Frikadelle, Bulette, Fleischpflanzerl, Bratklops or Fleischküchle. All these German words mean the same thing: meat ball. Every region has their own term for it. German-style meat balls are a total crowd pleaser and not only the ultimate comfort food, they are also a very common sight as a party finger food, picnic staple, travel snacks or kid-friendly dinner option, in short: it fits (almost) every occasion.
I cannot help but wonder whether there are as many different German words for meat balls as there are occasions to which they would be just the perfect addition. I once read somewhere that meat balls originated in France and then made their way to Germany with the Huguenots, when they fled eastwards in the 17th century. Still, to me, meat balls are as German as beer and sausages.
With ultimate soul food like German-style meat balls, there always tends to be the same catch: everyone has his or her very own personal recipe for it, alternatively a recipe that has been in their family since generations. They all seem roughly similar, but differ in the details (“my great grandmother always used X as her secret ingredient” kinda style). Same, same, but different. This much is true for dishes like mac and cheese, lasagna or chili con carne. German-style meat balls are no different.
My meat balls are on the smaller side and round, think of them as tasty edible golf balls.
At a glance
- Servings: 4-6
- Calories per serving: 402 kcal (4)/268 kcal (6)
- Preparation time: 15 min
- Cooking time: 10 min
- Total time from start to finish: 25 min
Ingredients for German-style meat balls
- 1 lbs (480 grams) of ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup (1.9 ounces/55 grams) of breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon of mustard
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper
How to prepare German-style meat balls
Raise your hands, if you meat balls are one of your happy childhood memories as far as food is concerned. Great, now that we all have our hands up in the air, let’s roll our sleeves up and start cooking:
Place the meat in a bowl and add the egg, breadcrumbs, mustard, tomato paste, paprika, salt and pepper. Next you have to make a choice: mix everything using your hands or using a spatula. I know, quite a few people shiver at the idea of touching raw meat with their hands, much less kneating it. It however creates the best results in terms of combining the meat ball ingredients. You will however also manage ok, using a spatula.
Once everything is combined, start forming golf ball sized meat ball. Then, place a pan on your stove and bring it to medium heat, add butter to your pan and cook the meat balls in it, turning it every other minute until they are evenly browned on each side. Since they are rather small this should take you between 7-8 minutes until they are completely done.
I actually love serving my meat balls with mashed potato, so make sure to check out my avocado mashed potato recipe for some inspiritation. Another great side kick for German-style meat balls are mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows. This would then we a true German-American dinner option.