These savory Greek meatballs (Keftedes) are stuffed with feta cheese and baked with the bold flavors of fresh herbs in a lemon butter sauce.
I consider this dish a Mediterranean overhaul of sorts! The ingredients are light and bright and offer so many combinations of flavors and textures.
The Keftedes are mouth watering-ly juicy, and with the authentic, deep flavors of herbs and spices loaded into your ground meat of choice. Anyone would be easily convinced hours were spent preparing this meal! I love that in actuality, you can easily throw this home-style recipe together in under an hour.
What are Keftedes?
In short, Keftedes are Greek meatballs. They are made in a variety of ways depending on the region in Greece, but always contain an excellent flavor combination of ground meat, spices, and a sauce of your choice. They can be served family-style, as appetizers, or the main dish.
What type of ground meat can I use?
For this particular recipe, I prefer the taste of ground beef. Keftedes are super versatile, so the choice of meat can be totally interchangeable and is ultimately up to your preferences.
Keftedes can also be made with ground lamb or ground pork. If you're looking for a lighter version, try ground chicken/turkey. And if you're super adventurous, you could even try combining ground meats!
A love of feta definitely inspired this Keftedes bowl. Who doesn't agree that MORE feta makes everything better!? It really adds such a creamy richness and salty balance to the whole meal.
So, not only are the Kedftedes stuffed with feta, but also crumbled on top to round out the dish (because, why not!).
Serve the Keftedes over a bed of rice with tzatziki sauce, and then drizzle more of the lemon herb butter sauce on top to really liven up the taste! Finally, pair everything with warm pita bread or garlic herb naan bread, so that you can scoop up every last bite.
While filming these shots, I was literally rushing as fast as I could because my mouth was watering. I wanted to eat them for dinner while they were still warm right out of the oven!
Ingredients for Greek Meatballs (Keftedes) with Lemon Herb Butter Sauce
- ground beef
- panko bread crumbs
- egg (large)
- feta cheese
- onion (large)
- granulated garlic
- fresh parsley
- sea salt flakes
- ground pepper
Cooking the Keftedes
Keftedes can be baked, fried, or grilled. My recipe follows the standard method of baking them in the oven, with a nice broil at the end.
These Keftedes meatballs are about 2-3 tablespoons in size. For evenly-sized meatballs, use a cookie scoop!
If you are wanting to grill the meat, you can also make larger, somewhat flatter versions of the meatballs called Bifteki. Bifteki traditionally somewhat differs in preparation, shape, and size but this recipe can totally be adapted (bigger than Keftedes, but slightly smaller than a standard hamburger). Mold the patties in the palm of your hands to keep a nice rounded shape, and do not flatten or smash like a burger!
Lemon Herb Butter Sauce
This lemon herb butter sauce will make your tastebuds jump for joy. In a bowl, combine and stir melted butter with lemon juice, oregano, and garlic. Then, pour the sauce over top of the meatballs so that they are fully coated.
For a luscious finish, drizzle a spoonful (or more) of the lemon herb butter sauce from the baking dish on top of the plated Keftedes.
What to do with Leftover Keftedes?
Leftover Keftedes make excellent seconds! Reheat them with a little oil in a skillet or in the microwave. You can also improvise and incorporate them into a brand-new dish such as warming them up with a marinara sauce for spaghetti and meatballs!
Often times I intentionally bake a double batch of these Keftedes to have extra to freeze and save. Since they are pre-cooked, I can easily thaw and reheat them any time I want a quick, delicious meal!
Looking for more recipes?
If you're looking to enjoy more delicious Greek-inspired recipes, check out some of these dishes below! They also include links for some of my favorite sauces.
Greek Meatballs (Keftedes) with Lemon Herb Butter Sauce
- 1½ lbs ground beef
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (this is optional, I just love garlic)
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely diced
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Lemon Herb Butter Sauce
- 8 tablespoon butter. melted
- ½ large lemon, juiced
- 2 teaspoon fresh oregano use half this amount if you are using dried oregano*
- ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic
- Preheat oven to 375℉.
- In a large bowl combine ground beef, egg, milk, panko bread crumbs, garlic, granulated garlic, fresh parsley, sea salt flakes, pepper, and dried oregano.
- Once all the ingredients are well distributed add in the feta (I like adding this last to keep the crumbles from getting too blended so they are still somewhat chunky).
- Roll out evenly sized portions of the meat mixture and place them in a glass baking dish or cast iron pan.
- In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice, oregano, and garlic with melted butter. Stir and pour over the top of the meatballs. Brush or roll the meatballs in the butter sauce so that they are fully coated.
- Bake for 30 minutes then switch to broil on high for 2-3 minutes to nicely brown the tops.
- Serve with pita, MORE feta, tzatziki and rice.