Latvian rissoles (Kotletes)

Latvian meatballs on a black cast iron pan with bowls of boiled potato and cucumber salad

There is one thing that always puzzles me: why do Australians eat sandwiches for lunch? To me, a sandwich is either a breakfast item (just simple cheese or ham and butter on rye) or an afternoon snack to tide me over until dinner (polony on white bread with mayo, anyone?). Therefore, lunch and dinner more often than not consist of a cooked meal, usually involving some form of starch, meat, and vegetables. So, let me present to you a quintessential Latvian lunch dish: meatballs (rissoles) served with potatoes and green salad.

This recipe for rissoles comes from my vecmamma, and, as far as I am concerned, they are the best rissoles ever. Her secret to deliciousness is hand-minced pork loin, a dash of sour cream, and lots of garlic cooking in the same pan.

As with most things in Latvian cooking, pretty much every family has a different recipe for kotletes. Some add fried onions, raw minced onions, soaked oats, or crumb the balls before frying. I have tried all of these variations and always come back to the recipe below. These patties are great with potatoes and salad, where the buttermilk and cream act as a sauce, while cold leftover rissoles are delicious on white bread with butter (though I rarely have leftover meatballs in my house; the kids love them so much). If you’d like to add a bit of zing to your lunch, serve kotletes with potatoes and Latgales salāti.

Update 2024

Based on discussions among the members of the Latvian Favourite Foods Facebook group, here are the most popular variations and additions to kotletes:

  • Use half beef, half pork, or 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork
  • Add finely chopped onion
  • Add finely chopped sautéed onion and bacon
  • Instead of adding soaked crust-free bread or breadcrumbs, add grated potato or oatmeal flakes
  • Add a pinch of nutmeg, ground cloves, caraway, garlic, or parsley
  • Roll kotletes in flour or breadcrumbs before frying
  • Fry in lard instead of oil
Latvian kotletes (rissoles) on a white plate with potatoes and salad

Kotletes (Latvian rissoles)


  • 500 g pork mince (1 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg lightly whisked
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • Mix pork, breadcrumbs, egg, sour cream, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Roll the mince mixture into balls, using around 2 tablespoons of mince mixture for each ball.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat, add rissoles and slightly flatten them with a spatula (or a hand if you are brave enough).
  • Brown each side of the rissole, then cover the pan with the lid. Reduce the heat and let them cook for around 5-7 minutes or until cooked through.






  1. Harry
    May 8, 2015

    I’ve seen turkey kotletes with a carrot sauce in Lido and was wondering how to make that carrot sauce. Anyone have that recipe?

    1. Liva
      May 15, 2015

      I am not sure what sauce they use, but I will be in Latvia in July and I will report what I find out

  2. […] 4. Kotletes (Latvian Meatballs) […]

  3. Alex
    August 29, 2021

    My Gramma always made kotletes with mushroom gravy

  4. […] people question the cost of their meal. “People seem to wonder why my kotletes cost 1.50 euros. They say they can buy 300 grammes of meat for that. So I tell them – no problem, […]


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