Meatball Recipes from Around the World

From Turkish koftes to Ukranian frikadelki to the cheese-topped Italian American classic, these savory spheres are sure to please.


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on January 13, 2023

Much like the realm of patés, sausages, and terrines, meatballs are a delicious marvel born of the necessity to use up scraps. Enjoyed in some form or another by just about every culture in the world, the meatball is as diverse as it is beloved, from cumin-laced Turkish koftes to brothy Ukrainian frikadelki to the cheese-topped Italian American classic to pescatarian and even vegan versions, these savory spheres are sure to please. Read on for some of our favorite meatball recipes below.

In Northern Vietnam, this appetizing dish is typically cooked over a wood or charcoal fire, but SAVEUR’s chief content officer Kate Berry often makes it in her New York City home using a cast iron grill pan. Get the recipe >

Meatballs in Spain are often made with veal, gently browned, and finished in a light gravy, making for supremely tender and juicy morsels. This recipe from SAVEUR’s managing editor Laura Sampedro works well with ground veal, pork, or a combination of the two. Get the recipe >

Each Rastafari family has their own recipe for Ital balls, but the common thread that runs amongst them is affordability and nutrient density. You can enjoy this version atop pasta with generous amounts of tomato sauce or as an hors d’oeuvre, slathered in your favorite barbecue sauce. Get the recipe >

At the London takeaway restaurant Leon, these lamb meatballs were simmered in a harissa-spiked tomato sauce, served over peppery arugula, and drizzled with bright yogurt-thickened aïoli. Get the recipe >

Lou Di Palo shared his grandmother's recipe for the meatballs he sells at his family's store, Di Palo's Fine Foods, in New York City. Get the recipe >

This comforting Chinese braise from designer Peter Som’s grandmother is on the table in under an hour. Get the recipe >

These full-flavored Japanese chicken meatballs are inspired by a version served at California yakitori restaurant, Ippuku. Dressed with a sweet and salty glaze, they're the ideal pairing with cold beer. Get the recipe >

The word kofta comes from the Persian koofteh, which means "pounded meat." Variations on these meatballs have been eaten for centuries—early written recipes date back to ancient Arabic cookbooks. Mehmet Gürs of Istanbul's Mikla serves this version simply, with mustard for dipping. Get the recipe >

These lamb-and-chickpea-flour meatballs from Isfahan, Iran are cooked in a bright and fragrant broth of turmeric, onions, and lemon juice, and accompanied by carrots and potatoes. Get the recipe >

“Spices have always fascinated me. I collect them from all over the world,” says Giorgia Goggi, who accents this soup with Middle Eastern sumac and Indian garam masala. If you can’t find fresh yellow tomatoes, red will work just as well. Get the recipe >

This simple broth, flavored with onions and potatoes, is a childhood favorite of chef Olia Hercules. Her mother made the frikadelki, turkey or beef meatballs, with high-quality turkey meat and seasoned the soup with a mix of fermented mixed herbs like basil, dill, and parsley, which add crunch and brightness to the soup. Get the recipe >

I'm obsessed with sausage balls," says Annie Pettry, chef-owner of now-shuttered Louisville, Kentucky restaurant Decca. Hers are juicy pork sausage mixed with cheddar cheese that oozes out and forms a lacy, cracker-like disk at the bottom—just like her mother always made them. Get the recipe >

Sardines flavored with white miso are formed into delicate puffed balls for dashi broth in this recipe adapted from one served at K-ZO restaurant in Culver City, California. Get the recipe >

For this traditional Iraqi Jewish dish, lamb meatballs are braised in a vibrant beet stew. Writer Yael Coty learned to make this dish from her grandparents, who left Iraq for Israel in 1950. Get the recipe >

This cheese-topped recipe from Farideh Sadegin pairs two beloved New Jersey favorites: juicy Italian-style meatballs and New Jersey pork roll (aka Taylor ham). Get the recipe >

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