Air Fryer Lamb Kofta Recipe

Contributor: Emily Paster

Lamb Kofta is a meatball made from seasoned ground lamb. It is a popular dish all over the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Kofta can be grilled, cooked on the stove, or roasted in the oven, but I like to cook them in the air fryer.

  • Author: Emily Paster
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


Units Scale

Tahini Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup tahini paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 23 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

Lamb Kofta:

  • 2 Tbsp. finely ground bulgur wheat*
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Cooking spray or oil
  • Pita bread for serving


  1. To make the tahini sauce, place the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture forms a paste. With the motor running, slowly pour in ½ cup cold water and blend until the sauce is smooth and pourable, 1 to 2 minutes. If the mixture is still too thick to pour, which will depend on the consistency of the tahini paste, add up to an additional ¼ cup of cold water in the same manner. Refrigerate sauce until needed.**
  2. Mix the bulgur with two tablespoons of very hot water in a heatproof bowl. Let stand for 7 minutes until all the water is absorbed and then stir with a fork.
  3. To form the kofta, combine the softened bulgur with the lamb, onion, one teaspoon of the salt, and spices in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.
  4. With damp hands to prevent sticking, form the lamb mixture into 8 equal, tightly packed oval patties. Place the patties on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  5. When you are ready to cook the kofta, preheat the air fryer to 400ºF for 3 minutes. 
  6. Working in two batches, so as not to overcrowd the air fryer basket, thread half of the patties onto metal skewers. Spray them lightly all over with cooking spray (or rub them all over with a small amount of olive oil) to prevent sticking. Place them in the air fryer in a single layer.
  7. Cook until the kofta are browned and the internal temperature reaches 160ºF on an instant read thermometer (like this one), about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Repeat with the second batch of patties.
  8. Place the cooked kofta on a paper towel–lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm with tahini sauce.

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*For a gluten-free version of this recipe, substitute 1/2 cup cooked quinoa for the bulgur.

**Sauce may be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance.