These Classic Swedish Meatballs are made with tender homemade meatballs in a rich and creamy brown gravy. So simple to make, easy to prep ahead, and perfect to serve up to the family for dinner over some egg noodles or mashed potatoes!
This easy Swedish Meatballs recipe is a winner when it comes to weeknight dinners! We love classic main dishes, like my Beef Stroganoff, and Creamy Garlic Chicken. This is one of my Dinner recipes you’ll definitely want in your recipe rotation!
SWEDISH MEATBALLS RECIPE
There’s a reason comfort food got it’s name… the act of sitting down and eating something rich and incredibly delicious is, well, comforting!
After a rough day or week, the idea of a super comforting meal is just oh so satisfying. Let’s face it, we’ve all been having a rather rough year this year. It’s 2020, the year of the proverbial s**t hitting the fan, right?
I think we all could use some amazing comfort food!! Classic Swedish meatballs definitely fits the bill.
We’re lucky enough to live nearby an Ikea store, which is known for not only it’s “assemble it yourself” furniture, but also, delicious Swedish meatballs!
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather make something myself than drive 40 minutes roundtrip.
These meatballs are crazy tender, and the creamy gravy-like sauce is just to die for!
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC SWEDISH MEATBALLS
Making Swedish meatballs comes down to two main components; making the meatballs and making the sauce.
MAKING THE MEATBALLS
- Make bread mixture. Add bread cubes, heavy cream, and grated onion (plus those onion juices!) and let sit for a minute or so. Mash loosely with a fork.
- Add meatball ingredients. Top bread mixture with beef, pork, egg, and seasonings.
- Mix well. I find the best tool you have for mixing meat is your own two hands. Use disposable gloves if you don’t want to get messy.
- Scoop and roll. Use cookie scoop to portion out the meat, then roll using your hands into roughly 1″ wide meatballs. Place on a tray or plate.
MAKING THE SAUCE
- Cook meatballs. Heat oil and butter over MED/MED HIGH heat in a large pan/skillet. Add about half the meatballs and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and mostly cooked through. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining meatballs.
- Make roux. Add butter and let melt. Add flour and whisk together. Let cook 2 mintues.
- Add broth. Slowly add beef broth, whisking vigorously as you add it, until all broth is in the pan. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Return meatballs. Add cooked meatballs back to the pan and simmer about 5 minutes until sauce starts to thicken.
- Add cream. Add heavy cream and simmer another 2-3 minutes, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
ADDITIONAL COOKING TIPS
- HOW TO KEEP THE MEATBALLS SUPER TENDER – the secret to amazingly tender meatballs is a panade. That’s a fancy culinary term for a mixture of a starch and liquid. In this recipe we’re using sandwich bread, heavy cream and grated onion (which is pretty liquid-y). Just stir it together, let it sit for a few minutes, then use a fork to mash it together. Mix in the rest of the meatball ingredients and you’re good to go.
- PAN-FRIED MEATBALLS – I prefer to pan fry the meatballs in the same pan as the gravy is made in, because all those browned bits that are left in the pan equal amazing flavor. However, these meatballs can be pretty tender and can fall apart if you don’t roll them tightly enough.
- BAKED MEATBALLS – if you’d rather not hassle with cooking the meatballs in the skillet in batches, you can absolutely bake them! Bake at 400°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
- HEAVY CREAM – I don’t recommend substituting the heavy cream with lower-fat dairy alternatives, as it could potentially separate during the cooking process.
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
- ALL BEEF – not a pork fan? You can use all beef for the meatballs.
- ALL PORK – rather than a mixture, you can choose to use all pork for these meatballs.
- LINGONBERRY – I don’t usually have this on hand, but if you want to take the sauce to the next level, add 1/2 – 1 Tbsp of lingonberry jam. Very Ikea!
- FROZEN MEATBALLS – in a pinch, if you’re really pressed for time, you can use frozen pre-cooked meatballs. I would use a “homestyle” variety, so they’re fairly neutral and not loaded with Italian flavors.
- SERVING OPTIONS – we love to serve up these Swedish meatballs over some buttered egg noodles, but I know mashed potatoes are another popular option.
MAKING SWEDISH MEATBALLS AHEAD OF TIME
I think these meatballs taste best when made fresh, but you can absolutely make this entire meal ahead of time.
Reheat the meatballs and sauce gently in a pan on the stovetop, adding a splash of water as needed.
Leftover meatballs and sauce should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will keep for up to 4 days.
While I don’t recommend freezing the sauce, the meatballs can be frozen two ways.
- Uncooked – once meatballs have been scooped/rolled and formed, place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze for about 1 hour. When the meatballs are frozen enough they don’t stick together, add them to a large freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the recipe.
- Cooked – you could also roll the meatballs and either pan fry or bake them (at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through), then cool and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with making the sauce and let meatballs simmer in the sauce to warm through.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
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- Deep skillet – I like to use my enameled cast iron for this recipe, it gives a great sear, yet is deep enough to hold everything.
- “Cookie” Scoop – not just for cookies! This scoop holds 1.2 Tbsp and will yield a meatball that’s about 1″ in diameter, the perfect size for this recipe!
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- 2 slices white sandwich bread crusts removed and cut into 1/4" pieces (or chopped in a food processor)
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream or whole milk
- 1 medium yellow onion grated, saving any juices
- 8 oz ground beef
- 8 oz ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg freshly grated is best
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups reduced sodium beef broth
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- minced fresh parsley for garnish
- Add bread cubes to large mixing bowl and top with heavy cream and grated onion (plus juices from grating the onion). Stir and let sit a minute or two. Mash with a fork.
- Add beef, pork, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix well.
- Use small cookie scoop to scoop out and roll into roughly 1 inch wide meatballs.
- Add oil and butter to large skillet and heat over MED/MED-HIGH heat. Add meatballs, working in batches (about half at a time), and cook on all sides, until browned and mostly cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining meatballs.
- Drain off any excess oil but don’t wipe out the skillet.
- Add butter to skillet and heat over MED heat. Once melted, whisk in flour and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add beef broth, whisking as you add it, until all broth is added. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
RETURN MEATBALLS TO PAN
- Once gravy is simmering, add all meatballs and simmer 5-7 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through and gravy has started to thicken.
FINISH SAUCE AND SERVE
- Stir in heavy cream and simmer another 2-3 minutes, until gravy is a smooth and silky sauce that coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Serve over buttered cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes and garnished with minced fresh parsley.
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- HOW TO KEEP THE MEATBALLS SUPER TENDER - the secret to amazingly tender meatballs is a panade. That's a fancy culinary term for a mixture of a starch and liquid. In this recipe we're using sandwich bread, heavy cream and grated onion (which is pretty liquid-y). Just stir it together, let it sit for a few minutes, then use a fork to mash it together. Mix in the rest of the meatball ingredients and you're good to go.
- PAN-FRIED MEATBALLS - I prefer to pan fry the meatballs in the same pan as the gravy is made in, because all those browned bits that are left in the pan equal amazing flavor. However, these meatballs can be pretty tender and can fall apart if you don't roll them tightly enough.
- BAKED MEATBALLS - if you'd rather not hassle with cooking the meatballs in the skillet in batches, you can absolutely bake them! Bake at 400°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
- HEAVY CREAM - I don't recommend substituting the heavy cream with lower-fat dairy alternatives, as it could potentially separate during the cooking process.
Any nutritional information shared is an estimate, and is automatically calculated through a program. If calorie count is important to you, I recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
The Chunky Chef is not a nutritionist and doesn’t provide full nutritional information for recipes as she wouldn’t want to potentially and unknowingly pass along incorrect information.
If changing the recipe serving quantity, the recipe plugin will change the ingredient values for you, but it does NOT change the written instructions, those are manually added and not subject to a slider. You will have to extrapolate that multiplication to any amounts listed in the instructions.
For example: if an ingredient calls for 4 cups, and you doubled the recipe, it will automatically change to 8 cups. In the instructions, if I say “use 4 cups of cheese”, you will have to realize that since you doubled it, you use 8 cups, not 4.