spread that is frequently served with roasted beets).

A Greek meze platter with meatballs, tzatziki sauce, pita bread triangles, red onions, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese.

We LOVE these savory, tender Greek meatballs, or Keftedes as they are known in Greece. They make a fantastic party appetizer or can be served as a main course for a relaxed dinner that the whole family will enjoy.

It's pretty well-documented here that I love the flavors of Mediterranean food. We have been able to travel all over different parts of Greece, including the islands, and the robust spices, the tangy, salty feta cheese, smooth, rich olive oil, bright lemon juice, and fresh, bold garlic and onions and herbs all work some kind of magic together to create some of the best dishes ever.

We always serve our keftedes with homemade tzatziki sauce (a cucumber and yogurt dip with flavors of garlic and olive oil), some sliced tomatoes and onions, and soft, grilled pita either whole for making gyro meatball sandwiches or cut into triangles for dipping. Serve with a side of our Greek Feta Fries for an epic dinner of homemade Mediterranean deliciousness! And maybe consider a batch of Greek Baklava for dessert!

Why this Recipe Works

  • We are talking less than 30 minutes of work to get dinner on the table, which is always a win in my book.
  • You can bake them for a healthier version of the traditional Greek meatball recipe or go all out and fry them in a little olive oil in a skillet instead.
  • They are great for getting little hands involved in the kitchen since kids enjoy mixing the meatball mixture and shaping them.
  • Greek meatballs can be made ahead and even frozen for quick weeknight dinners that just need to be reheated, so you might want to consider making a double batch!

Ingredient Notes

  • Meat: The combo of ground beef, ground lamb, or ground pork makes for exceptionally rich, tender, and delicious meatballs. Beef & pork has a more mild flavor, lamb & pork is extra rich, and beef & lamb is great for big flavor. Pair any two proteins for a different taste each time!
  • Feta cheese: This wonderful salty cheese is a classic in Greek cuisine. You can buy it in block form and crumble it up yourself or buy it pre-crumbled at the store.
  • Fresh parsley: The flavor of fresh herbs makes a big difference in these little meatballs. I love the flat leaf Italian parsley best.
  • Lemon zest: This ingredient cuts the richness of the meat and feta with its bright citrus notes that are a great compliment to the herbs and spices used to flavor these Greek meatballs.
Greek meatball ingredients in separate containers on a white surface.

How to Make This Recipe

There is a little prep work involved of chopping the garlic and fresh parsley, grating some onion, and zesting a lemon or two, but otherwise the effort involved in this recipe is minimal.

Just combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and use your hands (or a wooden spoon) to mix everything together until evenly dispersed. I don't recommend using any tools like a mixer to combine the ingredients because you will get lighter, more tender meatballs by not overworking the mixture, which is easy to do with a machine. Besides, squishing everything together by hand is so much fun!

Evenly divide the meatball mixture into small portions and roll them into balls between the palms of your hands. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper to keep them from sticking.

Then just pop them in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes until they are cooked through and nicely browned on the outside.

Pan-fried method: If you prefer to cook your meatballs on the stovetop instead, heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the meatballs, working in batches as needed. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides and cooked through.

A hand dipping a Greek meatball on a toothpick into a bowl of tzatziki sauce.

Recipe FAQ's

Can these be made with ground turkey or ground chicken?

If you want an even healthier protein option, yes, you could make these Greek meatballs with ground turkey or ground chicken for a lighter version. Be really careful not to overbake them though, as the leaner proteins tend to dry out more quickly, so the meatballs might not be as tender.

What is a serving size?

The nutrition information in the recipe card is based off what I consider a dinner-sized serving of 5 meatballs per person. But if you are planning on these for a party appetizer, I would plan on most people taking 2-3.

How do I get evenly sized meatballs?

The easiest way to get consistent sized meatballs is to either use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to measure out the meat before rolling it into balls. Or divide the meatball mixture into ¼'s, then pinch off five equal-sized portions from each quarter of the meat to end up with exactly 20, evenly-sized meatballs every time.

Adding tzatziki sauce with a spoon onto baked Greek feta meatballs.

Recipe Tips

  • Storage: These will be good for 3-4 days in the fridge and make excellent leftovers the next day for lunch!
  • Freezing: You can freeze these Greek meatballs either before or after baking. If freezing before baking, I recommend freezing them spaced out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until they are hard, then transfer to a freezer-safe container for longer-term storage. Thaw before baking. If you want to freeze the meatballs AFTER baking, then just let them cool completely, freeze spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer-safe container for longer-term storage. You can reheat directly from frozen in the oven or air fryer in this case. To reheat, place the frozen meatballs on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F until warmed through, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Using ground lamb: Lamb is so a wonderfully rich and flavorful protein and is used more frequently in Greek food than in American food. I really recommend trying it at least once.
  • Don't overwork the meatball mixture: I always work the ingredients together with my hands, squishing it until the spices are evenly distributed. Just be careful not to work the meat and spices too hard by mashing them too much or too hard because you don't want to end up with tough meatballs.
Baked Greek meatballs on a meze platter with tzatziki sauce, pita, and red onions.

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Baked Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)

4.96 from 41 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine European
Servings 5 servings
These Greek Meatballs (aka Keftedes) are made with ground beef and lamb or pork mixed with fresh garlic, feta cheese, other herbs and spices, then cooked to tender, savory perfection. They go perfectly with tangy tzatziki sauce, sliced red onions, tomatoes, and soft, grilled pita bread to create a meatball gyro sandwich or mezze platter for an easy dinner or party appetizer that is ready in under 30 minutes!

Ingredients
  

Greek Feta Meatballs

  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground lamb or pork
  • ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

For Serving

  • Soft pita bread
  • Sliced Roma tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • Sliced red onion
  • Tzatziki sauce

Instructions
 

Meatball preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  • Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix everything together until the meat is uniformly combined with the other ingredients.
  • Use a small cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs or divide the mixture into 4 equal parts. From there, divide each portion of the meatball mixture into 5 meatballs so you end up with 20 equal-sized meatballs. Roll each meatball between your hands to shape it and then arrange them on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake in the preheated oven from 10-14 minutes, until they are nicely brown and cooked through.

For gyro sandwiches

  • To assemble gyros, warm the pitas on a grill or in the oven, just until soft.
  • Place a few slices of roma tomato and some sliced red onions onto each pita bread, then top with 4 or 5 meatballs. Add a couple dollops of tzatziki sauce and serve with Greek feta fries.

For a mezze platter

  • If you prefer to serve this as a more of a grazing board or appetizer like for a party, I like to arrange the meatballs in a pile on a large platter with a bowl of tzatziki sauce, warmed pita triangles, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, and a brick of feta cheese drizzled with olive oil. You could also add kalamata olives or cucumber slices to your spread. Serve with toothpicks for spearing the meatballs.

Video

Notes

  • Storage: These will be good for 3-4 days in the fridge and make excellent leftovers the next day for lunch!
  • Freezing: You can freeze these Greek meatballs either before or after baking. If freezing before baking, I recommend freezing them spaced out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until they are hard, then transfer to a freezer-safe container for longer-term storage. Thaw before baking. If you want to freeze the meatballs AFTER baking, then just let them cool completely, freeze spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer-safe container for longer-term storage. You can reheat directly from frozen in the oven or air fryer in this case. To reheat, place the frozen meatballs on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F until warmed through, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Using ground lamb: Lamb is so a wonderfully rich and flavorful protein and is used more frequently in Greek food than in American food. I really recommend trying it at least once.
  • Don't overwork the meatball mixture: I always work the ingredients together with my hands, squishing it until the spices are evenly distributed. Just be careful not to work the meat and spices too hard by mashing them too much or too hard because you don't want to end up with tough meatballs.
Meatballs adapted from Recipe Runner.

Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 694mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 447IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post was originally published in October, 2016. The photos and content were updated in January, 2022.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Yum! They look so goooooood! I've never eaten ground lamb before. I absolutely love lamb too, maybe even more than steak! I bet they taste as great as they look! Definitely pinning!

  2. 5 stars
    Nothing beats a good meatball. We love feta cheese...so these look totally awesome. Perfect for a weeknight, or when you want a fun weekend dinner to sit back, relax and enjoy with a glass of wine.

  3. 5 stars
    Showed my husband this recipe, and he says I HAVE to make it. Looks very good. Love your pictures.

  4. Oh absolutely yummy! We love meatballs and imagine a sandwich full of those made us starving!!!
    Wish you a wonderful week!
    Gloria & Emanuele

    1. Sharp eyes, Rebekah! When I was taking photos, I was actually making a double batch, which is why you see two eggs in the bowl and the recipe only calls for 1. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Omg these are so delicious! The meatballs were so tender and full of flavor! I love this dish and I will definitely make it again! Thanks!

  6. Ground lamb is so yummy! I always love this flavor combo - looks like it would make a delicious lunch!

    1. Sorry Joe! I can see where that might be confusing. I mentioned in the post itself that I often double the recipe, which is what I did when I was taking pictures, since I like to have leftovers. But a single batch as written only requires 1 egg and is perfect for 4 people.

  7. 5 stars
    So these are amazing....I've had them 5 times already! I wanted to make a big batch to keep in the freezer as part of my pre-baby stock pile, but couldn't decide if I should freeze them before or after cooking. Thoughts or advice? If I freeze them before cooking...any tips for cooking after? I am indecisive! So I thought I'd ask the pro. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. P.s. I recognize that you said you hadn't frozen them before, but just seeking some general meatball guidance from someone more experienced. Thanks!

      1. I'm so glad you love these meatballs as much as we do! I actually have frozen these since posting the recipe (thanks to the reader who commented about it above, which prompted me to give it a shot) but never updated it so I'm so glad you commented because it reminded me!

        They can be frozen either way - cooked or uncooked. If you freeze them uncooked, you can freeze them for up to 3 months and then just thaw in the fridge and cook like normal. To freeze cooked meatballs, I just place them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once they are frozen, I dump them all into a large freezer safe plastic bag and stick them back in the freezer for up to 1 month. To reheat, you just place them on a baking sheet and bake them at 300 degrees until warmed through, about 20-25 minutes.

        I hope that helps! Congrats on your baby! When are you due?

  8. 5 stars
    I used 1 lb. of ground lamb and skipped the beef altogether for the meatballs. I accidentally forgot the egg, but they still turned out wonderful. Thank you!

  9. These look great and I have the opportunity to make them...by accident of grabbing lamb instead of veal at the market. 2 questions: do these freeze and reheat well? How about adding the to a red spaghetti sauce? Do the flavors compliment tomato base?

    1. These absolutely freeze and reheat well! And they would absolutely work adding them to a red spaghetti sauce. They aren't the same flavor profile as Italian meatballs, but they totally work and taste delicious in a red sauce.

  10. 5 stars
    These were incredible. We couldn't stop making yummy noises while eating them. We didn't add the cinnamon my husband doesn't care for cake spices in his meet. I wouldn't mind trying it sometime though. I use all lamb as I had a pound of lamb. Very, very good. Thank you sharing your recipe!

  11. It is a nice recipe, however, I do not understand why nowadays you all mention the word *Italian* for products such herbs (parsley), olive oil, or other products which are classic Mediterranean, not to mention that Olive oil got known to Italy by the Greeks about 3000 years ago as did wine and first version of Macaroni and Version of round bread from Persia (Iran, Pizza larer, due to adding of tomato sauce.

    So there is nothing particular about Italian parsley, in this case, rather than simple culinary fashion. Parsley has the same taste in Italy, Greece, and all Mediterranean countries.

    Thanks for reading

    Mr K

    1. In some stores, flat leaf parsley is also referred to as "Italian" parsley. I, for one, am grateful for this clarification or I may end up using curly leaf parsley. To me, the two have a different flavor profile, but again, that's just me.

  12. 5 stars
    It's hard to pass up a good meatball recipe. This can be used for pasta or as an appetizer. I would also love stuffing these into a bun for a meatball sub.

  13. 5 stars
    I guess the only problem with these is that you need to make A LOT! From my experience, these meatballs tend to disappear fast, which is, of course a good sign 😉

  14. 5 stars
    This took me back to my Greek vacation. I think I ate my weight in keftedes. I served these meatballs over lemon-garlic orzo and with a cucumber onion salad. So perfect and so easy to make.

  15. 5 stars
    These Greek meatballs are delicious! I loved the use of feta cheese, with the ground lamb and beef. It gave the meatballs a delightful tangy flavor. I paired them with tzatziki sauce, and omg, it was great! I'm definitely making this recipe again!

  16. 5 stars
    These baked Greek feta meatballs looks amazing, so flavourful and inviting. Perfect for parties and weekends.

  17. 5 stars
    What a wonderful recipe! The meatballs came out delicious. I will make these again. We need these in our lives again and again!

  18. 5 stars
    Greek cuisine is something we love at home. I proposed this recipe to my hubby and he was wowed! Bookmarking this in my repertoire!

  19. 5 stars
    Made these for dinner. They turned out great.I made some homemade tzatziki to go with them. The combination was delicious.