Go Back
Izmir Köfte - Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
Print Pin
4 from 2 votes

Izmir Köfte - Turkish Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

Izmir Köfte is a classic Turkish dish made up of meatballs in tomato sauce with potatoes and green peppers. It's a dish often found in lokantas as well as in the home.
Course Main
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 700kcal
Author Turkey's For Life


For The Köfte - Makes 8 Meatballs

  • 250 grams minced beef
  • 1 egg
  • ½ small onion very finely chopped or grated
  • 1 clove garlic peeled & grated
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 1 dessert spoon chia seeds optional
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spices
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • salt & pepper to season

For The Sauce

  • 400 grams tinned chopped tomatoes
  • ½ small onion finely chopped or sliced
  • 1 clove garlic peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 chilli finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon thyme or oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • salt & pepper to season

For The Vegetables

  • 500 grams potatoes peeled & cut into chunky chip shapes
  • 5 long green peppers cut into two or three pieces, we use the Turkish sivri biber - thin fingers - but one large sliced capsicum bell pepper will be enough


For The Köfte

  • Add your minced meat to a large plate or mixing bowl
  • Beat your egg a little and add that to your meat
  • Now add the rest of your köfte ingredients
  • Mix everything together with a fork
  • Now knead the mixture for a couple of minutes with your hand
  • Divide your mixture into 8 equal portions
  • Roll each portion into a rough torpedo shape so that you have 8 köfte
  • Now place in the fridge for 30 mins to 1 hour

To Cook Your Izmir Köfte Dish

  • Preheat your oven to 200° Celsius.
  • Add your olive oil to an oven dish along with your onion and fresh chilli (if using).
  • Now add your chilli flakes & garlic and spread around the surface of your oven dish.
  • Place on the top shelf of your oven to heat for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, remove your oven dish from the oven and add your tin of tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cumin, kekik (thyme or oregano - or both), salt & pepper.
  • Stir around to mix together and return to the oven.
  • Leave for around 10 minutes until the sauce starts to bubble.
  • Once the sauce is bubbling away in the oven, start to fry your köfte separately by heating your oil in a frying pan on a high heat.
  • Fry your köfte without turning too often (to avoid breaking them up) until they are brown on all sides. This takes around 5-10 minutes.
  • Once your meatballs have browned on all sides, remove your sauce from the oven and arrange them in the sauce.
  • Spoon a bit of the tomato sauce over the köfte and return the dish to the oven.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil.
  • When the water is boiling, add your potatoes.
  • Boil for around 7-10 minutes so that the potatoes are just starting to soften.
  • Now remove your dish from the oven and turn the köfte.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 220 degrees Celsius.
  • Drain your potatoes and arrange them around your meatballs.
  • Return to the oven for around 10 mins until your potatoes start to bake on top.
  • After 10 minutes, add your peppers and arrange between the meatballs and potatoes.
  • Turn your oven to high for the last 15 minutes to really get everything sizzling hot.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a couple of minutes before serving.


  • Prep time for you Izmir Köfte includes refrigeration for your meatballs.
  • Cooking time is not fixed. It depends on the type of potatoes you use, the size of your meatballs and your oven. Everything will be cooked and you can judge by sight if you think you are happy with the look and texture of your Izmir Köfte dish.