Delicious Adana Kebab Recipe – A Turkish Favourite

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Here’s a wonderful (and very simple) Adana Kebab recipe for you.

Because, if you’re anything like us, this juicy, spicy delicious kebab (Adana Kebap, to give it its correct name) will be right up there as one of your favourite dishes of Turkish cuisine.

Two mince meat Adana kebabs on skewers with a long green pepper lying beside them. They are lying on a flatbread.
Our Adana Kebab is easy to make at home

Turkey has a plethora of regional dishes. And many of these dishes take on the name of the city or area they come from.

So, you won’t be surprised to learn that Adana Kebab comes from the city of Adana in southern Turkey.

In this city, we’re not far from the provinces of Hatay and Gaziantep. No strangers to spicy food in these areas.

And Turkish Adana kebabs, whilst not out there to blow your head off with a blast of heat, are given a gentle nudge in the direction of chilli kick with the added ingredient of hot chilli flakes (red pepper flakes).

It’s arguably one of the country’s most popular kebabs.

Adana Kebab is perhaps best described as an Adana köfte – an elongated şiş ground lamb kebab.

Most often made from lamb mince (ground lamb meat) and spices, the mixture is moulded onto long, flat metal skewers before being placed over white hot coals and allowed to sizzle away to perfection.

A kebab chef cooks kebabs over open coals.
Kebabs are cooked over open coals on a charcoal grill

In ocakbaşı Turkish restaurants (restaurants with a huge open indoor barbecue), you can often watch the usta (master chef) make his Adana Kebabs.

No mechanised meat mincer, here. He uses a special knife; a zirh (think large one-handled mezzaluna).

With one hand on the handle and the other on the top edge of the curved blade, chunks of lamb are reduced to minced meat status within a matter of minutes; spices and any other ingredients simultaneously mixed and chopped into the lamb.

It’s a joy to witness!

As the usta deftly rolls the zirh on its curved edge, side to side, switching angles, creating the Adana Kebab mixture, another special ingredient is gradually incorporated.

Lamb’s tail fat.

When you’re enjoying that wonderfully juicy Adana Kebab in your favourite kebab restaurant, that wonderful juiciness is partly the result of the lamb tail fat!

A long Adana kebab served on flatbreads with a side of onion and green peppers.
A serving of Adana Kebab in one of our local restaurants

We’re lucky in Fethiye that we have lots of great local restaurants and kebab salons that serve up a fantastic Adana Kebab. And we admit to ordering it on a regular basis.

If it’s for a good, filling lunchtime snack, Adana dürüm (Adana kebab wrap) never fails to hit the spot.

But for a more substantial sit down meal; it’s juicy minced lamb, grilled on flat skewers, and, more often than not, served with warm flatbreads of some description, charred peppers, bulgur pilaf and sumac onions.

This is the dish we’re going to be recreating for our Adana Kebab Recipe…

It’s actually really quick and easy to make your own Adana Kebabs at home.

If you want to make then for the barbecue, you can do, but we cook ours in our cast-iron skillet.

There’s just a couple of points to bear in mind for this Adana Kebab recipe:

  • You need to use flat wide skewers. Thin rounded ones will cause the meat to fall off during cooking. We use wooden skewers from our local supermarket.
  • Get a lamb cut with a bit of fat on it and ask your butcher to mince the lamb chunks once. Lots of meat mince goes through twice and this will give you a fine lamb mince. Adana Kebab needs a bit of bite to it. A chunkier mince will hold onto your skewers easier.

Kebab ustas will add their own little ingredients to their Adana kebab mixtures. But we find a simple traditional recipe is best – so we’re keeping it tasty and simple, too.

A bowl of raw minced lamb meat with spices sprinkled over the top.
Our lamb kebab meat mixture

Your lamb mince needs to go into a large bowl with your seasoning and spices.

We’re talking salt, freshly ground black pepper and crushed garlic cloves.

Then the ingredients to give us a spicy meat skewer: sweet paprika, cumin, and those oh-so-important hot chilli flakes.

We also like to add a bit of finely chopped parsley or coriander to the mixture.

All of this gets a mix together with your hands.

As soon as everything is mixed together, that’s fine. No need to knead the mixture. We want bite to our Adana Kebab.

‘Skewer’ sort of suggests we’re going to be piercing the meat mixture.

However, unlike when we’re making chicken şiş kebabs, we’re not piercing chunks of meat to thread onto the skewer.

Six wooden skewers with raw minced lamb on them.
Mould the minced lamb mixture onto your skewers

Our kebab meat mixture makes six Adana kebabs so we divide the mix into six rough balls.

Dip your hands into some cold water so the meat mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.

Then, with a wooden skewer in one hand and your meat mixture in the other, start at the pointed end of the skewer and mould the mixture around the skewer, teasing it down towards the opposite end as you go along.

Leave yourself a gap at the end so that the skewers are easy to turn over when the time comes to cook your Adana Kebab.

Leave the kebabs in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. We find they’re even easier to cook if left overnight.

It’s really up to you how you serve your Adana Kebab. But we love to serve it how we enjoy it in restaurants.

You can prep your accompaniments before you cook your kebab.

Finely sliced half moon onions need a teaspoon of sumac sprinkling over them and mixing. Sumac gives a tangy, zesty flavour to the onion.

Make your bulgur pilaf following the instructions in our tomato bulgur pilaf recipe.

Whilst your bulgur is resting, you can heat your griddle pan over a high heat before reducing it to a medium heat.

Then carefully place your Adana kebabs onto the hot pan surface.

A plate serving of Adana Kebab and accompaniments.
Our juicy, spicy, homemade Adana Kebab with accompaniments

Your long green peppers can go into the pan with the kebabs. 5 minutes on each side and they’re done!

We like slightly crisp, warm flatbreads so they also go onto the griddle pan for about 30 seconds on each side, too.

If you’re like us, you’ll need to cook your Adana Kebabs in batches.

Heat your oven to around 150 degrees Celsius and place the cooked kebabs and peppers on an oven tray or baking sheet in the oven whilst you wait for the next batch to cook.

And that’s it!

Serve up, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top and enjoy this, one of the most famous Turkish kebabs, in your own home!

Can I make my Adana Kebabs ahead of time?

Absolutely, yes. Your uncooked kebabs will benefit from being rested in the fridge before cooking.

Store them in an airtight container for up to two days.

Can I freeze my Adana Kebabs?

If you want to make a big batch of them, freeze them (uncooked) in a freezer-safe container.

If you need to layer them, place a sheet of greaseproof paper between each layer so you can separate them easily.

Can I use a different meat to make Adana Kebab?

If you want a true Adana Kebab, no.

But if you prefer to use minced or ground beef or even ground chicken, of course that’s fine.

Just save yourself a lot of discussion and name your kebabs ‘kıyma kebabı’ (mincemeat kebab) if you happen to be in the company of purists.

Can I use different cooking methods for Adana Kebab?

Yes! You can’t beat a good old barbecue charcoal grill for the best way of cooking şiş kebabs.

We don’t have a barbecue at the moment. So, for us, our griddle pan is the next best thing.

You can also grill your kebabs or bake them in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius (430 F) for around 20 minutes, turning once.

What is the best way of serving Adana Kebab?

If you accompany your Adana Kebab with anything, at the very least we would highly recommend a side of sumac onion salad and warm flatbreads (pita bread, lavash bread or balloon bread).

We also love a serving of bulgur or Turkish rice pilaf on the side.

Some famous Turkish salads will also make a great accompaniment.

Let’s make our Adana Kebab…

Easy & Delicious Adana Kebab Recipe

Adana Kebab is the favourite of many right from the first time they taste it. Enjoy this juicy minced lamb kebab as a main meal or wrap it in lavaş bread as a lighter street food snack; Adana dürüm.Perfect for the barbecue or to cook indoors.



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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Author Turkey’s For Life
  • 6 Wide wooden skewers or wide metal skewers

  • 1 Griddle pan cast iron skillet

  • 1 Large mixing bowl

  • 1 small bowl for mixing your onion salad

  • 1 Sharp knife

For The Adana Kebabs

  • 500 grams minced lamb
  • ½ bunch parsley leaves washed & finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chilli flakes hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled & crushed (or grated)
  • 6 long green peppers optional
  • 6 flatbreads optional

For The Sumac Onion Salad

  • 1 small onion peeled & very thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 tablespoon parsley leaves finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • salt to season

For The Adana Kebabs

  • Except for the green peppers and the flatbreads, place all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

  • Mix them altogether and knead the mixture for a couple of minutes to make sure all the kebab ingredients are well mixed.

  • Now separate the mixture into 6 balls.

  • Wet your hand with cold water and take one of the balls of minced lamb mixture.

  • Now take your wide skewer in the other hand and, starting at the pointed end, mould the meat mixture around the skewer, teasing the meat along the length of the skewer as you go.

  • Leave a gap at the end so that you can turn your kebabs easily.

  • When you have completed all of your kebabs, place them in the fridge for a minimum of one hour to rest.

  • Meanwhile, you can make your sumac onion salad and prepare any other accompaniments.

  • Place your onions in a small bowl and add your sumac and salt.

  • Give them a good mix so that the sumac coats all the onions.

  • Place your griddle pan (cast iron skillet) on the hob and lightly brush with olive oil.

  • Heat the pan over a high heat for a couple of minutes and then turn the heat to medium.

  • Carefully lie your Adana kebabs flat in the pan and leave them in place for 5 minutes.

  • If you are cooking long green peppers, add these to the pan also.

  • After 5 minutes, turn them over and cook the other side. Your kebabs shouldn’t stick but if they do need a little help, gently tease them away from the griddle by sliding a spatula under them.

  • Turn your peppers at the same time and cook for a further 5 minutes.

  • Remove your cooked kebabs and peppers from the pan and place your flatbreads on the griddle to warm.

  • Place your Adana Kebabs and griddled peppers on top of the flatbreads to serve.

  • Add your sumac onion salad to the side and any other accompaniments and serve.

  • As with all of our recipes, the calories for our Adana Kebab recipe are meant as a rough guide only.
  • We have calculated the calories for the kebabs only as you can choose your own accompaniments and type of flatbreads.
  • If you are using a griddle pan and it is too small to cook all the Adana Kebabs at once, you will need to cook in batches like we do.
  • If this is the case, preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius (300 F) and place the cooked kebabs and peppers on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm  until the others are cooked.
  • We like to serve our Adana Kebab as we often have it in restaurants: with flatbreads, bulgur pilavı, sumac onions and charred green peppers, as you can see in the photos. It is up to you how you serve up your kebabs.

Serving: 1kebabCalories: 240kcal

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