Middle Eastern Recipes, Sides and Appetizers

Lebanese Fried Kibbeh

Fried meat and burghul balls stuffed with well-seasoned lean ground beef and pine nuts

With its crunchy outer layer and super tender aromatic filling of minced beef, every bite of these zesty Lebanese fried kibbeh balls will hold a burst of flavors!

Fried Kibbeh is a Middle Eastern masterpiece carefully crafted and prepared to golden perfection. To break it to you, it is a shell made from a combination of bulgur wheat, aromatic spices, and minced meat stuffed with a more flavorful filling packed with spices, meat, pomegranate molasses, and crunchy nuts.

Follow my lead and make the most delicious appetizer! Indulge in these golden brown jewels, and travel to the Levant with every savory bite.


Authentic Lebanese Fried Kibbeh: A Levantine Treasure

A platter filled with fried kibbeh balls with a crispy outer layer and a flavorful filling
Taste the Lebanese heritage with these timeless fried kibbeh balls.


What Is Kibbeh?

Kibbeh or Kubbeh is a lean beef, onion, and burghul (bulgur wheat) “ball” stuffed with well-seasoned ground beef, sauteed onions, and pine nuts.

Fried Kibbeh is the perfect appetizer or side dish. It’s best served warm but does just as well served cold. Moreover, it’s a hearty and filling appetizer if you’re serving a lighter main dish.

My kibbeh recipe does not require a food processor or meat grinder. Though forming kibbeh needs patience, the piece of art you are forming deserves all the effort!

This is a must-try step! Split kibbeh and spoon some Baba Ghanoush in one half and some Hummus in the other. It’s an appetizer party in your mouth and your taste buds are invited.


A Must-Try Mezze Platter

A platter filled with fried kibbeh balls with a crispy outer layer and a flavorful filling
Try these homemade Lebanese kibbeh balls with hummus or baba ghanoush!

A National Dish of the Levant


Ingredients

For the Outer Shell

Fine burghul

Boiling water

Red onion

Aleppo pepper

Cumin

Salt

Paprika

Lean ground beef

Cold water

For the Filling

Oil

Ghee

Onion

Lean ground beef ⁣

7 spice

Cumin

Pomegranate molasses

Cinnamon

Salt⁣

Black pepper

Paprika ⁣

Pine nuts

Sumac


How to Make Kibbeh

To Prepare Kibbeh Dough

First, add the burghul to a large bowl, then pour boiling water over them.

Then, cover the bowl, and let it sit for half an hour to 45 minutes.

Once done and while it’s still hot/warm, mix burghul well with your hand, kneading the dough between your fingers and clumping it together so the burghul gets finer.

An optional step is to add the burghul to a food processor and pulse until fine before adding the water.

Once kneaded, add super finely chopped onion, Aleppo pepper, cumin, paprika, and salt to the kibbeh dough. Then, add the lean beef and mix well.

Now, add water to get smooth emulsified consistency, then cover and allow it to cool in the fridge.


To Make the Filling

First, add oil and ghee to a pan. Then, add the beef and sauté until the liquid is almost evaporated.

After that, add the finely chopped onion, 7 spice, cumin, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, paprika, sumac, and pomegranate molasses to the pan. Then cook all the way through.

Finally, add fried nuts to taste and let it cool before filling the kibbeh.


To Form and Fry Kibbeh Balls

First, grab a ping pong size ball of the bulgur mix and start shaping it by poking it through the middle and almost coring it with your finger to make a deep hole or football shape.

Then, stuff it with the ground beef mixture and close the other end. If the mix keeps cracking, keep the bowl of water mixed with cornstarch on hand. Use it sparingly by adding a few drops to your fingers when needing to fix a crack.

Finally, deep fry kibbeh in hot oil on medium high heat until they become golden brown.



Serving Suggestions and Variations for Your Fried Kibbeh

Kibbeh has many versions and you will love each and every one. It does not only serve as an appetizer; you can turn it into an incredibly delicious main dish.

You can cook kibbeh balls in garlicky yogurt sauce to make delicious savory Kibbeh Labanieh. Another Middle Eastern favorite that is hearty and is usually considered a summer main dish.

You can also spread one layer of the raw kibbeh mix on a tray, add the meat filling, then add another layer of kibbeh mix on top. Then, toss the tray into the oven and wait until it becomes golden brown.

You will get crunchy crispy Kibbeh Bil Sanieh which translates into “Kibbeh in a tray.” This recipe has the same flavors as kibbeh, but it is cooked in the oven, not fried. Not only is this version less time consuming, but it is also a healthier variation of kibbeh.

There is also raw kibbeh, which is very famous in the Middle East. It is the same one used to form the kibbeh dough, but it is spread on a plate.

You can add the spiced kibbeh filling on top of the raw meat and enjoy the taste and add a generous drizzle of olive oil to take it to next level of deliciousness. Raw kibbeh, known as kibbeh nayeh, perfectly pairs with mint leaves, green onions, and garlic.


Fried Lebanese kibbeh stuffed with spiced meat and fried pine nuts
Share the golden goodness of these fragrant kibbeh balls with your loved ones.

Lebanese Kibbeh: From Ground Meat to Fried Delight

Fried kibbeh is not only about the flavors, but it also has an aesthetic aspect. It usually looks like a mini football. It is not easy to master, but once you follow my lead you will become a professional!


Tips and Tricks for the Best Kibbeh Appetizer

You can double or triple the ingredients to make a larger batch especially if you have someone to help.

For the bulgur wheat (or burghul), choose a variety that is neither too hard nor too soft in order for it to be well cooked without collapsing.

I added pine nuts to the filling. You can also add slivered almonds or walnuts.

Place the kibbeh balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure there is a bit of space between them. Place the tray in the fridge for an hour or until the kibbeh balls become solid. Then, store them in zip lock bags or an airtight container and put them back into the fridge.

If you choose to freeze some, there is no need to remove them ahead of time. Once needed, take them out of the fridge, smoothly separate each, and put them in hot oil.

Do not overfill the kibbeh with stuffing, it makes it harder for you to close it.


Storage Tips


A 5-Star Appetizer

Fried meat and burghul balls stuffed with well-seasoned lean ground beef and pine nuts are the best appetizer to please both eyes and taste buds.
A mouthwatering appetizer that pleases your taste buds!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I do with kibbeh dough leftovers?

You can take a piece of the dough, roll it into a ball, then press it between the palm of your hands to get a patty that you can fry once you’re done frying kibbeh.

Can I fry kibbeh in the air fryer?

Yes, you can. Kibbeh balls might need 12-15 minutes in the air fryer. Also, they have to be golden brown before you remove them.

Why is my kibbeh falling apart while frying them?

You probably placed the kibbeh balls in oil before it is hot enough. It might also happen if you overcrowd the frying pot with kibbeh balls, then the oil temperature lowers and the balls stick together. Hence your kibbeh might fall apart and lose its beautiful shape.


Must-Try Recipes

Tender Grilled Steak Kebabs

Kousa Mahshi (Stuffed Grey Squash)

Chicken Musakhan Sliders

Mulukhiyah Stew (Jute Mallow Stew)

Hummus Bil Lahme

Middle Eastern Kidney Bean Beef Stew

Middle Eastern Kufta Bil Tahiniye

Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes)

Fattet Betenjan

Spinach Fatayer


If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


Fried meat and burghul balls stuffed with well-seasoned lean ground beef and pine nuts are the best appetizer to please both eyes and taste buds.

Fried Lebanese Kibbeh Recipe

Fatimah
Fried Lebanese Kibbeh is a delicious appetizer or side dish that looks good to the eye and appeals to your taste buds. A crunchy outer shell with a tender flavorful inner filling of aromatic meat will make you crave for more!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 25
Calories 64 kcal

Ingredients
  

For The Outer Shell

  • cups burghul fine
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • ¼ cup onion processed
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound lean ground meat 93% lean or more
  • 8 tablespoons cold water

For The Filling

  • 1 pound lean ground beef 80% lean
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • teaspoons 7 spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoons salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • fried pine nuts

Instructions
 

To Make Kibbeh Dough

  • Add the burghul to a large bowl, then pour boiling water over them.
  • Cover the bowl, and let it sit for half an hour to 45 minutes.
  • Once done and while it's still hot/warm, mix burghul well with your hand, kneading the dough between your fingers and clumping it together so the burghul gets finer.
  • An optional step is to add the burghul to a food processor and pulse until fine before adding the water.
  • Once kneaded, add super finely chopped onion, Aleppo pepper, cumin, paprika, and salt to the kibbeh dough. Then, add the lean beef and mix well.
  • Add cold water to get smooth emulsified consistency, then cover and then cover and allow it to cool in the fridge.

To Make the Filling

  • Add oil and ghee to pan. Then, add the beef and sauté until the liquid is almost evaporated.
  • Add the finely chopped onion, 7 spice, cumin, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, paprika, sumac, and pomegranate molasses to the pan. Cook all the way through.
  • Add fried nuts to taste and let it cool before filling the kibbeh.

To Form and Fry Kibbeh Balls

  • Grab a ping pong size ball of the bulgur mix and start shaping it by poking it through the middle and almost coring it with your finger to make a deep hole or football shape.
  • Stuff it with the ground beef mixture and close the other end. If the mix keeps cracking, keep the bowl of water mixed and cornstarch on hand. Use it sparingly by adding a few drops to your fingers when needing to fix a crack.
  • Deep fry kibbeh in hot oil on medium high heat until they become golden brown.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Notes

  • You can double or triple the ingredients to make a larger batch especially if you have someone to help.
  • I added pine nuts to the filling. You can also add slivered almonds or walnuts.
  • To store kibbeh balls, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure there is a bit of space between them. Place the tray in the fridge for an hour until they are solid. Then, store them in zip lock bags or an airtight container and put them back into the fridge.
  • If you choose to freeze some, no need to remove them ahead of time. Once needed, take them out of the fridge, smoothly separate each, and put them in hot oil.
  • Do not overfill the kibbeh with stuffing, it makes it harder for you to close it.

Nutrition

Calories: 64kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 8gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 307mgPotassium: 143mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 139IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Fried Kubbeh, Fried Lebanses Kibbeh
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

4 thoughts on “Lebanese Fried Kibbeh

  1. Mazuzah says:

    5 stars
    This was a great recipe. Easy to follow and taste delicious. I fried some and used the air fryer for the rest. They were equally delicious. 😋 The whole family enjoyed it.

  2. Layali says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! This recipe is outstanding, a crowd pleaser for sure!

  3. Meriam A says:

    5 stars
    Okay love love love!!! Also perfect because i dont need to use a machine! Perfect outside texture and the filling flavor is so so good

  4. Aida Arthur says:

    5 stars
    We just made these and they came out so great! The instructions are so easy and detailed. I did use the air fryer and I think they came out amazing. I did freeze more than half.

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