Israeli Meatballs

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Easy, healthy, and delicious Israeli meatballs. This is a simple recipe that takes less than an hour to put together. It’s a classic recipe and a regular meal in most Israeli homes.


This dish of Israeli meatballs is one of those that takes me back to childhood every time I eat it. It was a regular dish in my mother’s kitchen and we loved it any way she served it… Hot or cold, on a plate or in a sandwich… It was always so delicious!

It’s a simple recipe, really. It makes a huge pan of meatballs that usually lasts for a couple of meals for our family and it takes less than an hour to put together. Everyone loves it, adults and kids, and in Israel, it’s most babies’ first meat dish since you can mash the meat and the peas together.

Israeli Meatballs With Peas…

israeli meatballs with peas

It’s a healthy and filling dish and there are no complicated ingredients here. Well, I sure hope that I convinced you by now because I do think that you’d love it if you give it a try!

Ingredients…

  • Ground beef
  • Eggs
  • White bread
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Onion
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • Frozen peas
  • Chicken stock

Kitchen Tools…

How to Make Israeli Meatballs…

Step one – prepare the meatball mixture. Into a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, cilantro, eggs, soaked bread (pieces of bread soaked in water), and salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients well. Set the bowl aside.

Step two – cook the sauce. Place a wide and deep pan on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium-high. Add oil and let it heat, then add the diced onion and saute it until brown about ten minutes or so. Make sure to stir the onion frequently so it doesn’t burn. Add frozen peas, chicken stock, and salt and pepper.

Step three – cook the meatballs. Make your meatballs from the mixture we made earlier and add them to the pot. I use a wooden spoon to make room between the peas for the meatballs rather than placing them on top of them. Bring this to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and let cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, crack the lid open just a bit to let some of the liquid evaporate. Cook for 10 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the meatballs rest for a few minutes before serving.

israeli meatballs are ready for serving

How to Serve Israeli Meatballs…

  • As the main dish – we usually serve these meatballs with rice on the side as the main dish. You can serve them with quinoa or bulgur as well. And of course, don’t forget a side of salad! Try this Israeli beet salad or this classic red cabbage salad. Or serve them with a side dish of simple green beans.
    If you don’t feel like making a salad, serve them next to fermented vegetables like fermented beets, fermented tomatoes, fermented Jalapenos, or fermented radish.
  • In a sandwich – this is the sort of dish that tastes even better the next day. As kids, my mother used to make us sandwiches with these meatballs the next day. She’ll spread hummus in a pita pocket, then mash the meatballs and add them with some peas into the pita bread, and then she’ll add a classic Israeli salad in there too alongside fermented cucumbers. It was a delicious sandwich that is well remembered to this day!

Options And Variations…

  • Bread – I usually use white bread in my meatballs because it’s softer, however, you can use any kind of bread, whole wheat works as well. Soaked bread makes meatballs much softer than if you’d use breadcrumbs. I simply place the slices in a small bowl and add water until the bread is completely soaked. Then, I add the bread to the meat without the access water.
  • Cilantro – feel free to switch the cilantro with parsley in the same exact way. They both work well.
  • Add vegetables – feel free to add carrots or mushrooms (try dry carrots or dry mushrooms) or celery or even diced potatoes into the sauce alongside the peas.
  • Chicken stock – you can use ready chicken stock that you buy in the store or make yourself or you can use water mixed with Knorr chicken flavoring. Honestly, unless I have canned, homemade chicken stock on the shelf, this is my favorite way to go.

How to Store Leftovers…

  • In the fridge – store leftovers of these Israeli meatballs in the fridge in an air-tight container or simply place the pan in the fridge. They should be ok for four days or so. You can reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop on low heat.
  • In the freezer – this dish freezes well! Just place it in a freezer container and place it in the freezer. You can also divide the leftovers you have into individual servings. When you are ready to serve, let the dish thaw and then reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions…

Can I follow the same recipe with venison?

Definitely! You might need to add some beef fat to your venison meat so the meatballs are not too dense. You can see how I did this when we made these venison burgers.

Can I serve this dish cold?

You can serve these Israeli meatballs either hot or cold. If I serve them on a plate with a side of rice or something similar, they are usually hot. If I use them in a sandwich, they are usually cold.

Does it matter how much fat is in the meat?

I like using ground beef that has 10% or 15% fat in it. However, more or less should still work fine, it just depends on your personal preference.

Can I make this dish ahead?

Yes! It’s a great dish to make for a party or if you are hosting dinner. It actually gets even better the next day. Once it’s ready, let it cool to room temperature and then place the pan, covered, in the fridge. The next day, reheat it on the stovetop. If you feel that you have to add some liquid, make sure to correct the seasonings as well.


This is a classic Israeli dish that is very easy to make and is both healthy and delicious. You probably won’t find an Israeli over the age of two years old that isn’t already eating these Israeli meatballs on a regular basis. I hope that you’d give this recipe a try!

More Mediterranean Recipes…

Israeli Meatballs With peas

Israeli Meatballs With peas

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Easy, healthy, and delicious Israeli meatballs with sweet peas.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE MEATBALLS:
  • 2.25 lb pack of ground beef
  • Two eggs
  • Three pieces of bread, wet and mashed
  • A bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • One large onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 lb bag of frozen peas
  • Two cups of chicken stock or two cups of water and two tablespoons of chicken bullion flavoring.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Step one - Add all the meatballs ingredients into a large mixing bowl and use your hands to combine them well, set aside.

2. Step two - To a shallow, large pot, add about 4 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, lower the heat to medium-high and saute until the onion starts to brown. Add the peas and chicken stock or water with chicken bullion flavoring. Also, add salt and pepper and mix.

4. Step three - Form the meatballs from the meat mixture and place them in the pot. Use a wooden spoon to move the peas and make room for the meatballs. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, crack the pot open just a bit to let some of the liquid evaporate. Cook for 10 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the meatballs rest for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Recipe Notes:

  • Bread – I usually use white bread in my meatballs because it’s softer, however, you can use any kind of bread, whole wheat works as well. Soaked bread makes meatballs much softer than if you’d use breadcrumbs. I simply place the slices in a small bowl and add water until the bread is completely soaked. Then, I add the bread to the meat without the access water.
  • Cilantro – feel free to switch the cilantro with parsley in the same exact way. They both work well.
  • Add vegetables – feel free to add carrots or mushrooms or celery or even diced potatoes into the sauce alongside the peas.
  • Chicken stock – you can use ready chicken stock that you buy in the store or make yourself or you can use water mixed with Knorr chicken flavoring. Honestly, unless I have canned, homemade chicken stock on the shelf, this is my favorite way to go.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Does it matter how much fat is in the meat?
    I like using ground beef that has 10% or 15% fat in it. However, more or less should still work fine, it just depends on your personal preference.
  2. Can I make this dish ahead?
    Yes! It’s a great dish to make for a party or if you are hosting dinner. It actually gets even better the next day. Once it’s ready, let it cool to room temperature and then place the pan, covered, in the fridge. The next day, reheat it on the stovetop. If you feel that you have to add some liquid, make sure to correct the seasonings as well.
  3. Can I freeze this dish?
    Yes. Place leftovers in a freezer container and place in the freezer. It should last in the freezer for a year. Before serving, thaw and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 530Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 592mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 45g

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