Kabob Koobideh (Ground Beef Kabobs)
Authentic Kabob Koobideh is a Persian dish of highly seasoned ground meat on skewers that’s often served as a street food in Iran. My version of these kabobs are delicious and easy to make on a grill at home, and this is also one of my favorites to order in a restaurant.
One of my favorite restaurants in Salt Lake is The Med, a very inexpensive place whose website claims, “The Med Serves the Best Mediterranean Cuisine.” And on the section of the menu called Souvlakis and Kabobs they have a dish called Kabob-e Kubideh that’s a long time favorite of mine.
On the earlier menu (when the restaurant was called Cafe Med), this dish was listed under Persian Food. But when a reader recently took me to task for describing this recipe as “middle eastern ground beef” I investigated more and discovered Kabob Koobideh (also spelled Kubideh) is a common street food in Iran. I certainly never claimed this was an authentic recipe, but I’m editing the recipe to make the origins of this dish more clear.
When I started my blog, I did some experimenting to try to reproduce the dish I’d enjoyed at The Med. I searched on the internet for Koobideh (also spelled Kubideh) and found several recipes. I tried one, and the result was nothing like the dish I’d had at a restaurant. Then I visited a Middle Eastern grocery store in Salt Lake (now gone) where the owner recommended Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link).
When I tried it I thought this seasoning was perfect (and one description of their product on Amazon does say, “for that authentic Persian taste” so I hope it’s at least similar to the authentic dish). But there are also other suggestions 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.
And after more investigating about Kabob Koobideh it’s clear that we could argue all day about the difference between Persian food, Mediterranean food, or Middle Eastern food, and at Cafe Med their Kabob-e-Kubideh is served with Tzatziki Sauce. which is certainly combining food cultures even if it’s a wonderful companion to the slightly-spicy flavor of the meat. I love this dish and I’m glad I persevered to come up with a good version you can make at home, even if it’s not completely authentic!
What ingredients do you need?
- ground beef
- Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link), or see notes in the recipe for other options
- Olive Oil (affiliate link), for oiling the grill
What is my version of Kabob Koobideh made from?
My version of this kabob is made of very finely ground beef mixed with onions and a purchased spice mix, and then grilled. Traditional Koobideh in Iran will probably have some ground lamb combined with the beef, so definitely try that if you prefer!
What spices are in the kabob seasoning I used?
The label of the Kabob Seasoning I used says Onions, garlic, sumac, parsley, salt, pepper, turmeric, and other spices.
What kind of skewers should you use for ground meat kabobs?
Ground meat kabobs are often cook on blade-type skewers (affiliate link) which are like these skewers that I got in Turkey. If you don’t have blade-type skewers, the double skewers shown here are also an option that will work successfully.
Read more about Kabob Koobideh:
If you want to see other options for Koobideh that are likely more authentic than my recipe, check out the grilled ground meat kabob recipes from Persian Mama, The Delicious Crescent, or Family Spice.
How to make Kabob Koobideh (or ground beef kabobs):
(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)
- Here’s a photo of the Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (affiliate link) that was recommended to me when I was first experimenting with this recipe. I thought that gave great flavor, but see other options in the recipe. (And in case anyone is wondering, this company hasn’t paid me to promote their product and have no idea I am mentioning it here!)
- I originally made Kubideh with these wonderful double skewers but a more authentic option would be blade-type skewers (affiliate link) if you have those.
- Next time I would add onions so I am giving them as an option in the recipe.
- I ground together hamburger, Sadaf Ground Kabob Seasoning, and water in the food processor. This double grinding of the meat is traditional , and helps keep the meat on the skewers.
- 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, then form each into a long cylinder and push a skewer into it. You want to make them uniformly thick so they’ll cook evenly.
- Cook the skewered kabobs on a pre-heated grill at medium-high heat. Of course I rotated them to try for grill marks, but that’s not essential.
- When the first side is well-browned, turn the kabobs carefully, for a total cooking time of about 15-18 minutes.
- I used an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should be 160F for ground beef.
- Serve hot. I served my kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce, which is Greek so probably not authentic with this recipe, but it was certainly tasty!
Make it a low-carb Meal:
I’d eat this with Middle Eastern Tomato Salad, Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Dressing, Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad, or Kalyn’s Low-Carb Coleslaw. Be sure to serve Tzatziki sauce on the side for a great low-carb meal.
More Recipes with Ground Meat:
- 1 lb. ground beef (I used ground beef with only 10% fat)
- 1/2 onion, very finely chopped (optional)
- 2 T Sadaf Ground Meat Kabob Seasoning (See notes for other options)
- 1/4 cup water
- olive oil, for oiling the grill
- If you're using onion, chop up half of an onion and then finely grind it in the food processor with the steel blade.
- Then put ground beef in food processor.
- Add 2 T Sadaf Kabob Seasoning mixed with 1/4 cup water. Process the meat until it's 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 medium high heat. (You can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that heat.)
- Form meat into cylinder shaped patties.
- Put meat on skewers, or you can cook them right on the grill without a skewer. (I had double skewers, which worked well, although Koobideh is traditionally cooked on blade type skewers.)
- If you’d like criss-cross grill marks, cook kabobs about 4 minutes on first side, then rotate and cook 3-4 minutes more.
- Carefully turn kabobs and cook the second side, for a total cooking time of about 15-18 minutes.
- If you have an instant-read meat thermometer, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F.
- Serve 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.
A Reader Shares Her Recipes 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 had enjoyed at a restaurant in Salt Lake.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 232mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 36g
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:
Made with lean ground beef, this Kabob Koobideh is a great main dish for low-carb or Keto diets, or for any phase of the original South Beach Diet. South Beach would recommend lean ground beef and other low-carb diets wouldn’t care about that.
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, 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 in 2022 to more accurately reflect the origin of my version and add information about where this type of kabob is traditional and how it’s made there.