German Meatballs in White Sauce (Königsberger Klopse)

German Meatballs in White Sauce (Königsberger Klopse)

 The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 12 meatballs
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
602 Calories
38g Fat
23g Carbs
38g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 602
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38g 48%
Saturated Fat 16g 82%
Cholesterol 274mg 91%
Sodium 2427mg 106%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 139mg 11%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 691mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for meatballs in white sauce, or königsberger klopse, is actually for meatballs (klopse) prepared in the style of Königsberg. Until 1946, Königsberg was a city in East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), and today this Prussian specialty is prepared throughout Germany.

The meatballs are made of ground pork and beef (but can include ground veal or lamb) and served in a sauce flavored with capers and lemon juice. The dish is often accompanied by potatoes and pickled beets.


For the Meatballs:

  • 2 slices day-old bread

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 small onions, 1 chopped finely, 1 quartered

  • 1/2 pound ground pork

  • 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1 to 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or beef broth

  • 5 whole black peppercorns, cracked

  • 4 juniper berries, cracked, optional

  • 1 bay leaf, optional

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 24 capers, drained

  • 2 to 4 ounces white wine, or broth

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1 pinch sugar, optional

Steps to Make It

Make the Meatballs

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    German Meatballs ingredients

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. Soak the day-old bread in water and squeeze it until almost dry. Break it into small pieces

    soaked and squeezed bread

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Melt the butter and cook the finely chopped onion until translucent. Cool slightly.

    onions cooking in a pan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. In a large bowl, place the pork and beef, cooked onions, and pieces of bread.

     beef, cooked onions, and bread in a bowl

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. Add 1 egg yolk, salt, and pepper and mix well.

    meat mixture in a bowl

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. If the mixture can't be formed into meatballs, add a few tablespoons of broth. Form into 12 meatballs.

    raw meatballs on a plate

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. In a large saucepan, add the rest of the broth, cracked peppercorns, cracked juniper berries and bay leaf (if using), and quartered onion. Bring to just under a boil.

    broth, cracked peppercorns, optional cracked juniper berries, optional bay leaf, and quartered onion in a saucepan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Add the meatballs carefully. Cook until done, about 12 minutes. Remove the meatballs and keep warm. Strain the liquid into a measuring cup.

    meatballs cooking in a saucepan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    sauce ingredients

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, making a roux.

    roux in a pan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Slowly, stir about 1 1/2 cups of the strained meatball cooking liquid into the roux, whisking to keep the sauce smooth.

    sauce in a pan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Add the capers and white wine; season the sauce to taste with lemon juice, sour cream, and the pinch of sugar, if using.

    sauce cooking in a pan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. If you wish, add the second egg yolk to bind the sauce further. Warm the sauce after adding, but do not boil or the egg yolk will curdle. The curdled egg won't affect the taste, it's just not appetizing looking.​

    white sauce in a pan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. Add the meatballs to the sauce, warm through, and serve.

    meatballs in sauce in a pan

     The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. Enjoy.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.