This three-layer baked kibbeh recipe is stuffed with spiced minced meat, onion, and pinenut mixture sandwiched in between two kibbeh layers and tray-baked to perfection. This baked stuffed kibbeh recipe is the three-layer version of baked kibbeh, or kibbeh bil sanieh. Served alongside some pita bread and cucumber yogurt sauce, or khyar bi laban.
What I Love About This Recipe
Baked stuffed kibbeh is a delicious Lebanese meal loved by many. This recipe is a large batch recipe, perfect for gatherings or for leftovers. I love that this recipe can be split between two baking dishes (bake one immediately and store the other in the freezer), so basically it's a second meal ready to go without any effort.
This Lebanese baked stuffed kibbeh is comprised of two main parts: the kibbeh stuffing and the kibbeh meat mixture. The kibbeh stuffing is made with lean ground meat, pine nuts, diced onion, spices, and pomegranate molasses. The kibbeh meat mixture is made with 85% ground meat, soaked bulgar wheat, fresh mint, onion, and spices.
- Lean ground meat: Use 93% or 95% lean ground meat for the stuffing. Use ground beef, lamb, or a mixture of both. I use ground beef.
- Pine nuts: These nuts are expensive, so just a little goes a long way. This ingredient turns the stuffing up a notch. However, it can be omitted if needed.
- Onion: Use brown onion, sweet onion, or yellow onion.
- Pomegranate molasses: This Middle Eastern ingredient may not be in regular supermarkets. Purchase on Amazon or at a local Middle Eastern grocer.
- Seven Spices: This is another Lebanese ingredient that might not be in your neighborhood grocery store. Purchase on Amazon, a Middle Eastern grocery store, or make your own with this homemade Lebanese seven spice blend. Substitute a ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ¾ teaspoon allspice for 1 teaspoon of seven spices.
Kibbeh Meat Mixture
- Fine bulgar wheat: There are different sizes of bulgar wheat, so make sure to use the fine bulgar wheat also known as bulgar wheat #1 size. Larger-sized bulgar wheat requires more than just a quick soak to soften.
- Ground meat: Use 80% to 85% ground meat either lamb, beef, or a mixture of both. If using lean ground meat, the kibbeh will contract a lot in size when baking. The higher fat content helps the kibbeh mixture not dry out and stay moist.
- Fresh mint leaves: I highly recommend using fresh mint leaves if possible.
- Dried mint and dried basil: Do not substitute dried Italian herb mix for the dried mint and dried basil. Dried mint and dried basil are really necessary for this stuffed kibbeh recipe.
- Onion: Use brown onion, yellow onion, or sweet onion.
- Spices: Use Lebanese seven spices, allspice, and cinnamon.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Stuffed Kibbeh
This recipe is split into three sections: making the kibbeh stuffing, making the kibbeh meat mixture, and assembling and baking the stuffed kibbeh.
Make the Kibbeh Stuffing
Make the kibbeh stuffing first, so it has time to cool. In a large nonstick pan on medium-high heat, fry the diced onions in oil (about 5 minutes). Once the onions soften, add the pinenuts and fry for about 2 minutes or until golden. Then add the ground meat, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon. Once the meat turns brown, add the seven spices, allspice, salt, pepper, and butter (for taste). Turn the stove off and add the pomegranate molasses. Mix and set aside to cool while preparing the kibbeh meat mixture.
Make the Kibbeh Meat Mixture
Soften the bulgar wheat by rinsing it in water, draining the water, then letting sit for about 5 minutes.
Make the kibbeh dough mixture in 3 batches. Grind the ground meat, softened bulgar wheat, and ice cubes together. Move the blended meat to a large bowl.
Blend the onion and fresh mint leaves.
Add some of the kibbeh meat mixture back into the food processor along with the allspice, seven spices, cinnamon, dried mint, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Blend until combined. Move the spiced kibbeh meat mixture back into the bowl with the other parts that are ground. Add some ice cubes.
In a separate bowl, add some water and ice cubes. Dip your hands in the ice water.
Using your hands, knead the kibbeh meat mixture for about 2 to 3 minutes until all of the dough is combined.
Pro Tip: Dip your hands in ice water when the kibbeh dough sticks to them.
Bake the Stuffed Kibbeh
Grease a large baking sheet with oil. Heat the oven to 400 ℉(205 ℃).
Grab a large chunk of the meat mixture and flatten it in between the palms of your hands. Press the kibbeh meat mixture into the pan in a thin layer. Repeat. Press the sections together forming a flat layer.
Add the kibbeh stuffing on top of the first layer. Add a layer of kibbeh dough on top of the stuffing by pressing the kibbeh mixture in between your hands and laying on top of the stuffing. Press the individual sections together. Dip your hands in water and smooth the kibbeh mixture.
Make one large hole in the middle of the kibbeh tray. Cut vertical and horizontal all the way through the three layers intersecting this hole.
Continue making shallow cuts vertically and horizontally about ¾" (2 cm) thick until the edge of the pan. Spread some oil on top.
Bake the kibbeh at 400 ℉(205 ℃) for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The baking time depends on how thick the stuffed kibbeh is.
Tips and Tricks
- Freeze the kibbeh. Make this kibbeh in two smaller baking pans and freeze one of them for a future no-fuss meal. Just freeze the kibbeh unbaked and without the oil.
- Add ice cubes while making the kibbeh mixture. Because the meat and bulgar wheat mixture are thick, the food processor heats up as it mixes. By adding ice cubes, we are able to cool the meat down.
- Use fresh mint. I highly recommend using fresh mint in addition to the dried mint.
- Serve with cucumber yogurt (khyar bi laban) and pita bread.
Variations and Substitutions
- Use a smaller pan and make thicker stuffed kibbeh. I prefer making a thin-baked and stuffed kibbeh; however, this recipe also works for thicker kibbeh. Just use a smaller pan and don't press the kibbeh mixture too thin in between your hands.
- Make a design with the indentations. If using a circular baking dish, it's easy to cut the kibbeh into a beautiful pattern.
- Food processor: This recipe needs a food processor (not a blender) to blend the ground meat and fine bulgar wheat together. Because the meat mixture is thick, a blender will not work.
- Metal baking sheet: Use one large metal baking sheet (like a cookie sheet) that's 16" x 12" in size. Or, split this recipe into two smaller metal pans. Use a circular pan, square pan, or rectangular pan. I recommend using a metal pan or cast iron dish rather than a glass pan or ceramic pan.
- Chef's knife and cutting board to prepare the onion.
- Measuring spoons to measure out the spices.
Store the stuffed kibbeh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Store the stuffed kibbeh (unbaked and without oil) in the freezer for up to 4 months. When ready to bake, thaw at room temperature, spread some oil, and bake at 400 ℉(205 ℃) for 40 minutes to one hour.
Kibbeh is similar to meatballs in texture because of the blended bulgar wheat and ground meat. However, the flavor is different because of the warm Middle Eastern spices used like allspice, cinnamon, and seven spices.
Kibbeh is a blend of onion, ground meat, fine bulgar wheat, dried mint, dried basil, seven spices, allspice, and cinnamon. It's made in different ways like fried stuffed kibbeh balls, kibbeh balls in yogurt, or raw kibbeh for example.
Kibbeh is the national dish of Lebanon, and it's served in many different ways.
Join The Tribe
- 2.2 lbs of ground beef 85% fat
- 14 ounces of fine bulgar wheat
- 1 medium onion
- 6 sprigs of fresh mint
- 1.5 teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Lebanese seven spices
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon salt or salt to taste
- 2 teaspoon dry mint
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons oil to rub on top of the kibbeh when assembled
- 14 ounces lean ground beef 93%
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt or salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Lebanese seven spices
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
Make Kibbeh Stuffing
- Fry the diced onions in oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Once the onion softens, add the pine nuts. When the pine nuts start to change colors (about 2 minutes) add the ground meat breaking up the clumps as the meat browns.
- When the meat is cooked through, add the salt, allspice, black pepper, seven spices, and butter (for taste). Turn off the heat, add the pomegranate molasses and stir. Set aside to cool while preparing the kibbeh mixture.
Make Kibbeh Mixture
- Rinse the bulgar wheat in water. Drain and let sit for 5 minutes to soften.
- Using a food processor blend ⅓ of the kibbeh ground meat and ⅓ of the softened bulgar wheat with a few ice cubes until blended. Add to a large bowl. Repeat until all 3 batches are blended. Blend the fresh mint and onion. Add some of the ground meat back into the mint and onion mixture. Add the allspice, cinnamon, seven spices, black pepper, salt, dry mint, dry basil, and ice cubes. Blend until combined. Add the mixture to the large bowl with a couple of ice cubes.
- Using your hands, knead the kibbeh mixture for a few minutes until combined.
Assemble the 3-Layer Kibbeh
- Grease a metal cookie sheet or large round metal pan. Heat the oven to 400 ℉(205 ℃). Get a bowl with water and ice ready.
- Wet your hands. Grab a chunk of the kibbeh mixture and press it in between your palms until flattened. Lay it on the baking sheet. Continue flattening the kibbeh mixture until ½ of the mixture is pressed into the pan in a thin layer. Dip your hands in water when the kibbeh starts sticking to your hands.
- Using a slotted spoon, add the kibbeh stuffing evenly on top of the kibbeh mixture.
- Make the top layer of the kibbeh mixture by pressing the kibbeh in between your palms. Lay on top of the stuffing layer. Continue adding flattened kibbeh pieces dipping your hands in water every so often. Connect the kibbeh pieces by pressing them together to form a smooth layer.
- Once the kibbeh layers are finished, cut the kibbeh. Make a hole indentation in the middle. Cut all the way through the kibbeh horizontally and vertically once. Then make cuts (only going halfway down) vertically and horizontally in ¾" (2 cm) width sections.
- Spread a layer of oil on top of the kibbeh. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Ice cubes are added to the blending and the hand kneading step in order to keep the kibbeh mixture cool. The mixture is very thick and heats up while it's blending.
- Bake the kibbeh directly in a greased metal pan.