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Greek and Cypriot Keftedes (Meat Balls)

Keftedes with salad

Keftedes are meatballs and each family has its own recipe depending on which part of the country they come from.    All Greek meatballs are made with soaked bread, others soak it in water and others in milk.  Usually ground beef is added, garlic and oregano.


Some add spices such as allspice or cumin and in the islands they add wine vinegar and in some parts ouzo.

Cypriot Keftedes

The Cypriot meatballs are always made with ground pork and grated potato and are full of flavour. Mixed pork and beef mince may also be used but personally I prefer them only with minced pork. The traditional way of making them is using only grated raw potato and of course the flavours of Cyprus which is mint and cinnamon.   In the recipe which is in my cookbook, I have a secret ingredient which I learned from my sister which make them extra fluffy. However, I will not leave you without a recipe.  Here are the Greek meatballs which you will also like.

keftedes before frying

Keftedes:  Greek meatballs

Time of preparation: 15 minutes

Frying time: 20 – 30 minutes

Yields: about 52 meatballs


  • 1 kilo ground beef
  • 4 slices white bread without the crust
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 red onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • A handful fresh or 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Olive oil for frying


  1. Remove the crust from the bread and soak it in milk.   When soft, squeeze to drain the milk.
  2. In a food processor add one of the eggs together with the onions and garlic and process. 
  3. Put the minced meat in a large bowl and add the grated onion as well as  the bread, the mint and finely chopped parsley, the other egg, salt, pepper and spices.
  4. Mix very well.
  5. Leave the mixture in the refrigerator for about ½ an hour or more for the flavours to develop.
  6. Shape them into small round balls or oval before frying.
  7. Dredge them in flour and fry them in hot olive oil on medium heat, until browned on all sides through the middle.

Drain on paper towels and serve as is, with roasted vegetables or Greek Salad and tzatziki or Garlicky cucumber yoghurt salad or Yoghurt Mustard Sauce.

Keftedes with yoghurt sauce

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.  

Other relevant recipes:

Soutzoukakia Smyrneika (meatballs in tomato sauce)

Meatballs in pomegranate sauce

Giouvalakia (meatballs in avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce

Sheftalia in Pita


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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4 Responses

  1. Very interesting to read about adding ouzo to meatballs. I had tried a lot of things in meatballs but never that. And thank you for the Cypriot Keftedes recipe.


  2. Androulla Lloyd

    In your keftedes recipe there is no potato? The traditional Cyprus recipe has potatoes
    very confused.
    In Greece they use NO potatoes but in Cyprus is a must.
    Please reply to my comment
    Thank you

    • Ivy

      Of course there is potato in Cypriot keftedes.

  3. Ben

    I recently saw a chicken version of meatballs with boiled potatoes and bread crumbs (no egg). I have still to try it myself and then decide which one to stick to.