Fried Kobeba/Kibbeh Recipe كبيبة أو كبة

Kobeba pronounced as Ko-Be-Bah, (also known as Kibbeh) is a delightful festive appetizer or side dish made of crispy, wafer-thin crust of bulgur and meat that encases a luscious ground meat mixed with nuts and raisins.

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Heritage Kobeba (Kibbeh)

Making Kobeba (or kibbeh), is an elaborate task that usually the matriarchs of Egyptian families are entrusted with; given that they have more patience, experience, and time on her hands to grind, knead, fill, shape, and fry.

However, I began to realize that our precious matriarchs generation is dwindling down, and before we know it, those recipes are prone to disappear, if we don’t roll up our sleeves and learn how to make them, to pass the tradition to our kids as well.

Don’t get intimidated, try to make Kobebah once and you will become a fan of the process and the result!

Origin of Kobeba (Aka Kibbeh)

The origin of the word Kobeba or Kibbeh comes from “Kobba” which means dome in the Arabic language, given the dome shape of that appetizer.

It is widely believed that fried kibbeh originates in the levant, yet it reached other parts of the Middle East, such as Egypt, throughout the influx of Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians who lived in Egypt fleeing the unrest in their country of origin.

The easier alternative to Fried Kobebah is “Kobeba Saneya”. Saneya means a tray. This more practical version has two layers of bulgur meat crust with a luscious meat filling in between.

Kobeba Senaya
Kobeba (Kibbeh) Saneya (tray)

Fried Kibbeh lacks the healthy label, given the deep frying, yet I am a big fan of the fried one and I do believe that it is almost impossible to replicate its deliciousness when it is baked.

Luckily, the Air Frier is an excellent middle ground, as it yields good crunchy shell and keep the filling juicy with no excess grease.

How to Make Kobebah (Kibbeh)

Making Kobeba could seem complicated, tedious, and time consuming, and there is truth in that!

Yet, it is also super fun to pause our treadmill lifestyle and force our bodies to chill, sit down on a comfy chair with a cup of good cardamom coffee and delightful music playing in the background and make Kobeba (kibbeh). Listening to a good audio book or a masterclass are other fun ways to take advantage of the kibbeh shaping time. Here are some steps that can simplify the task.

  1. Prepare the crust and filling one day in advance, or several days and freeze.
  2. Use a tiny coffee cup and plastic film to shape the dough. (see video below)
  1. Kibbeh is fridge and freezer friendly, so let the shaped raw kibbeh stay in the fridge for a few hours before frying it, or freeze it in a vacuum sealed ziplock. Defrost in the fridge an hour before frying.

Success Secrets

  • Whole Wheat Bulgur  

Fine cracked whole wheat bulgur is the right one to use for Kibbeh. No other bulgur will give you the right crunch of the shell. Luckily, the fine cracked bulgur by Ziyad is now on Amazon.

Fine Wheat Bulgur
Fine Wheat Bulgur
  • Use lean and finely ground meat for the crust 

Lean meat means meat that has no fat. If you mistakingly use a regular ground meat with fat it will shrink during the frying as the fat will melt away, and won’t help the shell stay coherent.

  • Let the shell dough rest in the fridge 

Keeping the shell dough at least one hour in the fridge will help the flavors blend together and it will make it easier to handle.

  • Make the meat filling in advance  

The filling that consists of cooked ground beef (or lamb), nuts, and raisins is better prepared one day in advance, cooled, and kept in the fridge.

Making Kobeba (Kibbeh) In The Airfrier 

Instead of deep frying, use your Air Frier if you have one. Here are the steps:

  1. Generously brush or spray the kibbeh with a thick layer of oil.
  2. Preheat the air frier  for 5 minutes, before air frying the kobeba
  3. Choose the fries setting.
  4. Air frying time the kobeba for 10 minutes or until it the skin is golden.


Disclaimer:Chez Nermine blog is an Amazon Associate. We earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Our commission doesn’t affect the price of the product you purchase.

Fried Kobebah/Kibbeh


The Bulgur-Meat Shell

  • 500 grams lean ground beef
  • 2  1/2 cups fine whole wheat bulgur 
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry thyme or oregano

Meat Filling 


  1. Prepare the bulgur: Cover a fine mesh strainer with a cheese cloth. Add the bulgur wheat in, then place the strainer into a bowl filled with room temperature water. Let the fine bulgur wheat soak in the water for 15 minutes, then pull the cloth and squeeze all the water out. You may do this a couple of times until you face all the water out. Set aside for now.
  2. Make the shell: Add all the ingredients (bulgur, spices, lean meat) to the container of a food processor, or a meat grinder, fitted with the grinding plate with the smallest holes. Once ready, cover the dough with a plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge, until you are ready to assemble. 
  3. Make the filling: Heat the oil in a frying pan, once hot add the ground meat, and keep staring on medium heat, until the meat liquid evaporates, and the meat itself turns brown and no longer red or raw. Add the onions, the garlic, and spices. Let the meat cook for another 7-10 minutes on low heat, until it is fragrant, and fully cooked.
  4. Shape the Kobeba/Kibbeh: Dampen your hands with some water, use a cookie scoop to take a handful of the kibbeh dough, and roll it into a ball, then press with your thumb to make a well for the filling. Thin out the sides with two fingers and add a spoonful of the filling in the well.  Seal the dough on top and, using both hands, carefully shape it into an oval (football-type shape). Place the stuffed kibbeh on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the stuffing steps until you run out, be sure to have damp hands throughout. Chill the stuffed kibbeh for 1 hour at least or overnight until you are ready to fry it.
  5. Fry the Kobeba: Heat the oil in a deep frying pan to 350° F (dip a time piece of bread if it surfaces in 10 seconds then the oil is ready). Deep-fry the kibbeh in the hot oil, avoid overcrowding the pan. Each batch should have no more than 3-4 kobeba pieces. With a slotted spoon or tongs, carefully remove the kibbeh and place them on a pan lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat until you have fried all the stuffed kibbeh. Alternatively, you can air fry the kobeba. Choose the fries setting, preheat the Air Frier for five minute. Generously, brush or spray the kobeba and then place it in the air frier for 15-20 minutes. Remove it from the airfare when the curst is golden.
  6. Garnish & Serve: Place the kobeba or kibbeh on a bed of aromatic herbs of your choice. Serve  hot or at room temperature with tahini sauce, or Egyptian mint scented yogurt-cucumber sauce.


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