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German Meatballs in Caper Sauce – Königsberger Klopse

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Königsberger Klopse – delicate German meatballs in white sauce with capers, a traditional German dish served with boiled potatoes and vegetables.

German Meatballs in Caper Sauce

What are Königsberger Klopse?

According to a study, Königsberger Klopse are the best-known traditional dish in Germany, apparently 93% of the persons asked are familiar with this particular dish. No wonder though, these meatballs in caper white sauce are really delectable.

They have an interesting history considering that they are after all just food. Apparently, they were first made in Königsberg, the capital of Prussia – a part of Germany a long time ago, a town which now lies in Russia and is called Kaliningrad.

Alfons Schubeck, a well-known German chef, says that the meatballs where popularized by no other than the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant, who used to often serve them to his guest in the Königsberg University during the 18th century.

They used to be known under such names as Sauce Meatballs or Sour Meatballs during those days and they were brought to the rest of Germany by kitchen assistants, who had left Prussia in search of work in other parts of Germany.

And if you are interested in authentic German cooking, here you can find lots of recipes.

German Meatballs in Caper Sauce


  • Originally these German meatballs were made with minced veal, but nowadays, most recipes you will find use a mixture of beef and pork.
  • Rather untypical for making meatballs is the use of anchovies. Many people don’t eat anchovies, but even if you don’t, don’t worry about it, the Klopse will not taste of fish.
  • The anchovy paste only adds depth of flavor and saltiness, there will no trace of fish taste at all. You could leave them out, but I wouldn’t.
  • The capers are also an important flavor element, you will need them both for the meatballs and for the sauce. Don’t leave them out, they are what make this dish what it is.
  • For the sauce, you will need white wine, beef broth, and crème fraiche. And some fresh lemon juice to add more flavor and a bit of freshness.
  • The sauce will be thickened with egg yolks.
klopse recipe with capers and white sauce


  • These German meatballs will not be fried in a pan, they will be cooked in broth. This procedure makes them incredibly tender and delicious.
  • Temper the egg yolks before adding them to the white sauce. To do that you will have to whisk them with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. You will then slowly whisk them into the sauce.
  • It is important that the sauce doesn’t boil anymore after you add the tempered egg yolks, or they will scramble.

How to serve?

  • Traditionally, the Königsberger Klopse are served with boiled potatoes and cooked beets.
  • However, I almost always make buttered peas or a mixture of peas and carrots to serve with them, my kids just like peas better.
  • But no matter the side dish you choose, the dish is delicious, so if you feel like eating something thoroughly German, give these meatballs with capers a try, you will not be disappointed!

More traditional German dishes:

Beef Soup with Dumplings

Green Sauce or Frankfurter Sauce

White Asparagus with Sauce Hollandaise

Beef Roulades

Jägerschnitzel – German Schnitzel with Mushrooms

klopse recipe with capers and white sauce

German Meatballs in Caper Sauce – Königsberger Klopse

Königsberger Klopse – delicate German meatballs in white sauce with capers, a traditional German dish served with boiled potatoes and vegetables.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Meat Recipes
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 786kcal
Author: Adina


  • German meatballs:
  • 1 medium onion about 150 g/ 3.5 oz
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 9 oz ground beef 250 g
  • 9 oz ground pork 250 g
  • 4 oz white bread without crust 120 g
  • 1 egg, large
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers from a jar
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste Note
  • fine sea salt and white pepper
  • 4 1/4 cup beef broth 1 liter
  • Caper sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon capers from a jar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup crème Fraiche 125 g
  • 1 cup dry white wine 250 ml
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • fine sea salt and white pepper


Königsberger Klopse:

  • Cook onions: Chop the onion very finely. Heat the butter in a nonstick pan and cook the onions until translucent. Set aside and let cool until you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the meatballs.
  • Heat broth: While you prepare the meatballs, start heating the broth in a relatively wide pot.
  • Meatballs: Soak the white bread in some water. Squeeze the bread well to remove the excess water and place it in a bowl. Add the ground meat, onions, egg, chopped parsley, finely chopped capers, anchovy paste, and generously salt and pepper.
    Mix well with the wet hand until the mixture is very smooth. To make sure that the meatballs have enough salt, place a very small one in the simmering broth and taste it. Add more anchovy paste, salt, and pepper, if necessary.
  • Cook the meatballs: Form the meatballs with wet hands (about 20) and cook them for about 10 minutes in the simmering broth. Remove from the broth with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
  • Measure broth: Sieve the broth through a fine-mesh sieve and measure out ½ liter/ 17 fl. oz/ 2 cups, which you will need for the sauce. Use the remaining stock to make a soup or something else the next day.

Caper white sauce:

  • Make the roux: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sprinkle the flour in the pan and cook shortly while whisking. Slowly add the sieved broth while whisking constantly.
  • Simmer sauce: Bring to a boil and add the finely chopped capers, lemon juice, crème Fraiche, white wine, and sugar. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Let simmer on a very low flame for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat.
  • Thicken sauce: Stir the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon water, add 2 tablespoons of the sauce and stir well. Pour the mixture into the sauce in the pan while whisking continuously.
  • Simmer meatballs: Add the meatballs to the sauce and let simmer on very low heat for 10 minutes without letting the sauce come to a bubble anymore.
  • Serve immediately with boiled potatoes and vegetables. We had peas, but traditionally you would serve cooked beetroots.


Optional, but very recommendable. The meatballs will not taste fishy; the anchovy paste only adds a slight saltiness and depth of flavor.


Serving: 5meatballs with sauce | Calories: 786kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 316mg | Sodium: 2247mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!

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Recipe Rating


Tuesday 18th of January 2022

could you replace the dry white wine?


Tuesday 18th of January 2022

Hi Alicia. Yes, use stock instead.

Jutta Holden

Wednesday 26th of July 2017

Oh my gosh, can't wait to make this! Has been way to long since I have had them! Thanks so much for recipe! Jutta


Saturday 29th of July 2017

Welcome, Jutta! :)

Chris Scheuer

Wednesday 26th of October 2016

I feel like I've been living under a rock as I've never heard of these meatballs but I'm very happy to get acquainted!

Marvellina @ What To Cook Today

Wednesday 26th of October 2016

It's not easy to find veal here too. I sub with beef most of the time. These meatballs look really good though