Lebanese Kibbeh recipe with ground beef. A detailed guide of how to make, shape and successfully fry kibbeh like a pro.
Prep Time45 mins
Rolling and shaping1 hr
Servings: 30 kibbeh
For the shell:
- 1 pound (454g) #1 fine bulgur wheat, unwashed.
- 1 1/2 (360mL) cup cold water.
- 1/2 pound (227g) lean ground beef or lamb. (Note1).
- 1 1/2 teaspoon (10g) salt. or to taste.
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon black pepper.
- 1/2 cup (100g) onion, diced.
- 1/2 cup + 2Tablespoons (180mL) water.
For the filling:
- 2 Tablespoons (30mL) oil. (Note2)
- 1 cup (200g) onion, diced.
- 1 pound (454g) ground beef.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon (10g) salt.
- 1 teaspoon (3g) ground all spice.
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon (4g) paprika.
- 1/4 -1/3 cup pine nuts optional. (Note3)
- Iced water for shaping and forming.
- Oil for frying.
Make the filling:
In a large skillet, over medium heat add oil and sauté onions until translucent.
Add the ground meat and stir until it is browned. Add the seasoning, mix well.
Turn heat off and stir in the pine nuts.
Make the shell:
Add the onion, ground beef, salt and pepper to the bulgur and combine well.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of food processor in batches, adding a couple of tablespoons of water each time. Make sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl.
Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes. (Note4)
Forming the Kibbeh:
Fill a measuring cup with cold water and add some ice.
Prepare a backing sheet and line it with parchment paper and set next to you.
Lightly dip your hands int he cold water and take about 3 Tablespoons of the shell mixture then roll into a ball the size of a golf ball.
Place the ball in your left hand and using the index finger of the other hand poke a small hole in one end of the ball reaching to the middle of the ball.
Gently roll the ball into your left hand while pressing your index finger in a circular motion.
Keep doing this until the hole is bigger make sure not to press too hard on the walls of the kibbeh so it will not break or tear. (Note 5).
Now take about 3/4 teaspoon of the filling and fill the hole of the kibbeh, do not overstuff.
Close the end of the kibbeh by pinching the end together, make sure to dip your fingers in the iced water every now and then. (Note 6)
Place the kibbeh on the baking sheet and continue until the whole batch is done.
Cover and refrigerate or freeze until firm (Note 7).
Frying the Kibbeh:
In a deep frying pan add oil enough to cover the kibbeh when put in it.
Heat oil on medium-high , between 355F-375F. (Note 8)
Add frozen kibbeh, and be careful as the oil will be hot. Do not cram.
Fry for almost 1 minute, may be a little bit more until the outside gets a nice light brown color.
Turn heat down to 340 or medium and continue frying for 3-4 more minutes.
Transfer the Kibbeh to a plate lined with paper towel.
Raise heat again for 30 seconds before adding the next batch of kibbeh and fry as before.
Continue until you are done with them all.
Notes1: It is recommended to use ground beef 91% or above.
Note2: I’ve noticed many people like to make the filling with butter so feel free to substitute if you like.
Note3: I was introduced to Kibbeh with pine nuts and that’s how I like it so far. You can make it plain and also many people use walnuts instead.
Note4: I did not feel the need to refrigerate the mixture as I could handle it immediately.
Note5: If this happened simply start over, if you are unable to roll the kibbeh without breaking the walls then may be it needs more water. You can take a small portion of the shell dough and add 1 teaspoon, knead it through and try again.
Note6: This is the traditional way of shaping and forming Kibbeh, there is of course an easier way by making the ball into a rough cup with 1/4 inch sides, spoon filling then gently close the ball and form into the baseball shape. This method is easier but I’ve noticed that the kibbeh walls does not come out uniform, meaning it is sometimes gets thicker from one side than the other.
Note7: I was taught that the best way for kibbeh to fry well and not get opened in the hot oil is by freezing it overnight and that’s exactly what I did. Some experienced cooks say that no need to freeze and just refrigerate until it is firm.
Note8: to know if the oil has reached the perfect temperature for frying, try dipping unvarnished wooden or bamboo spoon/chopstick. If the oil is hot enough, you’ll notice a steady stream of bubbles. Vigorous bubbles then it is too hot.
Please note the time calculated for this recipe does not include freezing or frying time.
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 23
% Daily Value*
Vitamin A 55IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Calories: 101.2kcal | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 249.5mg | Potassium: 89.3mg | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg