Swedish Meatballs Recipe
This Swedish Meatballs recipe features deliciously seasoned homemade meatballs swimming in a creamy Swedish meatball sauce. My favorite way to enjoy this meal is served a top a bed of cooked egg noodles.
This recipe can be served with buttery parsley potatoes, roasted frozen cauliflower, homemade dinner rolls, or rocket and pear salad. For another delicious homemade meatballs recipe, try my turkey spinach meatballs!
Why This Recipe Works
- Made with two different meat varieties. These Swedish meatballs are made with a mixture of meats: beef and pork. Using two different types of meat in the meatballs gives a diversity of flavor and texture.
- Special spices give the iconic Swedish meatball flavor. To provide that delicious Swedish meatball flavor, the key is to use nutmeg and allspice!
- Plenty of delicious leftovers! This recipe makes quite a bit, about 45 meatballs to be exact. When I make this meal for my family of 4, we are able to eat this for 3 separate meals. If you have a small family, or if you’re only feeding yourself and say 1 other person, you could get away with freezing these Swedish meatballs to enjoy at a later time. (Freezing directions below.)
- A Swedish meatball sauce without cream. We love love LOVE the creamy sauce! This recipe gets a deliciously creamy sauce without using any heavy cream. With a bit of milk and some sour cream, the sauce it tasty and creamy! Plus, I wanted to make sure this recipe had enough sauce so that there’s plenty to drizzle over the noodles (if that how you choose to eat this dish). And I’m happy to report, there’s lots of sauce … just how I like it. 🙂
- Better than IKEA. The IKEA Swedish meatballs recipe has nothing on this homemade Swedish meatballs recipe! With added flavor from the spices (we use thyme, nutmeg, allspice, garlic and shallots), plus the added tart from the sour cream, the meatballs and cream sauce taste so much better than what you can get at IDEA — and you can make it right at home!
- Eggs and Egg Yolks: The eggs act as a binding agent for the meatballs. It helps hold the meat together so the balls don’t fall apart while you are cooking them.
- Breadcrumbs: Like eggs, the breadcrumbs also help as a binding agent. However, there is another important role for the breadcrumbs. Using breadcrumbs helps keep the meatballs moist because the juices from the meat absorb into the breadcrumbs, trapping the juices inside the meatballs.
- Flour: Using flour and butter as a base for the Swedish meatballs sauce helps provide a thickening base for the sauce.
- Sour Cream: Other than adding an important creamy element to the sauce, the sour cream also adds a depth of flavor complexity thanks to the tart/sour flavor from the sour cream. It pairs nicely with the seasonings and the meat.
- Make the meatballs. Combine together the 2 meats (ground beef and ground pork), Panko crumbs, milk, egg and egg yolks, shallot, minced garlic, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Roll into balls. Portion mixture into 1-inch-sized meatballs.
- Brown the meatballs in a skillet. Heat a large pot or high sided skillet over medium heat. Add the oil to the skillet. Once the oil is warm add the meatballs to the skillet. I work in batches when browning the meatballs because not all meatballs will fit in the skillet.
- Brown all sides of the meatballs; this will take about 5-6 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned meatballs to a paper towel lined plate. Note: You might need to add more oil between batches. You won’t need a lot more. I think I added an extra teaspoon or two after I completed each batch.
- Make the creamy Swedish meatballs sauce. In the now empty skillet or pot, add the butter (still over medium heat). Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Next, slowly whisk in the beef broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the meatballs back into the sauce.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let the meatballs continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink inside. If using a digital instant read thermometer, the inside of the meatballs should read 160°F.
- Remove the meatballs. Once the meatballs are finished cooking, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the sauce. I place the meatballs in a large bowl, nothing fancy.
- Boil the sauce (without the meatballs in it) for about 4-5 minutes or until slightly reduced. Whisk the sour cream into the sauce. Transfer the meatballs back to the sauce.
- Serve over cooked egg noodles or rice, or enjoy them plain!
I find the best results if I combine the meatball mixture with my hands. It helps the ingredients incorporate into each other better, making the flavor permeate the entire meatball.
Use a cookie scoop to make forming the meatballs a lot easier! It will save a lot of time and guess work.
For a lower carb option, use almond meal instead of breadcrumbs. You can also use low fat sour cream instead of full fat and ground turkey instead of ground beef if you are looking to make the dish a bit healthier.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
You can make this Swedish meatballs recipe ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days prior to eating. Reheat on the stove until warmed through. Eat within 3-4 days for freshness.
To freeze, place the cooked meatballs and sauce in a freezer safe airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, let the meatballs and sauce thaw in the refrigerator. Place in a pot on the stove to warm up.
You can freeze the meatballs before or after cooking. If you want to freeze them before cooking, flash freeze the balls side-by-side on a cookie sheet until solid, then transfer to a Ziplock bag to store in the freezer. Store for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Yes! You can freeze these homemade Swedish meatballs before or after cooking them. It’s an easy meal to make and freeze to eat later. To freeze uncooked meatballs, flash freeze on a baking sheet until the meatballs are solid. Then store in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. Freeze cooked meatballs in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. Meatballs will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Traditional meatballs are attributed to Italian cuisine. They are usually bigger and have more of a garlic and parmesan flavor. Whereas Swedish meatballs, made popular by IKEA, are a tiny bit smaller and have nutmeg, allspice and are made of a 50-50 ratio of pork to ground beef. Traditional Swedish meatballs are served in a delicious gravy sauce or with Swedish lingonberry jam.
Yes! My brother lived in Sweden for a few years and reported that they do in fact have Swedish meatballs over there. He brought home a jar of lingonberry jam and made some meatballs for us!
Yes you can. If you are wanting to cut out the homemade meatballs step, this Swedish meatballs sauce recipe can be used with store-bought meatballs. I promise you that you will love this homemade meatballs recipe though! So I hope you give it a try 🙂
More Meatballs Recipes
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- BBQ Pineapple Meatballs
- Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Chutney
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 medium/small shallot - diced
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil - (canola, vegetable oil) maybe need more than 2 T. You use this when browning the meatballs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 cups beef broth - I use reduced sodium
- 2/3 cup sour cream - I use full fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley - for garnish
- In a large bowl combine the beef, pork, panko, milk, egg and yolks, shallot, garlic, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Use a spoon or fork to mix everything together until combined. Using clean hands, portion the mixture into 1 inch sized balls, making about 45 balls total (give or take a few).
- In a large Dutch oven, or high sided skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches, add some of the meatballs to the pot, cook until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate.
- In the now empty Dutch oven, add the butter, once melted whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Next, slowly whisk in the beef broth. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Once simmering return the meatballs to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover, and let the meatballs continue cooking for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink inside.
- Once the meatballs have finished cooking, use a slotted spoon to remove the meatballs from the sauce (I place them in a large bowl). Boil the sauce for about 4-5 minutes or until slightly reduced.
- Whisk the sour cream into the sauce.
- Return the meatballs to the sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve over cooked egg noodles.
This recipe was originally published on Feb. 4, 2020. It was republished on Jan. 3, 2022, to include additional information and photos.