Turkish Food – A Recipe For Köfte

Having got the rant about köfte and burgers off my chest I should post the recipe for how we make Turkish köfte. Once you have your basic mix, you can play around with herbs and spices to suit your taste. In Turkey, köfte will have different spices and textures in each restaurant or büfe depending on how the chef likes to prepare it, so we think it’s perfectly fine for us to do the same.

A Turkish Recipe for Köfte

This is a recipe for standard köfte. If you travel around Turkey, you will see meat köfte of various shapes and slightly different ingredients depending on the region you’re in. For example, you can find one regional twist on this Turkish staple by taking a look at our Tekirdağ köfte recipe.

But, for now, here’s our standard köfte recipe.

  • First of all, go to your local butcher and get 250g of minced beef or lamb – or even a mix of both. Our local butcher in Fethiye is really good and minces the meat for us. Lean mince is more healthy but for a decent köfte, you need to at least go for orta yağlı meat (medium fat) as it softens the texture a little and makes them more juicy.
Spice mix for köfte

Toasting your spices first really brings the strong flavours out

  • In a hot pan, toast a pinch of cumin seed, 2 fennel seeds (they’re strong so no more than 2), and a pinch of coriander seed. This only takes a couple of minutes. Take them off the heat as soon as you can smell them.
  • Add your toasted seeds along with a few peppercorns and a pinch of sea salt to a pestle and mortar and grind them all up.
The köfte mix

Get all your ingredients together

  • Spread your minced meat out on a plate, grate half an onion and a clove of garlic and sprinkle over the top.
  • Next, sprinkle your spices and as many red hot chilli flakes as you like. You know us by now. Chillies are not essential – for some people.
  • Whisk a small egg and pour this over, too. Now you need to get your hands in and need it all together. I use a big plate because it makes it easier to get an even mixture.
  • If your mixture feels really wet, you can add a few breadcrumbs (most recipes will tell you to add breadcrumbs) but I try not to add too many as they dry the mixture up too much sometimes. If you can form the köfte shapes without the breadcrumbs then they’re not necessary.
Shaped Köfte

Köfte mixture rolled into mini burger shapes

  • Take little chunks of your mixture, roll each chunk into a golf ball shape and then pat down between your hands. 250 grams of minced meat will give you about 10 köfte.
  • If you’ve got time, leave your köfte in the fridge for a couple of hours or so as this helps them to set.
Juicy Barbecued Köfte

Barbecued köfte

  • The best way to cook köfte is on a barbecue. Lower them towards the coals to seal them and then take them higher to cook them slowly. Cut one in half to check they’re cooked after around 10 minutes. Obviously, you can grill them (or be really naughty and fry them) but we only ever make köfte if we’re barbecuing.
  • And if you barbecue them, you don’t need to feel quite as guilty about buying a medium fat meat.

Köfte is absolutely amazing when served with Antalya Usulü Piyaz. They go fantastically well together!

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  1. Looks delicious! I love that you toasted and then ground your spices. I agree 100% that this makes all the difference!

  2. öfte yanmış 🙂 ancak öyle severim !

  3. @Enchanted Cook – Toasted spices really do make all the difference don’t they? I’ve only started to do this recently. In the past, I’ve seen TV chefs do this and other recipes have recommended it but laziness stopped me from doing it. Now I know the difference in taste, I’ll always go to the effort where necessary!

    @Denizdalya – Biz de öyle çok seviyoruz! 🙂

  4. This is a lovely recipe. You can never go wrong with kofte. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Thanks Sevgi. We love köfte too. 🙂

  6. Just made some for tea. Served with pitta, yoghurt, kuru fasulye and salad.


  7. Sounds gorgeous Tony. We love our köfte with beans. And yoghurt too for that matter! 🙂

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