Baked Kibbeh

4.47 stars average

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Baked kibbeh or kibbie is a traditional Lebanese dinner recipe, using ground beef or lamb, and then combined with bulgur wheat, pine nuts, and warm spices like cinnamon and allspice.

Serving baked kibbeh.

My husband’s favorite Lebanese dish is, hands-down, Baked Kibbeh. While not using many ingredients, it uses both lean ground beef and ground lamb to make a delectable dish that is protein packed and filling. My family’s recipe carries fond memories along with it, so it’s about time I share the goodness with the rest of you!

What Is baked kibbeh?

Baked Kibbeh is the combination of ground meat, super-fine bulgur wheat, allspice, cinnamon, clarified butter, and toasted pine nuts. Each bite is tender, juicy, and intoxicatingly delicious. It is a cooked version of a raw dish, called Kibbeh Nayeh. Typically served with a Syrian green salad and a side of cucumber laban yogurt sauce, this is Lebanese comfort food at its best. It also freezes wonderfully so make a big batch and freeze extras for another night.


  • Bulgur wheat: A great whole grain that is easy to cook (partially because it’s precooked), it’s full of vitamins and nutrients and has a great chewy texture.
  • Ground beef: Half is used in the filling, and half is used as the meat base. I like to use ground sirloin for the lower fat content, but you could use ground chuck as well.
  • Ground lamb: The traditional meat used in kibbeh, I like to still use ground lamb in my kibbeh. You could use all ground beef if you don’t have ground lamb!
  • Onion: Used in both the filling and the base, I use a yellow onion as they caramelize easily to add great flavor.
  • Lebanese spice blend: A delicious and warm blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and black pepper that is used in many Lebanese recipes.
  • Ghee: Also known as clarified butter, it’s used to cook half of the onion and ground meat.
  • Pine nuts: Adds a bit of crunch as well as a nutty, sweet flavor to the dish.

How to make Baked Kibbeh

Adding hot water to bulgur wheat in bowl

Start your baked kibbeh by getting the base meat layer ready. Take a large bowl with your bulgur wheat and add the boiling hot water.

Covering bulgur wheat

Then take some plastic wrap and cover it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then drain any excess water from the soaked bulgur.

Fluffing bulgur wheat with fork

Take a fork and fluff the softened bulgur wheat and prepare it for the meat mixture.

Choppings onions in food processor

Then in a food processor, add 1 onion and pulse until chopped.

Chopping meat in food processor

Then add the ground beef and lamb mixture.

Adding lebanese spice mix to meat

Sprinkle in the Lebanese spice mix as well as some salt and pepper.

Pulsed meat

Then pulse until ingredients are fully combined and becomes almost like a paste.

Mixing meat into bulgur wheat

Add the meat paste to a large bowl with the softened bulgur wheat and mix with your hands until combined.

Adding clarified butter to pan

Next to make the filling, heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the ghee.

Sauteing onions

Add the diced onion and sauté until golden brown.

Cooking meat with onions

Next add the ground beef and ground lamb and season with salt.

Seasoning meat with lebanese spice

Then add more of the all purpose Lebanese spice blend, stir to mix well, and cook until meat is browned.

Adding pine nuts to meat

Once cooked, finish off with the pine nuts and remove from heat.

Pressing meat into pan

Then take a prepared casserole dish (lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray) and spread out half of the meat puree along the bottom. If your hands get sticky, dipping them in ice water will help.

Adding cooked meat filling to pan

Then take the cooked ground meat mixture and cover the bottom layer.

Pressing down top layer of pulsed meat

Finish the dish by covering the filling with the remaining meat paste.

Cutting kibbeh into diamonds

Take a knife and cut diagonally across the top of the meat in opposing directions to create small diamonds.

Brushing ghee on top of kibbeh

Then brush with more melted ghee before tossing in the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes, or until meat is fully cooked.

Baked kibbeh 2

Remove from the oven once done, garnish with fresh mint leaves, parsley, or basil, and enjoy your Baked Kibbeh!

Easy substitutions

  • Types of ghee. You can make your own ghee at home, or it’s found in every grocery store! However, you really need ghee, regular butter or olive oil won’t do the trick.
  • Ground beef only. If you can’t find ground lamb, or just don’t want to use it, you can do the whole thing with just ground beef.

Frequently asked questions:

Is baked kibbeh freezer friendly?

Yes, you can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container.

How to reheat kibbeh balls?

Whether you had kept them in the fridge or freezer, you can reheat kibbeh in the microwave, or to keep some of the crunch and texture, reheat in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes.

Where is kibbeh from?

Kibbeh, or kibe, is popular in Middle-Eastern cuisine, but specifically in Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Baked ghee.

More Lebanese Dishes

Complimentary Sides

Eat It, Like It, Share It!

Did you try this recipe and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.

Liz eating baked kibbeh.

If kibbeh nayeh seems too intimidating for you, I highly recommend this Baked Kibbeh recipe as a delicious dish to start out.

Your fork is waiting.

Baked kibbeh 2

Baked Kibbeh

4.47 stars average
Baked kibbeh or kibbie, a traditional Lebanese dinner recipe, is made with ground beef or lamb combined with bulgur wheat, pine nuts, cinnamon and allspice.
PREP: 30 minutes
COOK: 1 hour
TOTAL: 1 hour 30 minutes


Base Meat Mixture

  • 1 cups bulgur wheat (fine ground (not coarse))
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 large yellow onion (grated)
  • 6 servings All Purpose Lebanese Spice Blend ((1 serving = 1 teaspoon))



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 baking dish; set aside.
  • To prepare the base meat mixture, add the bulgur wheat to a medium bowl and stir in the boiling hot water. Cover the bowl and let stand for 10 minutes then drain any excess water. 
  • Add the ground lamb and sirloin to a food processor and pulse until it forms a fine paste. Remove from food processor and place in a large bowl along with softened wheat, grated onion, and All Purpose Lebanese Spice Blend. Use your hands to mix well. If mixture gets too sticky on hands, dip into a bowl of ice water.
  • To make the filling, heat the clarified butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat, pine nuts, onion, and All Purpose Lebanese Spice Blend and sauté until meat is cooked through about 9-11 minutes. 
  • To form the baked kibbeh, spread half of the base meat mixture out on the bottom of the baking dish. Next, spread the filling on top of the base layer. Finally, spread the remaining base meat mixture on top, pressing down a bit with wet hands to smooth the top. 
  • Slice kibbeh diagonally to form small diamonds. Optional: you can drizzle on additional melted clarified butter over the top at this point.
  • Bake until meat is fully cooked, about 40-45 minutes. Serve with Cucumber Laban on the side. 

Last Step:

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Serving: 2piecesCalories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 18gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 61mgPotassium: 316mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 2mg
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67 responses to “Baked Kibbeh”

  1. Debbie Avatar

    Do I need 1 1/2 pounds of sirloin and 1 1/2 pounds of lamb? I’m confused about base meat mixture and the filling… do I just use 1/2 pound of the base mixture for the filling?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Yes you’ll use 1 1/2 pounds of each, but will use them separately in 1 pound and 1/2 pound chunks.

  2. Denise D Potter Avatar
    Denise D Potter

    Could you please clarify the amount of spice mix for the kibbee “dough “
    Is it 6 servings. Thank you. It’s the closest recipe to my mother’s Trying to duplicate

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      It’s 6 teaspoons! 1 serving is 1 teaspoon. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Kevin Avatar

    Can it be prepared and refrigerated over night, then baked the next day?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Yes it can!

  4. Patty Donahue Avatar
    Patty Donahue

    I can’t seem to find the recipe for the spice blend,I know allspice,cinnamon s&p but I need measurements please! Thanks so much

  5. Jay Avatar

    Can the bulgur wheat be swapped for a different grain to make it Celiac friendly?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Yes, you can. You could try quinoa or brown rice couscous.

    2. Alan E Christensen Avatar
      Alan E Christensen

      My neighbors were Lebanese best friend’s father was a three-time decorated American hero I learned about Lebanese food from them and how wonderful it is my neighbor joined the military when he was 15 so he could fight in world war 2

    3. SP Avatar

      Always appreciate the GF alternatives but please note that Farro is a form of wheat and not GF. Quinoa and brown rice are GF.

      1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
        Liz DellaCroce

        Ah! You’re right! Thanks for catching that!

  6. Gina Avatar

    I’ve made this twice and absolutely adore it!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      That makes me so happy!!!

  7. Yoshita Avatar

    Can I use chicken mince in the crust and lamb for filling.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Yes that’s a great idea!

    2. Mary Catherine Avatar
      Mary Catherine

      If I only have medium cracked wheat, can I put it in the food processor to make it more fine or should I use it as is?

      1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
        Liz DellaCroce

        Just use it as is but great idea!!!

  8. Susana Avatar

    Hi Liz! Sounds amazing. It’s been many years since I had kibbeh and want to try yours
    Can I use walnuts instead of pine nuts (don’t have any!). Thanks!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I would just skip the pine nuts if you don’t have them!