Photo credit: Crystal Rivera

13 Jewish Meatball Recipes for Every Mood

Just roll with it.

The old trope “two Jews, three opinions” does not apply to meatballs. A love of meatballs is the great Jewish unifier, with treasured recipes hailing from communities all over the world – from Syria to Russia, Persia to the good old US-of-A. 

I’ve rounded up The Nosher’s 13 best Jewish meatball recipes to deliver you a spherical dish for every mood. We have meatballs of every size; chicken ‘balls, beef ‘balls and lamb ‘balls; summer ‘balls and winter ‘balls. There is truly something here for everyone (except if you’re vegetarian, in which case, allow me to introduce you to these meatball-adjacent leek patties). 

So dampen those palms, turn on your stove and get ready to roll.

1. Tefteli (Russian Meatballs)

Simple, generous meatballs, just like grandma used to make. Bonus: Bulked-up with rice, rather than breadcrumbs, tefteli are naturally gluten-free. 

2. Meatballs with Tahini and Tomatoes 

These decidedly summer-y meatballs are smothered in tahini, topped with fresh tomatoes, then broiled until sizzling and golden. Enjoy over couscous or with a chopped salad al fresco.

3. Sheet Pan Lamb Meatballs and Veggies

lamb meatballs
Photo credit Chaya Rapaport

Spiced and citrusy, ready in under an hour and requiring minimal washing up, these are the perfect mid-week meatballs. 

4. Cocktail Sweet and Sour Meatballs 

sweet and sour meatballs
Photo Credit: Eat Something

Classic North American sweet-and-sour meatballs, served cocktail-party-style on toothpicks. 

5. Harissa Lamb Meatballs

Rich, herby lamb meatballs are perfectly balanced by a spicy tomato sauce hero-ing North African harissa.

6. Keftes (Syrian Meatballs in Tamarind Sauce) 

Photo credit: Crystal Rivera

Fragrant with baharat with a gentle kick from Aleppo pepper, these sweet, tangy meatballs are completely craveable. 

7. Tomato Noodle Soup with Kibbeh (Meatballs)

Spaghetti and meatballs, but make it soup-y. 

8. Iraqi Apricot Meatballs

Photo credit Vered Guttman

Tender, sweet-and-sour meatballs with a 2,000-year-old history. The sunny dried apricots in the sauce and quick cook time (less sweating over the stove) make them ideal for hot days. 

9. Gondi (Persian Chicken Soup with Chicken Meatballs) 

Photo credit Rachael Narins

Meatballs don’t have to leave you groaning on the couch; they can be elegant and light. In this Persian Jewish dish, melt-in-the-mouth chicken meatballs bathe in a fragrant, golden broth. 

10. Shakshuka with Lamb Meatballs and Spinach 

Spiced lamb meatballs and fresh spinach meet shakshuka for a weeknight one-pot wonder. 

11. Syrian Meatballs in Cherry Sauce

Photo credit: Getty/Nikolay Donetsk

Kids and adults alike will love this simplified take on iconic Syrian kibbeh cherry. We recommend keeping a batch or two in your freezer for emergencies.

12. Koofteh (Persian Meatballs) in Tomato-Turmeric Broth 

Fall-apart, herbaceous meatballs bound together with rice and split peas and simmered in an aromatic broth. Transcendent. 

13. Chicken Fricassee with Meatballs

Chicken Fricassee
Photo credit Ronnie Fein

There are really no rules when it comes to fricassee, but this deliciously chaotic collection of chicken parts, meatballs and vegetables is the ultimate nostalgic comfort dish.

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