Keftedakia, also known as Greek Meatballs, are a popular Mediterranean snack and appetizer.
The dish is typically served as part of a meze platter, with crumbled feta cheese, creamy tzatziki sauce for dipping and warm pita bread.
Our easy homemade Keftedakia recipe features a mixture of ground beef and breadcrumbs flavoured with onion, mint, and cumin.
While we like to serve them as a bite-sized snack, they can also be part of a hearty meal with Greek rice, roasted potatoes and a fresh salad.
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What Is Keftedakia?
Keftedakia are Greek meatballs typically fried in oil in a skillet or oven baked until browned and crispy.
The word is likely derived from the Persian kofta, which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek kopto, which means “to dice.”
In Greece Keftedakia are often served on school field trips and picnics. They’re also the perfect snack to serve as a meze when sipping ouzo. Since they can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature they’re a versatile dish to serve at dinner parties or as an on-the-go lunch.
Traditionally Keftedakia are fried in a skillet with olive oil but our healthy recipe roasts them in an oven instead. We prefer this method as it’s much easier to clean up the kitchen afterwards. Sizzling meatballs on the stove with oil causes a lot of splatter so we like to avoid making an unecessary mess.
Keftedakia are uniquely distinguished from other meatballs like Spanish Albondigas, Danish Boller I Karry, Mexican Chipotle Meatballs, Köttbullar med Gräddsås Swedish Meatballs, and Dutch Bitterballen for their smaller size. Greek Meatballs are typically the size of a large walnut, intended to be a bite-sized snack.
Travel to Greece by Making Keftedakia at Home
I love traveling to Europe.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Europe, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.
During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia,Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Turkey and Italy.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Keftedakia. In Greece, I enjoyed the tiny comfort food at restaurants in Meteora, Tzitzikas Kai in Athens, Kokkalo The Bone in Santorini and Kiki’s Taverna in Mykonos.
After you’ve enjoyed your first few bites, you’ll realize why making homemade Keftedakia is a fun and tasty way to pay homage to the popular Greek snack.
Where To Eat Roasted Greek Meatballs
If you live in a large city in North America you’ll likely have access to a local Greek restaurant that serves traditional Keftedakia.
Haven’t traveled to Greece before? It may be helpful to first sample Greek Meatballs at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You’ll get an idea for the ideal size to make the meatballs, spices and herbs to flavour the ground beef mixture and other meze to serve at the table.
In Toronto, celebrated Greek restaurants that may serve their own version of authentic Keftedakia include Mamakas Taverna, Mezes Greek Restaurant, Estiatorio Volos and Messini.
My Family Loves Homemade Keftedakia
My family are big fans of Mediterranean cuisine.
We love cooking flavourful dishes from Greece, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey.
After traveling to Greece I wanted to share my love for Keftedakia with friends and family. It really is one of the world’s best finger foods, perfect for a mouth-watering snack platter!
I made this Keftedakia recipe at our family cottage in Muskoka on a hot summer day to enjoy as an afternoon snack. I served them sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese, tzatziki for dipping and a cold beer.
If we ever have leftover meatballs we usually serve them the following day stuffed in a pita wrap for lunch or simmered in a tomato sauce for dinner with roast potatoes and grilled vegetables.
This easy meatball recipe is a tasty way to incorporate fresh and flavourful ingredients into a healthy Mediterranean diet. The addictive snack is so tasty all your guests will be asking for the recipe!
Our Keftedakia recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Beef is a great source of protein and minerals like iron as well as an excellent source of the amino acid L-caine. Beef also features antioxidant glutathione known for its anti-aging benefits.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Mint is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and can have a calming effect on the digestive system. It is also a good source of folate, which supports blood health.
Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.
Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Greek Meatballs Cooking Tips
Traditional Keftedakia is quick and easy to make at home. Here are some helpful cooking tips to get you started:
- Greek Meatballs are typically fried in oil in a skillet over the stove. We like to prepare these meatballs using a healthier cooking method, which uses a lot less oil when roasting in the oven. You’ll get the same crispy exterior and moist interior, with far less calories.
- Keftedakia are unique in that they are a much smaller meatball than the kind you’d find at an Italian restaurant served over spaghetti. The balls should be hand-rolled to the size of a large walnut. The idea is that they are an easy finger-food to eat as a snack or appetizer.
- We’ve used 100% ground beef in this recipe but you can use a mixture of minced pork, beef or lamb if your prefer.
- We’ve flavoured the meatball mixture with fresh mint but you can substitute with another popular Greek herb like oregano and parsley.
- Always roll the meatballs in flour as this thin coating ensures they get crispy when baking.
What To Serve with Keftedakia
Our Fried Greek Meatballs recipe is the perfect snack or appetizer to serve at a Mediterranean themed dinner party.
We often make this recipe for family potlucks or summer BBQs where an easy “serve yourself” buffet is the name of the game!
We like to serve the meatballs with warm pita, tzatziki sauce and crumbled feta cheese if presented as a snack or appetizer.
You can also serve Keftedakia as a main course wrapped in a pita wrap sandwich, simmered in tomato sauce or served on a plate with a fresh salad, roasted potatoes and rice.
If you’re looking to impress guests at a Mediterranean themed dinner party we suggest serving this deliciously creamy dip with these other popular dishes from the region:
- Creamy Cheesy Greek Spanakopita Dip
- Crispy Oven Roasted Cypriot Cyprus Potatoes
- Creamy Vegetarian Strapatsada Greek Scrambled Eggs
- Baked Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
- Garides Saganaki Sizzling Greek Feta Shrimp
- Oven Baked Halloumi with Roasted Vegetables
- Fakes Soupa Healthy Vegetarian Greek Lentil Soup
- Prasorizo Vegetarian Greek Leek Rice Recipe
- Greek Sweet Pepper Pork and Cabbage Stew
- Melitzanosalata Greek Eggplant Dip
- Mucver Tarif Vegetarian Turkish Zucchini Fritters
- Turkish Pogaca Feta and Dill Bread Rolls
- Peynirli Pide Cheesy Chorizo Turkish Pizza
- Kiymali Pide Spiced Minced Meat Turkish Pizza
- Turkish Mint Yogurt Corbasi Soup
- Vegan Spicy Turkish Salsa Ezme Salata Salad
- Kisir Turkish Bulgur Salad
Storage & Reheating
These Greek meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days. To serve, just reheat in the microwave, stove, oven, or air fryer. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
- To reheat in the microwave, place meatballs on a microwave-safe plate and cook for 1 minute.
- To reheat on the stove, add a little canola oil to a large nonstick skillet then add the meatballs and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until heated through.
- To reheat in the oven, put them in a baking dish and cover with foil to trap in the moisture. Bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees to warm through.
- To reheat in an air fryer, place the meatballs in an air fryer basket and cook at 350 F for 5 minutes until the exterior of the meatballs are sizzling and crispy.
You can prepare the meatball mixture ahead of time. Cover with plastic wrap, chill in the fridge, then cook when ready. Allow the meatballs to sit on the counter for 30 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature.
You May Enjoy These Beef Recipes…
- Hovezi Gulas Traditional Czech Beef Goulash Stew
- Kuru Fasulye Turkish Beans With Beef
- Boller I Karry Danish Meatballs in Curry Sauce
- Tender Kerala Style Ularthiyathu Beef Fry
- Tender Juicy Air Fryer Filet Mignon
- Spicy Creamy Coconut Nadan Kerala Beef Curry
- Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger
- Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Pasta
- Lebanese Beef Hashweh Rice
- Bo Luc Lac Shaking Vietnamese Beef Stir Fry
- Japanese Beef Yaki Udon Noodle Stir Fry
- Smoky Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs
How To Make Keftedakia Roasted Greek Meatballs
Keftedakia Traditional Greek Meatballs
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Mixing bowls
- baking sheet
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 Spanish Onion minced
- 1/3 cup Fresh Mint
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt + Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Feta Cheese crumbled
- 1 tbsp Breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
- In a large mixing bowl add all of the ingredients, except the flour and only 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined, about 5-7 minutes.
- Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Preheat oven at 350 F. Brush a pan with olive oil.
- With your hands roll beef mixture into meatballs, about 1-1 ½ inch in diameter. Roll in flour, then roll in remaining olive oil and place on pan.
- Bake for about 30 minutes on the lowest rack in your oven, turning over half way. Place under broiler for 5 minutes until the meatball exterior is crunchy.
- Serve hot sprinkled with crumbled feta and tzatziki for dipping.
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Can these be made in an air fryer? If so, what temp and how long? Thanks!
Yes I’m sure they can be but you’ll have to try it out and report back as I use an oven 🙂