Kjøttkaker - Traditional Norwegian Meatballs Recipe

Meatballs, or kjøttkaker in Norwegian, are a classic dish that has been enjoyed in Norway for centuries. This delicious recipe is made with ground beef, pork, or a mixture of both, and is typically served with potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry jam. Kjøttkaker are perfect for a cozy family dinner, and they are also a great option for meal prepping as they can be made in large batches and frozen for later use.



  • 1 pound ground beef and pork (mixed)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)


Step 1: Soak the breadcrumbs

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have absorbed the milk.

Step 2: Mix the meatball ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, soaked breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion, egg, salt, black pepper, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg. Mix well with your hands until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Step 3: Shape the meatballs

Using your hands, shape the meat mixture into small balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You should end up with around 20 meatballs.

Step 4: Brown the meatballs

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd them. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 5-7 minutes total. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set them aside on a plate.

Step 5: Make the gravy

Add the flour to the remaining butter in the skillet and stir continuously for 1-2 minutes until the flour is lightly browned. Slowly whisk in the beef broth, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring the gravy to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, until it has thickened slightly. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.

Step 6: Finish cooking the meatballs

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and spoon the gravy over them. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the meatballs in the gravy for 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked through and the gravy has thickened to your desired consistency.

Step 7: Serve and garnish

Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Serve the meal by serving the kjøttkaker with boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam on the side. Enjoy!


  • For a gluten-free option, you can substitute the breadcrumbs with almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs.
  • If you prefer a leaner option, you can use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef and pork.
  • If you want to make the dish ahead of time, you can freeze the meatballs after browning them and make the gravy when you are ready to serve.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between Swedish meatballs and Norwegian meatballs?

Swedish meatballs and Norwegian meatballs are similar in many ways, but they have some differences. Norwegian meatballs are typically larger and made with a mixture of beef and pork, while Swedish meatballs are smaller and made with only ground beef. Additionally, Swedish meatballs are usually served with a cream sauce and lingonberry jam, while Norwegian meatballs are served with a brown gravy and lingonberry jam.

Can I make the meatballs in advance?

Yes, you can make the meatballs in advance and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat the meatballs, you can either microwave them or bake them in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

What can I serve with kjøttkaker?

Kjøttkaker are traditionally served with boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and a green vegetable like peas or green beans. You can also serve them with a side salad or roasted vegetables if you prefer.

Can I use a different type of jam instead of lingonberry jam?

Lingonberry jam is a traditional accompaniment to kjøttkaker, but if you cannot find it, you can substitute it with cranberry sauce or raspberry jam.


Kjøttkaker is a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for a cozy family dinner or meal prepping. This recipe is easy to make and can be customized to your preferences by using different types of ground meat or adding your favorite seasonings. Serve it with boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and a green vegetable for a complete and satisfying meal. Enjoy!

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