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Turkish Beef and Rice Meatballs (Kadınbudu Köfte)

4 to 6 Servings

1 hour

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During a visit to Istanbul, culinary researcher and cooking instructor Banu Özden introduced us to kadınbudu köfte. The name of the dish translates, curiously, as “ladies’ thighs meatballs.” Whatever the origins of the name, the plump, flavorful pan-fried meatballs were deliciously familiar and comforting but also excitingly new. Instead of breadcrumbs, the meat for kadınbudu köfte is bound in part with cooked rice. The grains of rice maintain a pleasant presence even after the köfte are cooked. Additionally, for kadınbudu köfte, a portion of the ground meat always is cooked before it’s mixed with additional raw ground meat and other ingredients. Finally, the meatballs are coated with flour and dipped in egg before pan-frying, resulting in golden-brown exteriors with an eggy richness as well as a crustiness that contrasts the tender interiors. With sautéed onion, earthy cumin and ground cinnamon as the only seasonings, these meatballs are simple in flavor, but deliciously so. Mashed potatoes, suggested by Özden, are a perfect accompaniment.

4 to 6



Don’t use extra-lean ground beef for this. For best flavor and most tender texture, use 80 percent lean ground beef. The rice can be warm, room temperature or even cold when added to the meat mixture. Use your hands to mix the ingredients, breaking up the grains, until the mixture is cohesive.

1 hour


  • 3

    tablespoons plus 1 cup peanut or canola oil, divided

  • 1

    large yellow onion, finely chopped


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Veronica B.
September 14, 2023
Easy and delicious
These were surprisingly delicious. My 1-year old toddler also approved.