Greek Meatballs – Keftedes

Greek Meatballs - Keftedes

Greek Meatballs, or Keftedes, are usually made with a combo of ground beef and, or lamb. This is a recipe with much leaner ground turkey instead. Because I’m baking these meatballs, and not frying them, there’s no added fat.

Meatballs: a Global Cuisine

Although these are Greek meatballs, you can find a meatball in the cuisines of nearly every culture. What other dish is so versatile, so affordable and so easy to make? So you can eat them in Italy (polpettes), Sweden (kottbullar), Mexico (albondigas), Indonesia (bakso), and all places in between. Read more about the origins of meatballs here A Food That Transcends Cultures.

Greek Meatballs

Versatile Meatballs

There’s no lack of yum though. All of the seasonings in these make them super flavourful. Meatballs are very easy to make, and they are the best for freezing. I love that you can flavour them however you like, or toss them in sauces, like these Sweet & Sour Meatballs and Hoisin Meatballs. You can even serve them as party snacks with a dip, like these Cajun Meatballs. These Greek Meatballs are delicious served on grilled pita smeared with Tzatziki.

Healthier Meatballs Are Easy

It’s really easy to keep your meatballs healthier, too. If you use lean ground turkey or chicken and bake, instead of frying your meatballs, you are eliminating a ton of fat and calories. All of the flavour is from the seasonings that you use.

So Many Ways To Eat Meatballs

These tasty meatball morsels are perfect as appetizers on their own. (Maybe with a shot of ouzo).They are just as good cold as they are warm.  But, for us, this was dinner.  I grilled some pita and tossed cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives in lemon juice. We spread those warm pita with tzatziki and piled them up with meatballs and the tomatoes and olives, along with red onion slices. And, this was one fine dinner. Seriously good.

You can also serve these meatballs on their own, with a Greek salad. Or, put into a sub sandwich, or, really, these guys are versatile. That’s why I always make extra to freeze. When I’m feeling crunched for time or just plain lazy, there’s always meatballs.

You can easily make these gluten-free, or paleo, by eliminating the panko crumbs or subbing a gluten-free breadcrumb. Or, you can add one more egg to the meat mixture to eliminate the bread altogether.


Greek Meatballs – Keftedes

These Greek Meatballs, or Keftedes, are made with lean ground turkey and baked, not fried.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 24 meatballs
Calories 37 kcal


  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried mint
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
  • Roll meat mixture into 2" balls, and place on baking sheet
  • Bake 20 minutes, turning halfway through


Note that the nutrition facts are for one meatball, since these are also great served as appetizers, and serving sizes vary depending on the purpose.
If serving on a pita, like this recipe, plan on 4-5 meatballs per pita.


Serving: 1gCalories: 37kcalProtein: 4gFat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 66mgPotassium: 65mgVitamin A: 90IUVitamin C: 0.9mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe? What changes did you make?Let us know how it was!

Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)


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17 thoughts on “Greek Meatballs – Keftedes

  1. Love this healthier take of keftedes! I often substitute ground chicken or turkey in my recipes, but I’ve never thought to try them in keftedes, mostly because I love ground lamb so much… after seeing your lovely sandwich, though, I may just have to skip the lamb just this once. 🙂

  2. I am with you – not a fan of lamb. I adore Greek food and don’t know what I haven’t made these! I have them pinned, so will be making them soon. Yum!

  3. I like the idea of substituting turkey in these Greek Meatballs. Looks like such a perfect summer dinner – pinning for later!

  4. Meatballs are so versatile! We like to swap ground turkey for ground beef in most recipes in our house. It’s better for you and just as tasty with the right seasonings.

    1. Hi Nick! I am totally in agreement with you on swapping the ground beef for turkey. Another bonus is that it’s usually more economical, as well. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I am a big fan of lamb, but I’m sure that these ingredients and flavours are superb with ground turkey too! I should try making these (and meatballs in general) more often. I like that they’re baked too – I tend to do meatballs in a frying pan, so I’d imagine this is a little easier. Glad to know that they freeze well too. Cheers!

  6. Thanks for the recipe! I can’t wait to make them! I have a silly question…do you freeze the extras after baking? Before baking? And how do you reheat? Thanks!

    1. Hi Risa; not silly at all! I always freeze them after baking. Its easiest to pre-freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then they can be packed into a freezer bag. To reheat, you can put them on a baking sheet in a single layer, cover with foil and put in a 350° oven until heated through. I would love to hear back about how your meatballs turn out. Enjoy!

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