These easy Lamb Meatballs are made with a mixture of ground lamb, ground beef, fresh herbs, aromatic spices, and rustic bread. Bursting with the warm and comforting flavors of the Middle East, these lamb meatballs are delicious right out of the oven or homemade saffron tomato sauce and a side of couscous.
These Middle Eastern-inspired lamb meatballs are, quite honestly, the best meatballs you will ever make. Perfectly seasoned, they’re tender, juicy, and delicious with or without sauce – although I highly recommend trying them with my saffron tomato sauce (recipe included in this post). Make yours with a combination of ground lamb and ground beef, or go all-in with just ground lamb. And, like most meatball recipes, you can easily double the recipe and freeze extras for late.
Lamb Meatball Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full list and amounts of each ingredient.
- Bread Soaked in Milk: The only way I will make these meatballs is to soak old bread (or toasted, crusty bread) in milk. This helps bind the meatballs together but also keeps the meatballs super tender and juicy. You can use cow’s milk or any plant-based milk as long as it is plain and unsweetened.
- Ground Lamb: The primary ingredient is ground lamb, but feel free to use a mixture of ground lamb with another type of ground meat (like ground beef) or use strictly ground lamb.
- Eggs: A binder that helps keep the meatballs together.
- Garlic Cloves: These meatballs love garlic! We’re adding eight large cloves of fresh garlic – about a bulb.
- Seasoning and Spices: The combination of spices is what makes these meatballs so flavorful! You’ll need salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, ground ginger, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground coriander.
- Fresh Herbs: If you’ve ever made my Albondigas Recipe, then you know the power of fresh herbs in meatballs. We add fresh Italian parsley, cilantro, and green onions to these lamb meatballs. I didn’t add any fresh mint, but it would make a fantastic addition.
Optional Additions: Some of my favorite additions include feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, cayenne (for heat), and fresh basil or mint.
How to Make the Best Lamb Meatballs
1. Toast the Bread: Unless your bread is already day-old and crusty, you’ll need to toast it in the oven to dry it out. This makes it easier for the bread to soak up the milk. To do this, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Scatter the chopped bread pieces over a large baking sheet. Toast for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the bread is dry and no longer moist and soft. When finished toasting, remove the bread to a large bowl. Cool for 5 minutes.
2. Soak the Bread in Milk: Pour the milk over the bread pieces. Mix well until the toasted bread is fully coated in milk and all of the milk has been absorbed.
3. Make the Meat Mixture: Add the ground lamb, beef, eggs, minced garlic, spices, and fresh chopped herbs. Mix well using your hands (it really is the best way to mix meatballs together).
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Divide the Mixture: With damp hands, roll the meat mixture into small ping-pong-sized meatballs, or use a large cookie scoop to portion out the lamb mixture into equal-sized balls. Transfer each meatball to the prepared baking sheet, repeating the process until no more meat remains.
6. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F. Rotate baking sheets once during cooking. Remove from oven and set aside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not quite, but it’s easy to make them gluten-free by swapping regular bread for bread that is gluten-free. Note: Couscous is not gluten-free. Alternatives include rice and quinoa.
Yes. In fact, you can make these easy lamb meatballs using any type of ground meat, including ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork, or ground turkey.
Saffron is that it is produced from the flower crocus sativus. Each flower only produces three tiny stigmas and only once per year. This, plus the incredible red-orange hue that it produces, makes saffron one of the most luxurious and expensive spices in the world. Some people suggest using a small amount of turmeric as a substitute for saffron, but it will not be the same since saffron offers such a unique and subtle flavor. If you can’t find saffron at your local market, find it on Amazon.
How to Serve Curried Lamb Meatballs
Lamb meatballs can be served in several different ways depending on the occasion and accompanying dishes.
- With Sauce: I really love serving these meatballs with my homemade saffron tomato sauce – hints of cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and saffron, it perfectly complements the tender meatballs.
- Tapas or Appetizer: Serve individual lamb meatballs on toothpicks or small skewers. Have the option of a dipping sauce, like tzatziki sauce or tomato sauce, on the side.
- Wrapped in a Pita Bread or Wrap: Place a few lamb meatballs in your favorite pita-style bread with lettuce, onion, red onion, and creamy Greek yogurt or hummus.
- With Couscous, Rice, or Quinoa: Enjoy with a hearty scoop of grains or rice and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.
- On a Salad: Lamb meatballs are great with a Greek salad, tabouli salad, or tossed with mixed greens, feta cheese, olives, and tomatoes.
- In Soup: One of my favorite ways to use frozen leftover lamb meatballs is in a hearty lemon and orzo soup. Add your favorite vegetables like carrots, celery, artichoke hearts, and kale.
Storaging, Reheating, and Freezing
Storage: Allow the lamb meatballs to cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container or freezer bag. If storing the meatballs in an airtight container, you can store them directly in the saffron tomato sauce or in a separate container for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: For best results, freeze your lamb meatballs in a separate container from the sauce. Remove the meatballs from the oven and allow them to come to room temperature. Once at room temperature, carefully transfer the meatballs to a small tray lined with parchment paper, then place the tray in the freezer. Allow the meatballs to freeze for at least two hours before transferring them to a freezer-friendly ziplock bag. Place the bag in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
- From the Refrigerator: Easily reheat these lamb meatballs in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop. If using the oven, place them in a covered oven-safe dish and reheat at 350°F (175°C) until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- From the Freezer: For best results, thaw your meatballs in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. If you’re in a hurry, they can be reheated directly from frozen, but it may take longer, so be sure to check that their internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
More Meatball Recipes
- Hawaiian Meatballs Recipe
- Easy Freezer Meatballs Recipe
- Buffalo Turkey Meatballs
- Swedish Meatballs
- Porcupine Meatballs
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Sweet and Tangy Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs
If you try making this Easy Lamb Meatball Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Easy Lamb Meatballs Recipe with Saffron Tomato Sauce
For the Lamb Meatballs
- 2½ cups fresh rustic bread - cubed
- 1½ cups Milk - cow milk or plain, unsweetened plant-based
- 1½ pounds ground lamb
- 1 pound ground beef - or ground lamb
- 2 eggs
- 8 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley - finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro - finely chopped
- ¼ cup green onions - finely chopped
For the Saffron Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion - diced
- 8 cloves garlic - minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 4¼ ounces tomato paste
- 1 pinch saffron
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1½ cups Milk - cow milk or plain, unsweetened plant-based
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup golden raisins
For the Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scatter the chopped bread onto a baking sheet and toast for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the bread is dry and no longer moist and soft. When finished toasting, remove the bread from the oven and transfer to a large bowl.
- Allow the bread to cool for approximately 5 minutes before drizzling with the milk. Mix well until the toasted bread is fully coated in milk and all of the milk has been absorbed.
- To the same bowl, add the ground lamb, beef, eggs, garlic, spices, and fresh chopped herbs.
- Using your hands, mix well to thoroughly combine the meat, bread, and spices.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- With damp hands, roll the meat mixture into approximately ping-pong-size meatballs or use a large cookie scoop to portion out the lamb mixture into equal-sized balls. Transfer each meatball to the prepared baking sheet, repeating the process until no meat remains.
- Transfer the baking sheets to the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 160℉. Rotate the baking sheets once during cooking. Remove from oven and set aside.
For the Saffron Curry Sauce
- Heat olive oil in a saucepot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the pot and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper to the onions and mix well to combine. Cook for an additional minute, stirring continuously.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and mix well. Allow the tomato juices to come to a low boil before adding the tomato paste. Mix well to combine.
- Remove the onion and tomato mixture from the heat and transfer to a large high-speed blender (an immersion blender will work well, too). Process on low to medium-low until fully blended. Return pureed tomato sauce back to the original pot and set over medium heat.
- Add the saffron, cinnamon sticks, chicken broth, and honey to the sauce and mix well to combine. Cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks from the sauce and stir in the milk, mixing well to combine. Add the chopped walnuts and golden raisins, if desired. Return the sauce to a low simmer before adding the pre-cooked curried lamb meatballs to the pot (optional).
- Allow the meatballs and sauce to simmer for 5 minutes before garnishing with additional chopped fresh parsley. Serve with warm couscous or other favorite grain, if desired. Enjoy!
- The recipe can be prepared with any type of ground meat- beef, pork, turkey, or lamb.
- The nutrition information is per meatball with sauce. Unfortunately, I do not have the exact amount of sauce per serving (which in the case of this recipe, is the sauce total divided by 40).
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)