Here's an easy everyday recipe for lamb meatballs. Seasoned with garlic and cumin and cooked in olive oil, they are wonderfully flavorful!
They're ready in just 30 minutes, and they keep well in the fridge or in the freezer. So you can double the recipe to ensure tasty leftovers.
I really like lamb and find it a refreshing change from the ubiquitous beef. Although I usually opt for using ground beef, sometimes I crave the bold flavor of lamb.
This easy recipe relies on that bold flavor. Simply mix Greek yogurt and a few spices into some ground lamb, form the mixture into meatballs, and saute them in olive oil.
Dipped in a tasty yogurt sauce, these meatballs are absolutely delicious! I often double the recipe to ensure I have leftovers for the next day or two.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make these tasty meatballs. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Ground lamb: I use a lean mixture of 85% lean and 15% fat.
- Greek yogurt: Adds moisture to the meatballs and prevents them from drying out. Sour cream works too.
- Minced garlic: You can mince it yourself or use the stuff that comes in a jar.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to use less of it, or the meatballs could end up too salty.
- Spices: I use onion powder and ground cumin. Please make sure the spices you use are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
- Cilantro: I love cilantro and find that it perfectly complements the flavor of lamb. You can use parsley instead, but it won't be the same.
- Olive oil: Used for frying the meatballs. You can opt for a higher-smoke-point oil such as avocado oil, but it won't be as flavorful.
Making these lamb meatballs is so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You simply mix together ground lamb, Greek yogurt, and spices. Then scoop 1.5-tablespoon portions of the mixture and shape them into round meatballs. It's helpful to moisten your hands, as the mixture is a bit sticky.
Brown the meatballs in olive oil - this should take about 5 minutes. Then add a bit of water, cover the skillet, and cook them until cooked through. This step should take about 3 more minutes. That's it! Dinner is served.
To ensure light and fluffy meatballs rather than dense and heavy ones, try to handle them lightly and minimally, both when working the spices into the meat and when shaping them.
Frequently asked questions
I do like baking - it's a hands-off cooking method. And yes, you can bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.
However, in this case, I prefer to saute them. Cooking them in oil browns them nicely and the olive oil also adds great flavor.
Yes. I do like to use something that would add moisture to the mixture and would prevent the meatballs from drying out, so I add some Greek yogurt. But there's no need for eggs.
Add enough moisture to the mixture (we do this via Greek yogurt), handle them lightly when you mix and shape them, and don't overcook them.
The easiest way to vary this recipe is to use different spices. In addition to onion powder and cumin, other spices and herbs that go well with lamb are smoked paprika, dried rosemary, and dried thyme.
You can also cook the meatballs in ghee instead of olive oil if you wish.
These meatballs pair well with many sides, but I almost always serve them with roasted cherry tomatoes. The flavors go really well together. Another classic side dish to serve with lamb is eggplant.
If you'd like to serve these meatballs with a sauce for dipping, tahini sauce is a great option and so is tzatziki sauce.
The leftovers keep well in the fridge in a sealed container for 3-4 days. Gently reheat them in the microwave on 50% power prior to serving.
I'll go ahead and admit that I sometimes eat them cold! They're surprisingly good as cold leftovers.
You can also freeze these meatballs in freezer bags for up to three months.
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Easy Lamb Meatballs
- 1 lb. ground lamb (85/15)
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the oil.
- Using a 1.5-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out even portions of the mixture into a plate. I usually end up with 16 meatballs.
- With wet hands for easier handling, shape each portion into a round meatball.
- Heat the olive oil in a very large (14-inch) lidded skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, turning frequently, until golden brown, 5 minutes. If the oil becomes too hot, lower the heat to medium.
- Add ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the skillet. Cover with the lid and cook the meatballs until they are cooked through, about 2-3 more minutes.
- Remove the meatballs from the skillet to a serving plate using a slotted spoon. Serve immediately.
- You can bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F instead of frying them. Arrange them on a rimmed parchment-lined baking sheet (use high-heat-resistant parchment) and spray them with olive oil prior to baking. However, I do prefer to saute them. Cooking them in oil browns them nicely and the olive oil also adds great flavor.
- If you'd like to make a quick yogurt sauce to go with the meatballs, mix ½ cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons chopped dill weed, 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic, and ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt.
- To ensure light and fluffy meatballs rather than dense and heavy ones, try to handle them lightly and minimally, both when working the spices into the meat and when shaping them.
Add Your Own Notes
Nutrition per Serving
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