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armenian meatball soup with toasted bread

Armenian Meatball Soup

This Armenian Meatball Soup, Armenian kufta (kofta) soup or sulu kofte, is the ultimate bowl of comfort. Tiny beef-and-bulgur meatballs are poached in a lemony, tomato-laced broth, and finished with dried mint to create this family favorite!
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Armenian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 239 kcal



  • 1 cup #1 grade fine bulgur
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • About 1/2 cup water


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce or ground peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth or beef broth (or an equivalent amount of water)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon rice (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves



  • Fill a small bowl with some water and place next to the mixing bowl.
  • Add the bulgur, beef, onion, salt, pepper, and paprika to the bowl and mix well with your hands, adding water a handful at a time until it becomes cohesive and firm (you may need to wet your hands with the water in the bowl as you mix).
  • Constantly wetting your hands, make little meatballs by rolling small bits of the mixture between your palms. They should be about 3/4-inch to 1-inch in diameter. Place the small meatballs on a tray or baking sheet until ready to cook. You will have about 130 meatballs.


  • In a pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter, add the onion, and sauté until softened. Add the water, tomato sauce, broth, salt, pepper, and paprika, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice and carefully drop the meatballs several at a time into the liquid, mixing in between additions to make sure the meatballs do not stick together. Add the chickpeas or rice, if desired.
  • When the mixture comes back up to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through (they will plump up). Adjust the seasonings if needed, and add the dried mint just before removing from the heat. Serve immediately.

Notes & Nutrition

  • This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
Servings 8.0 * calories 239 * Total Fat 8 g * Saturated Fat 3 g * Monounsaturated Fat 0 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 42 mg * Sodium 1276 mg * Potassium 346 mg * Total Carbohydrate 26 g * Dietary Fiber 6 g * Sugars 4 g * Protein 18 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*