Swedish Meatballs made with juicy, perfectly seasoned ground beef and pork meatballs smothered in a rich, creamy, savory gravy. Packed with delicious flavor, this homemade version of everyone’s favorite Ikea meatballs is comfort food at its best and loved by the whole family.
The Best Swedish Meatballs Recipe
Juicy little meatballs swimming in a thick and creamy gravy served over mashed potatoes with a side of sweet and tart lingonberry jam; if you’ve been to Ikea, then chances are you’ve at least heard of their famous Swedish meatballs. Now you can make these beloved meatballs at home. One of my favorite meatball recipes, this Swedish meatball recipe is the very definition of comfort food. Super easy to make, it makes a perfect weeknight dinner the whole family will love. Enjoy with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and your favorite roasted greens like asparagus or green beans.
What are Swedish Meatballs?
Known as köttbullar in Sweden, Swedish meatballs here in America typically bring one thing to mind – IKEA! Venture to Sweden or other Scandinavian countries, however, and you’ll find a wide variety of köttbullar, including recipes made with creamy white sauce, a cheese sauce, or even a wine-based sauce.
How to Make Swedish Meatballs
1. Combine the ground beef, ground pork, (plain, unseasoned) breadcrumbs, milk, dried onions, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ground nutmeg, and ground allspice in a large mixing bowl. Mix until just combined.
2. Form 2-inch meatballs from the meatball mixture and set them aside on a sheet pan.
3. Next, heat a large skillet with approximately 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and fry the meatballs in batches until they begin to brown on each side. (They won’t be cooked all the way through at this point, we just want to get a nice color on them for now.)
4. Transfer the browned meatballs to a clean plate and repeat the cooking process with the remaining meatballs, transferring them to the same plate after cooking.
5. To make the Swedish meatball sauce, reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter in the same skillet that was used for cooking the meatballs. Once the butter has melted, add the flour to the butter and whisk continuously for 3-4 minutes until golden. This is your roux. The roux helps thicken sauces.
6. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and salt and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring until thickened. Once thickened, add the half-and-half and sour cream and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.
7. Nestle the meatballs into the creamy sauce, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until the meatballs register 160 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a digital meat thermometer.
8. Serve over creamy mashed potatoes and garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
Sauce for Swedish Meatballs
The creamy sauce for Swedish meatballs is made from the pan drippings left behind after cooking the meatballs and melted butter combined with flour to create a thick roux. Beef stock is added to thin the roux, while half-and-half (or heavy cream) and sour cream are added to add creaminess. The result is the most mouth-watering and flavorful gravy. Note that the pan drippings are crucial to making the best-tasting Swedish meatball gravy.
What to Serve with Swedish Meatballs
The best thing to serve with Swedish meatballs is mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are the best side dish for soaking up creamy gravy, and this recipe is no exception. Alternatives include egg noodles or pasta or thick, freshly baked bread. Other popular sides include a vinegary cucumber salad and lingonberry jam. The cucumbers help cut through the dish’s creaminess, while the lingonberry sauce, both sweet and tangy, adds balance.
More Delicious Meatball Recipes
- Porcupine Meatballs
- Meatball Recipe
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)
- Cranberry Meatballs
If you try making this Swedish Meatball Recipe, please leave me a comment below! I always love to read your thoughts and feedback!
Swedish Meatball Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon milk - at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onions
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- oil for cooking
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup half-and-half - at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream - at room temperature
- Add the ground beef, pork, breadcrumbs, milk, dried onions, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and allspice to a large bowl. Mix until just combined (overworking/mixing may result in less juicy meatballs).
- Form 2-inch meatballs from the meat mixture and set them aside on a large tray.
- Heat a large skillet with oil (approximately 2-3 tablespoons) over medium-high heat. Add as many meatballs to the skillet that will fit comfortably without crowding. Fry the meatballs until they begin the brown on each side. (They won’t be cooked all the way through at this point, we just want to get a nice color on them for now.)
- Transfer the browned meatballs to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs until all the meatballs have been browned on each side. Add additional oil to the pan as needed.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter (with the pan drippings) over medium heat in the same skillet that was used to brown the meatballs. Once melted, add the flour to the butter whisking well to combine. Whisk continuously for 3-5 minutes or until it has a nice golden color.
- Pour in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and salt, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring continuously until thickened. Then add the half-and-half and sour cream and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.
- Nestle the meatballs into the sauce, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Served with mashed potatoes and garnished with fresh parsley if desired.
- Traditional Swedish meatballs are made with a mix of ground beef and ground pork, but feel free to use just one or the other if that’s what you have available.
- Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezing: I recommend freezing the browned meatballs separately without the sauce. Place the cooled, browned meatballs on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours before transferring them to a freezer-friendly ziplock bag or container in the freezer for up to 4 months. I do not recommend freezing the Swedish meatball sauce. It contains both half-and-half and sour cream, which often separate after thawing.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
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