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A plate with meatballs and pita.

Greek Meatballs - Keftedes

Delicious Greek meatballs with lots of herbs and olive oil.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 35 meatballs (approximately)
Calories 103kcal
Author by Jenny Skrapaliori Graves


  • Deep frying pan


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 4-5 slices bread Stale bread with crust cut off.
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 onion minced. I usually go for red onions.
  • 2 cloves garlic minced.
  • 1 cup fresh mint finely chopped.
  • 1 cup fresh parsley finely chopped.
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 shot ouzo or 1-2 tsp ground aniseed. Optional.
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

For frying

For serving

  • finelly chopped fresh mint or parsley optional


  • Soak the bread in the milk. Carefully squish the bread so all the milk is out. I usually press it on a strainer to get as much milk out as possible.​
  • In a large bowl, add the bread and all the other ingredients—season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the ouzo shot or 1-2 tsp ground aniseed—season with salt and pepper. Mix everything and knead very well until the mixture is moist and fluffy.
  • Cover with a towel and leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow all the flavors to incorporate together well.​
  • Spread some flour on a plate. Use a small ice-cream scooper or a spoon or your hand and take about 2 tbsp of the mixture and shape it into a ball.  Run ball in the flour, shake off the excess, and place on a clean surface until all your meatballs are ready for frying.​
  • In a deep frying pan, add enough oil to cover ⅔ of the pan. Turn the heat on to medium-high. When the oil is hot, fry the meatballs (in small doses), about 2-3 minutes tops on each side, until golden brown. Remove from heat and arrange them on absorbent paper to drain the excess oil.​


Nutritional Info – Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided is only an estimate and can vary based on products used.
  • I suggest mincing the onion pretty well. I use my food processor because my knife skills are not perfect for dicing veggies really small. You can also grate it on the large holes of a coarse grater if you don't cry with onions. I cry so much!
  • If you don't have ouzo, substitute with 1-2 tsp ground anise seeds or ground star anise. If none are available, omit altogether.
  • You can use breadcrumbs if you don't have bread; add about ½ cup of milk to increase the mix's moisture. 
  • You can substitute ground pork with ground sausage, like a sweet Italian. I sometimes go for hot Italian ground sausage to give a kick to my meatballs.
  • If you have ground turkey, use the same ingredients apart from the bread. Substitute with ½ to 1 cup breadcrumbs (depending on how wet the ground turkey is) and add 1 tbsp ground cumin and 1 tbsp ground coriander to the mixture.


Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 228IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg