Estonian Ground Meat Patties (Hakklihakotlet) Recipe

Estonian Ground Meat Patties (Hakklihakotlet)

Estonian Ground Meat Patties (Hakklihakotlet) Recipe
Region / culture: Estonia | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 20-30 minutes | Servings: 4-5


Estonian Ground Meat Patties (Hakklihakotlet)
Estonian Ground Meat Patties (Hakklihakotlet)

Estonian Ground Meat Patties, also known as Hakklihakotlet, are a traditional dish in Estonian cuisine. These delicious patties are made with a combination of lean ground beef, veal, and pork, along with eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. They are then fried to perfection, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying meal.


Estonian Ground Meat Patties have been a popular dish in Estonia for many years. The recipe has been passed down through generations, with each family adding their own unique twist to the dish. These patties are often served at family gatherings, holidays, and special occasions, making them a beloved comfort food in Estonian culture.


How to prepare

  1. 1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except bread crumbs and oil. Mix with your hands for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
  2. 2. Moisten your hands with cold water and shape the mixture into 8 thick, round patties. Dip each patty in the bread crumbs, fully coating both sides.
  3. 3. Heat the vegetable oil over high heat until a haze forms above it.
  4. 4. Fry the patties 2-3 at a time for about 5-10 minutes on each side. Flip the patties to regulate the heat and ensure they brown deeply without burning.
  5. 5. To ensure they are fully cooked, insert the tip of a knife into one of the patties, spreading it slightly apart. Check that there is no pink color.
  6. 6. If the center is still pink, lower the heat and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the oil.
  7. Serving:
  8. Serve the patties hot and accompany them with braised red cabbage. This recipe serves 4-5 people.


  • Add chopped herbs such as parsley or dill to the meat mixture for added flavor.
  • Substitute the breadcrumbs with crushed crackers or panko for a different texture.
  • Use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef, veal, and pork for a lighter version of the dish.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to mix the meat mixture thoroughly to ensure a smooth and fluffy texture.

- Dip the patties in breadcrumbs before frying to create a crispy outer layer.

- Use cold water to moisten your hands when shaping the patties to prevent sticking.

- Fry the patties in batches to ensure they cook evenly and brown properly.

- Check the internal temperature of the patties with a knife to ensure they are fully cooked.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Estonian Ground Meat Patties hot with a side of braised red cabbage for a complete and satisfying meal.

Cooking Techniques

Fry the patties in hot oil to create a crispy and golden brown crust on the outside while keeping the inside moist and flavorful.

Ingredient Substitutions

Feel free to use any combination of ground meats that you prefer, such as all beef or all pork. You can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs for a gluten-free version of the dish.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the meat mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to fry. This allows the flavors to meld together for a more delicious result.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Estonian Ground Meat Patties on a platter with a garnish of fresh herbs or a dollop of sour cream for an elegant presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair the Estonian Ground Meat Patties with a side of mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes for a classic Estonian meal. A glass of red wine or a cold beer complements the flavors of the dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover patties in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in a skillet over medium heat until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Estonian Ground Meat Patties contains approximately 350 calories.


Each serving of Estonian Ground Meat Patties contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Estonian Ground Meat Patties contains approximately 20 grams of fats.


Each serving of Estonian Ground Meat Patties contains approximately 25 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Estonian Ground Meat Patties are a good source of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.


This recipe contains eggs and breadcrumbs, which may be allergens for some individuals.


Estonian Ground Meat Patties are a balanced meal that provides a good amount of proteins and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals.


Estonian Ground Meat Patties are a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for a family meal or special occasion. With a combination of lean ground meats, eggs, and seasonings, these patties are flavorful and satisfying. Serve them hot with a side of braised red cabbage for a traditional Estonian meal that is sure to please.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time brings a smile to my face. It was many years ago, during a trip to Estonia with my dear friend Margot. We had decided to explore the local markets in Tallinn, and as we wandered through the stalls filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, fragrant herbs and spices, and freshly baked breads, we stumbled upon a small elderly woman selling homemade goods.

Intrigued by the delicious smells coming from her stall, we approached her and struck up a conversation. She told us she was a renowned cook in her village and had been making traditional Estonian dishes for over 50 years. My eyes lit up with excitement as I asked her if she would be willing to share one of her recipes with me.

With a twinkle in her eye, the woman handed me a worn piece of paper with the recipe for Hakklihakotlet written in flowing script. She explained that these ground meat patties were a beloved dish in Estonia, often enjoyed with a side of creamy mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce.

I thanked the woman profusely and promised to make the dish with love and care. Margot and I left the market that day with our hearts full and our minds buzzing with the possibilities of recreating this authentic Estonian recipe.

Back at home, I poured over the recipe, carefully studying each ingredient and step. The process seemed simple enough, but I knew that the key to making these patties truly special lay in the technique and attention to detail.

I started by sautéing onions and garlic in a skillet until they were soft and fragrant, then added the ground beef and pork, along with a generous amount of salt, pepper, and freshly chopped parsley. I mixed everything together with my hands, feeling the cold meat squish between my fingers as I worked it into a cohesive mixture.

Forming the patties was a delicate dance of shaping and pressing, making sure each one was uniform in size and thickness. I took my time with each one, molding them with care and precision, just like the elderly woman from the market had done for so many years.

Once the patties were shaped, I heated some oil in a pan and carefully placed them in, listening to the satisfying sizzle as they hit the hot surface. I cooked them until they were golden brown and crispy on the outside, then flipped them over to finish cooking through.

The aroma that filled my kitchen was intoxicating, a tantalizing mix of savory meat, caramelized onions, and earthy herbs. I couldn't wait to taste the finished dish and share it with my family.

As we sat down to eat, the Hakklihakotlet patties were met with rave reviews. The meat was tender and flavorful, with just the right amount of seasoning to bring out the natural richness of the beef and pork. The creamy mashed potatoes and tangy lingonberry sauce were the perfect accompaniments, rounding out the meal with a symphony of flavors and textures.

From that day forward, Hakklihakotlet became a staple in our household, a dish that brought us together and filled our hearts with warmth and nostalgia. Every time I make it, I am transported back to that bustling market in Tallinn, to the smile of the elderly woman who shared her recipe with me, and to the friendship and camaraderie of that unforgettable trip with Margot.

Now, as I pass this recipe down to you, my dear grandchild, I hope it brings you as much joy and satisfaction as it has brought me over the years. Remember to cook with love and care, just as the elderly woman from the market did, and you will create a dish that is truly special and unforgettable. Enjoy!


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