Turkish Kofte with Tzatziki

Serves 4-6

| Prep Time: 10 mins

| Cook Time: 10 mins

| Total Time: 20 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Kofte are delightful, savory spiced meatballs that you will find everywhere in Turkey from home dinner tables to city restaurants to roadside stalls. The smell of Kofte wafting around the home is a classic childhood memory of Turks around the world and you'll soon see why. Typically made of ground lamb (or a mixture of ground lamb and beef) mixed with onion, fresh herbs, some type of grain or bread, and spices, Turkish kofte with tzatziki can be served on toothpicks as a finger food, cooked in sauces, or wrapped in pita for an on-the-go bite. Make a large batch and freeze them easy reheat.

This month we send another unique Turkish-style seasoning that we call Sweet Nigella Blend. We developed this blend to deliver layers of classic Turkish flavor from a slight peppery note up front from the nigella seed and chilis, a lemony-tangy flavor from sumac, and a sweet, warming finish from cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. Perfect for making Kofte, sprinkling on a dressed salad, or roasted vegetables, we're confident the Sweet Nigella Blend will transport your menu to Turkey and leave your guests wanting more.


  • Turkish Kofte:

  • 1 lb ground meat (preferably 50/50 mix of beef & lamb, or 7% fat ground beef)

  • 1/4 large yellow onion, finely diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • 2 tsp Piquant Post Sweet Nigella Blend

  • 2 tsp salt (optional)

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil for cooking

  • Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt

  • 1 cucumber, diced

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint, chiffonade *(see chef’s notes)

  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)


Kofte are traditionally grilled. To do so, form the meat into long ovals and skewer. Before placing on the skewer, lightly oil to prevent sticking. Also, if using woods skewers on the grill, soak in water for at least 10 mins to prevent ignition. Finally, take care not to overcook the kofte on the grill. 

To chiffonade is a technique that finely cuts vegetable leaves like mint or basil. Stack the leaves and with a knife thinly slice to create small shreds.

To save time use a food processor, otherwise finely chop onion and garlic with a knife.


Finely dice onion then mince garlic. In a large bowl combine onion and garlic with ground meat, parsley, salt, fresh ground pepper, and Sweet Nigella Blend. Use hands to thoroughly mix ingredients together.

Using slightly oiled hands, roll the meat into an ovular shape by using 1.5 tbsp of the mixture to create about 15 - 20 kofte. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over Med-High heat. Add kofte to skillet in single layer taking care not to crowd. Cook in batches, browning one side then turning to brown on all sides, ensuring even cooking. Continue turning as meatball browns, about 1-2 mins per side or 4-6 minutes total cooking time per kofte.

While kofte are cooking, prepare the tzatziki. Peel cucumber and cut in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds. On a box grater, grate cucumber. Remove any excess water by pressing the grated cucumber into a fine mesh sieve over the sink or bowl.

Transfer cucumber into a small mixing bowl and stir in yogurt, lemon juice, and mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste (optional). Serve hot Kofte with toothpicks and top with Tzatziki.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • You can substitute any ground meat for the beef such as turkey, pork, lamb or chicken or mix 'n match 50/50.

  • Looking for an alternative to Turkish Kofte with Tzatziki? From the kofte into larger balls and serve as a main course. Or, shape into burger patties, cooke, and serve on fresh buns with the tzatziki sauce for a Turkish-style burger.

  • Try cooking the meatballs in a savory tomato sauce and serve over grains or with a side salad for another authentic variation.

  • Looking for plant-based alternatives? Make our fabulous Turkish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls or Vegan Borek recipes.

  • Looking for alternatives to use the Sweet Nigella spice blend? Try making our savory Turkish Flatbread (Lahmacun) with spiced meat.

  • Or, try the following recipes and substitute an equivalent amount of our blend in for the spices: try a beet and goat cheese salad. 

  • Or, make some lamb ribs.

  • Check out this roasted butternut squash with lamb recipe. Make it vegetarian by leaving out the lamb.

  • Another easy weeknight meal or side dish idea: rice pilaf

  • Finally, with fall approaching, try this leek and lamb casserole recipe.

  • Don't forget to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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