How to make lamb meatballs with perfectly light texture courtesy of pilsner lager.
Go straight to the Recipe Card or read on for a few relevant tips.
About These Lamb Meatballs with a Splash of Pilsner
The carbonation in lager has applications beyond quick beer breads and beer batters. Many years ago I learned from my grandmother that light and juicy meatballs must either be made with a bit of yogurt and baking soda or beer. I cannot say that one approach yields better results than the other – I love them both. Both help the meatballs rise. Both yield plump and airy meatballs.
As a cooking with beer veteran I frequently leverage highly carbonated beers when making meatballs. The ground meat mixture becomes nice and loose (without impeding manual handling and shaping) and the resulting meatballs boast a wonderfully light texture.
Pilsner being both complementary flavor-wise and highly carbonated is my top choice beer to use with lamb meatballs.
Objectively, you will not taste much of its gorgeous bready flavors and herbal, grassy aroma because this recipe calls for a lot of cumin which entirely obliterates the subtle pilsner notes. But texture wise pilsner is a great way to infuse your lamb meatballs with tiny air bubbles. They turn out light, plump and fluffy, with just enough density to hold all the juices. Simply perfect.
How to Make Lamb Meatballs with Cumin, Feta & Pilsner
- Prep work. Bring your ground lamb to room temperature before handling it. Finely chop the green onion and parsley, mince the garlic, crumble the feta.
- Mix and shape. Combine all the ingredients together, mix well and shape into balls (use a 1 tbsp measuring spoon for uniformity).
- Cook. You can pan fry, air fry or bake these lamb meatballs, it is up to you.
- They rise the best when baked, but baking also dries out the surface, so as soon as you get them out of the oven brush them with a bit of olive oil. (In the pictures you see them baked.)
- If pan frying have the cooking oil be about 1/2 inch deep, 350 F.
- If air frying set temperature to 350 F.
TIP: Be generous with the cumin. Lamb meat and cumin is a match in heaven and the saltiness of feta cheese plays on the combo.
What to Serve with Lamb Meatballs
- I love to serve these meatballs over buttery Israeli couscous with pine nuts, feta and mint, accompanied by a delightful yogurt dip. Just like you see in the picture above. It is a very flavorful spread, at the same time really light.
- Another favorite are these feta cheese fries with oregano.
- Crispy roasted potatoes with herbs.
- All kinds of fresh salads from the Mideastern and Mediterranean culinary traditions are complementary. For example Greek salad or lettuce salad with kalamata olives, red onions and feta.
Other Recipes You Might Like
Greek Lamb Shoulder Roast
Pan Seared Lamb Shoulder Chops
Smoked Leg of Lamb
Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Cumin & Pilsner
Lamb meatballs with feta cheese, cumin and a touch of pilsner have the perfect texture. Light and juicy they taste great served over couscous with pine nuts, feta and mint and dipped in yogurt sauce. Can be served hot or cold.
- 1 lb ground lamb, lean
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup Pilsner*
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta, sheep's milk, in brine is best
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced very thin
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
- fresh mint, to taste
- Bring the ground lamb to room temperature.
- Turn oven on to 350 F. Line a half sheet baking sheet (or two quarter sheets) with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil and combine using your hands until a uniform mixture is achieved.
- Dip fingers in the 1/3 cup of olive oil and start to form small meatballs (use a 1 tbsp measure to make them uniform in size). Place the meatballs onto the sheet pan.
- Bake for 25 -30 mins (depending on your oven) and let cool down for a minute before brushing with the 2 tbsp olive oil.
- In a large pan over medium low heat melt 1 tbsp butter and add the pine nuts. Stir and cook until they turn golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the same pan over medium heat.
- Add the couscous and stir, cook until it is slightly browned.
- Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
- Stir well, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the couscous absorbs all the liquid.
- Remove from heat, add the pine nuts, stir and let cool off slightly.
- Transfer to a serving platter, add the feta crumbles and mint and stir a little bit.
- Serve with the lamb meatballs and the yogurt sauce** on the side.
*Substitute with 3 tbsp plain yogurt + 1 tsp baking soda for a very similar effect on the texture of the meatballs.
**Here is the yogurt dip recipe.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 562Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 729mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 29g
Beck & Bulow says
This is an amazing recipe. It will now be my go-to recipe for meatballs. Very moist and flavorful!
Lydia from Life Beyond the Kitchen says
I love all the flavors in this dish, especially lamb and cumin. The meatballs look gorgeous on the bed of Israeli couscous. Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg 🙂
That sounds so delicious! Thanks for sharing at Sew It Cook It Craft It! You’re one of my features tomorrow when the new party starts!
Thank you so much, Lina!
Thank you, Lina!
You’ve combined some of my favorite ingredients such as Israeli couscous, feta, pine nuts, and mint. Also the meatballs look wonderful – so succulent and well-browned. I’ll be a dozen please 🙂
Kelly Lynns Sweets and Treats says
I didn’t know that secret about making the meatballs…and would have never or thought to put beer in the meatballs to make them moist and juicy. These meatballs sound so yummy! I will have to give these a try for sure 🙂 XOXO
You know that I’m vegetarian, but there some dishes that just trigger my mouth to salivate 😉 . And these lamb meatball dish is one of them. Love the other flavors: mint and cumin, the yogurt dip, the Israeli couscous, the Pilsner, the feta! Loreto would be in heaven 🙂 . So glad to hear your son is getting better! He sounds incredible, what a joy and privilege to be his parents. Hugs to you all!!
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
Absolutely perfect! A great pairing with the couscous and that great yogurt dip!
You boy sounds wonderful and so glad he is on the mend after his surgery! My son has had a love of learning his entire life (and still today). It’s so great to watch them. Like sponges 🙂
[email protected] says
Your little guy sounds like one very special individual! You know what they say – apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Happy to know he is on the mend! And I get it – meatballs always make me feel better, too! I love the addition of feta crumbles!
Found you on the CBBG group this morning! Didn’t have lamb so used ground beef , feta and pils. Loved the results and love what you are doing, so many recipes I will definitely try other ones!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
Grandmothers are always right! My family has a beloved Swedish meatball recipe that doesn’t use beer or baking soda and now I’m curious how they’d turn out with one of those additions. Just don’t tell my family or they’d disown me for making alterations :). These sound perfect paired with your yogurt dip! Have a great week, my friend!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
These look awesome, Milena! Love the pairing with the yogurt sauce and couscous, but also love the suggestion of having with a tomato cucumber salad. Lamb is something hubby and I really enjoy, but don’t realize how much we enjoy it until we have it, ya know? Have to try this one out soon! So many delicious flavours goin’ on.
Your little boy sounds so precious! so happy to hear that he is on the mend. Hugs!