Feta-Stuffed Lamb Meatballs

published Apr 4, 2023
Feta Stuffed Lamb Meatballs Recipe

Packed with fresh herbs, spices, and a cube of feta cheese in the center, these oven-baked meatballs are exceptionally flavorful and easy enough to make on a weeknight.

Serves4 to 6

Makes20 meatballs

Prep25 minutes

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Lamb meatballs on plate with creamy sauce, herbs and pita. With one meatball broken open showing feta filling.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Imagine cutting into a warm lamb meatball and finding a soft, creamy, slightly melted nugget of feta in the center — it’s one of the best surprises that I will never grow tired of. Packed with fresh parsley and dill; lemon zest; warm, smoky spices; and tangy feta, these oven-baked meatballs are easy to pull off on a weeknight. Partner them with a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce and some warm pita bread, and dinner is served.

Tips for Making the Best Feta-Stuffed Meatballs

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when making the meatballs.

  • The feta should be no larger than 1/2-inch cubes. The ideal size for the feta is about 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes. This makes for the ideal meat-to-cheese ratio, and is small enough for the feta to soften during cooking.
  • Don’t overmix the meatballs. As a rule of thumb, gently mix the meatball mixture just until the ingredients look evenly incorporated. Overworking the mixture can result in tough, rather than tender, meatballs.
  • Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to make portioning easier. Beyond making cookies, cookie scoops are also ideal for perfectly portioning meatballs.
  • Dampen your hands with water to make rolling the meatballs easier. Because the meatball mixture can be a little sticky, lightly wetting your hands will keep the meat from sticking and will make it easier to roll.
  • Wait to roll the meatballs until after adding the feta. No need to roll the meatballs after scooping — it’s best to wait until after you need the cheese.
  • Seal tightly after adding the feta. After pressing the cube of feta into the meatball, you’ll shape and pinch the meatball mixture around the cheese to completely cover, then roll into a ball.
  • Flip the meatballs halfway through cooking. For even browning, use tongs to flip the meatballs and rotate the baking sheet halfway through cooking.
Credit: Kelli Foster

How to Serve Feta-Stuffed Lamb Meatballs

My favorite way to serve feta-stuffed lamb meatballs is over a bed of cool tzatziki sauce (your choice of store-bought or homemade) with an extra shower of fresh herbs on top, a wedge of lemon, and warm pita bread alongside.

The meatballs are also great with tahini sauce, with marinara and orzo, over a simple green salad with yogurt dressing, or stuffed into a pita with a dollop of tzatziki. And, if you really love feta, double down and try it with this lemony whipped feta with pesto.

Feta Stuffed Lamb Meatballs Recipe

Packed with fresh herbs, spices, and a cube of feta cheese in the center, these oven-baked meatballs are exceptionally flavorful and easy enough to make on a weeknight.

Prep time 25 minutes

Makes 20 meatballs

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 ounces

    feta cheese (not crumbles)

  • 1

    small red onion

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/2

    medium bunch fresh parsley

  • 1

    medium fresh dill

  • 2/3 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 pound

    ground lamb

Serving options

  • Tzatziki sauce (store-bought or homemade)

  • Coarsely chopped fresh parsley and/or dill leaves

  • Pita bread

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Cut 2 1/2 ounces feta cheese into 20 (1/2-inch) cubes.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Finely chop 1 small red onion (about 3/4 cup). Finely grate 3 garlic cloves. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 2 teaspoons). Cut the zested lemon into wedges and reserve for serving. Pick the leaves from 1/4 medium bunch fresh parsley and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons. Pick the leaves from 1/2 medium bunch fresh dill and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons. (Finely chop more fresh herbs for garnish if desired.)

  4. Add 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix with a fork to combine. Add 1 large egg, then mash the mixture until evenly moistened. Add 1 pound ground lamb and mix with your hands until combined.

  5. Divide the mixture into 20 portions (2 tablespoons each) and place on the baking sheet. Stuff each meatball: Press your thumb into the center of a portion to create a well and place 1 cube of feta in the well. Shape and pinch the meatball mixture around the feta to completely cover and roll into a ball with damp hands. Return to the baking sheet and arrange them at least 1-inch apart.

  6. Bake for 8 minutes. Use tongs to flip the meatballs and rotate the baking sheet. Continue baking until lightly browned, cooked through, and no longer pink in the center, 4 to 6 minutes more.

  7. Dollop a few spoonfuls of tzatziki sauce onto a shallow bowl or plate. Top with the meatballs and garnish with chopped fresh parsley and/or dill if desired. Serve with lemon wedges. and pita bread if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Make ahead: The meatballs can be assembled in advance and frozen uncooked on the baking sheet until solid. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375ºF, flipping the meatballs halfway through, for 25 to 30 minutes.