Adana Kebabs (Turkish-Style Ground Lamb Skewers)

Dried chiles and red pepper paste lend this grill house classic its signature heat.

  • Serves

    serves 4

  • Cook

    2 hours 30 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Published on October 17, 2019

Adana kebabs are best cooked over fire but can work on an indoor grill pan or cast-iron skillet. Aleppo pepper and biber salçası, a spicy red paste made from sun-dried chiles and salt, add color and heat.



  • 1 lb. 6 oz. fatty ground lamb
  • ½ medium white onion, coarsely grated (¾ cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tsp. Aleppo pepper
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 large garlic cloves, grated (1 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. ground sumac
  • 1 tsp. Turkish hot red pepper paste (biber salcasi) (optional)
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling
  • 2 large tomatoes on the vine, quartered
  • Flatbreads, such as pita, for serving
  • Labneh or thick plain yogurt, for serving


Step 1

In a large bowl, add the lamb, onion, parsley, Aleppo pepper, cumin, salt, garlic, sumac, pepper paste (if using), black pepper, and cinnamon. Use your hands to rigorously mix the kebab mixture until completely combined. Divide the meat into 8 equal portions. Mold each around a 10-inch skewer, forming 8-inch-long slightly flattened sausage shapes.

Step 2

Transfer the kebabs to a large platter or baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Step 3

Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat, and brush the grates or pan lightly with oil. Meanwhile, carefully thread the tomato wedges onto 2 separate skewers and set aside.

Step 4

When the grill is hot, add the kebabs and cook, rotating them carefully every few minutes, until evenly browned and slightly charred in places, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a clean platter, and let rest a few minutes. Meanwhile, add the skewered tomatoes and flatbreads to the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until the breads are warmed, and the tomatoes are softened and lightly charred on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the kebab platter, and serve warm with the labneh on the side.

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