Meat & Poultry

Fried Meat Balls (Lesvos Keftedes)

30 min Cook
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Fried Meat Balls (Lesvos Keftedes)

Fried Meat Balls (Lesvos Keftedes)

This version of Keftedes hails from my island of Lesvos. During the population exchange of 1923, many Greeks from Minor Asia, specifically Smyrni, (present day Ismzir, Turkey) who made it the Aegean Islands particularly Mytilene, Lesvos. This would explain why you find this version on Lesvos even today. This version includes freshly ground cumin seeds, oregano and a shot of Ouzo.
prep time
20 min
cooking time
30 min
total time
1 hour


  • Large frying pan/skillet or baking sheet.


  • 1 lb. (500 grams) ground beef

  • 2 medium onion, grated

  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp oregano

  • 2 Tsp ground cumin

  • 3 Tbsp Ouzo

  • 1 egg

  • ½ Tsp. salt

  • 1 Tsp. freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ cup almond flour

  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil for frying


In a large bowl, mix all ingredients through almond flour. Knead the mixture well.
Then, using a cooking dough scooper shape into a 1-inch diameter balls. You want all the meatballs to be as consistent in size as possible, so try using something that will yield you the same amount each time. Roll them, slightly flatten them and set them aside. For Keftedes on Lesvos are slightly larger than the traditional version, so if you want, combine 2 of the balls, to make 1 larger meatball.
Heat olive oil and start frying the meatballs until they are golden brown. Depending on the size of your skillet, ensure that you don't over-crowd the pan. You can also put all the meatballs on a cookie sheet, and place them in a convection oven at 400 F Degrees for 30 minutes. You can also use an air fryer as well.
Arrange meatballs in large serving platter and squeeze 2 lemons over all the hot meatballs. Serve immediately.
Enjoy! Bon Appetit! Kali Orexi!


Serve this with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts, or roasted asparagus spears and nice salad.

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