You should put milk in meat balls

Meatball recipes - how to make them juicy and tasty

IfMeatballs, meatballs, meat patties or minced fritters - minced meat dumplings are a pleasure cold and warm.They are quick to make and very varied thanks to the addition of various ingredients. With our tips and recipes, your meatballs will be perfect.

Meatballs are classic home cooking. But the preparation is not always successful: they fall apart during frying or are too dry. With our tips, your meatballs will be perfect.

Meatballs, meatballs or meatballs - what's the difference?

Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs and the like are meatballs and have the same origin. However, depending on the region, they differ in terms of ingredients and shape. For this reason, meatballs, meatballs and mince fritters are not the same.

meatballs were first mentioned in German in the 17th century. Originally these meat cuts, which were still steamed at the time, are said to come from France. Nowadays, meatballs prepared in this way are called meatballs.

Meatballs or meatballs are particularly common in northern Germany. They got their name because of their shape. Boulette is the French word for "globules".

Meatballs are often eaten in southern Germany and old Bavaria. They are flatter than meatballs or meatballs.

Köttbullar come from Sweden. In addition to the basic ingredients, these meatballs are also refined with potatoes, dill and white wine vinegar as well as other ingredients.

The standard recipe

For classic meatballs - the recipe is enough for four people - you need:

  • 500 grams of mixed minced beef and pork
  • some milk or water
  • a roll from the day before
  • a large onion
  • an egg
  • a bit of salt
  • some pepper
  • if desired, a tablespoon of mustard.


  1. Put the milk or water in a bowl and let the bun soak in it for a few hours.
  2. Squeeze the liquid out of the bread before further processing, otherwise the meat dough will be too moist.
  3. Chop the onion into small pieces.
  4. Put the bun, mince, egg and chopped onion in a large bowl.
  5. Season everything.
  6. Knead the ingredients well with your hands. The result should be a uniform mass that is neither too liquid nor too solid. It is ideal if hardly anything sticks to your hands while kneading.
  7. Wet your hands.
  8. Shape the mass into balls of roughly the same size. You can choose the size as you like. It is best if the meatballs are not too big and thick. This makes it easier to prepare later in the pan or in the oven.
  9. If you like, you can press the meatballs lightly in the middle. This prevents the balls from rolling off the baking sheet and also increases the surface area. The balls are cooked and browned faster and more evenly.
  10. Fry the meatballs in the pan with a little clarified butter for about seven minutes. Alternatively, you can place the meatballs on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Allow around 20 to 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius for this. The duration varies depending on the thickness of the meatballs.

For those who don't like bread rolls that much: breadcrumbs, oat flakes or a toasted white bread slice from the day before hold the mixture together well. Simply mix in dry.

The meat determines the taste

The Klops is a little more expensive, but also better if you make it from two-thirds of beef mince - do not use meat that is too lean - and one-third of pork mince. Or you can use a third mince each from beef, pork and veal. Lamb meat is best for Bifteki or Köfte.

Always buy the minced meat fresh and use it the same day. Keep it cool until the meatballs are prepared. Chopping up the meat in the meat grinder increases the surface area of ​​the meat and makes it easier for germs to settle and spoil the meat. Minced meat should therefore only be eaten well-fried.

Why should the rolls for meatballs be at least a day old?

Adding soaked rolls makes the meatball nice and juicy. It is best to have a roll from the day before. On the one hand, the old baked goods make the meatballs more juicy and have a better structure; on the other hand, leftovers can be used ideally.

For flat variations such as hamburgers, you can leave out rolls and the like entirely.

Why are the meatballs falling apart?

The egg is used to bind the meat mass. Without it, it can happen that the meatball mixture does not hold together as tightly. If you don't want to use eggs, it is better to prepare the mixture with breadcrumbs.

If the meatballs fall apart or break, there could be other reasons:

  1. The ratio of meat, egg and bread roll is wrong and the mixture is too soft. Oat flakes or breadcrumbs can help here.
  2. The mass is not mixed thoroughly enough. Knead the minced mass really well with your hands. It has to be mixed nicely.
  3. The ingredients are not fine enough. Onions, herbs and rolls must be finely diced so that they combine well to form the meatball mass.

These spices are suitable for meatballs

Onions can be added to the meatball mixture either raw or steamed. If the onions are steamed beforehand, the meatballs taste milder. If you like garlic, you can add a crushed toe to the mass, this makes it particularly aromatic.

Salt, pepper and possibly mustard for a fine spiciness should not be missing. Herbs such as parsley or lovage, chopped and sautéed, or the grated zest of an untreated lemon give the extra spice kick.

Shaping meatballs made easy

Once you have made a smooth mass from all the ingredients, preferably with your fingers, you can start shaping the balls. To do this, moisten your hands with cold water. So nothing sticks to the hands and the meatballs are nice and smooth.

If you like it very precisely, you can also use a large spoon for portioning. This guarantees that all meatballs will be the same size.

Fry meatballs in the pan - there is a trick

The meatballs are best fried in clarified butter. This does not burn as quickly as butter, but gives a delicious butter taste.

Depending on the size, the meatballs should be fried for between three and seven minutes per side. If the temperature in the pan is too high, the meatballs will dry out quickly and may turn black. If you turn it too often, there is a risk that the meat mixture will remain half raw inside. Therefore fry first over medium to high heat, then turn and fry the other side. Now turn the temperature down a little and finish cooking the meatballs, turning again.

Prepare meatballs in the oven

You can also prepare meatballs in the oven: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (top and bottom heat). Place the balls - preferably not too large - on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. In summer, the meatballs can also be cooked on the grill. It takes about seven to ten minutes, so don't apply too often.

Preparation in the Thermomix

You can also prepare meatballs in the Thermomix or another multifunctional food processor. As for the ingredients, you should replace the bun with oatmeal and breadcrumbs.

  1. When preparing in the Thermomix, the onion and clove of garlic are chopped for five seconds on speed 5
  2. Then minced meat, egg, salt, pepper, herbs or mustard are added and stirred for about 20 seconds at level 4-5.
  3. Finally add breadcrumbs and oat flakes and stir again for 20 seconds on speed 4-5 until a consistent, cohesive mixture is formed.

If the meat mixture is still too moist and has crumbled, you can gradually add a few oatmeal. Let everything stir well in between, so that you can check the consistency and the meat dough does not get too dry.

When meatballs fail

Even if you stick to the recipe exactly, it can happen that the meatballs do not turn out as desired. Classic mishaps include: The balls are not seasoned properly, they become too firm, or they fall apart.

Too little spice makes the meatballs bland, but too much is nothing. It is best to season sparingly first. If you want to be on the safe side, fry a test meatball. If the result is not spicy enough, just add a little more seasoning.

Prepare meatballs and fry them tomorrow?

Those who don't have time the following day like to cook in advance. With meatballs, however, this method is quite critical because raw meat is used. If there is no other way, you should therefore change the recipe a little in advance. So it is important to use mixed mince instead of pure ground beef. During preparation, make sure that the ingredients do not overheat, but always stay cool and that your hands are really clean. It is more hygienic to prepare everything in one kitchen appliance. Then you should put the meat mixture directly in the refrigerator. Preforming the meatballs is not recommended. This increases the area that comes into contact with oxygen and on which the bacteria and germs can then multiply more easily.

However, it is better if you want to prepare the meatballs the day before, then briefly sear them in the pan and bake them in the oven the following day.

A question of taste: loose or firm?

If you like it more relaxed, it is best not to process too lean meat, soaked bread and possibly some quark or cream cheese.

The dumplings become firmer when more lean meat is processed. It also makes breadcrumbs instead of bread rolls more compact.

Freeze and reheat

You can keep fried meatballs in the refrigerator for a day or two. They'll stay fresh longer if you freeze them. Simply put in the freezer in a freezer bag or can.

Meatballs can be heated up very quickly in the microwave. But the oven or a pan are also suitable. However, they are no longer as juicy and fluffy as they are fresh from the pan.

Modify the basic meatball recipe

Perhaps meatballs based on the basic recipe are already a hit for you. If not, there are countless ways to modify the meat dough and conjure up the perfect meatball. Change the composition of the meat, sausage meat is also well suited to mix in. The meatballs are spicier with garlic, diced bacon or mustard. Nuts, dried tomatoes or crumbled pieces of cheese in the minced meat add variety.

You can also change the taste if you soak the roll in red wine or beer, for example, instead of milk or water.

Fat and Calorie Trap

As part of a healthy and balanced diet, meatballs should be enjoyed with caution, as they often turn out to be real fat and calorie bombs. By roasting them in the oven, the meatballs are less fat, but they don't stay as juicy. So that the meatball is low in fat and still juicy, you can mix the minced meat mixture with low-fat quark, which has been previously mixed with mineral water until it is creamy.

Recipes for Köttbullar, Köfte and Bifteki

The classic: meatballs with potato salad

Meatballs with potato salad. (Source: Veronika Kovalenko / Getty Images)

Meatballs taste best with a juicy potato salad.
Recipe: meat fritters with potato salad

Hack beef steak

Fried eggs and fried onions go well with the German beef steak - a slightly larger, flat meatball.
Recipe: beef steak

Meatballs with vegetable puree

Meatballs with mashed potatoes. (Source: dirkr / Getty Images)

A puree or a coarser mash of potatoes, carrots or peas also go well with the dumplings.
Recipe: meatballs with mushy peas

Pasta with meatballs

Meatballs with noodles. (Source: grandriver / Getty Images)

Small meatballs also go well with pasta of all kinds. The dish is particularly tasty with a spicy tomato sauce.
Recipe: spaetzle with meatballs

Cutlets filled with cheese

Meatballs with Gorgonzola filling (Source: TLC photo studio)

Fill the meat dough with cheese. Sheep cheese or a gorgonzola are suitable for this.
Recipe: meatballs with gorgonzola

Greek style meatballs

Bifteki (source: TLC photo studio)

The little Bifteki are filled with sheep cheese. It goes well with flatbread and a Greek salad.
Recipe: Bifteki

Lamb balls with cinnamon

Lamb rolls (Köfte) (Source: Fackelträger Verlag GmbH)

The spicy Köfte come from Turkish cuisine. Serve the lamb meatballs with a tomato sauce and a little cinnamon.
Recipe: Köfte

The Swedish variant

Meatballs (Köttbullar) (Source: TLC photo studio)

Köttbullar are often served with potatoes, with cranberries and a creamy sauce. But they also taste great with rice.
Recipe: Köttbullar