The most foolproof Greek meatball recipe! Beef meatballs with just a little bit of filler, tons of flavor from lemon and oregano, with tzatziki for dipping. Make your own tzatziki sauce, or use your favorite storebought brand!
Omg meatballs are just so good, right? Seriously.
I find that when feeding people, meatballs are one of those "easy but a little special but also everyone likes them" recipes that are fun to make, hard to mess up, and can be made in advance. LOTS of good stuff there, right?
(Bonus points for meatballs being a nice kid friendly dinner aka pick it up with your hands, I don't have time to cut up your food 17 times a day.)
This Greek meatball recipe has tons of flavor and is almost fresh-feeling, if that can be used for a meatball, thanks to lemon zest, fresh garlic, and tzatziki sauce for dipping.
I usually make my own tzatziki as a dipping sauce for Greek meatballs, but you can use storebought if you like! Lidl has a particularly wonderful yogurt dipping sauce in their fridge section.
This is a medium-size batch of meatballs, enough for about 6 people with some leftovers. I usually serve these as part of a big hummus board or Greek snack spread, but they're also delicious with orzo and salad for dinner. OR in pita sandwiches, YES definitely do that.
Ingredients are: ground beef, an egg, salt, dried oregano and parsley, lemon zest, fresh garlic, and panko bread crumbs.
Ingredient Notes and Variations
- Meat: You can use turkey, pork, or lamb for these meatballs if you prefer! I have another recipe for lamb meatballs that is really delicious.
- Herbs: I use dried herbs for meatballs because I don't usually have a ton of fresh herbs around. If you have fresh parsley and/or oregano, feel free to use 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano instead.
- Garlic: The garlic can be swapped for 1 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)
- Bread Crumbs: Any kind of bread crumbs you have on hand will work well in this recipe.
Step By Step Instructions
Super simple! Mix ingredients, roll balls, bake, the end.
- Combine all of the ingredients gently but thoroughly - don't mush everything together too much or the meatballs will be dense.
- Roll the meatballs into 1-11/2 inch or so meatballs. I sometimes just eyeball it, sometimes use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to make them all pretty equal.
- Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper - that part's optional, but it makes for easy cleanup!
- Bake the meatballs - 12-15 minutes JUST until lightly golden and cooked through. I usually break one in half at about 12 minutes and if there is just a little bit of pink left pull them out.
- If making homemade tzatziki, use the baking time to mix up the yogurt sauce. YUM.
I MEAN. Look how lovely. Flavorful, meaty, salty meatballs (I know, I'm sorry, all I can think is of Alec Baldwin too) that are SERIOUSLY so good on their own, and really yummy with tzatziki on the side.
- I like these best as an appetizer/snack with tzatziki for dipping, on a Mediterranean hummus board.
- Fresh herbs, lemon wedges, and sliced cucumber make these a nice little snack plate.
- They're also really good on salads.
- Make a full dinner with some rice or orzo and a roasted vegetable. This 5-minute lemon asparagus would be a great side dish for Greek meatballs!
- Or simmered in marinara for a quick meatballs keftedes variation.
(ps if you're really into the Greek dinner idea but don't eat beef, Greek chicken thighs are a nice alternative!)
Make Ahead and Storage
Honestly, these are so good fresh that I'd 100% start with that if you can. They'll also keep in the fridge for a few days as leftovers.
I reheat these meatballs in the microwave, but they can also be heated up in a 300F oven for 20 minutes just until they're warm all the way through.
The meatballs can YES DEFINITELY be frozen after cooked, and then reheated in the oven. They may dry out a bit, so if you go that route I'd recommend baking them for 10 minutes, freezing, then reheating in the oven at 350F until fully thawed and cooked through, 30 minutes or so.
And that's it! Super simple, delicious baked meatballs that can honestly be used in just about anything. I hope you love them when you try them!
Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 lemon zested (wedges for serving!)
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 small pickling or Persian cucumber
- 1 cup Greek yogurt preferably full fat
- 1 clove garlic very finely minced or grated
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425F and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray.
- Combine all of the ingredients gently in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands or a small scoop, form the meat mixture into 24 meatballs.
- Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until golden and cooked through. Serve with tzatziki for dunking, or anyway you enjoy meatballs.
- Using a box grater, grate the cucumber and place in a small strainer or on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit for about 15 minutes to drain, then proceed with the following steps.
- Use a spoon to press as much excess water as possible out of the grated cucumber. Mix the drained cucumber with the yogurt, garlic, salt, sugar, and mint.
- Taste the tzatziki, and add more salt or sugar if you’d like. Serve with the meatballs.