Delicious Armenian Kufta Recipe for Meat Lovers

Welcome to my recipe for Armenian Kufta, a traditional meatball dish that originates from the Armenian cuisine. This dish is a combination of ground lamb and beef mixed with bulgur wheat, onions, and parsley, seasoned with black pepper and salt. The minced meat is then shaped into small balls or patties and traditionally served with a range of sides such as potatoes, tomatoes, and salad.

This recipe has been in my family for generations, and it has been passed down through the years to preserve the cultural significance of this dish. The history behind this historic recipe makes it stand out from other recipes, as it has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

I have chosen to share this recipe with you as I believe it not only provides an insight into the rich culture of Armenia but also offers a delicious meal option that can be enjoyed by people from all over the world. Cooking Armenian Kufta is an experience in itself that allows you to connect with your food on many levels – from ingredients to flavors and even to its history.

The ingredients required for the kufta are minimal, and you can source most of them from your local grocery store. Whether you are a novice cook or an experienced one, this recipe is simple enough to follow and can be prepared in under an hour.

So let’s embark on this culinary journey together as we explore the delights of Armenian Kufta!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Armenian Kufta
Armenian Kufta

Looking for a delicious Armenian dish to impress your guests or loved ones? Look no further than our mouth-watering Armenian Kufta recipe! This delectable meatball soup is a favorite across the region, thanks to its unique spice blend and hearty ingredients.

One of the many reasons why you’ll love this recipe is its rich and savory flavor profile. Made with a combination of ground lamb and beef, this dish has a delicate balance of spices that includes black pepper, salt, and parsley. These flavors work together to create a deliciously satisfying soup that warms the soul and tickles the taste buds.

But what really sets this recipe apart is its versatility. Whether served as an appetizer or as a main course, our Armenian Kufta recipe can be paired with a wide range of side dishes, including potatoes, tomatoes, and crispy bread. You can even experiment with different variations, such as Chee Kufta or Ishli Kufta, to create a unique spin on a traditional favorite.

And let’s not forget about the nutritional benefits of this dish. Made with fresh herbs and spices, as well as healthy cuts of meat, our kufta recipe is packed with protein and essential nutrients to help fuel your body all day long. It’s also perfect for meal prep, since you can make a large batch ahead of time and store it in the fridge for later.

So why not try something new today and whip up our delicious Armenian Kufta recipe? With its bold flavors, versatile presentation options, and numerous health benefits, it’s sure to bring joy to your next family gathering or dinner party.

Ingredient List

 Raw lamb and bulgur mixture being prepared for the kufta balls.
Raw lamb and bulgur mixture being prepared for the kufta balls.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Armenian Kufta:

Ground Meat Mixture:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/4 cup milk

Bulgur Filling Mixture:

  • 2 cups fine-grain bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Fresh parsley leaves, chopped

All ingredients can usually be found at your local grocery store.

The Recipe How-To

 Kufta balls being carefully shaped and formed by hand.
Kufta balls being carefully shaped and formed by hand.

Step 1: Soaking the Bulgur

  • In a mixing bowl, I combine the bulgur wheat with hot water, then let it sit until it is soft and swollen for about 30 minutes. Drain any excess water and set aside.

Step 2: Preparing the Meat Mixture

  • In a food processor, I combined the chopped onion, minced garlic, parsley, and slice bread soaked in milk. Blend them well to create fine paste-like texture.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the mixture with the drained bulgur wheat, followed by the ground lamb and ground beef. Add a generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper and salt. Mix well the ingredients until it becomes sticky yet firm.

Step 3: Making Kuftas

  • With clean wet hands or with a scoop, shape the mixture into small oval-shaped balls roughly around 2 inches long.

  • This Armenian recipe has different regional variations. One variation is Koo-beh contains soaked boiled chickpeas and another one named chee kofte made of raw meat.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

  • I pour chicken broth on a pot, up to two-thirds full, then add the kufta balls until cooked through about 15 minutes.

  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked kuftas into a new dish with chopped onions or hot oil that has also been heated over grills serving like steak tartare. Another presentation could be placing cooked kuftas top of mashed potatoes tomatoes recipe ingredients

There you have it – an authentic Armenian Kufta recipe that is easy to follow yet delivers amazing flavors!

Substitutions and Variations

 Finished kufta balls being fried to a crispy perfection.
Finished kufta balls being fried to a crispy perfection.

One of the most exciting things about cooking is the ability to experiment with different ingredients and make substitutions or variations to a base recipe. The Armenian Kufta recipe is no exception, as there are plenty of ways to mix things up and add your own twist.

When it comes to meat, the traditional recipe calls for ground lamb and beef in a 1:2 ratio. However, you can add your own spin by using all lamb or all beef, or by introducing other meats such as ground chicken. For those who prefer a vegetarian option, the lentil kofte is a popular dish that replaces the meat with red lentils.

If you’re looking to expand on the flavor profile, consider adding different spices or herbs. Cumin and coriander can be added for an earthy undertone, while paprika and chili powder can offer a bit of heat. Mint and dill are also common additions that can complement the dish’s flavors.

In terms of presentation, you can also change up the way the dish is served. Instead of forming meatballs or patties, try shaping them into long logs to create ‘kofta’ skewers or forming them into stuffed meatballs called ‘ishli kufta’. Additionally, many cooks choose to serve Armenian kufta along with fresh veggies such as cucumber or sliced onions.

Whether it be through ingredient substitutions, new flavor combinations or creative presentation ideas, experimenting with this versatile dish allows you to craft your very own unique version. With plenty of ways to switch things up without forfeiting authenticity, Armenian Kufta is a dish meant for culinary exploration.

Serving and Pairing

 The juicy and flavorful cross-section of a cooked kufta ball.
The juicy and flavorful cross-section of a cooked kufta ball.

Armenian Kufta is a hearty and flavorful dish that can be served in a variety of ways. Traditionally, Kufta is served with plain basmati rice and a side of fresh salad, made from seasonal vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. The rice complements the savory flavors of the meat, while the salad adds a refreshing crunch to each bite.

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, you can also serve Kufta with tahini or yoghurt sauce. The creaminess of the sauce balances well with the savory flavors of the kufta.

For those who enjoy a bit of spice, try serving this dish with harissa, sriracha or any hot sauce of your choice. The heat will intensify the flavors of the meat and add a zippy punch to every bite.

Kufta is also an ideal dish to prepare for gatherings or parties as it can be paired with various side dishes, such as Baba Ghanoush, Hummus and Pita Bread. These sides complement the rich flavor of Kufta and add another layer of texture to your overall meal.

If you’re looking for an adult beverage to pair with your meal, opt for a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. If you prefer beer, choose a lager or ale to balance out the richness of the lamb and beef in the Kufta.

Whether you want to enjoy Kufta for a family dinner or serve it at your next party, there are endless options for pairing this dish with other delicious items. So put on some music from Armenian pop stars like Arman Hovhannisyan or Sirusho and indulge in this classic Armenian dish!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Sliced red onions and parsley used as a garnish for the kufta.
Sliced red onions and parsley used as a garnish for the kufta.

Armenian Kufta is a dish that can be made ahead of time, which makes it perfect for entertaining. You can prepare the meatballs and stuff them with the filling a day or two in advance, and then cook them when you are ready to serve.

If you have leftovers, simply store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Kufta will keep well for up to 3 days. When reheating, it is important to do so gently and gradually to avoid overcooking and toughening the meat. A more practical way to reheat is by microwaving at low power for about 45 seconds.

Kufta can also be frozen before or after cooking to extend its shelf life. To freeze before cooking, lay the stuffed meatballs out on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer them to a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Frozen Kufta can be cooked straight from frozen; it just might take a little longer.

Storing cooked Kufta in the freezer is also easy. Simply place it in an airtight container or freezer bag and store for up to 2 months. When it’s time to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating as previously stated.

Remember: when reheating any kind of raw meat products such as this recipe, follow the basic food handling guidelines and cover it properly before heating.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Kufta being served on a bed of fluffy and aromatic saffron rice.
Kufta being served on a bed of fluffy and aromatic saffron rice.

Here are some tips and recommendations to get the perfect Armenian Kufta.

To start with, when mixing the meat for your Kufta, make sure to handle it gently. As adding too much pressure can cause the meat fibers to break down and result in a dry and crumbly texture.

Furthermore, don’t forget to refrigerate the meat mixture for at least an hour before making any meatballs or patties. This not only allows for easier handling but also helps the flavors to blend together for a more delicious outcome.

Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of using fresh ingredients. From herbs to onions, using fresh produce can make all the difference in taste and aroma. So, if possible, try purchasing your ingredients from local farmers’ markets or organic shops.

While cooking Armenian Kufta, make sure always to test a small patty or ball first before diving into cooking all of them. This will allow you to gauge if you need additional seasoning or if you need to adjust cooking time based on the thickness and size of your Kufta.

Lastly, remember that adding a splash of broth or water while cooking your Kufta can help prevent drying out during simmering. Not only does this add additional flavor, but it also ensures that your Kufta turns out juicy and tender.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create the perfect authentic Armenian style Kufta every time.


As you prepare to make this delicious Armenian Kufta dish, you may have some questions about the recipe. In this section, we have addressed some of the most frequently asked questions to help ensure that your experience in the kitchen is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. So, let’s dive into these FAQs!

What is staple food in Armenia?

Armenian cuisine relies heavily on fresh and high-quality ingredients, with lamb, eggplant, yogurt, and lavash being popular staples. Bulgur is also a common alternative to rice or maize in Armenian dishes. The emphasis is on the natural flavors of the ingredients rather than on adding an excess of spices.

What is Semsek?

Semsek is a unique dish that hails from the Urfa region of Anatolia in Turkey. It is an open-faced meat pizza that is fried to perfection. Originally an Armenian delicacy, this village specialty has remained relatively unknown to many in the region, making it a rare culinary treasure. It’s important to note that Semsek should not be mistaken for Lebanese ‘Samboussek’, as they are two distinct dishes.

What are kofta meatballs made of?

Kofta, a popular Lebanese dish, features a blend of ground meat, such as lamb, beef, or chicken, mixed with fragrant herbs and spices. The recipe is based on simple, wholesome ingredients that come together to create mouthwatering meatballs.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Armenian Kufta recipe is a classic dish that every cooking enthusiast should try at least once. Its rich and flavorful taste, combined with the healthy ingredients, make it a must-have meal in every household. Not only is the recipe easy to follow, but it also offers a variety of options for substitutions and variations, making it customizable to your taste preferences. From the traditional Ishli Kufta to modern sheet pan kofta, there’s something for everyone.

So whether you’re looking for a new dinner idea or just wanting to explore new cuisines, give this historic recipe a try. Impress your family and friends with the delicious tastes of Armenian culture, and maybe even start a new tradition in your household. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

Armenian Kufta

Armenian Kufta Recipe

This would be categorized as a 'stuffed' meatball! It's a recipe that cousin Debbie, sister Diane and I worked on this winter, trying to replicate our grandmother's kufta. It's been many many years since we've had this, and I think we have it down pretty well. It can be made as a side dish or a main dish soup, by adding pasta and vegetables to the broth when you add the meatballs.
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Armenian
Servings 20 meatballs
Calories 471.8 kcal


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground lamb or 1 1/2 lbs beef
  • 2 cups cracked wheat, fine ground
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb ground lamb or 1 lb beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 quarts broth, beef or 2 quarts chicken


  • For the outside shell, mix 1-1/2 lbs. ground lamb, bulghur, onion, salt, pepper and parsley together with 1 cup of water. Knead until it becomes cohesive and dough like.
  • Set aside and brown 1 lb lamb with large chopped onion until meat is cooked. Add parsley, salt and pepper and cool.
  • In the meantime, roll outside shell mixture into balls the size of a small egg. Use a bowl of ice water to keep mixture from sticking to your hands. Shape into cups by inserting your thumb into ball and rotating in your opposite hand until you form a thin shell. Keep wetting your hands in the ice water to keep shell from cracking.
  • Fill shell with cooked meat mixture, about 1 tablespoon, close shell, wetting hands with ice water, and seal opening.
  • Set aside on a sheet pan, continue to roll balls. Place tray in refrigerator to chill.
  • Boil 2 quarts of broth, add pasta and vegetables. Add meatballs and cook them 10 minutes or until they rise to the top.
  • Sometimes served with yogurt on the side.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 204gCalories: 471.8kcalCarbohydrates: 14.5gProtein: 26.4gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 14.7gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 1574.7mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 1.8g
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