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Greek and Cypriot Keftedes (Meat Balls)

Greek and Cypriot Keftedes (Meat Balls)

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Keftedes (pr. keh- FTEH-dhes) are juicy Greek meatballs and each family has its own recipe, depending on which part of the country they come from.    They are the star of every party.

Today you will find two recipe cards. In the first one you will find the Greek recipe for Keftedes (meatballs) and in the second one, the recipe coming from my birth country, Cyprus.

Note: The recipes were first posted on 02/11/2007 and updated with a video in September, 2020.

The Greek Keftedes

The Greek meatballs are made with stale breadcrumbs.  Some prefer to soak the bread in water and others in milk.  Usually ground veal is added  and oregano, parsley and mint are added for flavour.

keftedes Cypriot meatballs image

Some like adding more spices, such as allspice, cinnamon or cumin and in the islands they also add either some wine vinegar or ouzo.

collage keftedes meatballs image

In order to add some moisture to the keftedes, I like adding a grated tomato or a zucchini, instead of the potato which I add to the Cypriot ones.

Preparing meatballs image

Instead of coating them only with flour, I also mix some homemade dried bread crumbs (similar to panko) mixed with flour to coat them, which gives them a nice, crunchy texture.

Greek meatballs keftedes image

Greek Keftedes (Meat Balls)

Yield: 30
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

The Greek meatballs are made with stale breadcrumbs.  Some prefer to soak the bread in water and others in milk.  Usually ground beef is added  and oregano and mint are added for flavour.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams minced veal
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 1 small tomato, peeled and puréed
  • ½ cup parsley and fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 medium slices stale bread, made into breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped or 4 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup all- purpose flour for dredging, mixed with
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 cup olive oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Grate the onion either on a box grated or in a food processor. Add the tomato or the vinegar if it needs some help to purée.
  2. Put all the ingredients, except the last three ones, in a bowl.
  3. Use your hands to mix well for a few minutes until the mixture is quite smooth and very well combined.
  4. Cover the bowl with the lid and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  5. Form them into oblong patties or round meatballs, (you can use the ice cream scoop to have even-sized meatballs).
  6. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat or (medium if you have a strong gas stove). Use enough oil to cover almost half of the meatballs.
  7. Dredge the meatballs in the flour breadcrumb mixture, shaking off excess, then place in the skillet. Cook in 3 to 4 batches. Turn them around and cook for 5 - 6 minutes, until nicely browned all over.
  8. Drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Notes

The pan-frying method is the traditional way and the meatballs are slightly juicier.


Alternatively, you can bake them in the oven: Spray generously with olive oil and bake at 180C/350F for 20 minutes or until browned.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 30 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 122Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 21mgSodium 273mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 5g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Yoghurt and Tahini Sauce

Minty Yoghurt and Tahini Sauce image

Ingredients:

  • 1 Greek Yoghurt 2%
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried mint, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mild mustard

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients in a food processor and mix until well combined.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

The Cypriot Keftedes

The Cypriot keftedes (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 not so usual ingredient which I learned from my sister which makes them extra fluffy. She also adds a boiled potato!

Serve as a main dish with pasta or Fried Potatoes the Greek Way and a  Greek Salad or as an appretizer with some tzatziki or Garlicky cucumber yoghurt salad or Yoghurt Sauce (recipe below).

Keftedes with yoghurt sauce image
keftedes Cypriot meatballs image

Cypriot Keftedes (Meat Balls)

Yield: 30
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

The Cypriot keftedes (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.

Ingredients

  • ½ kilo (1.10 lbs) minced meat, preferably pork
  • 1 medium sized potato, grated
  • 1 medium sized potato, boiled (optional)
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp dried mint
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • Dried bread crumbs (optional)
  • Olive oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Grate the potatoes on a box grater and discard the excess water.
  2. Mash the other potato while warm.
  3. Add the minced meat, the onion, mint and finely chopped parsley, the eggs, salt, pepper and cinnamon.
  4. Mix very well and if there is excess fluid add some dried bread crumbs. At this stage you can put it in a zip lock bag and freeze it.
  5. Leave the mixture in the refrigerator for about half an hour or more, for the flavours to mix.
  6. Shape them into small round balls or oval patties.
  7. Heat about an inch (2½ cm) olive oil on high heat in a frying pan. Add the meatballs without adding too many and reduce heat to medium.
  8. Fry them until browned on all sides through the middle.
  9. Drain them on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
  10. Serve with a Greek salad, some Greek fried potatoes and some tzatziki.

Notes

If you like you can bake keftedes in the oven.

Line a baking tin with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350o F and bake them for about thirty minutes until golden on top. No need to turn them over.

This and many more Cypriot recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 30 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 32Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 15mgSodium 248mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Other relevant recipes:

Fakokeftedes (lentil burgers)

Kolokythokeftedes (zucchini patties)

Ntomatokeftedes (tomato patties)

Soutzoukakia Smyrneika (meatballs in tomato sauce)

Meatballs in pomegranate sauce

Giouvalakia (meatballs in avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce

Revithokeftedes (chickpea patties)

Meatballs in Pomegranate sauce

Baked Meatballs

Sheftalia in Pita

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Collage Greek or Cypriot meatballs image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ben

Tuesday 6th of October 2015

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.

Androulla Lloyd

Friday 3rd of July 2015

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

Saturday 3rd of October 2015

Of course there is potato in Cypriot keftedes.

Jean

Thursday 7th of June 2012

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.

-Jean

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