Swedish Meatballs

Homemade Swedish meatballs in creamy gravy are a classic comfort food. They are perfect over buttery egg noodles for a main course or mashed potatoes or served as appetizers with the Swedish meatball sauce.These are my riff on Ikea’s Swedish meatballs and I can confidently say that they are even better! These tender meatballs are flavored with warm spices, coated in gravy, and often served with lingonberries. You will love how easy they are to make and even make ahead and freeze. There are so many variations out there and rules about what spices should and shouldn’t be in them, too many if you ask me especially for meatballs that don’t even originate in Sweden (google it). My version is simple and quite delicious and the goal was to make homemade ones that taste even better than Ikea - mission accomplished! Enjoy!

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs Recipe Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • GROUND BEEF: I use lean ground beef for these meatballs as the ground pork adds a good amount of fat
  • GROUND PORK: Ground pork adds so much flavour to these meatballs - I don’t recommend replacing it but really and truly these meatballs can be made with any ground meat - ground turkey, ground chicken (for chicken or turkey meatballs) or all ground beef.
  • SHALLOT: The shallot or small onion adds moisture and flavour to the meatballs. I finley mince or grate it.
  • PANKO BREADCRUMBS: The panko bread crumbs act as a binding agent. Feel free to use panko or regular dried bread crumbs. I prefer to use unseasoned.
  • EGG: The egg also helps bind the meat mixture together.
  • MILK: I use whole milk and the milk adds moisture and richness to the meatballs and milk has a tenderizing affect on meat as well.
  • SPICES: We season these with salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, and ground ginger
  • HERBS: We used some fresh chopped parsley in these meatballs and also extra for garnish

For the Creamy Gravy Sauce

  • BUTTER: I use unsalted butter for the sauce so I can control the the salt in the dish.
  • FLOUR: I use all purpose flour in the sauce and it helps thicken the sauce. For gluten free version, you can use good gluten-free 1-1 all purpose flour or cornstarch.
  • BEEF BROTH: This adds flavour to the gravy and is essentially what the sauce is made of. Vegetable broth or chicken broth can also be used if preferred.
  • HEAVY CREAM: Heavy cream really makes this sauce nice and rich and creamy. Some people like to use sour cream instead but I prefer heavy cream.
  • SOY SAUCE & WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE: Both add tasty umami flavors in the cream sauce.
  • DIJON MUSTARD: Dijon mustard gives the sauce its distinctive taste.
  • SPICES: We seasoned the sauce with salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and allspice.

Swedish Meatballs Ingredients

How To Make Swedish Meatballs

  1. COMBINE all the meatball ingredients
  2. MIX the meat mixture until well combined
  3. ROLL and shape meatballs
  4. PAN FRY meatballs then set aside
  5. MAKE ROUX heat butter in same pan you cooked meatballs in (no need to wipe it clean) then whisk in the flour and spices
  6. WHISK in the broth and the flavourings
  7. SIMMER until thickened
  8. ADD meatballs to sauce and stir warming through
  9. SERVE with sauce over just about anything

Swedish Meatballs Directions

Swedish Meatballs Directions

How to Bake Meatballs

If you prefer to bake your meatballs over pan frying them - here is the oven option:

  1. Preheat your oven 375°F and spray your pan (or foil) with cooking spray, or line baking pan with parchment paper. (Most meatballs will contain a bit of fat so lining your pan with foil is optional but makes cleanup a breeze.)
  2. Brush meatballs with a little olive oil
  3. Bake the meatballs on a greased or lined rimmed baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. For a little more colour on them - switch to broil for the last minute or so of baking
  5. Then set them aside while you make sauce and continue with recipe.

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Make Ahead, Storage and Freezing

  • MAKE AHEAD: The meatballs can be rolled, pan fried and cooled and sauce can be made ahead and stored separately in airtight containers for up to 1-2 days. Gently reheat the meatballs in the sauce, and add the sour cream and jelly, if using, right before serving.
  • STORAGE: Cooked meatballs in the sauce will last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container. Reheat stove top or in the microwave
  • FREEZING: Shaped, uncooked meatballs can easily be frozen on a tray until firm (1-2 hours flash freeze) , then place into a freezer-safe, zip-top bag for up to a month in advance. Defrost the meatballs in the refrigerator at least a day or two beforehand, then cook as directed with the sauce. Cooke meatballs without the sauce can be stored in the freezer for 1-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and make sauce and reheat in sauce before serving. Sauce does not freeze well. .
  • REHEATING: The best way to reheat meatballs is to heat them together with the cream sauce over medium-low heat on the stove. Individual portions may also be reheated in the microwave. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Swedish Meatballs

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Yields: approx. 25-30 meatballs
Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 shallot or ½ cup onion grated or finely minced
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil for cooking meatballs

Meatball Gravy

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional )
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • ½ cup heavy cream


For the Meatballs

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, grated onion, milk, egg, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper and parsley. Mix together until well combined, try not to overmix
  2. Form the meatballs into 1 inch balls with a cookie scoop or spoon. Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet for easy clean-up.
  3. Place a large, 12 inch skillet over medium heat to medium high heat. Pour olive oil in to coat the bottom of the pan.
  4. Cook/pan-fry the meatballs in the pan for 2-3 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Cook in batches until all are cooked. Adjust heat as needed.
  5. Remove from the pan to a clean dish and set aside.
  6. If there is a lot of oil left in pan - discard but if it’s only 1-2 teaspoons leave in pan. The remaining oil and brown bits add loads of flavour to the sauce.

For the Gravy

  1. Melt the butter in the same pan and whisk in the flour until combined.
  2. Add in the salt, nutmeg and allspice, stir to combine.
  3. Whisk in the beef broth breaking up any lumps with the whisk.
  4. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce and heavy cream. Cook/simmer and stir over medium heat until the gravy thickens. 8-10 min.
  5. Add the meatballs back into the pan and coat with the gravy simmer a couple more minutes until the meatballs are warmed through. Sprinkle with additional parsley if desired.
  6. Serve warm over mashed potatoes or egg noodles, alongside steamed veggies and lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Do not over work or over mix meat mixture
  • Making your meatballs larger or smaller will require you adjusting cook time accordingly

Swedish Meatballs