This Easy Chicken Kofta is a super simple twist on a classic Middle Eastern recipe. Made with less than ten ingredients, it’s ready in under an hour. Plus, there are endless ways to serve it so you never get bored!

chicken kofta in a bowl with hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and tzaziki sauce.

What Is Chicken Kofta? 

Kofta is a delicious dish commonly found in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Seasoned ground meat such as ground beef, lamb, or chicken forms the base of the recipe.

Then, we add vegetables, herbs, and spices before shaping the mixture into meatballs. Next, we pair the chicken meatballs and grill, fry, or bake them.

Many variations of kofta exist, but it’s always a popular dish! For instance, you can find beef kofta, shrimp kofta, and chicken kofta like these meatballs.

However, kofta recipes always feature ground meat, spices and herbs, breadcrumbs, garlic, and onions. These specific ingredients are what give kofta of all kinds its signature savory, herbaceous flavor!

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to make easy chicken kofta meatballs at home! 

What does kofta mean?

The word “kofta” is believed to have originated in Iran. The Persian word, kufte, directly translates to mean “pounded meat” or “finely chopped meat.” 

No matter where you find it in the world, each culture’s take on kofta involves some sort of ground meat. That is why this word is the perfect descriptor for this food!

Is Chicken Kofta Healthy? 

Chicken kofta is a fairly healthy option in our opinion! Compared to traditional kofta recipes chicken kofta meatballs are higher in protein and lower in fat.

For this recipe, we use just a handful of simple ingredients and no extra oil or butter. As a result, these chicken kofta meatballs are a well-balanced recipe made with lots of protein and moderate amounts of carbs and fats!

Chicken Kofta vs Chicken Kabobs

Kofta and kabobs are similar and often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same things. 

The preparation of the chicken is the primary difference between chicken kofta and chicken kofta kebabs.

  • Chicken kofta features ground chicken mixed with other ingredients and molded into balls. 
  • Chicken kabobs are skewers of meat (often chicken breast) and sometimes veggies like onions and bell peppers. Kabobs do not consist of a patty-like mixture like kofta. They also consist of different seasonings, offering a completely different flavor experience.

What’s In Kofta? 

Everyone has their own way of making kofta, using a variety of different ingredients. However, for our version, we stuck to simple, easy-to-find items that add loads of flavor with minimal effort! 

  • Chicken – We use boneless, skinless chicken breast, and ground it up. However, you could skip a step and use ground chicken instead. 
  • Aromatics – Use two small shallots and two whole garlic cloves for a pungent, tangy, slightly sweet taste. 
  • Seasonings – The use of shawarma spice, salt, and black pepper creates a bold flavor that is sweet, warm, and earthy all at once. We almost always have homemade shawarma spice on hand. However, you can also easily find shawarma spice online or at your local grocery store. 
  • Egg – Use a large egg to help bind the ingredients and ensure the meatballs hold their shape. 
  • Dried Breadcrumbs – These help absorb excess moisture from the kofta balls. As a result, they give the chicken kofta mixture body and help prevent the mixture from drying out as it cooks. 
  • Fresh Herbs – Fresh mint and fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley add a bright, peppery, herbaceous flavor that balances out the warmth of the spices. If you can’t find spearmint, feel free to use any other fresh herbs like dill instead. 

Flavor Variations

As mentioned, there are endless ways to make homemade chicken kofta. So, feel free to mix and match different ingredients and combinations to make this recipe your own! 

  • Replace the Meat. Use ground turkey, beef, or lamb. 
  • Experiment with Seasonings. Mix and match a variety of spices and seasonings. For instance, cumin and ground coriander add a nice kick. Or, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a bit of spice!
  • Use Bread. Swap the pre-made breadcrumbs with a small, end piece (butt) of bread. 
  • Add Olive Oil. Just a tiny drizzle can help add a rich flavor and a boost of healthy fats.
Raw chicken kofta meatballs in an air fryer basket.

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Kofta in Just a Few Simple Steps

Unlike other chicken kofta recipes made in the oven or on the grill, we cook our chicken kofta in the air fryer! As a result, it requires minimal prep time, has a cook time of about 20 minutes, and a total time of under an hour. You’ll be able to get in and out of the kitchen fast!

  1. Blend the chicken. Add the chicken to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you achieve a minced consistency.
  2. Combine the ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients, and pulse again until the mixture is well combined but not mushy.
  3. Shape the meatball mixture. Use a small ice cream scoop to portion the meat mixture, and roll each scoop between your palms to form round balls. 
  4. Air fry. Grease an air fryer basket with cooking oil spray or a little bit of olive oil. Arrange the kofta balls in an even layer in the air fryer. Air fry until the meat cooks all the way through. 
Our favorite

Tips for Success

We paired this quick chicken kofta recipe down to make it nearly failproof. However, we have a few extra tricks to guarantee you always have success! 

  • Wet Your Hands. Wet your hands with a bit of water before shaping the meatballs. This will help prevent them from clinging to your fingers and becoming a sticky mess. 
  • Use About Two Tablespoons Per Kofta Piece. You’ll want to scoop up about two tablespoons of the raw mixture for every single kofta ball. Make them too small and they’ll burn and dry out. On the other hand, if you make them too large, they won’t cook enough. 
  • Space the Kofta Meatballs Out. You want to allow a bit of space between each kofta ball to ensure the air circulates and cooks them on all sides. Work in batches if needed! 
  • Use a Meat Thermometer. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of your kofta. Make sure it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and is safe to eat. 
closeup bowl of chicken kofta.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken kofta is super versatile, meaning you can serve it in a variety of ways! Some of our favorites include: 

How to Store and Reheat

Chicken kofta meatballs are a great meal prep option and stay fresh for days. 

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. 
  • Freeze cooked or raw chicken kofta in an airtight container or sealable bag for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight when you’re ready to eat.
  • Reheat in the air fryer at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To do so, arrange your leftovers in a single layer in a greased basket, and warm just until heated through.

Note: Make sure to store any leftover kofta in an airtight container on its own, separate from any sides or sauces!

Common Questions About This Easy Chicken Kofta Recipe

Can I use chicken thighs instead?

Yes, but keep in mind that chicken thighs have more fat than breasts. So, the ratio of breadcrumbs and eggs needed would change. 

Can I bake chicken kofta instead of air frying?

Sure! Follow the recipe as normal. Then, instead of air frying, arrange the kofta in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until the kofta cooks completely, and flip it over halfway through.

Can I cook this recipe on the grill? 

Yes, follow the recipe as normal, combining the ingredients. Then, instead of forming balls, shape the meat mixture around wooden skewers. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Then, place the chicken kofta skewers on oiled grates, letting them cook for about three minutes on both sides. 

More Middle Eastern-Inspired Recipes

Looking for more ways to enjoy Middle Eastern flavors? Try out more of our easy family-friendly recipes below!  

a bowl of chicken kofta meatballs.

Easy Chicken Kofta Recipe

4.56 from 9 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Make easy chicken kofta in the air fryer with nine ingredients and forty minutes for a high-protein meal you can enjoy throughout the week!

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 small shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons shawarma spice See notes below
  • 1 teaspoon salt See notes

Instructions 

  • Add the chicken breast to the bowl of a food processor. Grind until the chicken is minced.
    1 pound boneless
  • Add the fresh mint, parsley, shallots, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, shawarma spice, and salt. Pulse again until the ingredients are well combined.
    1 fresh mint leaves, 1 small bunch flat leaf Italian parsley, 2 small shallots, 2 garlic cloves, 1 large egg, ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs, 2 Tablespoons shawarma spice, 1 teaspoon salt
  • Using a small ice cream scoop, shape the meat mixture into small balls (approximately two tablespoons each).
  • Preheat an air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease the basket with cooking oil spray or a small amount of olive oil.
  • Arrange the chicken kofta balls in an even layer in the air fryer, leaving space between each piece. Air fry for 13-15 minutes or until the chicken kofta is fully cooked and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

Video

Notes

Note: Feel free to use store-bought shawarma spice, or make your own homemade shawarma spice blend using 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon coriander, 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, ½ Tablespoon ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon allspice, ¼ teaspoon cloves, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional).
Note: Use less salt if your shawarma spice has salt included.
Oven Option: Combine the ingredients as normal. Then, arrange the kofta on a greased baking sheet, and bake the kofta at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through, flipping it over halfway.
To Freeze: Transfer cooked or raw chicken kofta balls to an airtight container or sealable bag, and freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, and cook as normal. Or, warm them in the air fryer at 350 degrees just until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 261mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 84IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

You Might Also Like

Meal Prep Cottage Cheese Salad

If you’re a meal prep maven, you’re going to adore this simple Meal Prep Cottage Cheese Salad recipe that’s chock-full…

Easy Baked Beef Stew

Make this easy baked beef stew for a fun take on classic beef stew. It's a warm, hearty comfort food full of flavor and nutrients!

Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    loved these back to make them a 2nd time but can’t find fresh parsley how much dry parsley would you substitute

  2. 1 star
    Seasoning was to overpowering for me and my boyfriend. Made the recipe according to instructions. Wouldn’t recommend

  3. 5 stars
    These were so easy to make and so delicious. Simple ingredients that all came together so nicely. Have worked this into my meal prepping! So good with a salad or rice!

  4. Is the creamy stuff at the top of the plate Tzatiziki? If so can I have the recipe? If not what is it and can I have the recipe? 😁

  5. 5 stars
    I made my version of this dish tonight. Made with with ground Turkey and added Serrano peppers 🌶 for that extra heat. They turned out amazing. Not the first time I’ve used they’re recipes and they’re always a hit! Love the inspiration and getting me to love cooking !