Moroccan Lamb Meatballs Recipe


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (panko or regular)
  • 1/2 small onion, finely grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (or a mix)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional, but delicious)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Make the Meatballs:

  • In a large bowl, combine ground lamb, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, garlic, cilantro/parsley, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and pepper.
  • Use your hands to thoroughly mix everything together. Don’t overwork the meat, just mix until combined.
  • Shape the mixture into meatballs about 1-inch in size.

Brown the Meatballs:

  • Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides. This takes about 5 minutes per batch. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
  • Remove the browned meatballs to a plate and set aside.

Make the Sauce:

  • In the same skillet, add a bit more olive oil if needed then add the chopped onion. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne (if using) and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, broth, and raisins (if using). Bring to a simmer.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the Meatballs in the Sauce:

  • Carefully nestle the browned meatballs into the sauce.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Finishing Touches:

  • Uncover and stir in chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve over couscous, rice, or quinoa.
  • Garnish with additional fresh herbs and a dollop of plain yogurt.
  • Enjoy with pita bread or crusty bread for dipping into the sauce.


  • Don’t overmix: For tender meatballs, handle the meat mixture as little as possible.
  • Spice it up: Feel free to adjust the spice levels to your liking.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh cilantro or parsley adds a vibrant flavor.
  • Make ahead: This dish is even better the next day, making it ideal for meal prep.


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