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Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)

by Martha Marino, MA RD CD

Servings: 8 (3 to 4 Meatballs Per Serving)
Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 20
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 3 to 4 Meatballs
Amount per serving
Calories 330
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 
 Saturated Fat 7g 
Cholesterol 110mg 
Sodium 660mg 
Total Carbohydrate 15g 
 Dietary Fiber <1g 
Protein 27g 

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Both the Swedes and the Danes in my family have their own traditional versions of meatballs. Here in my Seattle home, I adapted my Grandmother Jorgensen's Danish recipe by substituting lean ground pork for pork sausage, substituting nonfat milk for whole milk, and using the leanest ground beef available. The mix is flavorful with traditional spices: nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.


1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup nonfat (skim) milk
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ cup white flour
1½ pounds extra-lean ground beef
½ pound lean ground pork
1 tablespoon butter


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the bread crumbs and milk. Let this mixture stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, salt, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and flour. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the beef and pork; beat on low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter, using about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture for each meatball. (A small ice-cream scoop may be used for consistent portions.)
  4. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Place the meatballs in the skillet and flatten slightly (frikadeller aren't perfect orbs). Cook 8 to 10 minutes until the meatballs are browned on both sides and are no longer pink in the middle. Depending on the size of the skillet, the meatballs likely will need to be prepared in batches. Place the cooked meatballs on a platter and keep them warm.

Cooking Tip

Leftover frikadeller can be placed in a zip-top food storage bag and frozen for a future meal.

Serving Suggestion
We serve frikadeller with red cabbage, boiled new potatoes or mashed potatoes, and lingonberries. Although we generally don't use gravy with our meatballs, packaged beef gravy could be served on the side.

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About the author:

Martha L Marino MA RD CD

Martha Marino, MA RD CD

Contributor to "Cooking Healthy Across America" by American Dietetic Association and Food and Culinary Professionals, a Dietetic Practice Group of ADA. John Wiley and Sons, 2005.




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