How To make Moroccan meatball Tagine ?

This popular Moroccan dish features a Meatball recipe (kefta mkaouara) cooked in a zesty, homemade shakshuka-like tomato sauce.

Many cooks like to present the meatball recipe tagine with eggs poached directly in the sauce, but this addition is optional. Olives are sometimes added, and for a little extra heat, throw in some ground cayenne or fresh chili peppers.

Although a clay or ceramic tagine is the traditional cooking vessel of choice, a deep skillet will work just as well. In either case, allow ample time for the diced tomatoes to reduce to a thick sauce before adding the meatballs.

If you love Moroccan dishes, this one’s for you! The meatball Tagine is loaded with tomatoes, apricots, sweet onions and plenty of spices.

Moroccan meatball Tagine

About The Recipe 

This recipe is quite popular in Morocco and it is easy to make. It is also great for parties or potlucks.

Moroccans love their meatballs, so it’s no surprise that the meatball tagine has become a favorite dish at home and beyond. 

The story of how this Moroccan meatballs tagine dish came to be is quite interesting. It all started when King Mohammed V was visiting Tangiers in 18th-century Morocco in search of some food after he had just defeated his enemies at home.

He was told about this new type of dish called Tagine by an old Berber woman called Amina Ben Ali who had invented it for her family


Moroccan kefta tagine

Moroccan meatball Tagine is a dish that combines both traditional and modern flavors. It’s quick and easy to make at home with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

The Moroccan meatball Tagine is an easy and quick meal that can feed 4 people and leaves you feeling full. It has been described as “the perfect comfort food” because most of the ingredients are pantry staples, like fresh herbs, garlic, and cinnamon sticks.

This is an easy-to-make dish that tastes delicious. It’s also low calorie, making it an excellent choice for a healthy meal or snack. The Moroccan cuisine itself is known for being healthy, so this dish proves to be exactly that ! 

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25 mins

45 mins

1 hr 10 mins






Main Course


4  People

560 kcal


  • tagine
  • deep skillet
  • serrated tomato peeler
  • grater


  For the Meatballs :
  • 1 lb ground beef or lamb, or mix of the two
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 3tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼tsp turmeric – optional
  • ¼tsp ground cinnamon – optional
  For the Tomato sauce :
  • 2lbs ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 5 tsp paprika
  • 5tsp cumin
  • 5tsp salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2chili peppers optional
  • 1bay leaf
  • 2tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  For Garnish (Optional) :
  • 4eggs, free-range or beldi eggs are preferred
  • green pitted olives – to taste
  • fresh parsley or cilantro sprigs


Make the Meatball recipe :
  • Combine the ground meat with the onion, herbs and spices. Use your hands to knead the mixture for a minute or two until the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  • Take small portions of the mixture and shape into petite, cocktail-sized meatballs. I tend to make mine the size of cherries, but you can make them as small as marbles or, if short on time, as large as 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) in diameter. 
  • Cover and set aside.
Make the Tomato Sauce :
  • Peel, seed and chop the tomatoes. Set aside. (Or, if the tomatoes are very soft, cut them in half crosswise, remove the seeds, and then grate the flesh to a pulp; discard the skin.)
  • Place a skillet or the base of a medium- to large-sized tagine over medium-low heat. When hot, add the oil, onion and green pepper. Sauté for several minutes.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two, until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic
  • Add the chopped or grated tomatoes, herbs and spices. Stir to combine. Allow the tomatoes to come to a simmer then cover and cook for about 15 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes soften and a sauce begins to form.
  • Use the back of a spoon to crush the tomatoes and add the chili peppers, if using. Cover and continue cooking for another 15 to 30 minutes, until a rich tomato sauce forms. Stir occasionally, adding a little water if necessary to smooth out the sauce.
  • When the consistency of the sauce is to your liking, taste and adjust seasoning. Add the meatballs. Then cover and continue simmering for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are just cooked through.
  • The Meatball tagine can be served now; or continue to the next steps to add olives and/or eggs.
Add Olives and/or Eggs (Optional) :
  • If adding olives, do so now, allowing time for them to heat through before serving.
  • If garnishing the tagine with eggs, carefully add them over the meatballs, taking care not to break the yolks. Cover and continue simmering the tagine just until the whites are firm and the yolk is beginning to set.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve directly from the tagine or skillet.

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  • Cooking time for the tomato sauce can vary greatly depending on ripeness and juiciness of the tomatoes, as well as your choice of cooking vessels. I find that peeled and chopped tomatoes reduce to a sauce faster in a tagine or stainless steel skillet as opposed to non-stick pan.
  • When cooking in a traditional clay or ceramic tagine over any heat source other than gas, be sure to use a diffuser. If cooking over gas without a diffuser, be sure the flames don’t touch the bottom of the tagine.
  • Take care to avoid overcooking the meatballs, or they will become tough. (Or, if you prefer a softer texture overall to your meatballs, you can deviate from Moroccan tradition and add a whole egg and 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs to the ground meat when seasoning your kefta mixture.)
  • If planning to add the optional olives at the end of cooking, you may want to reduce the salt when seasoning the tomato sauce.

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