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Swedish Meatball Recipe

These juicy and flavorful Swedish Meatballs are smothered in a savory gravy cream sauce and are perfect over noodles or mashed potatoes. This is like no other recipe you’ve ever tried!

Swedish Meatballs in a skillet with a gravy cream sauce and fresh parsley.

Swedish Meatballs

I’ll just go ahead and say it: I do believe that these Swedish Meatballs are quite possibly the best of the best!

These are not an IKEA replica, (I’ve actually never been to IKEA! 🤯) and I can’t say that I’ve been to Sweden either, but they are amazing, and include some standout ingredients that we’ve come to know and love in America when it comes to this particular dish. 

The meatballs themselves are made with a combination of ground beef and pork, along with a touch of allspice and nutmeg. Onions and garlic add flavor and texture, and milk, egg, and breadcrumbs act as a binder. Finally, Parmesan cheese is a little “Cozy” touch that adds a subtle pop of flavor.

The sauce itself is an amazing combination of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, and sour cream. My secret ingredient? Chicken Bouillon. It adds the best depth of flavor and contrasts perfectly with the beef broth.

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, milk, onions, garlic, salt, oregano, allspice, nutmeg, and pepper. Gently incorporate the meat until evenly combined.

Mixing ground beef, pork, and meatball ingredients in a glass bowl to make Swedish meatballs.

Roll into 1+ 1/2 inch meatballs and chill for 15 minutes, (or overnight). Brown in batches and set aside.

Swedish meatballs on a tray before and after cooking.

Melt butter in the same skillet and whisk in flour. Add the sauce mixture (beef broth, chicken bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, and parsley), in small splashes, stirring continuously. Add the sour cream to a medium bowl along with some of the sauce, and stir until combined. Stir it into the skillet.

Making Swedish meatball sauce in a skillet with roux, beef broth, and sour cream.

Add the meatballs back and spoon the sauce on top. Cover partially, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles!

Adding Swedish meatballs to a skillet and spooning sauce on top.

Using Frozen Meatballs

  • Frozen meatballs can be used in a pinch, just note that the allspice and nutmeg seasonings are what give the meatballs themselves that traditional Swedish meatball flavor, consider adding 1/4 tsp. of each to the sauce itself instead.

Make Ahead Method

  • Roll out the meatballs, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days prior to serving, then follow recipe as outlined.
  • You can also flash freeze the uncooked meatballs on a tray for 1 hour. Transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then follow recipe as outlined.

Pro Tips

  • The chicken bouillon in the sauce adds depth of flavor and contrasts nicely with the beef broth. Beef bouillon can be used instead if needed.
  • Use full-fat sour cream to ensure that it doesn’t curdle.
  • Heavy cream can be used instead of sour cream if preferred.
  • Any combination of ground beef, pork, and veal can be used in this recipe.
  • 1 + 1/4 lbs. of meat is perfect for fitting in a 12-inch, high-walled skillet.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Leftovers freeze fairly well, let them thaw prior to reheating.
  • Reheat in a makeshift double boiler for best results. Refrain from reheating over heat that is too high, as the sauce can break.

A plate with Swedish Meatballs and a gravy cream sauce over mashed potatoes.

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A skillet filled with Swedish Meatballs in a gravy cream sauce with fresh parsley.

Swedish Meatball Recipe

5 from 15 ratings
These juicy and flavorful Swedish Meatballs are smothered in a savory gravy cream sauce that you can serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided in half
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated from a wedge
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ lb. ground beef, 80% lean
  • ½ lb. ground pork

Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon, see notes
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, can sub mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature

Instructions

  • Heat ½ of the olive oil in a skillet and add the finely diced onions and garlic. Soften for 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, whisked egg, milk, cooled onions/garlic, salt, oregano, allspice, nutmeg, and pepper. Gently incorporate the meat until evenly combined, but without overworking it (otherwise the meatballs will be tough instead of tender).
  • Roll into 1 ½-inch meatballs and place on a plate. (A small cookie scoop makes it easier to roll balls of uniform size.) Transfer to the fridge and let them chill for 15 minutes, or up to overnight. Cover if chilling overnight.
  • While the meatballs chill, combine the beef broth, chicken bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, and parsley in a large measuring cup with a spout. Set aside.
  • Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches, leave plenty of room around each so that you can easily rotate them with a spoon to brown on all sides. Brown for about 1 minute per side. Remove and set aside. Add additional oil and/or decrease heat slightly as needed throughout cooking.
  • Melt the butter in the same skillet and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until it begins to brown.
  • Add the beef broth mixture in small splashes, stirring continuously. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Place the sour cream in a medium bowl. Spoon some of the sauce into the bowl (about ¼ cup), and stir until well-combined. Stir it into the sauce over low heat until incorporated.
  • Add the meatballs back to the skillet along with any juices from the plate. Spoon the sauce on top. Allow them to heat through over low heat for 10-15 minutes (or until cooked through), partially covered. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • The chicken bouillon in the sauce adds depth of flavor and contrasts nicely with the beef broth. Beef bouillon can be used instead if needed.
  • Use full-fat sour cream to ensure that it doesn’t curdle.
  • Heavy cream can be used instead of sour cream if preferred.
  • Any combination of ground beef, pork, and veal can be used in this recipe.
  • 1 + 1/4 lbs. of meat is perfect for fitting in a 12-inch, high-walled skillet.

Storage:
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Leftovers freeze fairly well, let them thaw prior to reheating.
  • Reheat in a makeshift double boiler for best results. Refrain from reheating over heat that is too high, as the sauce can break.

Nutrition information is an estimate, is per meatball, and includes the sauce. This recipe makes 33 meatballs. 

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 177mg, Potassium: 86mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 0.5g, Vitamin A: 83IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 0.5mg
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50 comments on “Swedish Meatball Recipe”

  1. The flavors in this are amazing- but I couldn’t get the meatballs to stay together for the life of me! (Ended up making it into a meat sauce over pasta)- what did I do wrong? 

    • Hi Carla! Hmmmm. Even if you took regular ground meat without the binders, it shouldn’t be that difficult to keep them together when rolled into meatballs. But this has the assistance of the panade which is almost like a paste that you work into the meat and it makes it nice and firm. What was your consistency like? (Wet? Crumbly?) Did you use any lean meats are alter anything about the recipe? Have you made meatballs successfully before? (If so, what was different about those circumstances?) It’s hard to say what went wrong without being there, but any additional information you can provide would help me troubleshoot! 🙂

      • Thanks for your thoughtful response. I used only ground beef 90/10 and it was about a pound – not sure if that was it? The meatballs rolled together fine- were not wet or crumbly- I chilled them for 15 min – only when I put them in the skillet to brown could I not get them to stay together. I have made meatballs similarly multiple times before- have not had this issue to this degree (sometimes they lose their shape a bit) . So I’m not sure- but the sauce definitely was the best Swedish meatball one I’ve made so I’d love to get this to work in the future. 

      • No problem! I’m always happy to troubleshoot. I think the meat was too lean (makes more prone to falling apart), and I think you needed the extra fat content from the pork as well, and needed the whole 1.25 lbs. of meat. When my meatballs are cooking, I handle them *super*gently, and I make sure there’s enough oil on the bottom so that they’re not going to adhere to the skillet and get stuck when I try to rotate them. I updated the recipe to indicate that 80% ground beef should be used. You may want to try using a nonstick skillet as well. If you try again and use these modifications, I think you’ll be victorious! Keep me posted, I’m super happy that you loved the sauce! 🙂

  2. Because of the intense flavors added in this recipe, it is a great way to use ground venison.

  3. I’ve made this a few times now, not sure how I forgot to leave a review. I made this again, the other night. My husband (who is VERY picky with his food) loves this recipe. He said the other night, and I quote, “I could drink this sauce”. I have always wanted to love Swedish Meatballs, I have tried so many recipes, but they always fall short, lacking in flavor (in my opinion) I’m always having to tweak them to give them something they’re missing. Not with this recipe. It’s the sauce, it’s amazing and lacks no flavor. I did put the meatballs in the oven, which I usually prefer to do, although, after reading more on this recipe and why it’s important to brown them in a pan, I will do it that way from now on. Due to my own fault, the meatballs were a little dry (I’m guessing from me putting them in the oven, and the fact that I use extra lean ground beef and the ground pork).
    Anyway, this is the only Swedish Meatball recipe I will ever use! Two thumbs up 🙂

    • Hi Julie! I am so happy to hear that you love this recipe as much as we do! 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  4. Can you cook meatballs in oven instead of fry pan?

    • You can, but the reason for cooking them in the skillet is that it adds a lot of “fond” to the surface of the skillet, which then transfers a lot of flavor into the sauce. For that reason, I highly recommend browning them in the pan.

  5. This is a great recipe! I did it without cheese and it was still amazing.

  6. So tasty and expeditious!

  7. I rarely leave comments on recipes but I had to with this one, it is THAT good! So delicious, the meatballs are absolute perfection along with the sauce. My husband asked if I can just make the sauce to go on everything lol. 

  8. This recipe was absolutely delicious! My family and I thought it was so good that I’m keeping it in our “favorite meals” recipe binder so it’s easy to find. The meatballs are tender and flavorful while the sauce is divine (over the top of the homemade mashed potatoes of course). I’ll be making this again ver soon!

    • Hey Jackie!! I am soooo happy to hear that, you made my day. I love this recipe so much too, the flavors are on point. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it!! 🙂 -Stephanie

  9. After making this recipe I got firm instructions to add this to the “don’t you dare lose this one” file.  I didn’t have any pork so I used all lean ground beef. The meatballs were super soft and tender. I’m not sure if the pork would’ve made them firmer. Think I’d prefer firmer but this tasted amazing regardless! 

  10. Can this be made Gluten Free ??

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