April 14, 2023

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Herbed Yogurt Dipping Sauce




Marinated American lamb chops with rosemary & garlic on a plate


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups sweet onions, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons Moroccan Spice Blend, divided (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1-3/4 pounds ground American Lamb
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • Shredded lettuce or scallion greens for plating
  • 2 cups Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce (recipe follows) 

Moroccan Spice Blend (1/4 cup):

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper 

Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce (2 cups):

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon mashed roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 cup plain Greek-style low fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste


In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until onions are golden brown.  Stir in garlic; continue to cook 1 minute.  Mix in 3 tablespoons Moroccan Spice Blend; continue to cook another 1 minute.  Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. 

In a bowl, mix cooled onion mixture with bread crumbs, eggs, salt and orange zest.  Mix in lamb; gently toss to incorporate well.  Form into 36 1-ounce meatballs (a heaping 1 tablespoon).  Place evenly spread onto a parchment-covered baking sheet. 

Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes, turning at least once, or until meatballs are cooked through; remove from heat. 

For Moroccan Spice Blend:  In a dry skillet, add cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper and red pepper.  Cook over a low heat for several minutes until mixture begins to lightly smoke.  Remove from heat; cool.  Place in a covered container; hold until ready to use. 

For Herbed Yogurt Dipping Sauce:  In a small food processor, pulse together mayonnaise, chives, parsley, garlic and mustard until fairly smooth.  Place in a bowl; whisk in yogurt, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Cover; refrigerate. 

To serve:  In a saucepan, heat soy sauce, honey, cilantro, Sriracha and 1 tablespoon Moroccan Spice Blend; bring to a simmer.  Add cooked meatballs; simmer, stirring gently until coated.  Keep warm.  Serve hot accompanied by Herbed Yogurt Dipping Sauce, if desired.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.
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