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Swedish Meatballs

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posted: 02/21/21

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Swedish Meatballs are the best comfort food. Delicious little meatballs in an easy creamy gravy will win over everyone’s hearts.

overhead of a pan of swedish meatballs in sauce garnished with parsley

These delicious Swedish Meatballs take their base formula from my grandmother’s Italian Meatball recipe. From there they get all the flavors of a great Swedish Meatball recipe.

Traditionally, Swedish Meatballs are served with lingonberry preserves. Americans have spun this recipe into a dish served with a thick and rich sour cream based gravy. That is the version you are getting here, and it is nothing short of delicious and comforting. Pan fried in butter with the perfect combination of ingredients leaves you with a meatball that is crisp on the outside and tender and flavorful on the inside.

Swedish Meatball Ingredients

Ground Meat: We are using a combination of ground beef and ground pork in this recipe. The combo works great in meatballs and meatloaf, giving you the best of both worlds and a deep flavor.

White Bread: Just like in grandma’s recipe we are soaking bread in water. This method brings a great moisture to a meatball recipe, while also working as a glue.

Eggs: These provide additional binding to hold the meatballs together.

Breadcrumbs: Plain, unseasoned, breadcrumbs provide great structure and help us form meatballs into their sphere shape.

Onion: Make sure to dice the onions fine. There is nothing worse than a chunk of onion in a meatball.

Garlic: A little garlic adds a great layer of flavor to these meatballs.

Spices: Just a few spices round out these meatballs and give them their signature flavor.

overhead picture of a bowl of ingredients for Swedish meatballs

How to Make Swedish Meatballs

  1. Soak the Bread: The first step in this recipe is soaking the bread in water.
  2. Form the Meatballs: After you ring out your bread, combine it with the other ingredients listed above, and form them into meatballs. I like to use a cookie scoop to make my meatballs so they are uniform in size.
  3. Fry Meatballs: Working in batches, brown the meatballs in melted butter. They will take roughly 10 minutes to cook through over medium heat.
  4. Make Gravy: After you have cooked all of the meatballs, in a clean skillet, melt butter, make a roux, and add in beef stock to make the Swedish meatball sauce. Finally, stir in sour cream if desired.
overhead photo of a baking dish full of Swedish meatballs

Pork and Ground Beef Combination

You will notice that we are using a combination of ground beef and ground pork in this recipe. Using both brings the perfect ratio of fat and meat while providing a deep flavor to the meatball.

How to Serve Swedish Meatballs

Traditionally Swedish Meatballs are served with lingonberry preserves and Swedish pickled cucumbers. A lot of us have come to love IKEA Swedish Meatballs served in a gravy. In this recipe we are using sour cream to make the gravy creamier. While not the traditional Swedish Meatball way, it is absolutely delicious.

Swedish Meatballs are often enjoyed over egg noodles. You could also serve these with mashed potatoes or boiled red potatoes.

side view of a pan of easy Swedish meatballs

Make Ahead

You can make Swedish Meatballs ahead of time. Pan fry them and complete the recipe through step 3. The meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator overnight to eat the next day or they can be frozen.

If freezing, freeze the meatballs in a single layer. Transfer the to an air tight container and store for three weeks.

When you are ready to eat, thaw the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight. Then continue the recipe from step 4, heating the refrigerated meatballs in the gravy.

close up of a spoon dishing up a Swedish meatball out of a pan

Other Comfort Food Recipes

Looking for more flavors of childhood that are comforting? Try some of these.

If you make these Easy Swedish Meatballs or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

overhead of a pan of swedish meatballs in sauce garnished with parsley
0 from 0 votes

Swedish Meatballs

Serves: 32 Meatballs
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Swedish Meatballs are the best comfort food. Delicious little meatballs in an easy creamy gravy will win over everyone's hearts.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices white bread (approximately 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small yellow onion diced fine
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 6 tablespoons butter divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock (or beef broth)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional – only use full fat)

Instructions

  • Add the bread to a bowl and cover with cold water. Let it soak for five minutes. At the end of the five mintues, drain as much water from the bread as possible, squeezing the water out with your hands before transfering the wet bread to a large clean bowl. Break up the bread into small pieces.
  • Add the ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, egg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice to the wet bread mixture. Mix together and using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop form meatballs.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over meadium heat. Brown the meatballs in batches, cooking until they are browned on the outside and cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes flipping once in betwee. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Working with a clean frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Cook until the roux is a light brown color. Slowly whisk in the beef, starting with a few tablespoons at a time, adding more as it is absorbed, and then gradully adding it faster. Bring it to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Taste the gravy and add salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the sour cream if you are using it. Return the meatballs to the gravy to heat through.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Swedish
overhead of a pan of swedish meatballs in sauce garnished with parsley

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Swedish Meatballs

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Suzi Rems says

    Hi Lisa,
    I had previously sent you a photo of your Turkey Tettrazini that
    we made with our leftover Christmas Turkey…..you sent me a very kind
    reply.
    I have a suggestion to you for both this Swedish meatball AND your Beef Stroganoff recipes….both made very similarly as yours.
    However..I have a SECRET ingredient that I add to both…and both of my grown sons are “addicted” to the Swedish Meatballs.
    And that secret ingredient is……”a generous splash of brewed coffee”
    A splash in the meat mixture before making into the balls..then a small splash in the broth/roux sauce…..
    For the Beef Stroganoff..I put a splash of brewed coffee in the Stroganoff sauce…
    You would never know it is in there…just adds an amazing Special “taste” to each recipe..(only my Two Daughters-in Law know this!!!!)

    • Lisa Longley says

      I feel so honored to be let in on this secret! Thank you, Suzi!

  2. Margaret O’Brien says

    Hi Lisa. Recipe looks yummy. Thank you. After soaking bread, do you break it up into pieces before adding other ingredients?

    • Lisa Longley says

      This is such a good question, Margaret. Thank you for asking this. You do break it up, and I’ve edited the recipe to make it more clear.

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