Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

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Spice things up with these grilled Moroccan meatballs, seasoned with warm spices and cooled down with a creamy yogurt sauce—every bite is packed with flavor!

Grilled Moroccan meatballs with yogurt sauce on white platter.

I have a late-night habit of scouring the Internet for gently used cookbooks to add to my collection. I always find great buys—books with stunning photography that look like they’ve barely been cracked open. It’s such a treat when they arrive on my doorstep, like a little gift to myself! One of my recent treasures is Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner? I’m slowly cooking my way through the book, and this dish has quickly become a family favorite. It comes together in a snap: ground beef mixed with spices, fresh herbs, egg, panko, and garlic, then grilled into succulent meatballs. Served with couscous and a refreshing yogurt-cucumber sauce, it’s a quick, easy, and delicious meal that’s just perfect for a spring or summer night.  

“Served these for a dinner party and they were an absolute hit! I doubled the recipe as I knew I had some hearty eaters coming, and I’m glad I did – my guests gobbled them up!”


What You’ll Need To Make Grilled Moroccan Meatballs

ingredients to make grilled moroccan meatballs with yogurt sauce.
  • Egg: Acts as a binder to help the meatballs hold their shape.
  • Garlic: Adds depth and a pungent flavor to the meatballs.
  • Cumin and Allspice: Provide warm, earthy flavors that are characteristic of Moroccan cuisine.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Brings a bright, herbal note to the meatballs (can be omitted based on taste preference).
  • 85% Lean Ground Beef: Offers a good balance of flavor and fat, making the meatballs juicy.
  • Panko: Japanese breadcrumbs that help keep the meatballs light and tender while also acting as a binder.
  • Vegetable Oil: Used for grilling, it helps to prevent sticking and adds a slight richness to the exterior of the meatballs.
  • Cucumber: Adds a fresh, crisp texture and mild flavor to the sauce.
  • Yogurt: Serves as the creamy base of the sauce; choose low-fat for a lighter sauce or whole milk for richer flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: Provides acidity, brightening up the sauce and balancing the richness of the yogurt.
  • Fresh Dill: Infuses the sauce with a sweet, grassy flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

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

Egg, garlic, cilantro, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Mix until well combined.

whisked egg and seasoning mixture in bowl.

Add the ground beef and panko bread crumbs.

beef and panko added to wet mixture.

Mix together with your hands until just combined.

meatball mixture in bowl.

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

raw meatballs formed on white plate.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and grease well. 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 the meatballs in a grill pan.

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

ingredients for cucumber yogurt sauce in glass mixing bowl.

Mix to combine.

mixed cucumber yogurt sauce in glass mixing bowl.

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

grilled moroccan meatballs in bowls with couscous.

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Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Spice things up with these grilled Moroccan meatballs, seasoned with warm spices and cooled down with a creamy yogurt sauce—every bite is packed with flavor!

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


For the Meatballs

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1¼ pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • ⅓ cup panko
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • ½ 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
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


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 ⅓ 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, 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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  • Absolutely delicious! Paired it with the couscous and zuke/tomato salad.

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier
    • Reply
  • Dear Jenn,
    I am planning on making this for dinner tomorrow night and I’m really excited (along with the rest of my family!). I’d love your expertise on the subject of salt; my daughter is a die hard baking cook and says, “Mama, you only use Kosher salt in cooking!”. I’m a bit confused on sea salt, kosher salt and regular salt and when to use which one when needed. I’ve cooked so many of your recipes and have found them ALL absolutely delicious and amazing and, your instructions are so well written and easy to follow. I’d love to hear what your opinion is. Thanks! LMRM

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier
    • Reply
    • Hi Lorraine, So glad to hear you enjoy the recipes! When a recipe of mine says salt in the ingredient list, I am referring to regular/table salt. If it calls for something else like kosher salt, I will specify that in the recipe. And while it doesn’t make a huge difference, different salts have different-sized grains and so you may end up using a bit more or a bit less if you use a different type of salt than the recipe calls for. Hope that clarifies!

  • Love all your recipes. This one was excellent. Made with ground lamb and baked in oven for 20 min at 350.

    Great flavor and texture.
    Thank you,

  • I have made this recipe at least 3 times and it is just wonderful. I serve it with Falafel Spiced tomatoes and Chickpeas on Flat Bread (Epicurious) and it is a fantastic dinner. Sometimes I omit the chickpeas and just do the tomatoes and flat bread.

    One of my all time favorites!!!

  • Served these for a dinner party and they were an absolute hit! I doubled the recipe as I knew I had some hearty eaters coming and I’m glad I did – my guests gobbled them up! I served with the perfect couscous as suggested. The yogurt sauce was a perfect pairing – cool and tangy on top of the meatballs. Highly recommend!

  • As with ALL of your recipes that I have made from your site and recipe book, these Moroccan meatballs are wonderful! I followed your recipe exactly and served them in pita bread rounds with tzatziki sauce & feta. I just made another double batch to serve with family tomorrow and am wondering if they will be okay uncooked in the refrigerator for 30 hrs or should I freeze them? If frozen, should I thaw first or grill them frozen? Thanks, Jenn!

    • Hi Virginia, So glad you liked them! I think they should be okay in the fridge for that time (but wouldn’t push it beyond that).

  • Amazing flavour and texture. I cooked them inside for 15 minutes at 375. What a delightful surprise they proved to be.


  • 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. 🙂

    • Hi Mina, it’s 500°C. Enjoy!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • very delicious and super easy…. my son asked me to make it every night:)

  • 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.

  • Can you just put them on an oven grill in the oven instead if you don’t have a grill? Thanks

    • Sure, Michael – that will work.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

    • Reply
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • These meatballs are so good and tender! During the cold months I bake these at 350 degrees for 15min then broil!

  • Would love oven temp and time suggestions. Thank you

    • 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!

      • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • This is my go to kebab recipe. It’s always a hit and healthy too! Served with a Greek salad and the yogurt sauce.

  • 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!

  • 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”!!

  • How would I cook them if I didn’t use a grill?

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Love this dish, wow how flavorful. It is delicious and I serve it with Jenn’s home made naan recipe.

  • Delicious—I couldn’t find cilantro, so added fresh mint from my garden—delicious dinner! Thank you Jenn!

  • 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?

    • Thanks, Laura! To make it simple, I would multiply them by 1.5. Hope that helps!

  • 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.

  • 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!).

  • 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.

  • We make these often. Great flavor. Easy to make. A family favorite!

  • 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!

  • Can I cook these in the oven if I don’t want to grill them?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

    • You sold me on “Both my 4yo and 9 month old approved and licked their plates clean”! Preschool lunchbox here we come!!

  • No garlic in the yogurt sauce???

  • 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
    • Reply
  • Made this for the first time last night and it was delicious! Will definitely be adding it to my regular meal rotation.

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