This Dutch meatball is an absolute highlight of the Dutch kitchen. In Dutch, meatballs are called ‘gehaktballen’, and this recipe will make you fall in love with traditional meatballs from The Netherlands. Most Dutch meatball recipes are easy to follow, and this one is that too. Whether you’ve tried Dutch meatballs in Amsterdam and are dying to get that taste again or simply want to find out what a Dutch ‘gehaktbal’ recipe looks like, this Dutch meatballs recipe is for you.
History Dutch meatball
It is said that the history of the Dutch meatball goes back to the 17th century. That’s when a forerunner, of our Dutch meatballs nowadays called gehaktballen, was first named as ‘frickedil’. It was a flat disk of veal meat and fat, that was only available to the rich people in society. In the 19th century, our beloved Dutch meatballs became round, and people added egg (and sometimes milk). In the 20th century, different sorts of meat were available to the general population as well, which is why most Dutchies (myself included) die for a good Dutch meatball.
Gehakt, or minced meat, exists out of the tougher parts and trimmings of meat. When this tough meat gets ground, it immediately makes the meat more tender. You can create a simple meatball recipe with meat from chicken meatballs to beef and pork. It all depends on what you want.
In my opinion, this is the best Dutch meatball recipe, simply because I grew up with it. And, it makes my mouth water when just thinking about it. This meatball recipe includes a fantastic Dutch meatball seasoning and tips on how to make a baked Dutch meatball with this recipe. And, of course, this includes a Dutch meatballs and gravy recipe.
Dutch Meatball Recipe
Gehakt spice mix recipe
- 2 teaspoons of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 2 teaspoons of white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
Stir it around, so the mix is combined. Keep this mix in a little jar for future use.
- 500 gr minced beef
- 1 egg
- 3 rusks or around 24 grams of breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon of the spice mix
- +- 10-20 ml of milk
Good for around 6 Dutch meatballs – 10 minutes preparation – 10/45 minutes to cook
1. Add a tablespoon of the spice mix to a bowl.
2. Rub two rusks (I will publish a rusk recipe soon, so be on the lookout for that!) against each other above the bowl with the spice mix, so it becomes small. Once one rusk almost breaks: break it further into small pieces by hand. Then rub the third rusk against the bigger and break down the rusks when they become too fragile to rub against each other. If you don’t have rusks, you can simply add the breadcrumbs in the bowl with the spicemix.
3. Add the egg and milk into the bowl. It should not become watery, so be careful with adding the milk. Then whisk this a little, so it is combined and break the big pieces of rusk with the whisk. After you’ve whisked it together, this mix is thicker than before (which is what you want: it shouldn’t be as thin as water, nor as thick as mayonnaise: it should be in the middle of that). If it’s still too thick, add a tiny bit of milk.
4. Add the minced beef to the bowl, as we can’t create a gehakt recipe without it.
5. Mix the beef with your hands, or a fork, through the spice mixture until it is combined.
6. Divide the beef in the bowl in six separate parts.
7. Wet your hands with water. Then you grab a bit of beef with your hands and roll it in your hands until it’s round.
8. You can either bake the meatballs golden brown on every side in a pan with some oil or butter for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Or if you want healthy Dutch meatballs, you can put them in the oven at 210 degrees celsius for around 40-45 minutes (I use the fan option that we have on the oven). If you preheat your oven, it’s faster, and then it will be more close to 25-30 minutes when your meatballs are finished.
If you want to make Dutch meatballs with gravy, you need to bake the meatballs from this beef meatball recipe in butter. Take the meatballs out of the pan when they are finished and add a splash of water. You can add sliced onions, which helps thicken the gravy easier, instead of adding something like flour. Bring this to a boil and add ground pepper to it. Then take it off the stove. You could also add in sliced chilis, or other spices and herbs that you prefer.
You can eat these Dutch meatballs with peanut sauce, with your dinner (they’re fantastic with Dutch stamppot recipes!), on a sandwich, Dutch meatballs and potatoes, etc. It all depends on your preferences.
Extra tips: A meatball is made with meat with enough fat, which also makes it come together. If you notice that your meatballs are a bit too crumbly: place them in the fridge for around one hour to make them more sturdy.
Many people don’t add milk in the mix, but we prefer it in my family as it makes the meatballs juicier. And especially since Dutch beef is not fatty meat, many make a pork-beef meatball in The Netherlands, but we are usually not a big fan of pork meat.
Did you know, that in The Netherlands there are also differences to the Dutch meatball? In Amsterdam, they used to add shrimps to their meatball, as this was cheaper than fresh meat. In the province of Limburg, you will often see meatballs in a sweet, sour sauce.
Handy tools to use for this recipe
I hope you’ve enjoyed this traditional Dutch meatball recipe and that you like them. Dutch meatball recipes are often pretty standard, but every family and region adds their touch to it (which is what I always really like). Is this the best meatball recipe in the world? I have no idea. All I know is that I love them and I hope you love my Dutch meatball as much as I do.
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