Lamb Meatballs are easy to make and perfectly spiced with an easy Mediterranean-inspired seasoning blend. Serve with veggies, couscous, or pita for a fun meal ready in 30 minutes.

Close-up of lamb meatballs served with couscous and a tomato cucumber salad.

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I created this post using free product I received from the American Lamb Board. I was not otherwise compensated; all opinions and observations are my own.

Ground lamb is an underrated dinner option for the everyday home cook. It’s easy to cook with, tender, and has a mild flavor that suits all types of seasonings. You can go light or heavy, and opt for an Italian, Mediterranean, or straight up American flavor profile — it all works.

These meatballs use a simple Mediterranean-inspired spice combination, heavy on cumin and za’atar. This gives them a toasty, tangy, almost woodsy flavor, that happens to be completely irresistible.

Za'atar-spiced lamb meatballs on a plate.

How to make them

These are some of the simplest meatballs I’ve ever made! You’ll combine the meat and all seasonings, mix well, and portion out into your desired size.

I specifically designed the recipe to use primarily dried herbs and spices, both for convenience and because I find that the smoother texture makes them far more likely to get a thumbs up from kids!

Shaped, uncooked lamb meatballs.
Cooked lamb meatballs in a skillet.

Grab an oven-safe skillet, warm a drizzle of oil — olive or avocado work well – and turn the meatballs until well browned. I find it helpful to finish cooking them in the oven, as this ensures they cook through without getting too crispy on the outside.

Tips and tricks

  • Onion and Garlic. I use dried minced onion and garlic powder in these meatballs, because, as noted above, they are convenient and ensure the meatballs have a smooth, kid-friendly texture. You can absolutely substitute fresh if you like — roughly 1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion and 1-2 cloves minced garlic would be a good starting point.
  • Use a Cookie Scoop. This makes it super quick and easy to evenly portion out the meatballs.
  • Roll with Wet Hands. Run your hands under cool or lukewarm water before rolling the portioned-out meatballs into smooth balls. This simple step speeds things up and drastically cuts down on the amount that sticks to your hands. Repeat as needed throughout the process.
  • No Crowding, Please. Be sure to work in batches as you brown the meatballs. If they are touching or very close to one another, they will not get a good sear. It’s worth the extra few minutes to brown in two or even three batches if need be.
  • Cooking Temperature. The FDA and the American Lamb Board recommend cooking ground lamb to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. I highly recommend using an instant read thermometer to take all the guesswork out of this!

Why use American lamb?

I learned some interesting facts about American lamb in the process of working on this post. For one, the industry has been hit very hard in 2020, because roughly half of its sales are traditionally to restaurants.

I suspect that home cooks might consider lamb intimidating or simply out of their comfort zone, but it’s really no more difficult to cook with than ground beef.

As someone who tries to integrate sustainable food choices wherever possible, I was also really interested to learn about some of the practices American lamb farmers use to keep their flocks environmentally-friendly and improve land stewardship. The natural grazing habits of sheep, for instance, tend to improve pastures and rangeland by recycling soil nutrients, reducing erosion, and encouraging the growth of native plants. Cool, right?

Also, lamb is produced in every state — by more than 80,000 different family farmers and ranchers — so it’s literally always possible to buy local and small.

What to serve with lamb meatballs

These meatballs make a delicious meal paired with any type of Mediterranean salad. Keep it simple with a few cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs tossed together, or make it more of an event with a Greek chickpea, pearl couscous, or white bean tomato cucumber salad.

You can also serve lamb meatballs bowl-style, with salad greens, veggies, olives, hummus or tzatziki, and any other toppings you like. Or plate the meatballs on top of couscous or a rice pilaf.

So many options! No matter what, a side of soft pita bread will round things out beautifully.

Za'atar-spiced lamb meatballs on a plate.

If you enjoy these meatballs, you’ll also love these Moroccan lamb burgers!

If you try these Lamb Meatballs, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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Za’atar-Spiced Lamb Meatballs

Lamb meatballs are easy to make and perfectly spiced with this easy seasoning blend. Serve with veggies, couscous, or pita for a fun, unique meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • for serving: pita or couscous; chopped cucumber, tomatoes, tzatziki, fresh herbs, etc.

Instructions

  • Add lamb and all seasonings to a medium bowl. Mix well to combine. Scoop into roughly 1”-sized portions, and gently roll and press these into smooth round meatballs. (It helps to do this with slightly wet hands.)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Warm oil in a large oven-proof skillet set over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add as many meatballs as fit without touching or crowding the pan. Cook, turning the meatballs every minute or so, until they are browned on most sides. Transfer the first batch of meatballs to a plate, and repeat with remaining batches until all are browned.
  • Return all meatballs to the skillet and transfer to the oven to bake for 5-7 minutes, until cooked through. Remove and serve as desired.

Notes

  • Onion and Garlic. Feel free to sub fresh onion and/or garlic for the dried varieties if you like. Roughly 1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion and 1-2 cloves minced garlic would be a good starting point.
  • Cooking Temperature. The FDA and the American Lamb Board recommend cooking ground lamb to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. I highly recommend using an instant read thermometer to take all the guesswork out of this! 
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!