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Beef Kibbeh

4 Servings

50 minutes 20 minutes active

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Kibbeh, a popular dish throughout the Levant, is a spiced mixture of bulgur and ground meat. It may be layered with stuffing in a baking dish and baked or shaped into small portions, filled and fried, with the goal of getting a toasty, browned crust that brings out the nuttiness of the bulgur. In this version, we skip the stuffing and form the mixture into patties, then pan-fry them, rather than deep-fry, for ease. We use ground beef, but you could sub in 12 ounces of ground lamb. Pine nuts add their distinct, slightly resinous flavor to the mix. Toast them in a small skillet over medium-low, shaking the pan frequently, until light golden brown and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Serve the kibbeh, yogurt-tahini sauce and lemon wedges for squeezing with warmed flatbread.




Don’t use coarse or medium bulgur. Fine bulgur, with particles that are very small and flaky, is key for yielding a mixture that holds together when formed into patties. If you can’t find fine bulgur, process medium or coarse bulgur in a spice grinder for 10 to 30 seconds. Don't rinse the bulgur before use because the added moisture will make the meat mixture difficult to shape. If your mixture is very sticky or wet when you attempt to shape it, refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes or so to allow the bulgur to soak up more moisture.

50 minutes

20 minutes active


  • 1

    medium yellow onion, peeled

  • ½

    cup fine bulgur (see note)


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Michael V.

Hello, would it be possible to get the Vegetarian recipe that was shown being made when Christopher was in Lebanon?

Barbara R.

I made this vegetarian recipe by just looking at what she used and guessed as to the amount. I used one cup of lentils, one cup of bulgar wheat, one tablespoon of cumin, 1/3 cup pepper paste, 1/3 cup tomato paste, salt, pepper, one small onion chopped and sautéed. I also added a clove of minced garlic even though she didn't seem to use it. I even squirted a blast of umami paste into it but be careful, it is salty! Form the kibbeh with your hands like she did. Even though I improvised, it was delicious! Good Luck!

Felix P.

Great recipe! The whole family couldn’t stop eating.

Diane J.

Loved this one! My entire family agreed we needed to add this one to the "family" cookbook.

James K.

Was really looking forward, but this came out a little flat for me. Maybe the lamb would be better. The cardamom and allspice are too strong, drown out the other flavors. I served with a bit of greek salad which added some much needed brightness - more lemon. Some harissa spread at serving would be great to put more heat on the end.