Pannbiff med Lök (patties with onion) and Lingonberry Sauce


In Sweden I once lived next to a lovely girl. We weren’t only neighbors, we also shared the toilet that was out on the staircase. After a while we became really good friends and started to share other things. I only had a black and white TV, so we spent many evenings on her sofa watching color TV. I had a freezer and she had a toaster. One day when I was frying bacon for my Sunday breakfast, she banged on my door. I thought I had upset her with the bacon odor, as she is a vegetarian (who eats fish!). But she just wanted to stop by and say how wonderful the smell was coming from my apartment. So without any regrets I continued flavoring the staircase with my cooking. Another day she came again and told me she couldn’t take it any more. My dear neighbor wanted meat. I suggested pannbiff med lök (flat meatball or rather patties with onions).

the patties

0.7 kg (1.5 lb) ground beef (or half pork and half beef)
one onion
three cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
150 ml (2/3 cups) half and half or milk
1 eggs
salt and pepper
some fresh or dried herbs, such as oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary and/or parsley

Chop the onion and the clove of garlic very thinly. Sauté them in some olive oil until soft. In the meantime mix together the breadcrumbs, half and half and the egg with the ground meat. When the onions are ready mix them with the meat mixture and season with herbs, salt and pepper. Let the mixture rest for awihle. I always start by sauté-ing only one piece of the mixture, to make sure I have the right amount of spices. When the meat mixture has the taste you want, start rolling and flattening the patties. Take one tablespoon full, roll it in your hands and flatten it a little. Sauté them on quite high temperature. You can lower the temperature when they start to get some color. Take out the finished patties and keep them on the side. When you have done all of the patties, pour some water into the pan. Let it cook a bit and take the pan off the heat. This gravy will be used in the sauce.

lingonberry sauce

3 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoon flour
100-200 ml (1/2 to 1 cup) gravy from the meatballs
400 ml (1 2/3 cups) milk
100-200 ml (1/2 to 1 cup) cream
3-4 tablespoons lingonberry or cranberry jam
salt and pepper
oregano or thyme
a little soy sauce

Melt some butter in a saucepan and mix in the flour. Add the gravy and let it boil. Pour in the milk followed by the cream and let the sauce boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the lingonberry jam and season with salt, pepper, herbs and a little soy sauce. Sometimes I even drop some red wine into the sauce.

caramelized onions

2 yellow onions
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Chop the onions in rings. Heat up some butter and sauté the onions. Add the sugar and cook until onions are soft and golden brown.


Heat up the frying pan again together with some oil or butter. Place the patties in the pan and pour over the sauce. When the sauce starts to boil it’s done. Serve the dish with boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam and some pickled gherkins.

When I moved, my friend went back to being a fish-eating vegetarian…

Note: There are many ways to make your patties or meatballs. For example some say eggs are not needed and some say it makes the mixture more porous and easier to sauté. Most recipes tell you to soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 5-10 minutes to avoid a bread taste in your meatballs. That may be a good idea, but I have never done that and my meatballs have never ever tasted of bread.

14 thoughts on “Pannbiff med Lök (patties with onion) and Lingonberry Sauce”

  1. Wow Johanna! I just wandered upon your blog… I love your drawings.. they are fantastic!


  2. Hi Zhi,
    I am having some problems with the server… I will be posting again as soon the problem is fixed.

  3. My son loves Swedish meatballs with Lingonberry Sauce from IKEA, but I had never made them myself. I am definitely tempted to try now…
    Thanks and keep up the great work. I love the pictures!

  4. oh man! I cooked this the other night, my daughter that wont eat anything (or so it seems) ate almost half of it!!! So vary good!! thanks so much! I think I keep the meatballs going around the table for a long time 🙂

  5. I’m so happy to hear your daughter liked them. This is such a great reminder that i don’t make them myself often enough. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Do you mix the cream with the milk for the sauce? Milk is on the ingredients list, but not in the cooking directions. This sounds great, similar to the meatballs my mother of Swedish descent made when I was a child!! I love your illustrations.

  7. Thanks Ann, for noticing my mistake. You are right, the milk and the cream should be added at the same time. I have corrected my mistake in the recipe.

  8. I have made your meatballs before and love them! It has been quite a few years however. About how many meatballs does the recipe make?

  9. Hi Sarah, sorry for not specifying the yield in this recipe… But I guess it will be about 40 (1 inch-sized) meatballs. Less if making patties.

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