Go Back
Kibbeh Recipe Image


Course: Appetizer, Main Course, mezze
Cuisine: Lebanese, Mediterranean
Keyword: Bulgur, Lamb
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Kibbeh - Star of any mezze platter with its crispy fried crust, pillow soft interior, and delicious filling of spiced meats.
Print Recipe


Spice Blend

  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika


  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onion fine dice
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp spice blend
  • 1/4 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 tsp sumac optional
  • kosher salt to taste

Kibbeh Shell

  • 3/4 cup medium bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 cup onion fine dice
  • 2 clove garlic rough chop
  • 1 tsp spice blend
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb


  • Oil for frying


  • Prepare spice blend by adding all the spices to a small bowl and mixing to combine
  • Put burger wheat in a medium bowl, and add boiling water just to cover. Let rest about 30 minutes. While resting, prepare the filling


  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat
  • When the butter is simmering, add the onions and saute until beginning to soften
  • Add 1/2 tsp of spice blend and stir around in the onions to evenly coat
  • When the spices begin to get aromatic, add the lamb and sumac. Cook until the lamb is fully browned (no pink remaining). As the lamb cooks, use the small spatula to break up the lamb.
  • When done, set aside until ready to fill the kibbe


  • In the bowl of a food processor, add the onions, garlic, and spice blend.
  • Process until onion is finely minced
  • Add soaked bulgur wheat, and process until smooth and damp consistency
  • Add kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and lamb
  • Process until an emulsified blend that sticks together and holds its shape when pinched between your fingers
  • Remove lamb/bulgur mix from the food process and transfer into bowl


  • Scoop about 1 oz/2 tablespoons of the lamb/bulgur mix and shape into a ball. Repeat until all the mixture is used (about 16 kibbeh balls). Keep any small loose crumbs of the shell for testing the oil later.
  • Using your index finger, make a hole in the middle of each ball, but do press all the way through to the bottom
  • Scoop about 1 tsp of the filling mixture into each hole, gently pressing it in if necessary
  • Keeping your hands moist, carefully pinch the top of each shell to close around the filling. Gently roll the kibbeh in your hands to fully close each shell and give it the traditional shape.
  • Shape each kibbeh ball to be wider in the middle, and tapered at each end. A kibbeh should look roughly like an miniature American football.
  • Once all the kibbeh are shaped, let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.


  • While kibbeh are resting, prepare the oil for deep frying
  • Place about 3” of oil in a deep pot and heat over medium heat until it reaches about 350F. See note.
  • Using a slotted spoon or wire spider, gently add up to 4 kibbeh to the oil at a time.
  • Fry for about 8 minutes each, until the outer shell is evenly golden brown.
  • Using your spoon, gently turn over the kibbeh a couple of times to be sure it evenly cooks
  • Carefully remove the kibbeh from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.
  • Let them rest for several minutes before serving because they will be very hot.


A candy thermometer is helpful if you have it. If not, use a left over scrap of the shell mixture to test. Gently place in oil. If nothing happens and scrap sinks to the bottom, the oil is still too cold. If it immediately floats to the top, and bubbles and sizzles, the oil is ready.