Greek Meatballs

These Greek meatballs are great for a party appetizer or a main dish. They're made with lamb and seasonings like orange zest, mint, and garlic and rolled into perfect, flavorful bites.

Greek Meatballs on a blue serving plate

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

I found this recipe in the Wall St. Journal years ago as good "noshing" food and had to give it a try, with a few minor changes. It comes from chef Michael Symon of the Parea Greek restaurant in New York and Lola & Lolita Bistro in Cleveland.

Ingredients for Greek Meatballs

These meatballs are made with ground lamb and a little bit of salt pork, though you could substitute bacon if you prefer. The seasonings are garlic, shallots, orange zest, and fresh mint, with a little chopped hot chili pepper for spiciness.

If you don't like spicy foods, you can skip the chili pepper. Conversely, if you love spice, feel free to add another chili pepper to the mix!

How to Serve These Meatballs

These meatballs are great served warm on toothpicks for an appetizer, though you could easily have them for dinner as well. Serve them with a little Greek yogurt for dipping, or even some tzatziki for something extra special.

How to Make Ahead and Freeze

These meatballs can be made entirely ahead of time, cooled, and stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Just heat them in the microwave for 2 minutes on high to warm them up again.

You can also freeze either the cooked or uncooked meatballs. If cooked, let the meatballs cool completely before freezing.

In either case, space the meatballs out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and freeze until solid. Transfer them to a freezer container or plastic bag (squeeze out as much air as possible) and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw the meatballs overnight in the fridge. Cook uncooked meatballs following the directions in the recipe. Cooked meatballs can be rewarmed in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.

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Greek Meatballs

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 to 5 servings
Yield 20 meatballs


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 hot chili pepper (jalapeño, serrano, or other hot chili pepper), seeded and minced

  • 1 large shallot, minced

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 4 ounces salt pork or bacon, ground or finely minced

  • 1 orange, zested

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Greek yogurt, for dipping


  1. Sauté the vegetables:

    Heat a small pan over medium heat and add the oil, minced garlic, chili pepper, and shallot, and cook for 1 minute then let cool.

    fresh minced shallots, jalapeño, garlic in hot frying pan
    Elise Bauer
  2. Make the meatball mixture:

    Meanwhile, crumble the lamb into a large bowl. Evenly scatter the salt pork (or bacon), orange zest, and mint over the lamb and season with pepper. Sprinkle the cooled garlic mixture over the lamb. Gently mix until just combined.

    greek meatball ingredients in large mixing bowl
    Elise Bauer
  3. Form the meatball mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls:

    Transfer to a plate or sheet pan.

    Raw greek meatballs pepared on a cooking sheet
    Elise Bauer
  4. Cook the meatballs:

    Heat a large cast iron pan over medium to medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary to prevent crowding, cook the meatballs on all sides until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

    raw greek meetballs cooking in cast iron frying pan
    Elise Bauer
    seared greek meatballs in frying pan
    Elise Bauer
  5. Serve:

    Serve warm with toothpicks or skewers with Greek yogurt for dipping.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
506 Calories
39g Fat
11g Carbs
27g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 506
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 14g 72%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 696mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 16mg 82%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 458mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.