Keftedakia (Greek Meatballs)

"These are so tasty! The raw meatball mixture is quite 'loose' and needs a gentle touch, but it will hold together (trust me). In Greece, these are considered top-notch picnic fare. Leftovers make a good second meal (so make more meatballs!) the next day added to a tomato sauce and used to top rice, or mashed potatoes, or pasta, or............Please note there's a minimum of 1 hour refrigeration of the meat mixture prior to frying."
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Ed & Cheryl photo by Ed & Cheryl
photo by YiayiaMouse photo by YiayiaMouse
Ready In:
24-30 meatballs




  • Mix meats, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and mint.
  • Remove crusts from bread slices, process into crumbs (I use my mini food processor) and moisten in milk.
  • Add bread and egg to meat (you can add a shot glass full of ouzo for flavouring at this point, if you like).
  • Knead mixture so that everything is incorporated evenly. This probably means more handling of the meat than you're usually used to, but it's ok in this particular recipe. The milk does not need to be squeezed out of the bread. It will all come together after kneading into a kind of meat paste.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using (I often make this an evening earlier to use the next day).
  • Shape into walnut-sized balls, dredge in flour, and saute in hot oil until meatballs are cooked and browned on all sides. (I use olive oil because I have an endless source, but a good vegetable oil, or a combination of vegetable and olive oil would be fine).
  • Good hot or at room temperature.
  • Note: To freeze (after cooking) Flash freeze separately. When frozen you can pop them into freezer bag.
  • Note2: You can also bake these in the oven (you do not need to dredge in flour if you do). They are very good this way, too. Obviously, frying provides a lot of flavour, but sometimes, cutting some calories is also a good thing. ;-).
  • To heat: Thaw and use as per directions above.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Jonathan Melendez
    These were the best Greek meatballs ever! They had so much flavor! Served them with a bit of fresh tomato and cucumber. It was great with pita as well!
  2. Zonian
    These were awesome! We used all ground beef because we didn't have ground pork, but they were delicious. My husband grew up in Greece and said they taste just like his Grandmother's! Thank you for the recipe!
  3. jo_mama
    I mixed all of the ingredients together at the same time, subbed 1/2 lb of Andouille sausage for the pork, upped the garlic to 7 cloves, substituted sambuca for ouzo, and baked them in the oven @ 350 for 25 minutes. Delicious! I am serving them with a yogurt mint sauce. Thanks for sharing!
  4. kimberly333
    My Greek grandmother used to make these for me all the time when I was a child. I adored them. Given my grandmother's cooking style (no measuring tools needed), I never did get the recipe. This recipe is spot on just like she used to make, absolutely perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Now, if only I could persuade you to put up a paxamadia recipe, we'd be all set. Thanks again!
  5. Elainia
    Oh my, I forgot to add the salt. That said, and salted after cooking, these came out really good. Ouzo is a must, I made half with and half without and you could tell something was missing. I used fresh herbs since I didn't have any dried. I made the tatziki but didn't feel they needed it. Served with a nice tomato and cuke salad with a side of greek rice.


  1. lights_camra_action
    Just wondering where the red wine vinegar comes in?
  2. sarinam
    See above, almost everything but it came out great!!
  3. Kat Wood
    Excellent recipe, Evelyn. I served these at the Christmas party for my husband's seminary group, and they were great. The only things I did differently was spray them with olive oil and bake them and leave off the ouzo b/c I didn't have any and I wasn't sure the Macedonian cognac I did have would be any good or not. I had too many things going at one time to fry meatballs--I also can keep mine looking prettier if I bake on a baking sheet instead of roll around in a skillet.
  4. the european
    This was a good recipe although instead of soaking in milk I used water and then squeezed bread thoroughly. I also shallow fried in olive oil as I prefer the taste. The addition of the ouzo is a nice touch and makes the meat much smoother tasting. Would make again.
  5. Jen T
    These are very similar to a recipe I use from my daughters Greek MIL. Instead of the vinegar she uses lemon juice, and also uses just ground beef. Yours are just as easy to make and tasted wonderful, and yes I made more to have on another night this week. Thanks for posting, cheers :)


<style>body { background: url(""); background-repeat: repeat-y; }</style> OK, here goes. I live in Athens, Greece. I moved out here many, many years ago from Ottawa, Canada - so I am blessed in having two wonderful heritages! I suffer from compulsive obsessive behaviour with regard to food and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea to find a 'society' where many have the same problem and try to find a cure. So far, I've copied a couple of thousand recipes from this site and my psychiatrist has thrown the towel in and refuses to answer the phone when I call. What did I do wrong? Got 3 kids that keep me on the go - 10 and under at this point (2008) - I may not get round to updating this for a few years, so you'll have to do your own maths. I teach English full-time and Greek Cookery part-time. I would like to make the cooking part of it full-time and the English Grammar part of it part-time. That's all for now.
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