These Lamb Meatballs are pan-fried and served with a sweet and tangy pomegranate glaze that elevates them above ordinary weeknight fare.
Lamb meatballs go beautifully with rice or couscous when serving them as a main course. But they also make a delightful party appetizer. Just pass the glazed meatballs on a platter with toothpicks or miniature wooden forks and watch them disappear.
If you are new to cooking lamb, ground lamb is the perfect place to begin. Lamb can have a strong flavor, but ground lamb is quite mild. It is also very affordable and easy to find at most grocery stores. You can learn more about it in our article on How To Shop For And Cook Lamb.
In this recipe, we mix ground lamb with some minced onion, lots of warm, earthy spices, chopped pine nuts (for texture), and an egg, which acts as a binder. We then form the mixture into sixteen meatballs.
Pro tip: to prevent sticking, wet your hands slightly before forming the meatballs.
The meatballs come together in a matter of minutes, but you can also prepare the mixture and form the meatballs in advance. Simply keep them covered in the refrigerator for several hours and up to overnight if that is more convenient.
How To Make The Glaze
These lamb meatballs would be juicy and flavorful on their own, but I like to lacquer them with a tangy, piquant pomegranate glaze that is the perfect complement to their earthy flavor.
To make the glaze, you simply boil pomegranate juice, honey, and Balsamic vinegar until reduced and syrupy. You can also do this part in advance if you like.
The glaze is added to the meatballs at the end of cooking so it will coat them and give them a beautiful sheen. For an even more impressive presentation, garnish the meatballs with some fresh pomegranate seeds. Feel free to buy the packaged pomegranate seeds in the refrigerated case of the produce section to save time.
How To Cook Them
Typically, there are so many ways to cook meatballs – roasting in the oven, grilling, even air frying. For these meatballs, however, because we are adding a glaze, we need to cook them in a skillet on the stove.
The meatballs’ small size means that they are done in under 15 minutes. If you have a big enough skillet, you can cook all the meatballs at once. If not, cook them in two batches to avoid crowding the skillet.
As I mentioned, this recipe makes sixteen meatballs which is the perfect number for four people if you are serving the meatballs as a main course. If you want to serve them as a party appetizer alongside other hors d’oeuvres, then this recipe can easily serve eight. Or double it for a larger group. No one can resist a beautifully lacquered meatball. Pass the cocktail napkins!Print
- 1 and ½ cups pomegranate juice
- 1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 1/2 yellow onion, grated or minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts, chopped
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- 1–2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- To make the pomegranate glaze, combine the pomegranate juice, Balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to medium or medium-low and simmer the glaze until it has reduced to approximately a half a cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.*
- To make the meatballs, combine the ground lamb, grated onion, egg, pine nuts, salt, and spices in a large bowl and mix with your hands, or a fork, until well combined.
- With damp hands, form the meat mixture into 16 equally sized meatballs.**
- To cook the meatballs, add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet that has a tight-fitting lid and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering.
- Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the meatballs to the skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning them as needed, about 5 minutes
- Once the meatballs are browned, cover the skillet and turn the heat down to low. Continue to cook the meatballs until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F on an instant read thermometer (like this) and are no longer pink in the center, 3-5 minutes.
- You will notice quite a bit of fat in the skillet. Drain this by carefully tilting the skillet until the fat pools at the bottom and scoop it out with a spoon. Discard the fat.
- Add the pomegranate glaze to the skillet with the meatballs. Toss the meatballs to coat them with the glaze.
- Simmer uncovered until the glaze is reduced and syrupy and the meatballs are coated, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the meatballs to a serving platter and spoon any remaining glaze over them. Garnish with pomegranate seeds if desired. Serve immediately.
*Glaze may be made up to one day in advance. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
**Meatballs may be made up to one day in advance. Transfer the meatballs to a plate, cover, and refrigerate until ready to cook.