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What Is a Beef Fritter?

By Rachael Cullins
Updated May 16, 2024
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A beef fritter is a fried patty with beef as the primary ingredient, binding ingredients in the batter, and breading on the outside. There are numerous variations on the beef fritter with many different kinds of beef and vegetable additions available. They are relatively simple to prepare and can be cooked either in a skillet or a deep-fryer.

The most basic recipe calls for mixing bread crumbs and stew beef to form patties and then either pan-frying or deep-frying the mixture until browned. If a deep fryer is used, the mixture can be rolled into balls instead of patties. Adding salt, pepper, onions, and garlic to the batter can help enhance the flavor of the fritters. The exact origins of the beef fritter are unknown, but a version of this simple recipe can be found in the U.S. War Department's 1910 Manual for Army Cooks.

Many other recipes for beef fritters exist. For a tastier fritter, corned beef or slivers or roast beef can be used in the batter. Coating the outside of the seasoned beef with a combination of eggs and flour makes an easy, effective batter for pan-frying. Vegetable chunks can be mixed with the meat to give the fritters enhanced flavor and color. Chopped red or green peppers are a popular addition.

Beef fritters can be prepared in an oiled skillet or a deep-fryer. To prepare a fritter using a skillet, heat at least enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of a skillet set to medium-high heat and fry fritters on each side until golden brown. Each side will take three to five minutes. In a deep fryer, the fritters will take approximately five minutes to cook.

Small beef fritters are often served with some sort of dipping sauce. The flavor of the beef and the breading pairs well with many different types of sauces. A marinara-based sauce and a spicy sauce both go well with a beef fritter. The fritters make good appetizers and can be served with a variety of different sauces for guests.

Different types of meat can be substituted for beef when preparing fritters. Pork, sausage, or chicken fritters can be made in much the same way as a beef fritter. For a vegetarian option, swap out meat for corn, beans, or artichokes. Various processed, packaged fritters are available in the frozen foods section of most supermarkets.

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Discussion Comments
By fBoyle — On Jul 11, 2014

Beef fritters make a great appetizer or h'ordeuvres. It can make a meal on its own too. The ones served as appetizers are usually round and served with some type of sauce. Whereas the ones made as a meal tend to be larger and more filling with side dishes. Some people even make vegetarian or vegan versions by substituting veggies or tofu for the beef.

Beef fritters remind me of a Middle Eastern food that's basically a large fried bulgur wheat ball with a ground beef filling. There is a similar fried fritter in India made with mashed potato on the outside and ground beef on the inside.

By stoneMason — On Jul 10, 2014

@SteamLouis-- Well, beef fritters are usually deep fried. And they are larger and flatter than meatballs. And they usually have less meat than meatballs and more of other ingredients like flour or breadcrumbs. Of course, this depends on the recipe a well.

The kind I'm used to having is not very meaty and it is deep fried. It's served with gravy, mashed potatoes and veggies in my household. It's not the healthiest food out there, but it's very delicious.

By SteamLouis — On Jul 10, 2014

I don't think I've ever had a beef fritter. But the recipe sounds similar to meatballs, except that meatballs are not deep fried. But round beef fritters cooked on a skillet could pass as meatballs!

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