exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)

You know when you think people 'know stuff' but they actually don’t ? Fool that I am, I often forget this ! Many people’s culinary backgrounds & experiences are most often quite different from your own. It was time for me to explain KEFTEDES more precisely even though I had already posted a recipe using keftedes/greek meatballs in mini pita hamburgers (see recipe here) but I didn’t get into the details because it was a sandwich that had extra toppings and not a stand-alone type of preparation and maybe not requiring precise details on how to make them in order to be ‘truly exceptional’ & ‘particularly herby’ when eaten as is (and not necessarily in or part of something) ! 

KEFTES (large) or KEFTEDES (medium) or KEFTEDAKIA (when they’re really small & cute) better known as Greek meatballs and quite similar to “KOFTA” from the Balkans to the Middle East to Central Asia and even Southern Asia and are a relatively simple preparation (if you’ve made them before) but perhaps requiring some ‘tips & tricks’ for the uninitiated.

After 1 month of vegetarian recipes, it was time to celebrate my return with some meaty stuff … “sorry”, I am how I am (an omnivore). And yet these meatballs are so “HERBY-FRESH” that it’s kind of a compromise, right ?! Okay maybe, not. But I had friends over from Montreal and I felt like preparing an array of ‘MEZZE’ Greek appetizers, so the occasion was just right.

KEFTEDES are not hamburger patties. They can exist alone as well as be accompanied with little side dishes and other flavors. They can be a full meal, when made larger, or appetizers when made smaller. They can be eaten simply with bread or included in other preparations whether oven-baked or on the stove-top, usually accompanying cooked potatoes, green beans, some tomato sauce, pasta, rice, etc.

Here, they’re stand-alone and this is my version of the recipe. In the end, only you can decide what you prefer. Try them out once and then make your adjustments. Whatever you do and before rolling all of them up in meatballs, do a frying-test with one, taste, then adjust (always adjust to your taste). Do a second frying-test if necessary, then roll them all up and fry them all up and/or freeze some. 

*I like to freeze about half or two-thirds of the raw mixture each time (using silicon molds), and once they’re rock-solid, I pop them out of the molds and put them in freezer bags. I try to think ahead and be ready for those days when cooking is not an option nor a desire (12 hours of thawing time in the refrigerator is fine or just take them out the night before).

It’s good to think ahead, you never know.

I have 7 weeks of intense work coming up, so I’m being trying to wiser (and not just older) . . . :)

exceptionally herby ‘keftedes’ (greek meatballs)


24 medium meatballs (66 grams each) or 48 small meatballs (33 grams each)


meatballs :

  • 1 kg (4 ½ cups) ground beef (15%-20% fat)
  • 110 grams (2 large) eggs
  • 125 grams (½ cup) yellow onion (finely grated)
  • 125 grams (½ cup) green spring onions (finely grated)
  • 62 grams (½ cup) dry breadcrumbs
  • 15 grams (1 ½ tbsp or 3 large cloves) crushed garlic
  • 30 grams (¾ cup) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 20 grams (½ cup) chopped fresh mint
  • 10 grams (¼ cup) chopped fresh basil
  • 5 grams (2 tbsp) fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 grams (½ tsp) anchovy paste (or 2 mashed anchovies)
  • 30 ml grams (2 tbsp) olive oil (optional : bay leaf flavored olive oil)
  • optional : 22 ml (1 ½ tbsp) ouzo (or other anise-flavored liqueur like pastis or sambuca)
  • 15 grams (4 tsp) fine sea salt
  • 2 grams (1 tsp) ground mixed peppercorns
  • 2 gram (1 tbsp) dried oregano
  • 1 gram (½ tsp) fennel seeds 
  • 1 gram (½ tsp) anis seeds
  • 1 gram (¾ tsp) coriander seeds

frying : 

  • 60-180 ml (¼ - ¾ cup) olive oil (for frying 8 or up to 24 medium meatballs)
  • optional : 15-45 grams (2-6 tbsp) flour (for dredging 8 or up to 24 medium meatballs)


  • if grinding your own beef, chill your beef in large 3 cm cubes and the metal grinder parts in the freezer for 1-2 hours before coarsely grinding or simply use store-bought ground beef (15-20% fat)
  • grate all the onions finely (or in a food processor) and finely chop the fresh herbs (you can chop the fresh herbs in the food processor too) and grind (in a pepper mill) the coriander, fennel and anis seeds
  • combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead using your hands, then slowly add the breadcrumbs at the end and mix
  • chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour before forming the meatballs or patties
  • shape/form the meatballs with slightly oiled hands (I made larger balls about ¼ cup each but you can make them half the size or about 2 tbsp each)

note : if making larger quantities, form the balls or patties in a silicon mold and freeze until hardened before transferring to freezer bags or if you have a large freezer, freeze the well-separated meatballs on a tray and when frozen, then transfer to freezer bags . . . 

  • heat up 4 tbsp olive oil (enough for 8 medium-sized meatballs) at medium-high heat (you can dredge the 8 room-temperature meatballs in about 2 tbsp flour before frying, but I don’t because the oil burns faster and gets too dark) and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or rolling them around in the frying pan for about 8-10 minutes

note : if oven-baking, they will be drier, it’s preferable to fry them up first and then just warm them up in an oven (so the house doesn’t smell like a french-fries shack !) 

  • serve warm with country bread, dips, cheeses, olives, pickled vegetables and/or a salad.