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overhead: homemade lamb meatballs on a white plate
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5 from 10 votes

Persian Meatballs (Koofteh)

Koofteh (Persian meatballs) are the epitome of Iranian comfort food! This recipe for lamb meatballs with dried cherries and pistachios is a must-make!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 4
Calories: 550kcal
Author: Kevin


  • 1 lb ground lamb or beef (See Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoon pistachios chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cherries chopped
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot diced, about ⅓ cup
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock


  • In a bowl add the lamb, pistachios, dried cherries, spices (See Note 1), salt, cilantro, breadcrumbs and egg. Mix together by hand until incorporated completely. Use a 1 ½-inch scoop or roll into small balls, about the size of a golf ball. Makes between 18-20 meatballs. Set aside.
  • In a large frying pan add the olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  • Over medium heat in the same pan sauté the shallot until translucent. Add the flour and cook for a minute, stirring to cook the flour. Gradually add the chicken stock a little at a time, stirring to incorporate completely and thicken. Season with salt if needed.
  • Add the cooked meatballs back to the pan and turn to coat all over with pan sauce. Cover with lid and cook on low for 2 minutes to heat meatballs through. Serve with rice.



  1. If you like to use whole spices: Use the ½ teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin and fennel seed.  In a skillet over medium heat, toast the celery seed, coriander, cumin and fennel seeds until aromatic, just a minute or two tops. Don’t burn them, you just want to release their essential oils. Grind in a spice grinder.
  2. Ground beef, turkey or chicken can be substituted for the ground lamb if that is not to your liking, but I highly recommend you try it.


Calories: 550kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 605mg | Potassium: 472mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 418IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 4mg