Kabob Koobideh (Persian Ground Beef Kabobs)
Authentic Kabob Koobideh is a Persian dish of seasoned ground beef on skewers that’s often found as a street food in Iran. My version of these ground beef kabobs are delicious and easy to make on a grill at home.
If you’re familiar with my website at all, you may have noticed I have quite an assortment of recipes for grilled kabobs. But this recipe for Kabob Koobideh is a unique type of kabob made with double-ground seasoned ground beef that’s cooked on skewers. This is my version of the type of ground meatkabob that’s often seen as a street food in Iran.
I learned to like these Persian ground beef kabobs in a Salt Lake City restaurant that’s now called The Med. When I started my blog, I did some experimenting to try to reproduce the dish I’d enjoyed at The Med, where it’s still on the menu and called Kabob-e-Kubideh. I searched on the internet and found several recipes, but for my first few attempts the result was nothing like the dish I’d loved so much at The Med.
Then I visited a now-closed Middle Eastern grocery store in Salt Lake where the owner recommended Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link). When I tried making Kabob Koobideh using that seasoning blend I thought the seasoning for the meat was perfect (and one description of the product on Amazon does say, “for that authentic Persian taste.”)
When I decided recently that this favorite recipe desperately needed a photo update I discovered Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning at Black Cherry Market in Salt Lake, a fantastic place to find middle eastern food of all kinds. And I discussed my Kabob Koobideh recipe with the charming man who owns the place and he thought I was on the right track with the Sadaf Seasoning, double grinding the beef, and adding a generous amount of finely chopped onion. I also added a little salt and pepper and I couldn’t resist adding a little Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), but that’s definitely optional.
There are also other suggestions included in the recipe, including a recipe sent to me by a reader who is married to a man from Iran, so read those if you don’t want to buy a seasoning mix just for this recipe. However you end up personalizing your version of Kabob Koobideh, if you like middle eastern flavors like I do I bet you’re going to love this recipe!
What ingredients do you need?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- ground beef, I used organic ground beef with 15% fat
- Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link), or see notes in the recipe for other options
- Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), optional but good
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper
- Olive Oil (affiliate link), for oiling the grill
What did we serve with Kabob Koobideh?
We couldn’t resist photographing the Kabob Koobideh with Tzatziki Sauce, which is also what it’s served with at Cafe Med as well. And I realize that’s certainly combining food cultures, but it’s definitely a delicious combination.
Is my version of Kabob Koobideh an authentic recipe?
I’m not claiming this is an authentic Persian recipe, but my version of this kabob is made of double ground beef mixed with onions, salt and pepper, which is certainly true to the descriptions I found online, summarized here. I did use a purchased spice mix, but it was recommended by two different middle eastern grocery stores. Of course the addition of Spike Seasoning (affiliate link) is strictly my idea, and you can definitely skip that if you like. Traditional Koobideh in Iran will sometimes have some ground lamb combined with the beef, so definitely try that if you like the sound of both beef and lamb ground together.
What spices are in the Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob seasoning I used?
The label of the Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link) I used says “Onions, garlic, sumac, parsley, salt, pepper, turmeric, and other spices.” (And in case anyone is wondering, this company hasn’t paid me to promote their product and they have no idea I’m mentioning it here!)
What kind of skewers should you use for the ground meat kabobs?
I love to use these Double Kabob Skewers (affiliate link) to make Kabob Koobideh, and having two skewers in one really helps the ground meat stay together on the skewer. But in the middle east ground meat kabobs are often cooked on blade-type skewers (affiliate link) which are similar to these skewers that I got in Turkey. If you only have regular round skewers, I would use two skewers in each cylinder of ground meat to duplicate the double kabob skewers.
Can you make Kabob Koobideh without an outdoor grill?
If you don’t have an outdoor grill, these kabobs can be cooked on a Stovetop Grill Pan (affiliate link), a George Foreman Grill (affiliate link) which cooks both sides at once so it’s quicker, or under the broiler in your oven or toasted oven.
How to make Kabob Koobideh (Persian Ground Beef kabobs):
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- I used organic ground beef from Costco that’s 15% fat, and comes in a package that’s 1.3 pounds which made four generous-sized kabobs.
- Here’s a photo of the Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link) that was recommended to me. I think this gives great flavor, but see other options in the actual recipe below if you don’t want to buy it.
- Start by very finely chopping one medium onion in the food processor with the steel blade.
- Then add the ground beef, Sadaf Ground Kabob Seasoning, salt, fresh-ground black pepper, Spike Seasoning (if using), and water.
- Process those ingredients until everything is very well combined. This double grinding of the meat is traditional, and helps keep the meat on the skewers and gives it a denser texture than regular ground beef.
- Then the meat needs to be refrigerated for several hours so the flavors can develop. (You could even grind the seasoning with the meat in the morning before work, and cook the kabobs when you get home.)
- When it’s time to cook, divide the meat into four pieces. Oil the grill with a paper towel dipping olive oil and preheat the grill to high.
- Form each piece of double-ground meat into a long cylinder and push a skewer into it. You want to make them uniformly thick so they’ll cook evenly. (Traditional Kabob Koobideh is probably flatter than mine, but I found this shape much easier to manage on the grill.
- Turn the grill to medium-high and lay the skewered kabobs on pre-heated grill. (Of course I put them on an angle to make grill marks, but that’s not essential.)
- If you’re making grill marks, be sure to cook until the meat is well-browned before you try rotate them, about 4-5 minutes; lift one kabob to see if it lifts easily off the grill.
- Then rotate going the other way if you’re trying for grill mark and cook about 3-4 minutes more.
- Then turn the kabobs over carefully and cook until the internal temperature shows 160F for ground beef, when tested with an an instant-read thermometer (affiliate link.)
- Total cooking time will depend on the temperature of the grill, the thickness of the kabobs, and even the temperature of the air, but total cooking time will be about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve hot. I served my kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce, which is not authentic with this recipe, but it was certainly tasty!
Make it a low-carb Meal:
For a low-carb meal I’d eat this delicious Kabob Koobideh with Middle Eastern Tomato Salad, Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar, or Fattoush Lebanese Salad. If you’re not so worried about carbs it would also be delicious with Balela (Middle Eastern Bean Salad, Mujadarrah, or Greek Lemon Rice.) And I love this with Tzatziki sauce on the side.
Read more about Kabob Koobideh:
- 1.3 lbs. ground beef (
- 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
- 2 T Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (See notes for other options)
- 1 T Spike Seasoning (see notes)
- 1/4 cup water
- olive oil, for oiling the grill
- Coarsely chop up the onion and then finely chop it in the food processor with the steel blade.
- Add ground beef in food processor. Then add Sadaf Ground Kabob Seasoning, salt, fresh-ground black pepper, Spike Seasoning (if using), and water.
- Process the meat, onions, and spices until it's well-combined and finely ground.
- Put meat into a plastic container with a snap-on lid and refrigerate two hours or as long as all day if that's what works for you.
- Oil grill grates with a paper towel dipped in olive oil, then preheat gas or charcoal grill to high heat. (You can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that heat.)
- Form meat into cylinder shaped patties.
- Carefully put meat on skewers. (I had double skewers, which worked well, although Koobideh is traditionally cooked on blade type skewers. If you only have thin round skewers I would use two skewers for each kabob.)
- Turn heat down to mediumm-high when you put kabobs on the grill.
- If you’d like criss-cross grill marks, cook kabobs about 4-5 minutes on first side, lifting one kabob to be sure the meat is brown enough that it's not sticking to the grill.
- Then rotate kabobs going the other way and cook 3-4 minutes more.
- Carefully turn kabobs and cook the second side, for a total cooking time of about 15 minutes. (Actual cooking time will depend on the temperature of your grill, the thickness of your kabob meat, and even the temperature of the air that day, so keep an eye on them.
- If you have an instant-read meat thermometer, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F.
- Serve Kabob Koobideh hot, with Tzatziki sauce if desired.
(If you don’t have Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link) the package lists the ingredients as onions, salt, pepper, sumac, parsley, turmeric, and other spices. Most recipes for Kubideh that I found online season the meat with turmeric, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Some recipes add parsley, lemon juice, or bread crumbs to the mixture.
If you don't want to use Spike Seasoning, I would probably use a bit more of the Sadaf Kabob Seasoning (or whatever seasonings you're using).
A Reader Shares Her Recipe for Kubideh:
After I posted this recipe I heard from a reader named Donna who's married to a man from Iran. She shared her version of this dish, which I have to say, sounds like it would taste wonderful. (Thanks Donna!)
--1 lb lean (90% or better) ground beef or lamb
--1 tsp salt (more if you like)
--1 med onion quartered
--1 lemon juiced
Put the lemon juice and onion in a food processor or blender. Puree. Add to meat and mix well. Form into patties and grill on skewers or straight on the bbq pit. Also you can bake these on a broiler pan in the oven and have a very nice substitute for the grilled ones.
This Koobideh Recipe was created by Kalyn in an attempt to duplicate the Kabob-e-Kubideh she enjoys at a restaurant in Salt Lake.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 508Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 1403mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 45g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Suggestions:
This Kabob Koobideh is a great main dish for low-carb or Keto diets, which would prefer higher-fat ground beef. When it’s made with lean ground beef it would for for any phase of the original South Beach Diet.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Grilling Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe for Kabob Koobideh was first posted in the very early days of my blog. It was updated with better photos in 2009. The recipe was updated again with new photos and more information again in 2023.