Raspeballer (Norwegian Potato Dumplings)
If you’ve been to Norway you might know that Norwegians eat tacos on Friday and sweets on Saturday. And you know what we eat on Thursday? Raspeballer!
Actually, many Norwegians make raspeballer at home on Sundays, but most restaurants here will only serve raspeballer on Thursdays. Thursdays used to be the biggest shopping day of the week, with stores being open 6 or 7 pm instead of 4 pm. So to tempt shoppers to eat out, restaurants would serve a cheap, hearty Norwegian favorite: raspeballer.
Raspeballer are potato dumplings, also called komler, komper, klubber, and potetballer, among other names. Raspeballer are usually made with a combination of cooked potatoes and grated raw potatoes, mixed with a bit of barley and/or wheat flour and boiled in broth. Some Norwegians make raspeballer “with dots,” where they include bits of bacon in the potato dumplings.
Norwegians eat raspeballer with smoked sausage and salted pork knuckle, with a side of mashed rutabaga. Some people here will top raspeballer with a brown cheese sauce, though I’ve never tried that myself. Many will also cover the entire dish with a generous portion of bacon bits and bacon grease. But this gets a bit meat heavy for my taste, so I usually opt for just smoked sausage or pork knuckle, and I leave out the bacon altogether.
If you order raspeballer at a restaurant, you’ll get something more like this:
I was quite surprised to learn that raspeballer are often disliked by foreigners, putting them in the same category as lutefisk and brown cheese. Raspeballer might not be fancy, but I think they’re delicious. They’re a bit similar to knödel, popular in Central and Eastern European cuisine.
Raspeballer are also quite easy to make. Probably the most time consuming part of making raspeballer is peeling and grating all the potatoes, but otherwise they’re easy to whip up. The pork knuckle will take a few hours to cook, but if you’re pressed for time you can always opt for smoked sausage instead, which you can heat up in the same pot with the raspeballer.
Raspe is Norwegian for grate, but you can also run the potatoes through a food processor if you don’t want to grate them all.
Raspeballer come in many different sizes. I make mine on the smaller side, but you can also make them as big as your fist and then serve a single raspeball with a meal.
I can’t imagine eating raspeballer without mashed rutabaga, but if you don’t like rutabaga you could just mash carrots, or serve a different vegetable on the side.
If you’re making pork knuckle, you can cook the raspeballer in the broth from the pork knuckle after the meat is done cooking. Otherwise you can cook them in beef or vegetable broth. And then if you’re serving smoked sausage, you can heat up the sausage directly in the broth while the raspeballer are cooking. I also like to save the broth to serve over the raspeballer and mashed vegetables.
You can switch the recipe from US measurements to metric by clicking from “US Customary” to “Metric” under Ingredients.
Raspeballer (Norwegian Potato Dumplings)
- grater or food processor
- potato ricer or masher
- 1 pork knuckle (optional)
- 1 smoked sausage (optional)
- 2/3 lb boiled potatoes
- 1 and 2/3 lb raw red potatoes
- 1 and 1/4 cups barley flour
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 and 1/2 cups vegetable or beef stock or 4 bouillon cubes (or broth from pork knuckle)
- fresh parsley
- 1 rutabaga
- 2 carrots (optional)
- 1/4 cup cream or milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp nutmeg
Raspeballer & (Optional) Salted Meat
- If you're making pork knuckle, cook it in simmering water for about 3 hours, until the meat falls from the bone. Remove the pork and save the broth to cook the raspeballer.
- Boil the boiled potatoes and peel once cooled. Also peel the raw potatoes, and then grate them or run them through a food processor. Use a paper towel to remove some of the moisture from the grated potatoes.
- Mash the boiled potatoes in a potato ricer or with a masher. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the grated raw potatoes to the mashed potatoes in a large mixing bowl and stir together. Add the barley flour, all purpose flour, and salt and mix together with your hands until the mixture is fully blended.
- You can cook the raspeballer in either vegetable or beef broth, or if you're making pork knuckle, cook them in the broth from the pork knuckle. Bring the broth to a very light simmer – you don't want it to fully boil because then the raspeballer might break apart.
- Use a tablespoon dipped in cold water to shape each raspeball in your hand. Try to make them as smooth as possible and then gently drop them into the simmering broth. Dip the tablespoon in a bowl of cold water between each raspeball.
- Let the raspeballer simmer for about 30 minutes. If you're making smoked sausage, you can heat the sausage in the same pot with the raspeballer. Top with fresh chopped parsley.
- Peel the rutabaga and carrots and cut into small pieces. Boil in water for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Then drain the water, add the cream/milk, butter and nutmeg and mash until smooth.
- Serve alongside the raspeballer and meat.