Homemade Bulgarian Kufteta

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Kufteta is ground meat combined with onions, spices, and different ingredients. They are either shaped, elongated, or round-shaped and mostly grilled. Kufteta is extremely popular in Bulgaria, Turkey, Middle East, the Balkans, and India.

It is called differently based on the region that includes kafta, kefta, kofta, and kofte. Moreover, the type of minced or ground meats and spices vary, but across the world, they are loved equally. In this article, we will be learning more about Bulgarian Kufteta.

Bulgarian Kufteta has a strong flavor and is best when grilled. In the country, Kufteta is one of the most popular street foods. While some keep the traditions alive, others bring a new twist to the dish.

If you wish to make Bulgarian Kufteta, here is a simple and straightforward recipe for you:

Bulgarian Kufteta

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 617kcal

Ingredients

  • 450 g 1 lb minced beef
  • ½ medium onion grated
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 slices of bread no edges, sliced
  • 8 sprigs of parsley only leaves, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Olive oil for frying

Instructions

  • Soak the bread in water. Then squeeze it in the palm of your hand, completely remove the water. Knead all the ingredients except the olive oil together with the wet bread until they are completely mixed.
  • Rest the minced beef mixture in the refrigerator for a minimum 4 hours.
  • Remove the refrigerator, to shape into small patties, take a piece from the mixture about the size of a walnut and shape it into a slightly curved disc.
  • Heat the cast-iron skillet on medium heat, then brush the pan with olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot, place the kuftetas into the pan.
  • Cook the kuftetas for about 6 minutes on each side until the grill marks appear on them.
  • Transfer the serving plate, serve hot with herbs or greens.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 617kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 228mg | Sodium: 741mg | Potassium: 914mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 8mg

Tips, Notes & Substitutes

  • This recipe for Bulgarian kufteta is the best option if you’re seeking for a delicious and simple kufteta recipe. 
  • You have the option of using only ground beef or lamb, or combining minced lamb and minced beef. 
  • Although the kufteta can be served with a variety of sides, we suggest serving it with grilled tomatoes and peppers and a simplistic salad.
  • Add a tablespoon of yogurt on top of the kufteta for an additional flavor boost.
  • Grilled, baked, or fried options are available for Bulgarian kufteta. It’s crucial to avoid overcooking the kofte while grilling or baking them since they will become rough and dry. It’s vital that the interior is soft and juicy. 
  • Use enough oil when frying to prevent the kufteta from sticking to the pan and getting greasy. 
  • Instead of using water to soak the bread, you can use milk or dark beer. It will taste milder if you soak it in milk, and more flavorful if you soak it in beer.
  • Whatever you choose to soak the bread in, make sure you compress the bread thoroughly to get any water out.

Sauces That Go Well With Bulgarian Kufteta

Kuftetas are perfect starters, but they are incomplete without a sauce. And, you can try so many different kinds of sauce for this dish. Here are some sauces that you can try:

Bulgarian Lutenitsa Spread

Lutenitsa is the no-brainer sauce to add with this fine meat dish and is traditionally used in Buglaria. You can also use Ajvar Spread which is similar. Use one of our recipes to make each sauce, and make extra, it’s great with everything!

Hollandaise Sauce

You only need four ingredients to make this sauce, including egg yolks, unsalted butter, lemon juice, and kosher salt. Put egg yolks, salt, and lemon juice in the blender. Blend for 20 seconds until you get a smooth mixture. Thereafter pour the melted butter slowly and blend the mixture again for one minute until you get a thick sauce. The creaminess of this sauce will go really well with the texture of koftas.

Chimichurri Sauce

For this sauce, you will need cilantro leaves, parsley leaves, garlic cloves, kosher salt, ground cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Finely chop cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, and garlic. Transfer the chopped into a bowl add crushed red pepper flakes and olive oil followed by vinegar. Blend all the ingredients properly, and it’s ready to serve.

Marinara Sauce

The marinara sauce does not just go well with the pasta and pizzas; they complement koftas well. For this sauce, you will need olive oil, shallots, garlic, carrot, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and diced tomatoes with juice. To make this sauce, you will have to cook onion, garlic, and carrot with a pinch of salt. Transfer the vegetables, tomato paste, tomatoes, and basils to a blender. Blend the mixture until you get a thick paste.

Dilled Horseradish Sauce

This is an ideal sauce to balance the strong flavors of kufteta. To make this sauce, you will use mayonnaise, plain yogurt, green onion, dill weed, and horseradish. It is extremely easy to make; all you need to do is mix all the ingredients together. Thereafter, chill the sauce in the fridge for at least one hour.

Mistakes To Avoid While Making Kufteta

Kuftetas is a juicy and versatile dish that has its unique twist. Moreover, it can be made with the preferred blend of meat and sauce. However, making kuftetas perfect is a tricky process. Following are some common mistakes to avoid while making koftas:

Not Properly Seasoning The Meat

If you don’t season the meat properly, you can expect the kuftetas will have no flavor. It is better to season the meat before you mix other ingredients. Moreover, if you are unsure where your meat is seasoned, cook a small patty to test. This will give you a chance to taste the meat for the season and make necessary adjustments.

Lack Of Moisture Elements

There is nothing worse than your kuftetas coming out dry after all the efforts you have put. You need some sort of moisture, such as eggs, when making kuftetas. Otherwise, the protein component will cause the koftas to shrink when they cook, providing a rough texture.

Too Much Mixing

While properly mixing the meat is important, you don’t have to go overboard with the process. The way you handle the meat mixture will impact its overall texture. So if you overwork the meat, its tenderness will be affected.

Not Maintaining Uniformity In Size

When you are cooking a batch of kuftetas that are all various sizes, smaller ones will get overcooked and dry, whereas the larger ones remain undercooked. You don’t have to be precise, but try to make kuftetas as evenly sized as possible. And if you end up with different shapes of kuftetas, it is better to cook them separately.


Kuftetas are delicious dishes that can be made in so many different ways. You will commonly find them with many of the street vendors in Bulgaria. If you wish to make them at home, we have shared a simple recipe. And don’t forget to try out one of the sauces that we have suggested above. Lastly, also avoid the mistakes that we mentioned so that you end up with perfect kuftetas.


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