I’ve made kefta kebabs for years. Why I never posted my kefta recipe, I couldn’t tell you. And yes, this is on the menu again tonight.

Delicious homemade kefta kebabs recipe to grill for paleo and gluten free weeknight dinner

Living in the Midwest, when you think of grilling, hot dogs and hamburgers – and maybe steak, if you’re lucky – are what come to mind. There are so many more options out there, especially when you’re like me and just done with a traditional hamburger.

That doesn’t mean that I want to go through a whole lot more time and effort to make dinner, especially not once the busy school schedule starts. Yesterday, for example, my kids had a cross country meet after school followed by a Boy Scout meeting. That doesn’t count homework, and that doesn’t leave me much time to whip together dinner. That’s where kefta kebabs come in handy.

Enjoy gluten free kefta kebabs for dinner on the grill

These come together quickly, and they have a ton of flavor. They’re different enough to entice me to make them without being so out there that my dad turns up his nose and won’t try them. My kids adore the flavors, so we’re all happy. I serve this with a simple salad and some rice, and we have our perfect weeknight dinner!

Because you soak the skewers ahead of time and I’ve found that the kefta kebabs stay on the skewers better if you let the meat rest after mixing it, these are perfect party food, too. The last thing I want to do when I have guests is spend a ton of time prepping food. These I can cover and refrigerate in advance then grill up when it’s time to eat.

[bctt tweet=”Looking for a delicious dinner idea tonight? Check out this #recipe for kefta kebabs. So easy and yummy!” username=”honestandtruly”]

The next time you’re tired of “plain old hamburgers,” try this. You’ll move it into the regular rotation quickly. And yes, this is totally allergy friendly, paleo, and all the other good dietary concerns, which makes it perfect for serving to a crowd. It’s naturally gluten and dairy free, which is my favorite way to cook!

Easy Middle Eastern Kefta Kebabs recipe

How to Make Kefta Kebabs

Start by soaking your skewers. I add them to a 9×13 pan with some water and add something heavy over them. That just makes me feel better and isn’t totally necessary. Make sure you soak the skewers for at least a half hour so they don’t burn on the grill.

Soak skewers before grilling

Peel onion and cut into quarters. Add to the food processor and pulse 15-20 times to chop. Add the hamburger (and/or lamb), plus cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and parsley. Fresh is best, but if you don’t have fresh parsley, you can use dried. Pulse until it starts to come together a bit then run for another 10-15 seconds. You want this to have a finer texture than typical ground meat. Notice how the  cinnamon changes the color of the meat a little? Yum!

Pulse until meat comes together

Refrigerate 30-60 minutes (or overnight), then form into sausages around your soaked skewers.

Form meat popsicles with kefta kebabs mixture

Grill on medium to medium high heat for 5 minutes on a side. You want this to form lovely grill marks and be cooked fully through without drying out the meat by overcooking it. Serve immediately with rice and a fresh salad or by themselves.

You can refrigerate any leftovers and reheat the kefta kebabs the next day. I love making a ton of these then having them available for my kids to take for lunch the next day.

Have you ever tried kefta kebabs? What’s your favorite Middle Eastern food?

Kefta Kebabs - Middle Eastern Meatloaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Kefta Kebabs - Middle Eastern Meatloaf

This delicious recipe for kefta kebabs is a great alternative to traditional grilling recipes. It has a ton of flavor without being too spicy for kids, and it's quick and easy to make. Bonus? It's naturally gluten and dairy free plus paleo so it's great to make for parties and other large gatherings.


  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef (or lamb or both)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 1/2 t cumin, ground
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 c fresh parsley, rough chopped


  1. Soak six skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Add quartered onion to food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add ground meat, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and parsley. Pulse food processor until the mixture starts to come together then run another 15-20 seconds to thoroughly mix and grind the meat more finely.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (up to overnight) to allow flavors to meld and meat to rest. Form cylindrical popsicles of meat along the six skewers.
  4. Grill on medium high heat for 5 minutes per side. Cook through but don't overcook and dry out the meat.
  5. Serve immediately.


Feel free to add in up to half ground pork if you choose. If you don't have fresh parsley, you can substitute dried parsley. Use 2-3 T dried parsley.

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Easy to make kefta kebabs recipe for great kid friendly Middle Eastern alternative to a traditional hamburger or meatloaf. Ready in 30 minutes and gluten free and allergy friendly

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  • Amanda

    Looks delicious! Thank you for joining the Creative K Kids’ Tasty Tuesday, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next week.

    • Michelle

      Awww thank you!

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