A Simple Kibbeh


The Spruce

  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings

Kibbeh is one of those foods that you crave, and the craving won't be satisfied until you eat it. There are many recipes for kibbeh, but this one is very easy and perfect for beginners.

A Middle Eastern dish, Kibbeh is made of bulghur cracked wheat, minced onions, and lean ground beef, lamb, goat or camel meat and topped off with spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove.

Kibbeh can be fried into football-shaped croquettes that are stuffed with cooked minced beef or lamb. Kibbeh can also be rolled into balls or patties, and either baked or cooked in broth.


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  • 2 pounds finely ground beef (or lamb, lean, divided)
  • 1/2 pound  bulghur cracked wheat (medium or #2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (plus 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 medium onions (1 finely chopped, and 1 coarsely chopped, divided)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, don't be intimidated, this kibbeh dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking.

Make Kibbeh Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Kibbeh ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. In a medium bowl, soak wheat for 30 minutes in cold water.

    Soaking wheat in a bowl
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  3. Remove and drain. Remove excess water by squeezing through thick paper towel or cheesecloth.

  4. Place into a medium bowl and combine with 1 pound meat, coarsely chopped onion, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

    Wheat, meat and onions in bowl
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  5. Combine well and place a small amount in a food processor until a dough-like consistency. You can slowly add an ice cube at a time during processing if needed.

    Kibbeh ingredients in a food processor
     The Spruce
  6. Place mixture aside, covered. Instead of using a food processor, you can use a mortar and pestle. However, it will take you over an hour to achieve the desired consistency.

Prepare Kibbeh Stuffing

  1. In a medium frying pan, sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil. Add pine nuts if desired.

  2. Add ground lamb or beef and chop well with wooden spoon or spatula to ensure the meat is chopped. Add allspice, salt, pepper, and cumin.

    Onion, garlic and ground meat in a frying pan
     The Spruce
  3. Once the beef is light brown, remove from heat. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.

Assemble Kibbeh and Fry

  1. Take an egg-sized amount of shell mixture and form into a ball. With your finger, poke a hole in the ball, making space for filling. Add filling and pinch the top to seal the ball. This recipe will make about 25 medium-sized kibbeh.

    Kibbeh stuffing in dough
     The Spruce
  2. You can then shape it into a point, or football shape, or leave as a ball.

    Kibbeh in football shape
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  3. Fry in 350 F oil on stovetop or in a deep fryer for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

    Fried Kibbeh
     The Spruce
  4. Drain on paper towels and serve.

     The Spruce
  5. Enjoy!


  • Kibbeh can be stored in the freezer in an airtight, freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Prepare and do not fry.