These Homemade Swedish Meatballs are bite size balls of beef and pork smothered in a rich creamy gravy. Serve them as an appetizer or over mashed potatoes for a comforting and belly warming meal.
An Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe
Everybody knows that the best part of visiting Ikea is getting your hands on their infamous Swedish meatballs. I mean, it’s definitely not assembling the furniture – you basically need an engineering degree for that nonsense.
Well, I’ve been craving those little meatballs of joy lately – but definitely not craving the furniture assembly that goes along with the meatballs. So, I decided to make my own at home.
I don’t like to toot my own horn, but – toot, toot! These are spot on and so, so good!
What Makes Meatballs Swedish?
What if I told you Swedish meatballs aren’t even from Sweden? That’s right, they’re from Turkey. Mind. Blown.
If you’re trying to differentiate Swedish meatballs from Italian meatballs, here’s a crash course:
- Swedish meatballs are smaller than Italian meatballs.
- Swedish meatballs are smothered in brown gravy rather than tomato sauce.
- Italian meatballs use herbs like basil and parsley while Swedish meatballs have all-spice and nutmeg.
- Swedish meatballs are usually made of ground pork and ground beef.
Swedish Meatball Ingredients
To make Swedish meatballs, you’ll use a ground meat mix, bread, eggs, and spices. But, Swedish meatballs have some different spices than you may expect if you’ve only ever had Italian meatballs.
Here’s what you’ll need for the meatballs:
- cubed fresh bread
- yellow onion
- garlic cloves
- ground beef
- ground pork
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- ground allspice
- ground nutmeg
- olive oil
This is what you’ll need for the sauce:
- all-purpose flour
- low sodium beef broth
- heavy cream
- Dijon mustard
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
How to Make Swedish Meatballs
- Soak: Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Pour the milk over bread cubes and let them sit for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed all the milk.
- Shred: Using two forks, shred the bread into tiny pieces.
- Add: To the bread mixture add the grated onions, egg, garlic, beef, pork, salt, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg.
- Mix: Mix everything together until well combined. It’s best to use your hands to mix it all together.
- Chill: At this point, you can chill the mixture for 15 to 30 minutes so it’s easier to roll out the meatballs. This is not a must, but it does help.
- Roll: Form the mixture into about 24 meatballs. The mixture will be wet.
- Prep: Set a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Brown: Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes for each batch, depending on the size of the meatballs. Use a spoon to turn them over. Turn them over gently so they don’t break apart.
- Transfer and cover: Transfer the cooked meatballs to a plate and cover them with foil.
To make the sauce:
- Melt: Add 3 tablespoons butter to the pan and melt over medium heat.
- Whisk: Whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk until it’s dissolved and brown. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add: Slowly pour in the broth and whisk. The broth will sputter and seize up a bit, but just keep stirring and the sauce will eventually loosen up.
- Add the cream while continuously whisking.
- Simmer: Whisk in dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook until thickened and smooth.
- Stir: Stir to combine the flavors.
- Add meatballs: Return the meatballs to the pan. Cook them on low heat just to warm them through.
- Serve: Remove them from heat and serve
If I take the time to make meatballs, I really want to enjoy them. For me, that means I’m going to make a meal out of it. I serve my Swedish meatballs over mashed potatoes or egg noodles and throw a nice green veggie like Brussels sprouts or sauteed green beans on the side. They’re also great over zoodles or cauliflower mash if you want to cut down on the carbs.
Have you tried them on a sandwich? I know, when you think meatball sandwich, you think big Italian meatballs topped with tomato sauce and Parmigiana cheese. But stay with me here – why not Swedish meatballs on a big crusty roll topped with the brown sauce and a melted slice of provolone cheese? 🤷♀️
And, of course, for a classic appetizer, just add toothpicks to each meatball and serve.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- To store my leftover Swedish meatballs, I let them come to room temperature. Then, I transfer them to an airtight container. I spoon the sauce over the meatballs and refrigerate them for 3-5 days.
- If I choose to freeze them, I confirm that my airtight container is also freezer safe, then I freeze them for up to 3 months. They make a really nice grab and heat freezer meal for busy families.
- To reheat, I pour the contents of the container, meatballs and sauce, into a skillet and heat over low until the meatballs are warm inside.
For the Meatballs
- 2 cups cubed fresh bread, use fresh sliced bread, remove crusts
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 small yellow onion, grated
- 1 large egg
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Place bread cubes in a large mixing bowl; pour milk over bread cubes and let sit for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed all the milk.
- Using two forks, shred the bread into tiny pieces.
- To the bread mixture add grated onions, egg, garlic, beef, pork, salt, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg.
- Mix everything together until well combined. It’s best to use your hands to mix it all together.
- At this point, you can chill the mixture for 15 to 30 minutes so it’s easier to roll out the meatballs. This is not a must, but it does help.
- Form the mixture into about 24 meatballs. Mixture will be wet.
- Set a large frying pan over medium-high heat; heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides; this should take about 5 to 6 minutes for each batch, depending on the size of the meatballs. Use a spoon to turn them over; turn over gently so they don’t break apart.
- Transfer cooked meatballs to a plate and cover with foil.
Make the sauce:
- Add 3 tablespoons butter to the pan and melt over medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour; continue to whisk until dissolved and brown, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the broth and whisk; the broth will sputter and seize up a bit, but just keep stirring and the sauce will eventually loosen up.
- Add the cream while continuously whisking. Don't stop whisking because the heavy cream will curdle.
- Whisk in Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper; bring mixture to a simmer and continue to cook until thickened and smooth.
- Stir to combine the flavors.
- Return meatballs to the pan; cook on low heat just to warm through and gravy to thicken, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve over mashed potatoes or noodles.
- Or, add toothpicks to each meatball and serve as an appetizer.