A köttbullar (or meatball) is a Swedish delicacy that has been around since at least the mid-1800s, and they have become an iconic part of Swedish culture.
These balls of meat are often served as appetizers or starters, but they can also be eaten as main meals.
What is a köttbullar?
The word “köttbullar” is a compound word made from two words: “kott” and “bulle”, which means “pot” and “meatball”.
The meatballs were originally made with ground beef, but today, they use other types of meats, such as chicken, pork, veal, or even fish.
The balls are usually deep fried until golden brown, although some people prefer them fresh out of the fryer.
They are traditionally served with lingonberry sauce and chips, although there are many variations on this theme.
Köttbullar became popular during World War II when Sweden was under Nazi occupation, and the Germans had taken away all of the food supplies from the country.
As a result, Swedes turned to their traditional foods, like köttbullar, to make up for the lack of supplies.
There are several different varieties of köttbullar, including småköttbullar (“small meatballs”) and storköttbullar (“seafood balls”), but the most common variety is läcker köttbullar (“delicious meatballs”).
Today, köttbullar is considered one of the national dishes of Sweden, and it is sold throughout the country in restaurants and grocery stores.
In fact, it is so popular that it was recently declared the best dish in the world by Food Network magazine.
In addition to being delicious, köttbullar is also extremely nutritious.
It is high in protein, low in fat, and contains large amounts of iron and zinc.
If you’re looking for a great recipe to help you say goodbye to your köttbullar, then check out these three amazing options below!
Köttbullar in Swedish Culture
The history of these Swedish meatballs goes back centuries, with some saying that they originated from the Middle Ages.
The word “bullar” means “meatballs,” which makes sense considering the traditional ingredients used.
Meatballs were originally made by hand, but over time, machines and techniques improved the process, making them easier to produce.
Today, the meatballs are usually made out of pork, beef, or chicken, although other meats like lamb, veal, or duck can occasionally be found on menus.
They’re then breaded, deep fried, and served either hot or cold.
In Sweden, they’re traditionally served with lingonberry sauce or mustard sauce, while in Puerto Rico, they’re commonly topped with cheese, raisins, olives, or capers.
For those who want to give their dish a bit more flavor, they can also add spices such as paprika, cumin, ginger, garlic, or chili powder.
Some restaurants will put ketchup on top of their meatballs, too, which adds another layer of flavor.
Here are a few delicious recipes you can try when you visit Sweden or Puerto Rico.
What are some common köttbullar toppings?
Köttbullar are usually served with a variety of different toppings depending on the region, but most commonly, they’re topped with lingonberry jam, sour cream, mustard, onions, pickled cucumbers, and sometimes even a bit of raw onion.
You could also try them with other condiments like spicy mayo, chili sauce, and relish.
Some people enjoy serving these balls with potato chips as well!
How do you store köttbullar?
The best way to store your köttbullar is on a plate with paper towels underneath it.
Keep them in a cool place away from sunlight and heat.
This will keep them fresh and moist.
How long do köttbullar last?
The lifespan of a köttbullar depends on how well it was cooked.
If it’s fresh out of the oven, then they’ll probably only be good for a couple hours before they get soggy.
But if it’s made properly, then it should last for at least six hours.
A lot of food companies will sell frozen köttbullar, which means that they don’t actually need to cook them, so they’re great for when you’re entertaining guests.
However, these köttbullars are usually very small and not as tasty as homemade ones, so we recommend making your own.
In order for a köttbullar to be called “perfect,” it needs to have a nice crust and a nice texture inside.
That’s why most köttbullar recipes call for breadcrumbs.
They add flavor and give the köttbullar a bit of structure.
Traditional Köttbullar Recipe
The traditional köttbullar recipe consists of ground beef mixed with chopped onions, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and sometimes some other spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
The mixture is then formed into small patties before being pan fried.
This creates a delicious crust on each side of the ball while leaving the inside moist and tender.
These balls are usually served with lingonberry jam and a little bit of mustard sauce.
Some versions include potatoes, which makes them even more hearty.
However, the original köttbullar recipe does not contain any vegetables.
If you want to make this version, here’s how it goes down:
8 oz ground beef
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
1 lightly beaten egg
1 pinch of salt to taste
1 pinch of pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of oil
Cut up your onion and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan over medium heat.
Season your hamburger meat with salt and pepper.
Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
Take 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and mix with the remaining ingredients from the bowl.
Shape the mixture into golf ball sized balls and drop them into the frying pan.
Fry the meatballs until they turn golden brown on both sides.
Serve hot with lingonberry jam and mustard sauce.
If you’re looking for a great alternative to the traditional köttbullar recipe, try these out:
The basic ingredients for making a köttbullar are usually ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley.
However, there are a variety of different variations on this recipe, so here are just a few of them.
Swedish Meatballs with Mustard Sauce
This variation uses breadcrumbs instead of rice flour, which gives it a lighter texture than traditional köttbullar.
The meatballs are cooked in a sauce made with mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar.
This dish is sometimes referred to as “mustard meatballs.”
These crispy köttbullars are made with potato starch instead of rice flour.
They are coated with cornstarch before frying, and they have a crunchy exterior and soft interior.
When they’re fried, they get a nice golden color.
They’re great as a side dish, but they can also be served as a main meal if you like your food extra spicy!
Pork and Fennel Köttbullar
If you want to make something a little more exotic, try these pork and fennel köttbullars.
They use ground pork with fennel seeds, and they’re flavored with lemon zest, thyme, and olive oil.
You’ll need to make sure you buy ground pork with fat content of about 25 percent, otherwise, the balls will fall apart when you fry them.
Köttbullar Serving Suggestions
The traditional dish consists of ground beef mixed with breadcrumbs, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper.
Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste, along with optional egg yolk and paprika.
The mixture is then formed into small balls and deep fried until golden brown.
There are many different ways to serve these tasty little treats, and here are some of our favorites to help you say goodbye in style.
- 1 frying pan
- 8 oz beef ground
- 1 onion
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 pinch of salt to taste
- 1 pinch pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- Cut up your onion and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan over medium heat.
- Season your hamburger meat with salt and pepper.
- Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
- Take 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and mix with the remaining ingredients from the bowl.
- Shape the mixture into golf ball sized balls and drop them into the frying pan.
- Fry the meatballs until they turn golden brown on both sides.
- Serve hot with lingonberry jam and mustard sauce.