Keftedakia – Greek Meatballs

Keftedakia (Greek meatballs) are juicy, flavourful meatballs that are made with aromatic fresh herbs. This staple in Greek cuisine is perfect as an appetizer (or mezze) or made into a meal.

Keftedakia (pronounced keh-fteh-tha-key-a) are Greek comfort food at its best. These fried little meatballs are a popular component in Greek cooking. Made throughout Greece, they are served often as a mezze but also can be turned into a meal. They are versatile, easy to make, and full of flavour, owing to the addition of grated onion and fresh herbs.

My recipe is my mother’s recipe and easily one of the most-used recipes she has passed down to me. We make keftedakia often for meals and they are always included in all our holiday mezze spreads! I use this recipe to also make soutzoukakia, a Greek dish consisting of oval-shaped meatballs and potatoes baked in a tomato sauce.

These Greek meatballs are tender and juicy, owing to the ingredients included in this recipe. Moisture is added straight into the mixture through the use of milk, lemon juice and grated onion (which released much more juices than finely chopping ever could).

My favourite part of this recipe is how easy it is to do. Just mix all of the ingredients into a bowl, form the meatballs and fry them up! They can also be made ahead of time which is great for meal prepping, pot lucks, or preparing your mezze platter ahead of time!

A plate of keftedakia set on a table with a bowl of Greek salad and pita wedges.

Ingredients in Keftedakia – Greek Meatballs

The ingredients for keftedakia are simple and easy to find. To make keftedakia, you will need:

  • ground beef
  • bread crumbs
  • milk
  • egg
  • onion
  • garlic
  • parsley
  • mint
  • lemon
  • salt and pepper

How to make keftedakia:

  1. Mix up all the ingredients: Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mixing until combined.

  2. Form into balls: Scoop out a portion of the mixture into your hands (a heaping tablespoon) and form it into a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture and set them aside.

  3. Fry them in batches: Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (you will need to cook them in batches). Cook the meatballs until they are done, flipping them to ensure that they are cooked evenly all the way around. [Tip: use a meat thermometer to test that they are cooked through].
Photo collage showing the steps for making Keftedakia
A platter of cooked meatballs topped with parsley on a kitchen counter surrounded by pita bread wedges.

Tips for making the best Greek meatballs:

  • Use fresh ingredients: As with all cooking, fresh is best. If possible, use fresh ground beef that hasn’t been frozen (though in a pinch you can use thawed meat as well). Fresh lemon juice, fresh parsley and mint are best. Dried mint works as well, just make sure it is aromatic.

  • Be gentle with your meatballs: When mixing the meatballs and forming them, gentle hands will ensure the meat isn’t too compact. The more gentle you are, the more tender the meatball. I like to use a large fork (serving fork) to mix my meatball mixture to keep it nice and airy.

  • Taste test: Before you go ahead and cook all of the meatballs, try testing out a small portion of the meat first. Fry it up in your skillet and once cooked, taste it to see if the seasonings are good.

  • Fry them over medium heat: You don’t want to use high heat when cooking meatballs as that will result in a burnt exterior and possible still a raw interior. I use medium heat when frying the meatballs, lowering it if I see its needed while they cook.

  • Use a meat thermometer: In order to ensure that the meatballs are cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer.
Closeup of a plate piled high with meatballs and sprinkled with parsley.

Can you bake Greek Meatballs?

Without a doubt, frying up meatballs produces the tastiest meatball, as with all things fried. This is the traditional method for cooking them. But if you are looking to save some calories reduce the fat in this recipe, you can absolutely bake them!

To bake the meatballs, preheat oven to 400F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake them for approximately 25-30 minutes or until they are cooked through, flipping them about halfway through. Again, use a meat thermometer to ensure they are cooked through.

Can you make these in advance?

You can absolutely make these meatballs in advance. In fact, as I often make these as party appetizers, on those occasions, I always have them ready in advance. Once cooked and cooled, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Then when its time to serve them up, preheat your oven to 350F and place the meatballs on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake them in the oven until they are heated through, about 15 minutes.

Can you freeze keftedakia (Greek meatballs)?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze these meatballs. Once they are cooked and cooled, transfer the meatballs into a freezer safe bag or container. They can be thawed and reheated in the oven or even tossed into your dishes frozen. Just be sure to cook them until they are heated through.

Closeup of meatballs in a bowl with Greek salad and a pita wedge.

What to serve with keftedakia

These keftedakia make a great appetizer or meal. They are almost always end up on our mezze platter and are easily a favourite! They can also be served on their own or with a nice dip, like tzatziki (my homemade tzatziki recipe can be found in this post) or tirokafteri.

As a meal, you of course can toss these in with your favourite spaghetti and sauce recipe. We also love to serve Greek meatballs with rice or potatoes, including roasted, mashed or french fries. Some of my favourites include: Crispy Air Fryer Greek Potatoes, Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries and these low carb options: Baked Green Bean Fries and Air Fryer Zucchini Fries.

For a lighter meal, Greek meatballs can be served with a salad like a Traditional Greek Salad.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

-Cathy

A white bowl filled with Greek Meatballs and Greek salad and pita wedges.

Are you a big fan of meatballs? You may also like:

Greek Spanakopita Chicken Meatballs
Chicken Zucchini Meatballs
Baked Swedish Meatballs with Gravy
Salisbury Steak Meatballs
Butter Chicken Meatballs

A plate of keftedakia set on a table with a bowl of Greek salad and pita wedges.

Greek Meatballs- Keftedakia

Herbs and Flour
Keftedakia (Greek meatballs) are juicy, flavourful meatballs that are made with aromatic fresh herbs. This staple in Greek cuisine is perfect as an appetizer (or mezze) or made into a meal.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Greek
Servings 40 meatballs
Calories 45 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 450g ground beef (1 lb)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mixing until combined.
  • Scoop out a portion of the mixture into your hands (a heaping tablespoon) and form it into a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture and set them aside.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (you will need to cook them in batches).
  • Cook the meatballs until they are done, flipping them to ensure that they are cooked evenly all the way around. [Tip: use a meat thermometer to test that they are cooked through].

Nutrition

Calories: 45kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 30mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 51IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
Keyword greek food, ground beef, hearty dinner, meatballs, party appetizer
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