Hochzeitssuppe, a traditional German wedding soup with meatballs
Raw meatballs
Meatballs being cooked

A meatball is ground meat (mince) rolled into a ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, minced onion, eggs, butter, and seasoning.[1] Meatballs are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce. There are many types of meatballs using different types of meats and spices. The term is sometimes extended to meatless versions based on vegetables or fish; the latter are also commonly known as fish balls.


The ancient Roman cookbook Apicius included many meatball-type recipes.[2]

Early recipes included in some of the earliest known Arab cookbooks generally feature seasoned lamb rolled into orange-sized balls and glazed with egg yolk and sometimes saffron.[3]

Poume d'oranges is a gilded meatball dish from the Middle Ages.[4]

By region

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Various recipes of meatballs can be found across Europe and Asia. From Iberia and Sweden to the Indian subcontinent, there is a large variety of meatballs in the kofta family.[5]


Bulgarian big meatball, tatarsko kufte
A freshly made batch of Danish meatballs (frikadeller)
Klopsy with potato purée from Poland
Meatballs served in the Swedish style, with mashed potatoes, brown sauce, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumber
İnegöl meatballs from Turkey


A meatball pizza
Mexican albóndigas al chipotle

Most meatball recipes found in the Americas are derived from European cuisine influences, notably Italian, Sicily, Iberian (Portuguese-Spanish), and Nordic (Swedish) cuisines.

Middle East and South Asia

Main article: Kofta

Kufte Tabrīzī

Kofta is a type of meatball or dumpling that is widely distributed in Middle Eastern, South Asian, Mediterranean and Balkan (Central and Eastern Europe) cuisines. The word kofta is derived from Persian kūfta: In Persian, کوفتن (kuftan) means "to beat" or "to grind" or 'meatball'.[23] In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls or fingers of minced or ground meat – usually beef or lamb – mixed with spices and/or onions and other ingredients. The vegetarian variety is popular in India. They can be grilled, fried, steamed, poached, baked or marinated, and may be served with a rich spicy sauce.

East and Southeast Asia

A variety of Chinese meatballs and fishballs
Indonesian bakso noodle soup

See also


  1. ^ Esposito, Shaylyn (6 June 2013). "Is Spaghetti and Meatballs Italian?". Sithsonian.com. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  2. ^ Sally Grainger, Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today, Prospect Books, 2006, ISBN 1-903018-44-7, p. 17-18
  3. ^ Davidson, Alan (2006). The Oxford companion to Food. Jaine, Tom. (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 448. ISBN 0-19-280681-5. OCLC 70775741.
  4. ^ Adamson, M.W. (2013). Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe: A Book of Essays. Garland Medieval Casebooks. Taylor & Francis. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-135-30868-1. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  5. ^ Alan Davidson, ed., The Oxford Companion to Food, s.v. kofta
  6. ^ Larousse, Librairie (2009-10-13). Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated. National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-0-307-46491-0.
  7. ^ "OTIVH - FR". OTIVH - FR (in French). Retrieved 2023-09-26.
  8. ^ Larousse, Librairie (2009-10-13). Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated. National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-0-307-46491-0.
  9. ^ "Κεφτέδες". foodmuseum.cs.ucy.ac.cy (in Greek). Cyprus Food Virtual Museum. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Swedish meatballs, the perfect recipe". Sweden.se. 1 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b Widenfelt, Sam Swedish Food, Gothenburg, Sweden Esselte 1956.
  12. ^ Herbst, Sharon Tyler Food Lover's Companion Hauppauge, New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc. 1990.
  13. ^ "Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey". Twitter. 28 April 2018. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  14. ^ Henley, Jon (3 May 2018). "'My whole life has been a lie': Sweden admits meatballs are Turkish". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  15. ^ Swan, Esan (1 May 2018). "Swedish meatballs are actually Turkish, Sweden says". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12.
  16. ^ Jerdén, Erik (3 May 2018). "Forskare sågar världsnyhet om köttbullar: "Fabricerat"". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). svd.se. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  17. ^ "'Fake news': Historian denies Swedish meatballs originated in Turkey". SBS News. 7 May 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  18. ^ "There are countless versions of the meatball across the world". Twitter. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  19. ^ Randhawa, Jessica (21 December 2018). "Albondigas Soup Recipe". theforkedspoon.com. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  20. ^ "Puerto Rican Style Meatballs/Albóndigas". YouTube.
  21. ^ a b Hernandez, Brian (January 2013). "Jan-Feb 2013 Pizza of the Month: Meatball Pizza". PMQ Pizza Magazine. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  22. ^ Pizza Today, Volume 24, Issues 1-6. Pro Tech Publishing and Communications. 2006. p. 50.
  23. ^ Alan S. Kaye, "Persian loanwords in English", English Today 20:20-24 (2004), doi:10.1017/S0266078404004043.
  24. ^ "Malai Kofta Recipe | Paneer Kofta Curry". Swasthi's Recipes. 2017-08-27. Retrieved 2022-04-23.