This simple, one-pan recipe for classic Swedish meatballs in creamy sauce uses only basic seasonings, just like grandmas from the land of Svea used to make.
About Swedish Meatballs
Considered a typical national dish of Sweden, tender meatballs are popular with young and old across Sweden and belong to every real Swedish buffet, especially at Christmas and Midsummer.
Whether as a main course with creamy sauce, lingonberry jam, potatoes, and vegetables or as a party snack: Swedish meatballs are always tasty. In any case, homemade tastes far better than IKEA’S.
Besides, you don’t have to buy new interiors to enjoy these delicious meat dumplings: just make them yourself! 😁
What ingredients do I need for this Swedish recipe?
*Keep scrolling down to the recipe card for a list of FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Skip to Recipe” card at the top of the page!
To make this pure deliciousness from scratch, you’ll need:
- PROTEIN: Ground beef and pork
- AROMATICS: Onion, soy sauce, and lingonberry jam (*see notes for substitutions)
- BINDERS: Egg, flour, breadcrumbs, and cornstarch (if necessary)
- FAT: Butter (or oil, but butter is better!)
- SEASONINGS: Salt and ground white pepper (you can substitute with black pepper if you must)
- LIQUIDS: Beef stock, milk, and heavy cream (optional)
How do I make this dish?
I adapted this meatball recipe from my friend Ron of Lost in a Pot. The original köttbullar recipe is by his Swedish mother-in-law. Grandmas make the best foods!
P.S. There are many variations on this classic dish but I really like the simplicity of this recipe by the Svenska Mormor (Swedish grandma).
*Keep scrolling to get the full (printable) recipe, ingredient amounts, and more tips.
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the meat mixture.
- Mix with a paddle attachment of your mixer or your hands until just combined.
- Shape into 1- inch balls.
- Fry them in lots of butter for that delicious Swedish taste.
- For the sauce, lightly brown the flour in butter. Gradually add the beef broth, milk, soy sauce, if heavy cream if using; simmer until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and then mix in lingonberry jam.
- Return the meatballs to the sauce and stir to coat thoroughly.
What to serve with Swedish meatballs?
Traditionally, in Sweden, they’re served with the cream gravy over boiled or mashed potatoes, and with green peas, lingonberry jam, and pressgurka (vinegar cucumber dill salad). Such a treat!
1. WHAT MEAT IS BEST TO USE?
To follow the authentic recipe, you want the 50/50 blend of lean ground beef and pork. However, if you have to, substitute pork with chicken or use just ground beef.
2. CAN I FREEZE THEM?
The meatballs can be easily frozen and thawed in the oven if necessary, so it is best to prepare a more considerable amount at once.
Uncooked should be used within four months and use up cooked (without the sauce) ones within three months.
3. CAN I BAKE THEM IN THE OVEN?
The traditional recipe for Swedish meatballs instructs to fry them in butter, and lots of it. However, you can either fry them in oil or bake them in the oven. It saves calories and time, especially with larger quantities.Grandma's #recipe for Swedish meatballs is easy, simple, and incredibly delicious! #meatballs #Swedish #easy
4. HOW LONG DO SWEDISH MEATBALLS LAST?
You can keep them refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat the individual portions in a microwave or on the stovetop (add a bit of extra liquid if the sauce is too thick).
5. HOW TO PRONOUNCE KÖTTBULLAR?
The K sounds like a ‘sh’ when it stands before an ö – Shöttbüllar.
FUN FACT: Apparently, you should be singing (or at least listening) to the song “Ge mig mera köttbullar” by Astrid Lindgren while you prepare the dish and then again while you eat it. 😄
Lindgren was the children’s book author (remember Pipi Longstocking?) who liked to let her main characters eat one or two Köttbullar in her books). 😋
More meatball recipes to try:
- GERMAN MEATBALLS IN CREAMY CAPER SAUCE
- MINI SPAGHETTI NESTS & ITALIAN MEATBALLS
- GREEK LAMB MEATBALL PITA SANDWICH
- BOSNIAN STYLE MEATBALLS
- MEATBALLS STROGANOFF
MAKING THIS RECIPE OR OTHERS?
Grandma's Swedish Meatballs Recipe
- Standing mixer with a paddle attachement (optional)
- cast iron skillet
- small ice cream scooper or a tablespoon-size measuring spoon
- baking sheet
- Mixing bowl
- meat thermometar
- 1 small onion finely minced
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 stick butter or ½ cup oil
- Cornstarch if needed
For Cream Gravy
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream optional
- 1 tablespoon lingonberry or red currant jam
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- In a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet, sauté one diced onion in 1/2 tablespoon butter until translucent. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl of the stand mixer or another large bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
- To the bowl with onions, add the pound of ground beef and pork blend, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon white pepper.
- Mix, using the paddle attachment on your mixer, on medium-low speed until the meat mixture appears just blended (alternatively, use your hands).
- Roll the meat into medium-size balls (about an inch in diameter).
- Heat the remaining butter until bubbly, but not smoking. Fry the meatballs, often turning, until they're golden brown; transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Drain off the excess butter from the skillet, leaving 1 tablespoon.
- Over medium-low heat, whisk 2 tablespoons flour in butter until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually stir in 2 cups of beef broth and 1 cup milk, constantly whisking, until slightly thickened.
- Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, if using. Return to simmer and cook for a couple of minutes until the gravy thickens.
- Season with 1 teaspoon of each salt and white pepper. Lastly, stir in 1 tablespoon lingonberry jam until well mixed.
- Return the meatballs to the skillet with the sauce and stir to cover and warm thoroughly.
- Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Mix the meat blend ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to form and fry.
- Instead of sautéing the onion (it adds more flavor this way), grate it over the bowl to capture its juices.
- If your meat mixture is too moist, add cornstarch to the meat mixture (one tablespoon at a time). It will absorb the extra moisture and keep the meatballs from falling apart.
- If your meat mixture is too dry, keep adding beef stock until the desired consistency.
- Don't over-mix the meatball mixture, or your meatballs will be tough.
- For even fluffier meatballs, soak the breadcrumbs in 3 tbsp of whipped cream.
- To make meatballs the same size, use a small ice cream scooper or tablespoon-size measuring spoon. You want the meatballs to be about 1-inch (1 oz.) in size. Place all the meat scoops on a baking sheet, and then roll each with your hands into a ball. Makes the process much quicker!
- For food safety, meatballs should reach at least 160°F (72°C) of internal temperature. You'll love this thermometer because it reads the temperature super quick!
- You might need to clean your skillet (or use another one) before making the sauce if there are too many bits and pieces stuck to the bottom. If you like the rustic style gravy (like me), deglaze the pan with beef broth and then add the flour made into a paste with a bit of liquid (to prevent it from lumping up); continue the steps above to finish the sauce.
- Can't find lingonberry jam? Substitute it with red or black currant jam.
- For the best results, read additional tips in the post above.
- Recipe adapted from Lost in a Pot.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on products used.