Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These charred meatballs are laced with warm spices and served with a cooling yogurt sauce.

I have a quirky habit of perusing the Internet late at night in search of gently used cookbooks to add to my collection. I always find great buys — beautifully photographed books that have barely been opened — and it’s such a treat when they arrive on my doorstep, full of inspiration.

One of my recent finds is Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner? I’m slowly cooking my way through the book and this recipe is one of my favorites. Ground beef is laced with warm spices, fresh herbs, and garlic, and then grilled in meatball form until smoky and charred. Served over couscous with a cooling yogurt-cucumber sauce, it’s a quick and easy meal that’s big on flavor.

What you’ll need to make grilled moroccan meatballsingredients

How to make grilled moroccan meatballs

Combine the egg, garlic, cilantro, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

seasoning

Mix until well combined.

mixing-seasoning

Add the ground beef and panko bread crumbs.

ground-beef-and-breadcrumbs

Mix together with your hands until just combined.

mixing

Use a 1/3 cup measure to portion out the meat and shape into discs.

ready-to-grill

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and grease well.

greasing-grill

Place the meatballs on the grill and cook for about four minutes per side, until charred and no longer pink in the center. As they cook, the centers will dome slightly, creating nicely shaped meatballs.

grilling-meatballs

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce by combining the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, fresh dill, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

sauce-ready-to-mix

Mix to combine.

cucumber-yogurt-sauce

Serve the meatballs over couscous, topped with the yogurt sauce.

Grilled-Meatballs-with-Cucumber-Yogurt-Sauce

Note: In the original recipe, Stone forms the meat into kebabs onto long-stemmed rosemary, which is beautiful but hard to find. I’ve simplified the recipe by shaping the meat into meatballs. However, you can easily form the meat mixture into kebabs around wooden or metal skewers. I’ve also reduced the salt, adjusted the spices, and swapped regular yogurt for Greek yogurt in the sauce, but, in essence, the recipe is the same.

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Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

These charred meatballs are laced with warm spices and served with a cooling yogurt sauce.

Servings: 8 meatballs, 4 servings
Cook Time: 8 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 cup plain low-fat or whole milk Greek yogurt (do not use non-fat)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For the Meatballs

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 500 degrees).
  2. Mix together the egg, garlic, cumin, allspice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the ground beef and panko and mix with your hands until well combined.
  3. Using a 1/3 cup measure, form 8 disc-shaped meatballs. (They will dome slightly on the grill, forming nicely rounded meatballs.)
  4. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over the grates several times until glossy and coated. Grill the meatballs, covered, for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are nicely browned on the exterior and no longer pink in the center. Transfer the meatballs to a serving plate and let rest for 3 minutes. Serve with the yogurt sauce and couscous, if desired.

For the Yogurt Sauce

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve them, reheat them tightly covered in a 300°F oven, until hot in the center.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 418
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Sodium: 1028mg
  • Cholesterol: 152mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • AMAZING.

    • — Beth Spencer on May 13, 2021
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  • Hi! Do I preheat the meatballs at 500 deg C or 500 deg F? I’m a newbie at the kitchen, so just wanted to make sure. 🙂

    • — Mina on April 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Mina, it’s 500°C. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Another stellar recipe! I subbed fresh mint for all the suggested herbs (in both the meatballs and the yogurt sauce) because I love the flavor.

    • — Holly on April 7, 2021
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  • Awesome recipe and super easy on a school night. My only slight change was 1 lb of ground beef and 1/2 lb of ground lamb. Keeps them a little more pink and my opinion more authentic taste.

    • — Chris Tuohy on March 25, 2021
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  • very delicious and super easy…. my son asked me to make it every night:)

    • — Linda on March 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • I don’t gave a grill so I broiled them in the oven on a rack in a pan & flipped them partway through the cooking. If you can, use whole spices then toast & grind yourself – it makes a world of difference in the flavour.

    • — Geraldine on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can you just put them on an oven grill in the oven instead if you don’t have a grill? Thanks

    • — Michael Cohen on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Michael – that will work.

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • I live in a place where the snow covers the BBQ from November till April so I cook these in the oven instead of grilling them and they turn out great. I always freeze half for later.

    • — Talia W. on January 28, 2021
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  • These meatballs were a delicious dinner! We cooked them in the oven for ease, but still turned out great. The yogurt sauce helped boost the flavor even more. Great recipe!

    • — Mary on January 28, 2021
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  • I’ve made this 100 times! So full of flavor- and my 3 kids gobble it up! I make it with Jasmine rice and double the whole recipe for a family of 5 so there are leftovers the next day. Excellent on the grill but I have baked before and they turn out great. Simple enough for a week night but have made for company before. Meatballs and sauce an be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge till ready to grill/bake.

    • — Myria Kniffen on January 28, 2021
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  • This is one of my all time favorite recipes. I keep coming back to this dish. I usually have to double it to make sure I can have a lunch the next day too. I’ve served it for company and everyone raves about it. The sauce is delicious and my go to for gyros, falafel and just to jazz up a sandwich.

    • — KSS on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe is one of our favorites! Its a go-to all year round. The flavors for the meatballs are wonderful and the yogurt sauce is amazing. Would absolutely recommend!!

    • — RACHEL SAMUDOVSKY on January 28, 2021
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  • I make this dish often, and am often asked for the recipe. When it’s not grilling season I bake on 375 degrees for 15 minutes. I also make it with ground turkey, and like it just as well. The yogurt sauce is so good I serve it with other meals, such as roasted vegetables, especially cauliflower, and Jenn’s recipe for zucchini fritters.

    • — Diane on January 28, 2021
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  • These meatballs are the BEST! Easy and fun to make and my whole family LOVES them. It’s the most requested meal I get for their birthday dinners or anytime. I serve them with the yogurt sauce, couscous, roasted asparagus, and naan bread.

    • — Debbie Grygla on January 28, 2021
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  • One of my go-to recipes! I often substitute for ground turkey which is probably not traditional but it’s still delicious. I also don’t grill things – just bake in my oven. So yummy.

    • — Cath D on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These meatballs are so good and tender! During the cold months I bake these at 350 degrees for 15min then broil!

    • — bridget on January 28, 2021
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  • Would love oven temp and time suggestions. Thank you

    • — Mary on December 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, I’d bake them at 350 for 15-20 minutes, then pop them under the broiler for a minute or so at the end. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn, baking in the oven works beautifully. I’ve been making a double batch freezing half for a later dinner. My family loves this recipe! BTW: my granddaughters gave your Once Upon a Chef book to me for Mother’s day. The Peruvian chicken with green sauce is one of my favorites and I have not disappointed with the other recipes I’ve tried from your book!

        • — Sharon on December 30, 2020
        • Reply
  • I’ve been eyeing these meatballs for some time, and tonight I finally made them. Easy to make, great flavor, and superbly delicious, especially when combined with the yogurt sauce. I’ll definitely be making this again soon. Thank you for the recipe!

    • — Todd W. on December 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was so delicious! I used 1lb ground beef and 1lb ground lamb, and doubled all the other ingredients. I baked it in the oven (20 minutes at 350 degrees, then under the broiler) and it was so flavorful! I will absolutely be making it again. We had it with couscous and Jenn’s Israeli salad.

    • — Serena on October 2, 2020
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  • This is my go to kebab recipe. It’s always a hit and healthy too! Served with a Greek salad and the yogurt sauce.

    • — naz on September 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have made this so many times, it is a family favorite in the summer. We serve with grilled Naan and a tomato cucumber salad. Have made it with ground turkey or beef — equally good! Also have subbed mint and fresh oregano for cilantro and its still works!

    • — Con on September 14, 2020
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  • Another amazing Jenn recipe! These little meatballs were so incredibly tasty and the cucumber sauce was simply a perfect match! It reminded me of my trip to Morocco many moons ago. We added a little mint to the sauce, just for fun, which was also very yummy. My family always gets excited whenever I tell them I’m making another Jenn recipe 🙂 Everybody says “thanks Jenn”!!

    • — Nathalie on September 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • How would I cook them if I didn’t use a grill?

    • — mary coughlin on September 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, You can prepare them in the oven. I’d bake them at 350 for 15-20 minutes, then pop them under the broiler for a minute or so at the end.

      • — Jenn on September 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • This was DELISH! Hubby and I loved it. I pan fried the meatballs instead of grilling and didn’t have cilantro but still turned out great. I’m excited to have leftovers for lunch!

    • — Roni on September 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is one of my family’s all time favorite meals. It’s often requested for their birthday meal. It’s my (picky eater) 8 year old’s very favorite. We like to serve it with couscous, roasted asparagus and naan. Easy to make and a big winner with my family.

    • — Debbie Grygla on August 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • Love this dish, wow how flavorful. It is delicious and I serve it with Jenn’s home made naan recipe.

    • — Maria R. on August 29, 2020
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  • Delicious—I couldn’t find cilantro, so added fresh mint from my garden—delicious dinner! Thank you Jenn!

    • — Sandy on August 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • I am a huge fan of your recipes. Haven’t made one the family didn’t absolutely love. Question about this one – if I used two pounds of ground beef, how would I adjust the spices?

    • — Laura on August 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Thanks, Laura! To make it simple, I would multiply them by 1.5. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on August 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • We made this as written except we used half beef / half lamb as some others suggested. So good especially with the yogurt sauce. We ate ours with naan & a big greek salad. It was a great summer meal.

    • — Lynn on July 26, 2020
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  • These are absolutely fantastic. My husband said this is the best meal I’ve ever made! (And we’ve been married over 15 years so that’s a long time of making meals!).

    • — Jennifer Y. on July 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • I make these very often now, they’re a family favorite. I did make some adjustments by adding cinnamon and cardamom in addition to the other listed spices. I also seed the cuc and try to drain off as much moisture as possible so the sauce won’t be too watery. Thanks for a great and inspiring recipe.

    • — Mike Hill on June 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • We make these often. Great flavor. Easy to make. A family favorite!

    • — MR on June 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are so good! Made them for dinner on the bbq tonight, so impressed. I’ve tried a few of your recipes. Thai Chicken Curry, Peruvian Roast Chicken (the Green Sauce was out of this world). And it’ all turned out amazing. Thank you for sharing these delicious recipes!

    • — Amy on June 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can I cook these in the oven if I don’t want to grill them?

    • — Veronica on April 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on April 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • OMG! I made these over the weekend using a 50/50 mix of lamb and beef – they were amazing. As good as any I have had at a restaurant. I made tzatziki, which is pretty close to the yogurt sauce and I made them a little larger and grilled them on the grill. We had them as an appetizer once with tzatziki and then today at lunch in pita pockets with the tzatziki, some onion and tomato, and feta. Both times fantastic – thank you!

    • — Bill on April 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this for the family as I am not a meat eater. Kids did not care for it but my husband enjoyed it. I did like the yogurt dip. I ended up eating it with the Apricot Couscous dish with a piece of naan for dinner. Recipe was easy.

    • — Katrina on January 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • I normally _love_ OUAC recipes but this one was a miss. Tough and flavorless. The yogurt sauce was good but had to drench the meat in it to salvage the meat.

    • — C on November 18, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made these for Labor Day. They were flavorful and delicious! I served with the sauce and had orzo and roasted vegetable pasta salad, fresh sautéed corn and pitas as side dishes. Thanks for the Labor Day inspiration and great recipe!

    • — Alyssa on September 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • There;s a good reason this recipe is rated so highly! It’s easy and tasty. We used a tahini lemon dressing cause I didn’t have yogurt and it was lovely.

    • — Randi B on August 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • Absolutely love this recipe!! Very simple ingredients that I always have on hand and very asy to cook. It was raining outside so I cooked them in the oven at 400 for 25 mins-30 mind.In addition,I also roasted some broccoli and fennel with it and made it all on one sheet pan.

    I swapped out ground beef for ground bison instead, still very tasty!! And I didn’t have any dill for the yogurt sauce so used fresh chives and mint . Both my 4yo and 9month old approved and licked their plates clean

    • — Maribel F on August 8, 2019
    • Reply
    • You sold me on “Both my 4yo and 9 month old approved and licked their plates clean”! Preschool lunchbox here we come!!

      • — Amy on September 17, 2019
      • Reply
  • No garlic in the yogurt sauce???

    • — Lauren on July 9, 2019
    • Reply
  • These were awesome the first time as meatballs / trying tonight for 4th of July as skewers for my 2 year old.

    We complimented the meatballs with a simple avocado, kalamata olive, and cucumber salad with olive oil, lemon, and sea salt drizzled on top. They all go great together.

    Thanks for a great go-to recipe!

    • — Katherine Littlefield on July 4, 2019
    • Reply
  • Made this for the first time last night and it was delicious! Will definitely be adding it to my regular meal rotation.

    • — Christine on June 16, 2019
    • Reply

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