Finnish Meatballs Recipe - Authentic Taste from Finland

Finnish Meatballs

Finnish Meatballs Recipe - Authentic Taste from Finland
Region / culture: Finland | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 6


Finnish Meatballs
Finnish Meatballs

Finnish meatballs, also known as "lihapullat," are a traditional dish in Finland that is loved for its hearty and comforting flavors. These meatballs are typically made with a mixture of ground beef and pork, seasoned with spices like allspice, and served with a creamy gravy. They are perfect for a cozy family dinner or a festive holiday meal.


Finnish meatballs have been a staple in Finnish cuisine for centuries. They are believed to have originated from Swedish meatballs, but the Finnish version has its own unique twist with the addition of allspice and other traditional Finnish flavors. Meatballs are a popular dish in Finland and are often served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and pickled cucumbers.


How to prepare

  1. In a bowl, warm the milk in a microwave until it is just steaming.
  2. Remove from heat and press the bread into the milk; set it aside.
  3. Grate the cheese using the large holes of a box grater and place it in a large bowl.
  4. Add parsley, onion, eggs, salt, both peppers, and allspice to the bowl.
  5. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  6. Add ground beef, ground pork, and the milk-soaked bread (discard the milk).
  7. Knead the mixture by hand until it is well-blended.
  8. Spread flour on a plate.
  9. Roll the meat mixture into 1.5 inch balls, and roll them in flour to coat.
  10. Place a Dutch oven over very low heat, and add the broth.
  11. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.
  12. Working in batches, add enough meatballs to loosely fill the pan.
  13. Sear the meatballs for about 1 minute, then shake the pan to turn them.
  14. Continue cooking until the meatballs are well-browned on all sides, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
  15. Transfer the meatballs to the Dutch oven and allow them to gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring carefully from time to time.
  16. Add cream to the Dutch oven and turn off the heat.
  17. Mix gently.


  • Substitute ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version of the meatballs.
  • Add chopped herbs like dill or chives for extra flavor.
  • Use different spices like paprika or cumin for a unique twist.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to knead the meat mixture well to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

- Searing the meatballs before simmering them in the broth helps to lock in the flavors and create a nice crust on the outside.

- Be gentle when stirring the meatballs in the Dutch oven to prevent them from falling apart.

- Adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences by adding more or less salt, pepper, or allspice.

Serving Suggestions

Finnish meatballs are traditionally served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and pickled cucumbers. They can also be enjoyed with boiled or roasted vegetables, rice, or pasta.

Cooking Techniques

Searing the meatballs before simmering them in the broth helps to lock in the flavors and create a nice crust on the outside.

- Simmering the meatballs in the broth allows them to cook through gently and absorb the flavors of the gravy.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour instead of white bread for a gluten-free version.

- Substitute coconut milk for heavy cream for a dairy-free option.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the meatball mixture in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking.

- Cooked meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Finnish meatballs in a large serving dish with a drizzle of cream on top. - Garnish with fresh parsley or lingonberries for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Finnish meatballs with a glass of red wine like Pinot Noir or a cold beer.

- Serve with a side of crusty bread or rye crackers for a complete meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

- Reheat meatballs in a skillet over low heat or in the microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Finnish meatballs contains approximately 350 calories.


Each serving of Finnish meatballs contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Finnish meatballs contains approximately 25 grams of fats.


Each serving of Finnish meatballs contains approximately 20 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Finnish meatballs are a good source of iron, vitamin B12, and zinc.


Finnish meatballs contain dairy (milk, cheese, cream) and gluten (bread, flour).


Finnish meatballs are a balanced meal that provides a good amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are a rich source of essential nutrients like iron and vitamin B12.


Finnish meatballs are a classic dish that is loved for its comforting flavors and hearty ingredients. Whether served as a family dinner or a festive holiday meal, these meatballs are sure to be a hit with everyone at the table. Enjoy the rich and savory flavors of Finnish cuisine with this delicious recipe!

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I first saw this recipe for Finnish meatballs. It was many years ago, back when I was just a young girl living in the countryside of Finland. My grandmother, who was an excellent cook, had learned the recipe from her own mother, who in turn had learned it from her mother before her. As I watched my grandmother expertly mix the ground beef, breadcrumbs, and spices together, I knew that I was witnessing something special.

I would often spend hours in the kitchen with my grandmother, watching her cook and learning the secrets of her delicious dishes. She would tell me stories of how she had learned to cook from her own mother, who had taught her the importance of using fresh, local ingredients and cooking with love. I soaked up every word she said, eager to absorb all of her knowledge and skills.

The Finnish meatball recipe was one of my favorites to watch her make. She would start by mixing together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, and spices in a large bowl, using her hands to knead the mixture until it was well combined. Then, she would shape the mixture into small, round balls and fry them in a pan until they were golden brown on all sides.

The smell of the meatballs cooking would fill the kitchen, making my mouth water with anticipation. I would eagerly wait for them to be done, knowing that soon I would be able to taste the delicious, savory meatballs that my grandmother had made with such care and skill.

As I grew older, I began to help my grandmother in the kitchen, learning the recipe for Finnish meatballs from her firsthand. She would guide me through each step, showing me how to mix the ingredients just right and shape the meatballs with precision. I would watch her closely, trying to memorize every movement and technique so that I could replicate her delicious meatballs on my own.

Over the years, I continued to make the Finnish meatballs recipe, adapting it to suit my own tastes and preferences. I would add a little more garlic here, a pinch of paprika there, always striving to perfect the recipe and make it my own. And with each batch of meatballs I made, I could feel my grandmother's presence in the kitchen with me, guiding me and watching over me as I cooked.

Now, as I look back on those days spent in the kitchen with my grandmother, I realize just how much she has taught me about cooking and about life. She instilled in me a love of good food and the importance of sharing it with others. She showed me that cooking is not just about following a recipe, but about putting your heart and soul into every dish you make.

And so, whenever I make Finnish meatballs now, I do so with a sense of pride and gratitude for all that my grandmother has taught me. I know that with each bite of those savory, flavorful meatballs, I am carrying on a tradition that has been passed down through generations. And I can only hope that one day, I will be able to pass on this recipe and all of the knowledge and love that comes with it to future generations of my own.


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