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The Very Best Swedish Meatballs

May 4, 2020 (Last Updated: May 14, 2020)

Ahh, Swedish meatballs! The highlight of every IKEA trip! Tender, creamy, deliciously spiced and so heartwarming! Served over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes, this recipe is perfect 10 comfort food and, dare I say, tops IKEA’s recipe any day.

Swedish meatballs in a silver bowl on a lace tablecloth.

It’s taken a long time to master this recipe. I find most recipes either deliver bland, flavorless meatballs or a gravy that’s underwhelming. I’ve perfected both to impress even the pickiest meatball connoisseur. This recipe also makes enough for 6 people, so you’ll have plenty to go around!

When it comes to serving them, I personally prefer them on top of baked mashed potatoes, or even mushroom risotto! Oh, it’s just the perfect cozy, chilly night dinner!

A closeup of one Swedish meatball on a fork..

A Few Common Questions:

1. Is this a traditional recipe?

To be honest, after some research, I had a hard time finding what a “traditional” Swedish meatball recipe was. Spices vary greatly from one to the next, and some have no spices except salt and pepper. This recipe from visitsweden.com, referred to as a “traditional recipe,” has soy sauce as an ingredient – not a very traditional Swedish ingredient, I’d say.

So it’s unclear what exactly makes a perfectly traditional Swedish meatball, but if you want to serve them in a traditional manner, include a little lingonberry sauce on the side.

2. How long will they stay fresh in the fridge?

They’ll be perfectly tasty for 3-5 days if kept in a sealed container and refrigerated.

3. Can I freeze Swedish meatballs?

You can, but the sauce will change consistency a bit once thawed. To thaw, remove from freezer and place in a refrigerator for 8-10 hours before reheating.

4. How do I reheat Swedish meatballs?

They’re best served right away, but if you’re making them ahead of time, here’s how to reheat them:

  • If using a microwave, place them in a pyrex dish or bowl, cover with paper towel, and heat for 3 minutes.
  • If using a conventional oven, place them in a pyrex dish and cover with tinfoil. Bake at 375 F. for 20-25 minutes.

5. What do I need to make them?

  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Large skillet
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Paper towel-lined pyrex dish or bowl
  • Whisk or spatula

20 raw meatballs in a skillet.

Substitutions!

Feel free to make a number of substitutions if you don’t have every ingredient. The flavors will be slightly different, obviously, but just as tasty.

  • If you don’t have both beef and pork, use just beef.
  • If you don’t have Worchestershire sauce, add a tablespoon of soy sauce.
  • If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs, substitute any un-flavored breadcrumbs.
  • If you don’t have dijon mustard, you can use spicy brown mustard.
  • If you don’t have white onion, use red onion.
  • If you don’t have fresh parmesan, you can use pecorino romano, cheddar, gouda, manchego or gruyère.

How to Make Swedish Meatballs – Step by Step

To Make the Meatballs

A step by step process showing how to prepare and cook Swedish meatballs.

1. Finely dice ½ cup of white onion and mince 4 garlic cloves. Keep them separate.

2. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a skillet. Sauté onions for 3 minutes, then add garlic and sauté for another 2 – 3 minutes with the onions until brown.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked onions and garlic with 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground pork, ½ cup panko bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. allspice and 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan. Mix ingredients with a spoon or use hands until thoroughly mixed.

4. Form nice rounded tablespoon-size balls. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the skillet and place them evenly with a little space in between them. Turn on heat to MEDIUM and allow them to cook on one side for about 3 minutes.

A step by step process showing how to brown meatballs.

5. Gently flip them and let them sit for another 3 minutes. Then, rotate them for another 5-7 minutes, browning each side until cooked through.

6. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and place them in a paper towel-lined bowl or pyrex and set them aside while you make the gravy.

To Make the Gravy

A step by step process showing how to make Swedish meatball gravy.

1. Remove any fat from the skillet and wipe it down (or wash it). Add 2 oz. butter (½ stick) to the skillet and allow to melt completely over MEDIUM heat.

2. Use a spatula or whisk cup flour into the butter, and allow it to brown for about 2 minutes.

3. Pour in 3½ cups of beef broth, 1 cup at a time, whisking slowly. Bits of flour may clump up a bit, but as you add more broth, and break them apart, the sauce will smooth out. You can also use a spatula to help smooth it along.

4. Stir in ¾ cup sour cream, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. dijon mustard and ½ tsp. nutmeg. Allow to simmer and reduce until your desired thickness. Add meatballs to gravy and serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

A closeup of Swedish meatballs in a silver bowl on a lace tablecloth.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! And for more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

Swedish meatballs in a silver bowl on a lace tablecloth.
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5 from 1 vote

The Very Best Swedish Meatballs

Served over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes, this recipe is perfect 10 comfort food, and dare I say, tops IKEA’s recipe any day!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: Swedish Meatballs
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 660kcal

Equipment

  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • large skillet
  • Large mixing bowl
  • paper towel-lined pyrex dish or bowl
  • whisk or spatula

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ½ cup white onion - finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves - minced
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan - freshly grated 
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

For the Gravy

  • cups beef broth
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 oz. butter
  • cup flour
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg

Instructions

To Make the Meatballs

  • Finely dice ½ cup of white onion and mince 4 garlic cloves. Keep them separate. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a skillet. Sauté onions for 3 minutes, then add garlic and sauté for another 2 - 3 minutes with the onions until brown.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked onions and garlic with 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground pork, ½ cup panko bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. allspice and 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan. Mix ingredients with a spoon or use hands until thoroughly mixed. 
  • Form nice rounded tablespoon-size balls. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the skillet and place them evenly with a little space in between them. Turn on heat to MEDIUM and allow them to cook on one side for about 3 minutes. Gently flip them and let them sit for another 3 minutes. Then, rotate them for another 5-7 minutes, browning each side until cooked through.
  • Remove the meatballs from the skillet and place them in a paper towel-lined bowl or pyrex and set them aside while you make the gravy.

To Make the Gravy

  • Remove any fat from the skillet and wipe it down (or wash it). Add 2 oz. butter (½ stick) to the skillet and allow to melt completely over MEDIUM heat.
  • Use a spatula or whisk cup flour into the butter, and allow it to brown for about 2 minutes. Pour in 3½ cups of beef broth, 1 cup at a time, whisking slowly. Bits of flour may clump up a bit, but as you add more broth, and break them apart, the sauce will smooth out. You can also use a spatula to help smooth it along.
  • Stir in ¾ cup sour cream, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. dijon mustard and ½ tsp. nutmeg. Allow to simmer and reduce until your desired thickness. Add meatballs to gravy and serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

Notes

 
These meatballs will be perfectly tasty for 3-5 days if kept in a sealed container and refrigerated.
To Freeze & Thaw:
Swedish meatballs are best served right away, but they can be frozen. The sauce will, however, change consistency a bit once thawed. It’s best to freeze the meatballs and gravy separately. To thaw, remove from freezer and place in a refrigerator for 8-10 hours before reheating.
To Reheat:
If using a microwave, place them in a pyrex dish or bowl, cover with paper towel, and heat for 3 minutes. If using a conventional oven, place them in a pyrex dish and cover with tinfoil. Bake at 350 F. for 20-25 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 6meatballs with gravy | Calories: 660kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 1176mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 3mg

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