Norwegian Meatballs: Better than IKEA (and Easier to Assemble)

September 13, 2023

Norwegian Meatballs

Recipe Source: Saints Preserved Emmanuel Episcopal Church Parish Cookbook, copyright 1980.

About the Dish

I have to admit that I was not familiar with Norwegian Meatballs. As an IKEA shopper, I am a very familiar and regular eater of Swedish meatballs. When I found this recipe, I immediately asked Google what the difference was. There are lots of online recipes for Norwegian meatballs or Kjøttkaker. Unfortunately, none of them are similar to the recipe found in my cookbook. 

Both Swedish and Norwegian meatballs are seasoned with ginger and nutmeg. Some include paprika. Norwegian recipes are made with all beef, while some Swedish recipes also use pork. Norwegian meatballs tend to be larger and flatter than their Swedish cousins. The biggest difference? Norwegian meatballs are served in a brown gravy, while Swedish meatballs are made with a cream sauce.

Original Recipe

Recipe Source: Saints Preserved Emmanuel Episcopal Church Parish Cookbook, copyright 1980.

Based on my research, this recipe is closer to the Swedish than the Norwegian tradition. There is no guarantee to the authenticity of this recipe, but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying it.

The Recipe:

Grind together real fine, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. veal, and 1 lb. pork. Add 2 medium potatoes, 1 onion finely ground, and 1 egg beaten with ⅓ to ½ cup milk for a soft mixture. Salt and pepper to taste and add ½ t. each: nutmeg, ginger, and whole cloves crushed. Make into several balls and fry in butter/margarine. Transfer to a larger kettle containing 4 cups sour cream mixed with 3-4 cups consomme. Add 2 generous pieces of dill seed and simmer until meatballs absorb all the flavor. This freezes well. If it seems dry when reheating, add more sour cream or consomme. I often double the recipe.

How I Cooked It

The meatballs are incredibly tender due to the combination of beef, pork, and veal. Most grocery stores don’t carry specialty items like ground veal, but Lanier’s always has it in stock (shameless plug). 

The meatballs are mixed with diced potatoes and ground onions and seasoned with the traditional ginger and nutmeg. It also has whole cloves, which gives the meatballs a nice warm essence that highlights the veal. 

The recipe contributor stated that she often doubles the recipes. The recipe already calls for 3 lbs. of meat, which filled my dutch oven with pretty good sized meatballs. I’m not sure how I would cook double the amount! 

Even though I made a few changes, this was a great recipe. The meatballs are soft and moist with great flavor. You can eat this over rice, egg noodles, or cut out the carbs and eat the meatballs by themselves. They are delicious.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 3 cups consomme (you can substitute beef broth instead)
  • 2 sprigs of thyme


  1. Mix together ground beef, pork, veal, eggs, milk, potatoes, onion, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
  2. Roll meatballs into desired size. 
  3. Add butter to pan and fry meatballs, turning until all sides are browned. 
  4. Mix sour cream and consomme, bring to a simmer, and add meatballs and thyme.
  5. Cook covered for 30-40 minutes until mixture is mostly absorbed and meatballs are cooked thoroughly.