Koobideh kabob is a Persian recipe featuring skewers of juicy ground lamb, beef, and onion. Make grilled meat skewers for a quick, easy meal!
This type of kabab hails is very popular in Persian cuisine, and the name is pronounced koo-bi-day.
It’s made from a mixture of ground lamb, beef, or chicken and is often mixed with different spices, fresh chopped parsley, and onions.
With lovely caramelization and charred flavor from the grill, these meat skewers are sure to become a new favorite.
How to make beef and lamb kabobs
Just mix together all of the ingredients and form around the skewers. Then, grill for a few minutes on each side and enjoy!
You can eat the kabob right off the skewer, or wrap it in a warm pita or barbari bread with some toum, a tangy garlic sauce.
Serve the koobideh kabob with shirazi salad or Persian saffron rice to make it a complete meal.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Ground meat - For best results, use an even mixture of lamb and beef that’s fresh instead of previously frozen. I like to use a 90/10 blend for the ground beef, as a higher fat content will cause the meat to fall off the skewer when grilled.
- Onion - It’s important to grate the onion, not just dice it. This gives you all the flavor without large pieces in the mixture that will affect how well it molds to the skewer. Once grated, be sure to remove the excess liquid with a sieve.
- Sumac - This spice has a tangy lemony flavor without the full tartness of actual lemon juice. It’s commonly sprinkled over Persian kabobs and rice, but you can easily leave it out if you’re unable to find it.
- Lemon - Again, completely optional in this dish, but it can help balance the richness from the lamb meat.
Recipe Video: How to Grill Meat Skewers
Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post and you can watch the dish being made from start to finish!
- Mix the ingredients: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a spatula or your hands until well combined. Don’t worry about overworking it, since it will hold its shape better the closer it is to a dough consistency.
- Form the kabobs: Next, wet your hands with water or leftover onion juice and form the meat mixture around the skewer. This works best when the mixture is cold, so place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes if it won’t hold it’s shape.
- Grill the meat: Place the skewers on a well oiled grill and cook until browned on both sides. These cook pretty fast, so keep a close eye on them or the meat will dry out if overcooked.
- Rest and serve: Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes, so the juices can redistribute throughout. Then, add a sprinkle of sumac or a squeeze of lemon if you’d like before serving.
- Use flat kebab skewers - These work much better for this Persian kabob recipe than the thin, round kind. Not only do they provide more surface area for the meat to stick to, but the heated metal helps cook the meat from the inside as well. Plus, the food doesn’t spin around when it’s time to flip them.
- Make ahead - If needed, you can form the kabob on the skewer and refrigerate for a few hours in advance. Place the skewers over the sides of a sheet pan or baking dish so the meat doesn’t touch the bottom, then cover tightly with plastic wrap before placing in the refrigerator.
- Storage - Wrap grilled koobideh kabob in foil or place in an airtight container before storing in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to 4 days.
- Reheating - For best results, add a splash of water to an oven safe dish and place the kabobs inside. Then, cover with foil and heat in the oven until warmed through. Or, cover and reheat in the microwave over rice since the steam from the rice will keep the meat from drying it out.
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Persian Koobideh Kabob + Video
- 1 medium onion peeled and grated (red or white)
- 1 lb lean ground lamb
- 1 lb lean ground beef (90/10 mix)
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ground sumac (optional)
- 1 lemon (optional)
- toum garlic spread (optional)
- Grate the onion (See Note 1) and place onion in a sieve set over a bowl to drain. Press and squeeze out all the excess water. Discard onion juice or save for soup or other use.
- In a bowl add the ground beef, lamb, shredded onions, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, and mix well. Divide meat mixture evenly into eighths and form the meat onto 8 skewers, molding and flattening meat around skewer with wet hands to make each kebab about 8" long (See Note 2). For a traditional look, gently press meat between thumb and index finger once meat is on skewer (see photos). If not using skewers, shape meat into eight 8" hot dog/sausage shapes. Set kabobs aside.
- Clean your grill and heat to 350°F. Oil your grill so these don't stick. Place the skewers on grill and cook until browned on each side and cooked through, 3–4 minutes per side.
- Allow meat to rest for 3-5 minutes and sprinkle with a little ground sumac, squeeze of lemon and or toum garlic spread. Serve immediately.
- If you use skewers they need to be all metal, otherwise make the kabobs into long rolls and place them on a broiler rack lined pan to catch the juices. Move the oven rack to the second highest setting from the top. Broil the kabobs until browned, about 6-7 minutes on each side.
- I use a four sided cheese grater placed in a bowl to catch all the juice.
- If the meat mixture is room temperature the meat sometimes does not hold it's shape. If so, refrigerate 20 minutes to firm up and then mold on to skewers. To form meat around skewer, I hold an oval shape of the meat in my hand and with other hand slowly pierce the meat through with skewer. Using my thumb and index finger, encircle meat. Pinch and squeeze the meat along the skewer, molding and flattening meat to make each kebab about 8" long (see photos).
- I like to spread Toum Garlic Spread on top as well (see recipe).
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
Can this be made in the oven?
Yes you can make these kabobs in the oven. If you use skewers they need to be all metal, otherwise make the kabobs into long rolls and place them on a broiler rack lined pan to catch the juices. Move the oven rack to the second highest setting from the top. Broil the kabobs until browned, about 6-7 minutes on each side.
It seems all I can give is a 5 star for you recipes, they are all great. This is one of my favorites so good.
My favorite kind of dinner! So great to make them at home!
You are going to love it! Let me know!
One of mine too Catalina. These are so flavorful!
What a unique and unexpected recipe! Adding this to my dinner line up for the week; looks too good to pass up!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
These will shake up that dinner week Sara!
Wow this looks delicious and so amazing! I can't wait to try it!
Thank you! I really enjoy them! You will too!
The recipe looks really good. I would like to prepare the kabobs using sumac. How much should I use?
Thanks Maira! I would start with maybe a teaspoon in the mix and you could always sprinkle on more after grilled to your liking.
Thanks Allyson, enjoy!
YUM! These kabobs are incredibly delicious!! My family loved them!
Thank you so much!
Love to read that Beti!
WOW! These koobideh kabobs sound amazing!! I can't wait to try them!
Let me know how you enjoy them!
Perfect for on the grill a grill pan or under the broiler!
Looks so tasty and yummy! I can't wait to make this! My husband is going to love this recipe! So excited!
Thank you! Let me know how they turn out for you guys!
Let me know how you enjoy these Beth!
These Koobideh kabobs sound delicious right about now!
The flavors are amazing!
Looks like I need to buy some flat kebab skewers!
You have to give it a try!
They definitely help for those bigger kebabs, especially when turning!
Loved this! I've made it into burgers for my cafe and I'm serving it with homemade harissa, homemade toum, lettuce, tomato and cucumber on a brioche bun! Thanks again!
Wow! That is amazing! I am so glad! That sounds like lunch to me!