My Norwegian Grandmother’s Meatball Recipe
(I just realized that I am writing this post on what would have been my grandmother’s 94th birthday. She passed away in 2005. I still think about her often. She was such a blessing.)
When it comes to cooking, my grandma was known for one thing: Her meatballs.
I’ve noticed that Italian grandmas get a lot of attention for their cooking – and rightly so. But you don’t often hear about Norwegian grandmas and their recipes. Today, I’m on a mission to shine light on my grandma and all the other Norwegian grandmas who probably don’t get the attention they deserve for their cooking.
Every Christmas, my grandma would make a HUGE batch of these meatballs (kjøttkaker in Norwegian) – and we would devour them. Other components of the Christmas meal were:
- Oyster stew
- Mashed potatoes and gravy
- Cooked corn
- Cranberry salad
- Norwegian lefse, with lots of butter and sugar
My grandma was born in the U.S. but she was Norwegian through and through.
- I distinctly remember her and her sister speaking in Norwegian when they didn’t want me to hear what they were talking about.
- She would utter Norwegian words and phrases and call us cute Norwegian names when we were young.
- She enjoyed traditional Norwegian foods like lefse, sweet soup and head cheese.
She wasn’t crazy about cooking, but she took pride in her meatballs – probably because she could see how much we enjoyed them.
I am excited and proud to share this special recipe with you.
It isn’t fancy or difficult to make. You probably have most of the ingredients on hand.
These meatballs can be eaten plain, but also work well in spaghetti. Personally, I like to eat them with a little bit of lingonberry (or strawberry) jam on the side.
Here is a picture of my grandparents in 1963:
Don’t Take My Word For It…
Grandma’s meatballs are legendary in our family. Here’s what other family members have to say about them:
- My brother: “They were perfectly seasoned, juicy, and just the right size: It wasn’t just a huge glob of meat. They were perfectly proportionate. They were great with or without gravy. And they mixed well with the other dishes: Mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and lefse. I’m getting hungry just thinking about them.”
- My mom: “Oh my. Her meatballs were so moist. You know how meatballs can get dry sometimes? Well hers weren’t. They were just really moist and really good.”
- My dad: “They had a different taste to them. Boy, they were seasoned just right. She would just dump this and that in there… I don’t think she even had a recipe. But they sure were good.”
I’m going to leave you with that. Bon appetite – or should I say, “Vel bekomme!”
Looking for more Norwegian recipes? Check these out:
- Sweet soup (sot suppe)
- Potato dumplings (klub)
- Flatbread (flatbrod)
- Norwegian cream pudding (rommegrot)
- Norwegian rice pudding (risgrot)
- Almond kringler
- How to make Norwegian egg coffee
My Norwegian Grandmother's Meatball Recipe (Kjøttkaker)
Yield: 33 meatballs
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 45 min
- 2 pounds ground beef (I used 85% lean)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 slices day-old bread, torn into small pieces (omit for paleo or Whole30 diets)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. With clean hands, mix all ingredients together until evenly incorporated.
- Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Take a golf-ball sized scoop of the ground beef mixture and form into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture. You should get about 33 meatballs in all.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Use pan juice to make gravy, if desired. Store any uneaten meatballs in the freezer for up to two months.