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Russian Meatballs Recipe for Tefteli – Meet the Juiciest Meatballs Ever. Best Sunday dinner ideas. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.
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5 from 1 vote

Russian Meatballs Recipe for Tefteli – Juicy Beef, Pork and Rice Meatballs in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

This Russian meatballs recipe for tefteli makes the juiciest meatballs you’ll ever taste. Made with ground beef and pork, grated carrot, and cooked rice, the meatballs are coated in flour, fried until brown to lock in their juices, and simmered in a rich, creamy tomato sauce to finish cooking and soak up even more flavour. Serve with mashed potatoes for a truly comforting meal.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Russian
Servings: 4
Calories: 864kcal
Author: Lara Dunston


  • 1 cup jasmine rice steamed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g brown onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 400 g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 250 g ground pork
  • 250 g ground beef
  • 150 g carrot grated
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 100 g plain flour or as needed
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 100 ml cooking cream
  • 10 g fresh dill roughly chopped


  • The day before you make the meatballs, steam the rice in a rice cooker, then once it has cooled down, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
  • In a small, deep frying pan over medium heat, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and fry the finely diced onion until soft, then add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Divide the fried onion and garlic in half; transfer half to the large, deep frying pan or skillet, in which you’ll make the sauce, and half to a mixing bowl to make the meatball mixture.
  • First make the tomato sauce: to the large deep fry pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil and heat, then return the fried onions to the pan, empty a can of crushed tomatoes into the pan, add a teaspoon of tomato paste, a teaspoon of sea salt, a teaspoon of white pepper, sugar, a teaspoon of paprika, and stir to combine.
  • When the tomato sauce begins to bubble and splutter, turn the heat down to low to simmer and allow the sauce to reduce.
  • Next make the meatballs: to the mixing bowl with the fried onion and garlic, add the ground pork and ground beef, cooked rice, grated carrot, egg, a teaspoon of sea salt, a teaspoon of white pepper, a teaspoon of paprika, and allspice, and use a spoon or spatula to combine just until everything is incorporated; don’t over-mix.
  • Scoop out half a teaspoon of mixture and either pop it on a small dish in the microwave for a minute or fry it in a little oil, then taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, adding more salt, pepper or spices to suit your palate.
  • Sift some plain flour onto a small plate and over a large tray and place a small square of oven paper onto your digital kitchen scales.
  • Using a tablespoon and digital kitchen scales, scoop out a spoonful of minced meat mixture, aiming for around 38-40 g, then roll it a few times between two hands to form a round meatball, roll it in the flour, and place it on the large tray. Don’t over-roll as you want the mixture loose to produce a more rustic meatball rather than a tight ball. Repeat until you’ve used all the mixture and have a tray of meatballs. (Should make around 20.)
  • To the small deep frying pan over high heat, heat the vegetable oil until hot, then, using long tongs, transfer 5-6 meatballs to the pan, ensuring they’re not touching. Fry until brown, using the tongs to rotate the meatballs a few times so that they’re evenly coloured, then transfer them directly to the pan with tomato sauce.
  • Continue to fry the meatballs in batches until all are in the pan, add 100 ml cooking cream to the tomato sauce, stir to combine, then simmer the meatballs on low for 15 minutes so that they soak up the flavours.
  • Serve atop mashed potatoes, garnished with fresh fragrant dill, with a crisp Russian garden salad and plate of dill pickles.


Calories: 864kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 1440mg | Potassium: 1037mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 7622IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 6mg