Moroccan Kefta Kebab

Kefta Kebab
The Spruce
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 to 8 kebabs
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
600 Calories
39g Fat
8g Carbs
51g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 600
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 17g 85%
Cholesterol 191mg 64%
Sodium 168mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 51g
Calcium 97mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Kefta (or kofta) is a deliciously spiced and tender type of Moroccan kebab made using ground beef or lamb. The mixture is flavored with cumin, paprika, minced onion, coriander, and parsley and formed into skewers. The cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and mint leaves are optional but highly recommended. Fresh mint makes an especially great seasoning when using ground lamb. This recipe includes the traditional quantities of these spices and herbs, but you may adjust to your taste.

Seasoned kefta makes a superb grilled kebab (brochette). If you don't have skewers, you can grill the kefta as flat meatballs, but they can be a little cumbersome to deal with on the grill without a support. Serve your kebabs with a fresh salad and a side of couscous or serve on pita bread as a kefta sandwich with tomato and roasted pepper salad.


Click Play to See This Moroccan Kefta Kebab Recipe Come Together


  • 1 pound ground beef (or lamb, or a combination of the two)
  • Optional: 3 ounces ground beef or lamb fat
  • 1 medium onion (chopped very fine or grated)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves (chopped)
  • Metal or bamboo skewers (soaked)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and cover. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or longer to allow the flavors to blend.

    combine meat and seasonings
    The Spruce
  3. Preheat the grill or grill pan and prepare it for your kebabs.

  4. To make kebabs, take small amounts of kefta and shape them into cylinders or sausage shapes. Skewer the meat, squeezing it to mold it to the skewer.

    form meat around sticks
    The Spruce
  5. Cook over hot coals, approximately 5 minutes each side. If you don't have a charcoal grill, the kebabs can be cooked on a gas grill or grill pan. It may take less or more time, depending on how hot the grill is and how thick you shaped the kefta. Watch the kebabs carefully so you don't dry out the meat.

    grill sticks of meat
    The Spruce
  6. Serve immediately, or wrap in aluminum foil to keep hot while you cook additional kebabs.

  7. Enjoy!

What Does Kefta Mean?

The word kofta (or kefta) comes from an Urdu word meaning "pounded meat."

How are Moroccan Kebabs Served?

Moroccan kefta kebabs are traditionally served with Moroccan bread (khobz), but naan or a similar flatbread would be fine. Serve the kebabs with grilled tomatoes and onions or a salad with fresh onions and tomatoes. Couscous is a great choice for a side dish, or serve them with rice.

How to Store

Refrigerate leftover kebabs in an airtight container or zip-close bag for up to 4 days.


  • You can use lean ground meat, but the classic recipe calls for a higher fat content for a moister result.
  • If you would like to grind your meat at home, a finer grind is preferred for this dish.
  • Traditionally, the meat, fat, spices, and herbs would all be passed through a meat grinder together to blend the flavors better.
  • If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak in water for 30 minutes prior to forming the kefta to prevent the sticks from catching fire on the grill.

Recipe Variation

  • To vary the recipe, you can add up to a teaspoon each of the following: ground ginger, turmeric, ras el hanout, or minced garlic.