Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)

4.98 from 44 votes

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Frikadeller, or Danish Meatballs, are savory meatballs served in a rich, creamy sauce that is comfort food at its finest. Plus, they’re super easy to make! 

Fork resting on a plate with Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) and red cabbage.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Danish Frikadeller
  2. Frikadeller Reviews
  3. Frequently Asked Questions about Frikadeller
  4. More Danish Recipes
  5. More Scrumptious Meatball Dishes
  6. How to Make Frikadeller
  7. Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) Recipe

This Frikadeller meatball recipe is a favorite that my husband brought back from when he lived in Denmark. Danish meatballs are considered a national dish due to being so popular there. My husband always talks about how decadent the food was in Denmark and how he’s dying to go back just so he can eat the food again, and I can’t wait to go with him! These days, we pull out all of his treasured recipes around the holidays and we have a full Danish meal. These dishes are so delicious, you will be absolutely blown away.

Ingredients in Danish Frikadeller

Frikadeller, loosely translated, means “meatballs”. These are usually made with pork or a mixture of ground pork and beef with the most delicious sauce!

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine:

  • 3/4 pound ground beef – you could also substitute ground veal which is what is traditionally used.
  • 1 pound ground pork – ask your butcher for freshly ground pork or buy it frozen. For super savory meatballs, use all pork and omit the ground beef. You could sub for ground chicken or ground turkey but the flavor will not be the same.
  • Onion – one large, yellow onion works great for this recipe. Grate it, or dice finely.
  • Breadcrumbs – use any bread crumbs kind you like, Italian style, panko or regular.
  • All Purpose Flour – about 4 tbsp.
  • Eggs – two large eggs or three medium
  • Salt – about half a tsp or more for taste
  • Black Pepper – a quarter teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – quarter teaspoon. You can substitute allspice if you have that on hand.
  • Garlic – 2-3 cloves, diced
  • Sage leaves
  • Half & half or milk for consistency – about a quarter to half cup
  • Butter
Bowl of ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and flour for Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs).

For the Gravy, in a separate bowl, combine:

Skillet full of Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) gravy with a wooden spoon.

Frikadeller Reviews

Frikadeller was one of the earliest posts on our website. Since then, many wonderful people have shared their memories, traditions, and their family recipes for Frikadeller. Here are just a few, but if you are interested in hearing more, please peruse the comments below. If you have a special way of making Frikadeller, or want to share a memory, please comment below. We would love to hear it!

“My mother made these all the time when I was a kid. I recently decided to cook again and do the food she made. I chose your recipe for the Danish Meatballs. 

They turned out great! The first bite I took reminded me of childhood. My mom would serve these with rice or sometimes with egg noodles.”


“The Danish name is: frikadeller (plural). The traditional recipe is without the sage, garlic and maybe the nutmeg. When I make them, I use my moms way: put the meat in a bowl so that the meat fills the bottom of the bowl. Then cut out a fourth and lift on top of the rest of the meat. Fill the empty fourth with either 1. wheat flour or 2. oatmeal or a mix of the two. I prefer the oatmeal. Then add the rest of the recipe without the milk. Mix with a kitchen spoon and add slowly milk until it feels right. The mix should be quite wet but still be able to stick together. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for half an hour to settle. Form a ball with a spoon and your hand and fry in butter (or margarine) on medium heat for 3-5 min on each side until brown. Cut one to check if the middle is cooked. Serve with potatoes and gravy and something sour on the side. It is a very common daily dish in Denmark, my home turf. Bon apetit.


“I love to see all the variations of this recipe! I too grew up enjoying frikadellar (great-great grandfather brought the recipe over from Denmark), but I know there have been some changes to it. We actually use a little worchestershire sauce and thyme in our recipe – I’m guessing some of the English in my family added that! But we also shape them to have three sides and serve with ketchup (originally homemade but now just store bought). My mom used to love making frikadellar sandwiches for leftover 🙂.”


“Being half-Danish and having spent many years living between the states and the US, I must say that I agree with another commenter that the addition of spices for flavor is not traditional in our house, but I did make have a batch your way, half like Mor (Mom), (Mor Mor (Grandma), and even my Danish step-father’s family’s recipe), and all of my American friends at a party yesterday were very happy with your version, as well as my family’s–you won, hands down :).

A lot of posters felt the need to comment on the name. Here’s the true spelling and meaning for future readers, as some butchered the spelling: en frikadel = one meatball, frikadellen = the meatball, frikadeller = meatballs. Danes (and Danish Americans) eat frikadeller at least weekly, if not more frequently, as you can buy them pre-made/packaged at the grocery store, at the butcher’s, at the many open-faced sandwich (smorrebrod) shops along city streets that you can just buy and take with you, or eat there. There’s still nothing like a mother’s recipe.

I found yours when looking for a more “Swedish” version for an upcoming party and really enjoyed them. Thank you so much for sharing!

Bowl of Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) garnished with green onions. Red cabbage and gravy on the side.

Frequently Asked Questions about Frikadeller

What should I serve with Frikadeller?

Serve these scrumptious, savory meatballs along with Brunede Kartofler (Caramelized/Browned Potatoes) and/or Rødkål (Red Cabbage). For leftovers, if you really want to do it like the Danes, slap a few of these bad boys onto some rye bread with some mayo for a delicious sandwich. Serve with potato salad.

What if I don’t have any half-and-half in the house?

Just use milk! Use just enough to give the meat mixture a slightly sticky consistency which will help the meatballs maintain their shape.

What size should the meatballs be for Frikadeller?

It’s faster to make a few larger meatballs, but I like to make several small meatballs because I love the delicious crisp crust that comes from the frying pan.

Plate of Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) with red cabbage.

READ NEXT: Easy Ground Beef Recipes

More Danish Recipes

  • Danish Red Cabbage – This Rødkål (Danish Red Cabbage) is a Danish recipe we love. It is a side dish similar to sauerkraut but a little sweeter.
  • Brunede Kartofler – or Caramelized Browned Potatoes, are a great side dish to any meal! They are a small boiled potatoes with a sweet caramelized coating.
  • Beef Goulash – a hearty family favorite, full of tender beef chunks in rich, dark gravy. Cozy comfort food never tasted so divine!
  • Aebleskiver – a delicious Danish treat that my husband introduced to me when we got married. It’s like a doughnut hole and a pancake rolled into one perfect pastry.
  • Risalamande – a Danish rice pudding that is served around Christmastime. This creamy, sweet pudding is a delicious dessert that everyone will love.

More Scrumptious Meatball Dishes

Meatball recipes are fun to make and delicious to eat. Try a few of our favorites:

How to Make Frikadeller

Bowl of Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) garnished with green onions. Red cabbage and gravy on the side.

Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)

4.98 from 44 votes
Frikadeller, or Danish Meatballs, are savory meatballs served with a rich, creamy gravy sauce that is comfort food at its finest.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Danish
Servings 8



  • Skillet




  • ¾ – 2 tablespoons drippings from Frickadeller
  • butter if needed
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream milk works too
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon
  • salt & pepper



  • Combine beef, pork and onion. Add breadcrumbs, flour, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, and sage leaves. It works best if you mix it with your hands.
    Bowl of ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and flour for Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs).
  • Slowly add half & half for consistency. You want the mixture to be slightly sticky, you shouldn't be able to form them into a perfect ball. Coat large skillet well with butter. Drop clumps of mixture (a heaping tablespoon-size) onto the skillet.
    Bowl of meat mixture with cream on top for Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs).
  • Fry on medium to medium-low heat until browned. Press the meat down a lightly with a fork so it flattens out a little. It should look like a small, but fat hamburger, Flip and brown on the other side, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add more butter with each batch.
    Fork pressing on Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) in a skillet.
  • Serve with gravy and Rødkål (Danish Red Cabbage).
    Browned and cooked Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) in a skillet.

For the gravy:

  • Remove meatballs from the skillet, and use the same skillet to make the gravy using the brown bits and drippings from the meatballs. Add the flour to the drippings to form a roux. Add butter if needed.
    Wooden spoon stirring the roux in a skillet for Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs).
  • Slowly add cream or milk until mixture reaches gravy consistency. Add beef bouillon, salt & pepper to taste.
    Skillet full of Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) gravy with a wooden spoon.


  • For extra savory meatballs, use entirely pork and leave out the ground beef.
  • Don’t wash the frying pan – you can use the browned bits for delicious gravy.
  • If you don’t have half-and-half, use whole milk or 2%.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 465kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 22gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 348mgPotassium: 364mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 495IUVitamin C: 1.8mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 2.6mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, my wife made these for me as I grew up with these and red cabbage, sometimes we had them with brown butter small whole potatoes and sometimes mashed potatoes. This was a staple food in every Danish home. Thank you for reminding me of a wonderful memory. My family left Denmark 1949.

  2. Hey there. So my daughter wants to make these as her dish for “Christmas in Denmark” presentation she has to do at school. Have you ever made these in the oven or an air fryer – as an alternative?

  3. 5 stars
    I’m 61 years old and I live in northern BC in Canada. My parents [and oldest brother] immigrated from Denmark in 1956.
    I grew up eating Frikadeller, Bolleri Kary [boiled Meatballs in Curry] Carbonade [Crumb coated Fried Pork Burgers], Liver Postej/Paste, Klejner [cookies twisted inside out – deep fried] Pickled Herring, Pickled Red cabbage, cooked red cabbage. Rød Grød med Fløde [Red Berries in Cream] For Frikadeller to be described as small hamburger sized patties they are way bigger than I make them or you make tiny hamburgers. I do flatten them a bit but they are not flat – more like oval meatballs. I make them quite large because I’m lazy – takes time to form them. My Mom actually used a large tablespoon to help form hers. I mix the mixture by hand and at times wet my hands with a bit of water or margerine so the meat won’t stick as much. Sadly both my parent are gone now and the grandchildren grown and scattered so not like it was. I still make my own little “Smørrebrød” [open faced ryebread sandwiches] at Christmas. For example sliced tomato topped with sliced hard boiled egg slices then an anchovie fillet or two and then topped off again with a squirt of pickle mayo. [Remoulade] My favorite is tasty mackerel fillets in tomato sauce mixed with a bit of mayo. The pickled herring I love when smothered in the pickled white onion that come with them!
    My surname is quite rare and my Mom’s is not that common either. WE are the ONE and ONLY family in Canada with the surname RANDRUP. My Mom’s surname is BANG [pronounced like “bunk” but drop the letter “k” so it’s virtually silent. And not ‘bang’ like in ‘gang’ and not ‘bung’ like in ‘sung’.] Hard to explain. Even on Google they get it wrong.

    Glædelig jul og godt nytår til jer alle
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all

    Peter Gartner Randrup

    1. Hi Peter. My grandmother was Danish (she was a Christensen) but she passed when I was 2. My mom made these Frikadeller’s and they were formed using a large spoon as well and they were like an oval meatball. I’m thinking like the size of a small avocado. No gravy or sauce was served with them but I now enjoy them with a bit of sour cream. Cheers.

  4. 5 stars
    This is a good recipe, I am half danish so I know, I grew up eating these, both in Herning and Texas. Still do. My mom, mor, will now make them with turkey, for healthy version.

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for your recipe.
    It takes me back many years to my dear Danish friends, I used to watch Liz with her
    two desert spoons shaping and cooking these wonderful meatballs.
    I like to dip them in some Remoulade, personally.

    1. 4 stars
      Cooked this frikadeller recipe including the gravy. Loved it! Served with caramelized potatoes and skillet asparagus. Will definitely have these again! Oh, and I was surprised at how many meatballs this made. Thanks!

  6. It looks like you are adding Beef Broth and not Beef Bouillon. I just want to make sure it is 1Tbsp of Bouillon.

  7. 5 stars
    Noticed a few photos of Danish recipes. Brunede Kartofler – Yum! Usually had a Christmas. (us children called them “candied” potatoes) Aebleskiver – also yum. Took years and years to find an Aebleskiver pan in Canada, so we were older before we got to try them. By the way….I had been eating “pancakes ” for years before I found out that what my Mom (Rigmor = ‘ree-more’ not ‘rig-more) made us was crepes. To this day I only make crepes. Love em! Is a breakfast item not a desert item. Put on a bit of sugar, or syrup (don’t drown it!!) or some jam, then using a “tine”of your fork,roll up into a thin “log”. So tasty…and a very simple crepe recipe; only eggs, flour, milk, water and some melted butter. Imagine how long my Mom had to stand at the stove and make enough crepes for her and Dad and 5 hungry children.

    1. I love this! What sweet sacrifices mothers make… but it’s always a pleasure to prepare good food for a hungry family.

  8. 5 stars
    My parents (and oldest brother) immigrated from Denmark to Briish Columbia, Canada in 1956. Mom made Frikadeller all the time and I absolutely love them! I like them fried until they are actually quite crispy – which some may see as overdone. We had gravy with virtually every meal so I don’t know if their was a specific one for Frikadeller. And people are so right – they are amazing the next day gobbled up cold. : ) After my oldest brother [Henrik] got married – the first thing he did when he stopped by for a visit , was to check the fridge for leftovers. Frikadeller [like a cold boiled potatoes] are also very good sliced and eaten on bread (open faced sandwich). The Frikadeller with mustard. I didn’t know that a “sandwich” was supposed to have “a lid” on it. [a 2nd slice of bread top] During dinner I sometimes like to dip the hot Frikadellers in a little bit of jam. Try it….so Yummmy!! (I also didn’t know for years that the crusty ‘end piece’ of a loaf of bread (the heal) wasn’t called a “scorp”) [Danish word]

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Isn’t it amazing how food can bring back childhood memories. I love Swedish meatballs dipped in jam, so I’m sure Frikadellers in a little bit of jam is also delicious. I loved reading this. Thank you again!

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