These middle Eastern-style lamb meatballs are flavored with cumin, lemon, and fresh parsley. They are super juicy and moist in the middle and baked in just 14 minutes.
If you’ve tried our classic beef or turkey meatballs before, you’ll no doubt love this version made with ground lamb. With an earthy and fatty flavor, ground lamb is an amazing meat option for one of our all-time favorite dishes.
Why use lamb for meatballs
Tender and fattier than beef, ground lamb works perfectly for meatballs. It has a strong gamey flavor that allows you to create flavorsome combinations using the right spices and herbs.
Another reason to make lamb meatballs is to change up your meatball game, as chicken and beef meatballs can easily get boring and repetitive if you make them too often.
This recipe will be a dinnertime staple for you because they are:
- Baked, not fried. These oven-baked meatballs are healthier than their fried counterparts.
- Ready in less than 30 minutes. These meatballs are the perfect recipe to use whenever you have only half an hour to make dinner. As the meatballs bake, you’ll have time to prepare the side dish (we love some asparagus or baked potatoes).
- Versatile. Douse these meatballs in a tomato-based sauce or pair them with your favorite vegetables and grains for a well-balanced meal.
If you want to cook with ground lamb, but any recipe you find seems too complicated, try making these meatballs. There is no room for error with this foolproof recipe.
Like any good meatball recipe, this one uses simple ingredients to enhance the lamb. Here is what you’ll need:
- Ground lamb. Make sure you have a good combination of lean meat and fat. The higher the fat content, the juicier the meatballs will be.
- Onion. Diced.
- Garlic. Crushed. Adjust the number of garlic cloves depending on your preferences.
- Egg. It helps bind all ingredients and prevents the meatballs from falling apart.
- Fresh parsley. Chopped.
- Breadcrumbs. Used in the right amount, breadcrumbs help keep the meatballs moist and tender.
- Lemon zest. To add a refreshing citrusy note.
- Spices. Black pepper, chili pepper, and ground cumin are the only spices I use for these lamb meatballs.
- Salt. To tase.
How to make lamb meatballs
Add ground lamb and the remaining ingredients to a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix everything together. Allow the mixture to set for 5 minutes.
Form 20 even-sized meatballs and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure the meatballs are not touching one another.
Turn on the oven’s broiler and put the baking tray on the highest rack. Bake for 14 minutes flipping the meatballs halfway through the cooking time until they are fully browned and cooked.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Serve with tzatziki sauce. If you are serving these meatballs as an appetizer, serve them with a side of tzatziki sauce to give your dinner table a Mediterranean feel.
- Put together a lamb bowl. These oven-baked lamb meatballs are perfect for a lamb bowl. Add rice, greens, avocado, crunchy veggies, and your favorite sauce to create a healthy bowl for lunch or dinner.
- Swap parsley with fresh cilantro or mint. If you don’t have fresh parsley, use cilantro or mint instead. These two herbs pair well with lamb.
- Be gentle. It is very important to be gentle with the meatballs while shaping them. Packing them too tightly will yield tough meatballs.
Once you’ve made these meatballs regularly, you might like changing the base to create different flavors. Here is what we’ve tried:
- Use dried herbs. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried herbs instead. Dried oregano, rosemary, and basil are some of the best options.
- Stuff with cheese. Stuffing lamb meatballs with a piece of feta cheese is an easy way to enhance their flavor.
- Use more spices. Smoked paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and coriander are great spices to use for lamb meatballs.
- Mix in some parmesan. Adding some grated parmesan to the mixture is another cheesy twist that yields delicious results.
To store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They will be good for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze. Meatballs can also be frozen for up to 2 months. You can freeze them both cooked and uncooked.
To reheat. Microwave the meatballs for 30-40 seconds until warm or reheat in a non-stick pan or skillet until hot.
What goes with lamb meatballs
Besides some pasta or spaghetti noodles, these meatballs pair well with hearty salads and starchy vegetables. Some ideas include:
Frequently asked questions
The secrets to making good meatballs are using the right ratio of meat and breadcrumbs, keeping the mixture cold while you shape the meatballs, and tasting the mixture to ensure it’s properly seasoned. The latter implies forming a small meatball or patty, cooking it, and tasting it before you cook the entire batch.
Eggs are one of the best binding ingredients for meatballs. If you are not using eggs, consider using mashed potatoes, plain Greek yogurt, buttermilk, or ricotta cheese instead.
Lamb is a good source of protein, vitamin B, and a range of minerals. It is also very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However, lamb contains more saturated fat than beef and pork. It is recommended to eat lamb meatballs 1-2 times a week. Oven-baked lamb meatballs are a lot healthier than fried meatballs.
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper optional
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 small lemon zest grated
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- In a bowl mix together meat, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, spices, and egg. Use your hands to combine well. Leave the mixture for 5 minutes aside.
- Divide the mixture into 20 small balls and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Turn the broiler in the oven and place the baking tray on the highest position. Bake for 7 minutes, then flip the balls on the other side and bake for another 7 minutes until browned and cooked through
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Looks amazing! Does it taste like gyro meat when done?
A little salty and underseasoned for my taste. I used smoked cumin and smoked paprika. Next time will do at least twice as much of those and half as much salt. Really glad I didn’t add feta! Will serve with unsalted rice and yogurt. I’ve eaten a few with steamed yukon potatoes and they are delish. Can’t wait to make these again.