Norwegian Meatballs (that will leave you wondering why you ever ate the Swedish ones..)

At 00.50 tonight my parents will be touching down on Australian soil for the first time ever. They’re mid-air as we speak, and no doubt dreaming of sunny days and never-ending beaches in the magical land of Oz.


The dream..

Meantime I’m in my office wearing a hoody and drinking a hot cup of tea as the rain slams aggressively against my window.. Ouff. The storm should be over in a couple of weeks though, just in time for my parents to head back home!


..the reality

If you google “rainy day activities on the Gold Coast” you get some brilliant suggestions. I personally can’t wait to visit the local “plate painting hobby display room” and “my local library”. Not to mention the rather obvious option of “putting on a raincoat and taking advantage of an empty amusement park”. Surely my mum and dad will jump at the opportunity to visit Movie World during monsoon. Nothing beats a rollercoaster ride in a horizontal rainstorm!

On the upside, Australian meteorologists have a success rate ranging in the 50/50 region, so the last word might not be spoken on the subject.

That being said, inside time is cooking time, and I’m in the mood for something truly Norwegian. It doesn’t hurt that this recipe is hot and hearty.

Yummy Norwegian Meatballs by The Gluten Free Lifesaver

Every man and his dog have heard of “Swedish meatballs”. Much thanks to Ikea I’m afraid. In all fairness to the Swedes, Ikea hasn’t done much to recommend them. The best parts of the Ikea meatball plate are the potatoes and the lingonberry jam.. It must be said that its’ homemade counterpart is a completely different story. Never the less, Swedish meatballs do not come close to the recipe I’d like to share with you!

Norwegian meatballs are called “Medisterkake” and they will blow your mind. They are so flavourful, moist and moreish that you’ll never look back. Naturally, anything made in your own kitchen from scratch beats any store-bought product (in my opinion), but it’s usually “too much of an effort” for people to bother. The Medisterkake meatballs are fairly easy to whip up, and I always make a big batch to freeze for later. You will not regret putting the effort into these gorgeous little dinner treats, and you’ll never go Swedish again! (-Sorry neighbors, love you lots but it’s a meatball thing).

Yummy Norwegian Meatballs by The Gluten Free Lifesaver

For about 20-24 meatballs, you’ll need:

1 kg quality (stall free) pork, minced (to be ground)
4 tsp salt
3 tbsp potato starch
1/2 tsp nutmeg (ground)
1/4 tsp ginger (ground)

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 eggs (can be left out for egg-free version)
2,5 dl or 1 cup of milk

Vegetable or chicken stock

The milk and the meat must have the same temperature (fridge cold).

Yummy Norwegian Meatballs by The Gluten Free Lifesaver

Start by grinding the mince. You can use any kitchen machine with a blade. Once the mince is ground properly, then add the salt. Use your hands to work the salt through the meat. Once the meat has a nice, soft concistency you add the spices and the potato starch. Keep working the mixture like a dough (get in there!), then add the milk gradually once the spices and flour have been thoroughly worked through the meat. Add eggs (if apliccable) and keep mixing. Make sure you mix the liquid in thoroughly before you add more, each time.

I cheated and added the milk (gradually) as I was grinding the mince, only because I was using a mixer from hell which needed a bit of encouragement. But don’t do what I do, do what I say 😉

Yummy Norwegian Meatballs by The Gluten Free Lifesaver

Once the mixture is done, heat a frying pan and melt some good butter. Of course, if you don’t like to use butter you can opt out, but it really does give the meatballs a good flavour and a crispy crust.

Make balls with a wet spoon in your hand. The balls should fit inside your fist, so not small like the Swedish version.

You wanna fry the meatballs on both sides until they get a nice brown look, but not all the way through.

Yummy Norwegian Meatballs by The Gluten Free Lifesaver

Boil vegetable or chicken stok in a pot, and when the meatballs are done in the fryingpan you pop them over into the hot stock. Let the meatballs simmer (but not boil) for 10-12 minutes until they’re cooked all the way through.

Yummy Norwegian Meatballs by The Gluten Free Lifesaver

Before you serve them, pop them on a tray in the oven at 180 c for 15-20 minutes.

We serve them with baked apples, potatoes,”rødkål” and of course plenty of lingonberry jam (which incidentally can be bought at ikea ha).

Lingonberry jam is made from what in Norwegian is called “tyttebær”. Norwegians march out by the thousands every autumn, armed with buckets and “berry pickers” in efforts to secure a sizable storage of berries. Just enough to get us through till next autumn.

I’ve spent many an evening with my family in front of the TV with a tray of tyttebær on my lap. My dad was the berry cleaning champion. He had an awesome trick with a wet towel that I’ve never quite been able to copy..


“Bærplukker” (berry picker) & Tyttebær


Homemade Tyttebærsyltetøy (lingonberry jam)


The Ikea version

After you’ve rushed to Ikea to work out the fascination with this little red bush berry, you might wanna try your hand at making the delicious “rødkål” that so perfectly complements the meatballs!

Yummy Norwegian Meatballs by The Gluten Free Lifesaver

To make rødkål you need:

750 grams of fresh, red cabbage
2 apples
1 tsp salt
 2 1/2 dl (1 cup) of the broth from cooking the meatballs
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp sugar

Chop the cabbage finely and cut the apples into wedges (peeled).

Layer the cabbage and apples in a big pot and add the salt and vinegar.

Bring to the boil and let simmer for 45 minutes. Add sugar to taste.

The meatballs freeze and reheat in the oven wonderfully! Double the batch and you’ll have 3 or 4 dinners ready made. Make up some gravy from the stock, some cream and gf flour if you’re into gravys. Caramelize it slightly for the perfect brown cream gravy!

This recipe was featured on Delicious Obsessions’ Traditional Tuesdays


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25 Comments on “Norwegian Meatballs (that will leave you wondering why you ever ate the Swedish ones..)”

  1. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank goodness there’s an IKEA about a 45 minute drive from where I live…LOL! Now I have a great excuse to go! I need lingonberry jam.


    • There’s an Ikea everywhere haha Which is nice for me as it makes me feel at home wherever I go 🙂

      I’m excited to hear that you’ll try the recipe, let me know how you get on!



  2. We pick lingonberries in Alaska every fall, only we call them low bush cranberries, and we use the same kind of berry picker. Wild blueberries are the other favorite to pick- everyone has a favorite spot to find them and it’s a favorite thing to do with friends and family. Your meatball recipe looks great- I’m definitely going to try it.


    • That’s so cool to hear! I learn so many unexpected facts from people on this blog, it’s wonderful! Makes sense that you’d have the same berries as you have a similar climate, but it’s really fun to learn that you also have similar traditions! We are the same with the blueberries. There’s cloudberries too.. do you have them?


      • I know what you mean about learning things from blogging- I learn something new everyday. Cloudberries are a favorite in the Bush (the interior regions of Alaska). Natives mix them with seal oil, reindeer or caribou fat, and sugar- they call it Akutaq, or Eskimo Ice Cream to the rest of us. I’ve never picked cloudberries- I think they grow on the tundra, which is farther north from where I live in Anchorage. There are a bunch of other berries that people pick, but low bush cranberries and blueberries are the main ones around here. Alaska is a huge state- 1/5 the size of the continental U.S., so there are a lot of different growing zones and plant varieties.


      • That’s really interesting! Norwegians are crazy about cloudberries. They can only be picked by hand up in the mountains, and are few and far between. If you come across a good cloudberry spot you try to keep it a secret 🙂 It’s almost literally worth it’s weight in gold! We eat cloudberry desserts at Christmas. We heat them with sugar and make a kind of runny jam, then mix them with whipped cream for “multekrem”, or serve them hot with vanilla ice cream. So good..

        Btw, a popular way to serve lingonberries is called “Trollkrem” (troll cream) which is eggwhites and sugar whipped stiff, and lingonberries mixed through. Our favorite dessert as kids.

        I’ll have to do a little research on Alaska, it sound so similar to Norway!


    • Thank you, that’s so sweet 🙂 Although this post has mobile phone photos ha. I try to avoid them, but sometimes the phone is the only handy device.

      I’ve had a look at your blog and it’s lovely too! Very nice!



  3. I just love your blog and your photos. They are amazing— must stop myself from licking the computer screen!!!

    By the way, I still dream of the lingonberry jam and cloud berries that I had one Christmas in Norway. The IKEA jam is OK but nothing like the real thing.


    • Haha, please don’t lick your screen 🙂

      True about the Ikea jam.. but I’m still super happy that I can have a small taste of home once in a while. Hope to see you in Norway again soon, I promise more jam!


  4. I wish, i wish, I WISH that I was coming home to these delicious looking meatballs for dinner! It is freeeeeeeezing in Brisbane


    • Try making them, they’re awesome! And if you make extras you can come home to them on the next rainy Brisbane day; just pop’em out of the freezer and you have a winter warmer dinner just like that 🙂



    • Hi Stacy,
      if you do end up trying them let me know how you get on 🙂 I really love these meatballs, they remind me of home and they have such a great flavour! Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  5. Hi there!! Wondering if it’s possible to use a different starch (corn maybe?) And achieve the same flavor/ texture? Yumm!! I homeschoolmy kids and we just finished a study of Norway and want tto make some delicious authentic Norwegian recipes…so excited to find this post…they look delicious!!!


    • Hi Betsy!

      You can certainly try with corn (maize starch) as it will give quite a similar result. We use potato traditionally in Norway as we don’t grow corn (and we grow a lot of potato!). In fact, I recommend reading up on how Norwegians survived the great famine due to the introduction of potatoes. We even had “potato priests” who taught people how to use this (at the time new) vegetable by including it in their sermons! Might be some fun facts for your kids 🙂

      Thanks for your lovely comment, and please do let me know how your cooking goes!



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