Fall is finally here and it’s time for Oktoberfest. Ribs and bratwurst with kraut, schnitzel and potatoes, pretzels with mustard – all typical fare at German harvest festivals.

Another is the Frikadellen or German fried meat patties. There’s a reason American burgers were named after a city in Germany. But the German version is a flattened variation on a Scandinavian meatball (Hamburg is close to Denmark). Whatever its origins, it’s delicious!

Frikadellen (German Fried Meat Patties)

recipe adapted from The Spruce Eats

basket of parsley bunches

Parsley adds a bright fresh note to juicy flavorful meat patties.


  • 1 cup grated onion (about 1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 ozs. bread (day-old, softened in hot milk or water and squeezed dry)
  • 1 pound ground meat (half pork and half beef)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram (chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each, dark soy and Worcestershire sauce (optional)


  1. Place grated onion in a small bowl, drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil, cover and microwave on high 2 to 3 minutes or until translucent. Cool slightly.
  2. To a medium bowl, add softened and squeezed-dry bread and break it into small pieces.
  3. Add the meat, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, marjoram, and the cooked onion and mix well.
  4. Heat butter and olive oil together in a large skillet.
  5. Form 4 patties of the meat mixture. You might want to roll your patties in dried, seasoned breadcrumbs before frying for a really nice, crispy exterior.
  6. Fry them in the heated skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides.
  7. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet and place in a heated 350 F oven for 15 minutes or until done. You also can continue frying them until they are no longer pink inside. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe Variations:

  • With Caraway: Substitute 1 teaspoon caraway and 2 teaspoons prepared mustard for the parsley and marjoram in the above directions. Fry as directed. Serve with pretzel and mustard or with a hard roll.
  • With Bacon: Add 4 ounces of bacon that has been put through a meat grinder or food processor to the meat mixture before frying.

Serving Suggestions:  Serve on a lettuce leaf along with pan roasted potatoes, potato salad, spaetzle, mixed salad, or steamed vegetables. In sandwich form they are presented on Kaiser rolls with mustard, and garnished with radishes or fried onions. Dill pickles and pretzels & mustard are typical accompaniments. Another beer garden favorite is essentially an open-faced butter and chives sandwich, typically prepared with rustic bread, sliced, buttered and pressed onto a layer of finely chopped chives. I like sauteed mushrooms as a topping too.

For more German/Oktoberfest recipes, check our recipe archive.