This iconic German meatball recipe in sauce (Königsberger Klopse) and is often served on special occasions, yet easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner!
The deliciously seasoned beef and pork meatballs are simmered in beef broth before finishing the sauce with cream, capers and lemon.
I love serving mine with peeled gold potatoes cooked in salted water, called Salzkartoffeln in German, to soak up all that yummy gravy!
Who invented Königsberger Klopse
Königsberger Klopse are meatballs originated in the Prussian city Königsberg (meaning "king's mountain"), which became part of Poland and now Russia after World War 2.
It's been attempted to rename this popular German meatball recipe to go with the new city's name, Kaliningrad. However, it's still known as "Königsberger Klopse," not "Kaliningrader Klopse." It's a popular dish all across Germany and from grown-ups to kids, everyone loves it!
How to make them
Königsberg, being a harbor city, had easy access to more exotic ingredients like capers and anchovies and spices, which are essential to this dish. Although the anchovies are optional these days.
The meatball also used to be made from veal, but is now commonly prepared using a half-and-half mixture of ground pork and ground beef that's seasoned with anchovy paste and onion and held together by bread and eggs. Not an anchovy fan? Leave them out, but I promise you won't even taste them!
After simmering the meatballs in broth (I let mine reduce to give it more flavor), I prepare a creamy sauce flavored with capers, lemon and beef broth.
To make it a meal, serve these pork and beef meatballs with salt-water boiled gold potatoes (the traditional way). Pickled beets are another popular side in Germany.
Königsberger Klopse are rather upscale and made on special occasions, although they are simple enough to serve for a more casual evening meal as well.
There are a few essential ingredients you need for making these German meatballs called Königsberger Klopse. A lot of them staples, and a few of them not so common that add unique flavor.
- Ground beef. I usually use lean ground beef, but any kind you have on hand will work.
- Ground pork. The mixture of the two ground meats makes it taste closer to veal, which is what's traditionally used to make Königsberger Klopse.
- Crusty, white roll. I use French bread or a French roll. Soak it in water first, then wring out as much of the water as you can before adding the roll to the meat mixture.
- Onion. I use yellow onions. You'll use one to add to the meatball mixture and another when simmering the meatballs in broth.
- Eggs. To hold the meat mixture together.
- Breadcrumbs. To create a denser meat dough that won't fall apart.
- Anchovy paste. I was skeptical about adding anchovy paste as I don't love anchovies. But it adds a unique depth in flavor without tasting fishy at all.
- Beef broth. For simmering the meatballs in. I let mine reduce, which adds more flavor, then use it for making the sauce.
- Bay leaf. Add it to the simmering broth.
- Whole peppercorns. To add to the simmering broth.
- Ground allspice. It adds a subtle spice note to the broth.
- Butter. To create the base for your creamy caper sauce.
- Flour. Just a bit to thicken the sauce without having to add too much cream.
- Lemon. Just the juice of half a lemon to add freshness.
- Sugar. To balance out the sour notes from the lemon. Just a pinch is usually enough (if using at all).
- Heavy whipping cream. To add creaminess to the sauce.
- Capers. I just love capers for their briney flavor. I used to be 'scared' of them, thinking they're something from the sea. When in fact capers are just tiny little flower buds. I sprinkle more on top before serving.
- Parsley. For garnish.
Visually learn how to make Königsberger Klopse by watching this short video. They're so simple and so good! I promise you'll want to make them over and over again!
You'll love these German recipes
If you love my German meatball recipe, also check out my Frikadellen (German 'hamburgers') and Zwiebelhackbraten (German meatloaf with lots of onions served in a delicious beer sauce).
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The BEST German Meatballs (Königsberger Klopse)
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 white, crusty roll soaked in water
- 1 medium onion about 150 grams, peeled and finely diced
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon anchovy paste Optional. No worries, the flavor doesn't come through (I am not an anchovy fan and still use it). It just gives these meatballs a deeper flavor profile!
- Wring out your roll soaked in water (I let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes ).In a large bowl, combine ground beef and pork, roll, onion, eggs, salt and pepper.½ pound ground beef, ½ pound ground pork, 1 white, crusty roll, 1 medium onion, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Knead by hand until you achieve a smooth, homogenous mixture. Add the breadcrumbs and knead again.2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- It's time to add the anchovy paste. Sidenote: I don't like anchovies personally at all, but it really deepens the flavor profile of the dish.1 Tablespoon anchovy paste
- Using your hands, shape 20 to 24 meatballs with the meat 'dough.'
- In a medium sized pot, combine broth, onion, and spices. Bring to a boil and add salt as needed. Add the meatballs and let simmer for 10 minutes.1 liter beef broth, 1 medium onion, 1 bay leaf, 3 peppercorns, 1 pinch ground allspice
- Remove the bay leaf and peppercorns and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the meatballs (I used this skimmer) and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain and save the broth for the sauce.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently whisk in flour.3 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour
- Whisk in the broth, starting with a small amount and gradually adding in the rest.375 milliliters meatball broth
- Add drained capers and cream and be careful not to let the sauce come back to a boil. Season to taste with lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.½ lemon, 125 milliliters heavy cream, 50 grams capers, sugar to taste
- Add the meatballs to the sauce and garnish with parsley.parsley
- Serve with peeled potatoes cooked in salted water (Salzkartoffeln). Pickled beets are also often served with this traditional German meal. Enjoy and let me know in the comments how much you loved this meal!!