August 3, 2023

Grilled Lamb Koftas


Prep Time


Cook Time


Total Time

-- min



lamb koftas on plate with lemon wedges


  • 2 pounds ground American lamb
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond kosher salt (or 1 1/2 teaspoon Morton kosher salt)
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup onion (grated or finely chopped)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, (minced)
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley , minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme , chopped
  • Olive oil


In a food processor, add the salt, pine nuts, cumin, black pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander, cinnamon, and paprika. Process the ingredients until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl with the ground lamb, grated onion, garlic, mint, parsley, and thyme. Dampen your hands with water and gently knead using your hands until incorporated and the mixture starts to turn slightly tacky to the touch and to the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes.

Divide into 10 to 12 ball-shaped portions (about 3 oz each). Then shape them into long cylinders using a rolling motion between your dampened hands.

Slide the cylinders onto 12" skewers, then place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle each with a little olive oil. Cover and refrigerate to chill completely for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Grill the koftas over medium-high heat, placing them on the grill at a 45-degree angle to grill grates directly over the heat. Turn every 4 to 6 minutes, for about 8 to 12 minutes total depending on the size of your kofta, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.


Soak wooden or bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning on the grill. Metal skewers are superior as they are reusable and won't burn.

Wear nitrile gloves when handling the ground meat for easier cleanup.

Watch for flare-ups: As the fat drips down onto the fire, it can cause flare-ups.  You can move them to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking after the initial sear.

Serve with warm pita, rice, tzatziki or pickled vegetables.

**The USDA recommends that ground lamb be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

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

ingredients to make lamb koftas on a cutting boad
raw lamb koftas, skewered on a sheet tray
thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


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