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Frikadellen – Meat Balls

Frikadellen recipe

Before we talk about the Frikadellen recipe, let me tell you some interesting things about “Frikadellen” aka “Fleischklops”, “Fleischpflanzerl”, or “Bulette” – it depends on the region how you call it! It’s the German version of meatballs or a burger patty.

Königsberger Klopse German Meatballs in sauce

If you are looking for German Meatballs in creamy sauce, that’s Königsberger Klopse. Find the recipe for that HERE …

There are probably as many frikadellen recipes as there are cooks in Germany. However, usually, they have the same basic ingredients.

Frikadellen and the invention of the Hamburger

Frikadelle is of cause related to the hamburger. There is this tale but I’m not sure if  it is true: At the world fair in New York a man from Hamburg, Germany sold Frikadelle. He had trouble to serve them since they were hot and he had no plates. It is told that he bought some rolls or bread and put the Frikadellen between it. Now people could hold them in their hands. That’s probably how it all started and why they are called “Hamburgers” even though there is no ham involved. But there are other stories and people who claim the idea too. To me – since I was born in Hamburg – the story with the world fair sounds best … here is MY local pride.


There are probably as many frikadellen recipes as there are cooks in Germany. However, usually, they have the same basic ingredients.


Here is my favorite although I always vary it a little bit. One can eat them with ketchup or mustard or make a delicious gravy.

Frikadellen recipe

Frikadellen Recipe – Meat Balls (German)

4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch (or Dinner), Meat Dish, Party Food, Snack
Cuisine German
Servings 5 people


  • 600 g ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 roll (from day before)
  • 1 medium large onion
  • paprika ground
  • fresh grounded pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 – 2 tbsp mustard
  • salt
  • some garlic (optional)
  • dried herbs like italien herbs


  • Cut the onion into very small cubes. Heat a pan on medium and fry the onions with some oil until they are cooked through and slightly brown.
  • Place the roll in a small bowl with water and let soak.
  • Meanwhile put the ground beef in a larger bowl, add salt, spices, herbs, mustard, tomato paste and if it matches with the rest of the menu also some garlic. Make sure you use enough salt, it tends to disappear during the cooking process!
  • Take the soaked roll and squeeze in our hands to remove most of the water. Then add to the bowl with the ground beef.
  • The onions should be ready be now, add them to the bowl.
  • Next add the egg.
  • Mix everything very well – works best with hands!
  • Heat some oil in a large pan.
  • Form about 8 Frikadellen / meat balls in about the size of your palm, don’t make them flat like a UFO but also not to round.
  • Add the Frikadellen / meat balls to the pan and reduce the heat to medium so they won’t burn.
  • Let fry from both sides for about 10 minutes, test on one Frikadelle / meat ball if it is cooked through.
  • Remove the Frikadellen / meat balls from the pan and keep them warm if you plan to make a gravy: Add some beef broth to the empty pan and bring to a boil. The residue in the pan will give a lot of taste. Take some sour cream and add to the pan, decrease the heat and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste
  • If you don’t feel confident about making the gravy, try “Rahm Soße”! You can buy it i.e. at online German Deli and makes a delicious gravy with just the right consistency.


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Frikadellen - German Meat Balls / Burger Patties
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11 thoughts on “Frikadellen – Meat Balls”

  1. Hi, I’m 70 and my mother was of German heritage. I grew up on “——–Friccadilla” Saurfliecse and Karduffiglase, {? spelling} and every green veg had cream sauce on it. The Friccadilla was made with ground beef a pound, 2 eggs, 2 T parsley, 1 lg grated onion, pepper & salt to taste and 2 c bread crumbs. Mix and form meat cakes & fry in frying pan, brown well both sides, serve with roll & ketchup. The Sauerfliecse they called was basically a pot roast, brown meat well all sides in small amt oil , add 1 bay leaf, cloves & 1/2 glass vinegar & water and a little sugar, cover & cook on very low flame 1 – 1 1/2 hr then add flour to thicken gravy. { add 2 T flour to 1/2 c cold water & salt & pepper, mix well , remove meat, bring gravy to a beginning boil. carefully drip flour mixture in and quickly stir with a fork fast to avoid it lumping, continue until gravy is thick enough. The Karduffiglase are potato balls. 5 lb potatoes with skin on, covered with water add salt & boil { salt makes the water boil at a higher temp] for 25 min until a fork goes into potato easily. Drin the water, pick up a potato with a fork & with a sharp stake knife or small utility knife, slit the skin & peel. Put potatoes through a ricer, add 4-5 raw eggs, pepper 1/2& salt 1 tsp and a cup flour, mix . If the mix does not hold its shape when rolled into a ball sl smaller than the size of a tennis ball, add a little more flour. The least flour added will make lighter balls. Once they can hold a shape roll into balls. Boil a lg pot water with a little salt. When boiling, gently drop the balls in, when they rise to the surface they are done. Serve hot with the meat & gravy. Left overs were sliced & heated in a frying pan with light amt oil & served with left over meat & gravy. This was always made for New Years Day. Relatives came knowing this was the meal served all day My cousin gave me his mother’s cook books after she passed in the ’70’s. While looking through them, one had these recipes in my Grandmother’s handwriting. She was born in America in 1887 to immigrant parents from Germany.

  2. Beside #13 in the recipe notes, there is a whisk for stirring gravy in the accompanying picture. Would you mind giving the source of this kitchen ‘tool’, please? Thank you for your kind attention.

    1. I bought this tool many years ago in Germany, unfortunately, I couldn’t find a similar one here. Sorry, I am no help.

  3. George Lopa L.R.E.A.

    My mother ERIKA who passed away in November 2016 at age 97 plus 2 days came from Hanover to Sydney in December 1949 taught me a very simple recipe for FRIKADELLEN.
    Simply grate onion, add to 1kg minced beef or pork, crack 3 or 4 eggs mix by hand if mixture too sticky sprinkle some bread crumbs add salt and pepper to taste. Form patties roll in breadcrumbs and fry preferably in electric frypan to stop burning

    1. Thank you, George! This sounds delicious and seems to be for a big crowd.
      97 years is an amazing age, how wonderful that you still have her recipes which might bring all the good memories back. In Germany, we say “Liebe geht durch den Magen” which means “Love goes through the stomach”. Is there anything better than the beloved recipe of a mother?
      Best, Barbara

    2. Hi,
      Maybe you have some insight into the name and spelling of what my German grandmother called Goluscher (spelling unknown) which was her pork and rice meatballs in sauerkraut and cooked between layers of cabbage. I was told they were originally stuffed cabbage rolls.

      1. Hi Pamela,
        I am not familiar with that recipe. It might be something from an area that I don’t know like far east of Germany maybe.

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