Mom's Norwegian Meatballs with Gravy (Kjøttkaker med brunsaus) Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: fiveandspice



2 Ratings

  • Serves 5-6

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Author Notes

Meatballs are one of the most traditional of the foods in Norway (they even participate in Christmas in many families). And, lucky for me growing up, my mother is the queen of the meatballs and gravy. It was a frequent meal in our house, but I loved it so much, I also requested it for every birthday. This is her recipe. Of course, like any family recipe, there aren't really measurements and it gets made a little differently every time. But, this is my best approximation. The other trick is to taste the gravy as you make it and add a little extra sour cream, or wine, or broth, as well as salt and pepper to suit your taste. —fiveandspice

What You'll Need

  • 1/3 poundlean ground beef
  • 1/3 poundground pork
  • 1/3 poundground veal (if veal is unavailable use 1/2 lb each of beef and pork)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cupPanko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cupwhole milk
  • 1 teaspoonsalt
  • 1/2 teaspoonground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoonground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoonground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoonallspice
  • 6 tablespoonsbutter
  • 1/4 cupflour
  • 4 cupschicken broth
  • 1/2 onion, skin removed but left in tact
  • 1/4 cupsour cream
  • 2 tablespoonsred wine
  • Dashgravy browning agent (eg. Kitchen Bouquet)
  • 3-4 thin slices of gjetost, Norwegian brown goat cheese (optional, since this is an acquired taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In an electric mixer (Kitchen Aid), mix together the ground meats, the egg until combined. Form a well in the middle and add the breadcrumbs then pour the milk onto the breadcrumbs and allow to sit for a minute or two to soften them. Then add the spices and whip the meats, crumbs, milk, and spices together for several minutes until very well combined and lightened in texture.
  2. Form the meat into balls about the size of golf balls. Heat a couple of Tbs. or so of butter in a large Dutch oven and fry the meatballs, carefully turning until they are well browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Do not crowd the meatballs in the pan, you may have to fry them in two batches to make sure they don’t steam each other.
  3. Once all of the meatballs have been browned, return them all to the Dutch oven, add the half onion, and pour the broth over them, using enough broth to cover them halfway. Simmer until they are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the onion.
  4. To make the gravy, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 4 Tbs. of butter. Stir in the flour to make a roux and allow to cook for a minute. Then (this is the slightly tricky part), bit by bit, whisk the broth that the meatballs were cooking in into the roux, whisking vigorously to prevent clumping.
  5. If you didn’t use all of the broth to cook the meatballs, add the rest of the broth to the gravy and bring to a simmer. Turn to very low heat. Whisk in the sour cream, wine, gravy browner, and gjetost if desired. Stir in salt and pepper to test. Also adjust the rest of the flavorings to taste.
  6. If the gravy is too thick, add in a little hot water from the potatoes that you should be boiling at the same time (you always eat meatballs and gravy with potatoes!).
  7. When the gravy is seasoned to your liking, pour it over the meatballs in a serving dish. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, sweet-sour red cabbage, and a green vegetable. Vær så god!


  • Meatball
  • Norwegian
  • Beef
  • Milk/Cream
  • Sour Cream
  • Fry
  • Christmas
  • Entree
  • Appetizer
  • Hors D'Oeuvre
Contest Entries
  • Your Best Meatballs
  • Your Best Gravy

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alice Fay

  • Matthew Barrell

  • mikedalena

  • Karjana Alexandrova Hagen

  • monkeymom

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27 Reviews

Alice F. November 7, 2020

This recipe was DELIGHTFUL! The brunost blends into the gravy recipe well despite it’s distinct flavor. We accompanied with lingonberry jam, red cabbage, and potatoes.

Alice F. November 7, 2020

This recipe was DELIGHTFUL! The brunost blends into the gravy recipe well despite it’s distinct flavor. We accompanied with lingo berry jam, red cabbage, and potatoes.

[emailprotected] October 24, 2020

Thank you for this recipe! I have had Norwegian meatballs a couple of times and loved them but never had the recipe. It is now a family favorite.
I did find that I prefer the texture of the meatballs when I mix them by hand rather than using a mixer.
I haven’t yet added wine to the gravy. Should I use dry or sweet red wine? Thank you!

Melissa P. September 17, 2021

I mixed them by hand as well, they are amazing.

Matthew B. April 23, 2020

Wow this is delicious. I have tried many meatball recipes this one is the best.

This does make about twice as much gravy as needed and i only used about 2 cups of chicken stock. 4 cups would make enough gravy for 1000 meatballs.

Delicious 4/5

Amy M. November 5, 2019

My dad was born in Norway and just made this recipe last night. He sent me a text stating it was very authentic and also one of his favorite meals growing up made by his mother. I am going to also make it :) and add it to my collection of family dinners.

mikedalena June 13, 2019

I love gjetost! I can see how it would work so well in this recipe. I can’t wait to make these meatballs!

Karjana A. October 26, 2016

This with tyttebær syltetøy brings me back home!

rob L. January 31, 2014

This is an old thread but thought I'd say I made these today...minus the gjetost which I can't stand...but I did add some jarlsberg to the sauce...very tasty!

monkeymom August 23, 2010

Just had these for dinner and everyone loved them. I have to confess that I had to use all beef and left out the gjetost. Umm...also, when are you suppose to add the nutmeg, ginger and allspice? I presumed it was to the meatballs. So homey and yummy, thanks!

fiveandspice August 24, 2010

Oops! You're right. The spices go in at the same time as the breadcrumbs.
I'm so glad you enjoyed them. It's an especially good dish to keep up one's sleeve as cold weather starts to roll in!

AntoniaJames August 11, 2010

Oooh, yummm. This looks so good!! ;o)

fiveandspice August 11, 2010

Thanks Antonia James!

aargersi August 11, 2010

YUM! When you say "in an electric mixer" do you mean a kitchen aid and not a processor? I am guessing yes. Need to look up gjetost - have never heard of it but I have never met a cheese I didn't like! Well - except the stinking bishop ...

fiveandspice August 11, 2010

Oh yes, I do mean a kitchen aid. I'll change that in the recipe to clarify. I hope you find some gjetost and try it. Personally, I LOVE it. but a lot of my friends here in the states don't. Actually, it's not technically a cheese because it's made of whey that has been boiled down until it is a solid. It's a very unique savory, caramelly flavor.

gingerroot August 11, 2010

This sounds really good. I'm saving and can't wait to try it.

fiveandspice August 11, 2010

I hope you do! Let me know how you like it.

lapadia August 10, 2010

Yum! Thanks for sharing your family recipe!

fiveandspice August 11, 2010

I always think it's the most fun to be able to share an old family recipe! I'm a sucker for extremely traditional foods.

monkeymom August 10, 2010

Gravy. Yum...This sounds like something my kids will love. Thanks for the recipe!

fiveandspice August 11, 2010

It's very kid friendly - at least, it sure was my brothers' and my favorite, growing up. I hope you get a chance to try it.

Sagegreen August 10, 2010

Nice! I agree with you about the gjetost!

fiveandspice August 11, 2010

Haha, but agree on which side? I come down on the side of thinking it's one of the best things in existence. Paired with a thick slice of hardy bread and a decent smear of fresh creamery butter, it's my favorite breakfast.

AntoniaJames August 12, 2010

I am crazy about gjetost, having tried it as a daring 18 year old with a Eurailpass and a burning desire to see as many new places as I could, and to eat as many new and unusual things as possible. One of my traveling companions wanted to travel to the very end of the line in Norway, which we did. The food we had in Scandinavia was amazing. I remember the gjetost vividly. I'd never had anything like it, and actually haven't since. Would love to find some. In the meantime, I plan to make these meatballs this weekend!! ;o)

SallyCan August 13, 2010

Like your recipe, and also the inclusion of gjetost. Have you ever made it? I've tried to make some, as I can't bear to throw away the whey from making goat cheeses, but I'm having trouble keeping it from drying out at the end of the cooking process. I love the flavor anyway. How else do you all use/cook with gjetost?

fiveandspice August 14, 2010

I've never made gjetost - because I've never actually made my own goat cheese - but I've definitely thought about it. So, if you figure out a way to keep it from getting dry, I'd certainly love to know about it! As for ways of using it, I mostly put it into sauces for meat dishes (it's a must if you're making reindeer, but most people probably don't do that. It would be really good with duck too), or else I just use it as a topping for bread (including lefse or Norwegian waffles) sometimes with just a little bit of jam. I bet it would be good stirred into hot oatmeal. And, I'd imagine you could do some interesting things with it to make a dessert since it has that caramel note, maybe in a cheesecake or an ice cream, or in crepes. It's especially nice with the flavor of lingonberries (similar to cranberries).

SallyCan August 15, 2010

Thanks for all of the great tips! I hadn't thought of adding it to meat sauces, but that makes sense, to add a kind of richness. I like the idea of using it with duck...

Mom's Norwegian Meatballs with Gravy (Kjøttkaker med brunsaus) Recipe on Food52 (2024)


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