Karbonader (Norwegian Lean Beef Patties)


Since starting this Norwegian food blog, I’m always asking my Norwegian friends which Norwegian foods I should share recipes for. And there are a few foods that everyone immediately mentions: vafler, fiskesuppe, and of course their beloved karbonader.

Karbonader might be a bit less famous than their meatball cousins, but they are certainly a staple in Norway. Karbonader are meat patties made with ground beef with less than 5% fat. They’re often eaten with potatoes, stewed peas, and caramelized onions, or on bread, often with a fried egg on top.

karbonader with fried egg

Eating karbonader on top of bread feels particularly Norwegian to me, but karbonader with mashed potatoes and peas covered in brown sauce is also such cosy Norwegian comfort food.

Norwegian karbonader dinner
cutting karbonader

Norwegians usually use potato starch in their karbonader, but you can also use corn starch instead.

You’ll notice that karbonader always have a grid pattern on one side, which helps with the frying.

cutting karbonader
frying karbonader

The key to caramelizing onions is patience, which I’ll admit I don’t always have. But if you cook them very slowly on low heat they will turn out incredible.

Karbonader Norwegian meat patties

You can switch the recipe from US measurements to metric by clicking from “US Customary” to “Metric” under Ingredients.

Karbonader Norwegian meat patties

Karbonader (Lean Beef Patties) with Caramelized Onions

Karbonader are a popular Norwegian beef patty made minced meat that has 5% or less fat. They're usually eaten with caramelized onions, potatoes, stewed peas, and brown sauce, or served over a slice of bread, often topped with a fried egg.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Norwegian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 karbonader
Author: Silvia


  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb ground beef (5% fat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp potato starch (or cornstarch)
  • 50 ml water
  • 2 tbsp butter (for frying)


  • Grate half an onion and set aside. Slice the rest of the onions and fry in butter on low/medium heat until caramelized.
  • In a bowl, mix together ground beef, grated onion, salt, pepper, nutmeg, potato/corn starch, and water.
  • Form into a sausage and cut 6 patties. Using a knife make a light grid pattern in each patty.
  • Brown both sides of the karbonader in butter on high heat, then turn down to low heat and fry for another 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Serve the karbonader and onions with potatoes, stewed peas, and brown sauce for dinner, or on a slice of bread for lunch or a snack.


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