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.
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
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.
Then take some plastic wrap and cover it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then drain any excess water from the soaked bulgur.
Take a fork and fluff the softened bulgur wheat and prepare it for the meat mixture.
Then in a food processor, add 1 onion and pulse until chopped.
Then add the ground beef and lamb mixture.
Sprinkle in the Lebanese spice mix as well as some salt and pepper.
Then pulse until ingredients are fully combined and becomes almost like a paste.
Add the meat paste to a large bowl with the softened bulgur wheat and mix with your hands until combined.
Next to make the filling, heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the ghee.
Add the diced onion and sauté until golden brown.
Next add the ground beef and ground lamb and season with salt.
Then add more of the all purpose Lebanese spice blend, stir to mix well, and cook until meat is browned.
Once cooked, finish off with the pine nuts and remove from heat.
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.
Then take the cooked ground meat mixture and cover the bottom layer.
Finish the dish by covering the filling with the remaining meat paste.
Take a knife and cut diagonally across the top of the meat in opposing directions to create small diamonds.
Then brush with more melted ghee before tossing in the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes, or until meat is fully cooked.
Remove from the oven once done, garnish with fresh mint leaves, parsley, or basil, and enjoy your Baked Kibbeh!
- 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.
More Lebanese Dishes
- Lebanese Hushwee
- Spicy Lebanese Salad
- Lebanese Meat Stuffed Grape Leaves
- Hummus with Ground Beef
- Greek Tzatziki Sauce
- Lebanese Rice Pilaf
- Syrian Salad
- Lebanese Green Beans with Tomatoes
- Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
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.
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.
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.