Authentic Kisir (Turkish Bulgur Salad)

This Authentic Kisir is a Turkish salad that’s made with perfectly seasoned tiny balls of bulgur, cucumbers, peppers, spices, and juicy red tomatoes. It’s vegan and a real crowd-pleaser!

This recipe will feed a large family or many at a gathering.

Authentic Kisir in a bowl

My mother-in-law, Gulseren, recently gave me all her old Sofra magazines that must have been at least 20 years old. As I flipped through the pages, I saw this authentic kisir recipe made by food writer, Emine Beder who mostly created all of the recipes in the publication at that time.

I was so excited to make the recipe!

A Note on Proper Measurements

There is one very important rule to point out. In Turkey, they measure ingredients a little freely. There is no US metric system—heck there’s no system at all! All you have to know is that each recipe isn’t as accurate as it should be—just use your best judgment.

Here’s what I mean…

The original recipe calls for under half a bag of Koftelik bulgur. What’s half a bag you ask? No one knows. Each manufacturer creates different sizes.

Furthermore, it is also practical to use units of measurement like a dessert spoon of dried mint or half a tea glass of olive oil.

As you can tell, this is a problem because everybody’s dessert spoon and tea glasses are different. For this reason, I accurately measured out each ingredient as close as possible to the original so that there would be little room for error without compromising the authenticity of the recipe.

Sofra magazine
Sofra magazine published between 1995-the 2000s

How to Make Authentic Kisir

You’ll actually be surprised how easy it is to make kisir.

  1. First, add the bulgur to a large mixing bowl, then pour boiling hot water over the bulgar. Cover for 30 minutes. This step will help “cook” or tenderize the bulgar.
  2. When ready, fluff the bulgur with a spoon or fork, then add the paste, spices, olive oil, and lemon juice. Massage and mix until the bulgar is completely coated in the seasoning.
  3. Lastly, add the diced veggies and parsley. Give a toss and chill for at least an hour before serving.
kisir recipe

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Prep Time 10 min Rest Time 30 min Total Time 40 mins



  1. You'll need a very large mixing bowl. Add the bulgur into the bowl, then cover it with boiling hot water. Now cover the bowl with saran wrap or cloth for 30 minutes. 

  2. When ready, remove the cloth and fluff the bulgur with a spoon or fork until clump-free. Next add the tomato and red pepper paste, spices, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice to the bulgur. Mix and massage until each tiny ball of bulgur is seasoned. 

  3. Finally, add the tomatoes, green onion, Turkish peppers, cucumbers, and parsley. Give a gentle toss until all of the ingredients are evenly mixed. Garnish with additional tomatoes and parsley.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


This recipe was adapted from Sofra publication (no publication date) written by Emine S. Beder

Keywords: Authentic Kisir

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