Keftedes are simply Greek hamburgers. You’ve probably already tried a keftai at a burger joint. You know the ones… where there’s always a souvlaki and a home burger on the menu? Chances are the home burger is from a recipe from the greek owners!

Keftedes are versatile in Greek cuisine. They can be the meat portion of a meal or just an appetizer/meze or a part of a huge Greek onslaught of BBQ’ed meat.

I’m not reinventing the wheel here but some basics should be followed when making Keftedes:

  • Grill them and if frying, dredge lightly in flour and shallow dry. Baking on a tray works well as well.
  • Allow the ground meat mixture to marry, the longer – the better a result.
  • Brush and oil your grill. Dirty, crusty and dry grills will cause your meat to stick…every time.
  • Test your batch to see if seasoning needs adjustments. Before I go & grill a tray of keftedes, I always make a little meatball and fry it so I can taste and see if I need to add any seasoning or spices.


1 kg. of lean ground beef
2 medium onions, box grated
3 slices of bread, soaked in milk and hand squeezed and then crumbled
1 tsp of garlic powder/1 tbsp grated fresh garlic
1 large egg (for binding)

1/2 tsp. dried mint
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chopped parsley
pinch of cumin
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well using your hands.
  2. Form palm-sized patties with your hands and reserve in a platter. Cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  3. Before grilling, allow the keftedes to come back to room temperature. Grill on medium-high heat cook for3-4 minutes a side.

© 2007 – 2014,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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18 Comments for “Keftedes”



This sounds great! I love the pretty grillmarks. Do you still eat it in a bun, like a regular hamburger? I posted a recipe once for Polpettes that had fresh mozarella, tomatoes and anchovies on top of the patties..

Peter M


You can but it’s usually eaten with bread and other foods at the table. Greeks like to nibble on an array of food!



Hi Peter,

I tried making your keftedes over the weekend! Was well received though my boyfriend said it did not taste like his mother’s. It may have been because I used crackercrumbs rather than soaked bread. Will have to try them again! I also fried them rather than grilled them, as this is what he says is normally done … Thanks for the recipe!



Can’t agree in the slightest bit with this post.

Frying is NOT a waste of ground meat.

The classic Greek keftedes are floured and fried, and are simply delicious. The combination of that semi-crisp shell on the outside and the deliciousness on the inside? The greatest meatballs I have ever eaten have been fried.

What you have in your recipe is what I know as “bifteki sxaras” which is delicious, but is not keftedes.

In the South only maybe, they are fried, and have fresh mint inside them. Its for me one of the pinnacle comfort foods out there.

It seems you haven’t had them done right, so do abstain from bashing fried meatballs, because you’re seriously missing something great!


Greg, you’re entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine. Frying keftedes are inferior, in my opinion. Your insistance that frying is better is analogous to saying a gas grill has more flavour than real wood or charcoal-grilled food.

Beyond that, you grew up on fried keftedes, whereas I grew up with them being grilled. We want to recreate what we had as kids. Don’t take my opinion personally.



Hi Peter, it is too late to call family in Greece to ask, so I came to your site looking for any tips on baking the perfect keftedes! I usually bake mine to make them healthier than fried. I’ve got my first batch in the oven right now, but am wondering if you have any tips for baking them to perfection? :)



Not taking anything personally.

I’m just saying, you should reconsider trying them. Theyre both fantastic ways. Its such a shame to call it “waste” and dismiss it.

Also, keftedes in the sense I’m familiar with are not really Greek “hamburgers”, but rather Greek “meatballs”.

This kind of grilled ‘burgers’ is usually called bifteki. I can only vouch for this being so in Athens and the South though.




I love your recipes especially since im greek as well and find it hard to follow my mother’s recipes.

I know keftedes are like meatballs that they fry and even sometimes my mom would make them with tomato sauce and peppers. Bifteki is what you were describing in this recipes. Bifteki is hamburger pattie for the english. Like any bifteki you can make it anyway with any type of meat or seasoning and it can go on a hamburger bun or not.

Thanks for your post! This bifteki sounds yummy!


Hi Christina, thanks for your note. Many people in Greece calls these Keftedes, depends on the region or family. Keftedakia are the small meatballs and even then, in Thessaloniki they call them vomvidia. Biftekia is a word from bifteque (beef) and Keftedes from Turkish – kofte.

There are other dishes that are go by different names depending on where in Greece you are from: laxanodolmades/giaprakia then there’s dolmades/phylla/koupepia. Or even Gourounopolo…called Bouzopoula in Laconia.



I’ve just finished making this keftedes mix and plan on baking it as meatloaf :) Smells amazing. Thanks for sharing.