Traditional recipes

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

These Swedish meatballs get their distinctive flavor from nutmeg and allspice—and just a bit of sugar.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups low-salt beef stock, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 thick slices bacon, minced
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, whisked

Recipe Preparation

  • Mix breadcrumbs and 1/3 cup stock in a small bowl. Set aside. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer onion to a large bowl.

  • Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to bowl with onion. (Reserve bacon fat.) Add next 8 ingredients to bowl with onion mixture, mixing with your hands to blend. Fold in breadcrumb mixture. Using a 1 Tbsp. measure, roll meat mixture into balls; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

  • Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with reserved bacon fat in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Working in 3 batches and adding 1 Tbsp. butter between batches, brown meatballs on all sides, about 6-8 minutes per batch. Transfer meatballs to a plate. Drain all but 2 Tbsp. drippings from pot. Whisk in flour until smooth paste forms. Stir in 2 cups stock; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Return meatballs to pot. Cover; simmer until meatballs are cooked, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream, and stir to coat meatballs.

Recipe by Sm rg s Chef in New York NY,Photos by Christopher Testani

Nutritional Content

8 servings, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 358.1 %Calories from Fat 52.8 Fat (g) 21.0 Saturated Fat (g) 9.5 Cholesterol (mg) 163.7 Carbohydrates (g) 15.2 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.1 Total Sugars (g) 3.4 Net Carbs (g) 14.1 Protein (g) 25.3 Sodium (mg) 707.8Reviews Section

Swedish Meatballs (homemade Ikea Meatballs)

These heavenly Swedish Meatballs are the homemade version of the iconic Ikea meatballs. They’re a whole lot easier than assembling flat-pack furniture, that’s for sure.

Extra soft and juicy, with the signature hint of nutmeg and All Spice, smothered with the traditional Swedish Meatball sauce – a creamy gravy that’s absolutely to die for.


Delicious Swedish Meatballs Using Frozen Meatballs

These Swedish meatballs are so delicious, and easy to make too! From start to finish, you can have this meal on the table within 3o minutes, and your family will love it!

This year, I have vowed to make meals as easy as possible from start to finish. I also wanted to add some new recipes to our weekly menus that our kiddos will actually eat. On a recent trip to IKEA, my daughter and I discovered Swedish meatballs, and WOAH! They are so delicious! My daughter loved them so much that she asked if we could have it at home sometime, and of course, I said yes!

On a recent trip to Walmart, I was perusing the frozen food section and saw that Cooked Perfect® offered frozen Homestyle Meatballs made with chicken, pork and beef. I have used their Italian Style Meatballs many times for meatball subs and spaghetti and meatball dishes, but for this dish I didn't want the Italian flavor, so these were the perfect choice for Swedish meatballs! So, I grabbed a bag and brought them home!

To start this recipe off, I followed the instructions on the back of the Cooked Perfect Meatballs bag, and cooked them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

While the meatballs were cooking in the oven, I started melting ¼ cup of butter in a saucepan on medium-high heat.

Once the butter was melted, I added in &frac13 cup of all-purpose four and whisked it together with the butter until it browed up a bit, making a roux.

Once the roux was slightly browned, I slowly stirred in 4 cups of beef broth, whisking the entire time. I let it cook for 2 minutes, and it thickened up.

Once the sauce thickened up a bit, I added ¾ cup of sour cream and whisked it in until fully combined.

Now it's time for the fun part! Let's add in the cooked meatballs to the hot tub! Once the meatballs are in the sauce, I let them cook in the sauce for 10 minutes so all the flavor from the meatballs and sauce would really combine well.

Once they finished cooking, I wanted to make sure to serve them with something that could soak up some of the sauce and pair nicely with the meatballs too, so I chose egg noodles.


What did we think of the recipe?

Jack and I both thought that the taste of this homemade version of IKEA’s Swedish Meatballs was pretty spot on – and we’d totally make this recipe again! Like most great meatball recipes, it’s a mix of both beef and pork which gives them a wonderful flavor and soft texture.

Note that the recipe, as written, makes a lot of sauce (you could probably cut the sauce recipe in half and still have enough) and this homemade recipe seemed thicker, creamier and lighter in color than the sauce served over the meatballs at the stores.

But the flavor is very much the same (delicious!) and the meatballs are soft and tender – just like you’d order at IKEA restaurants.

You can see the actual IKEA recipe here. We adapted our recipe slightly to reflect US Customary Measurements – only because that’s how we (and most of our US-based readers) cook.

Give this IKEA Swedish Meatballs recipe a try – then let us know what you think!

You may enjoy these other meatball recipes:

heart solid heart solid icon


The Best Swedish Meatballs and Gravy

The Best Swedish Meatballs and Gravy are made with a combination of ground pork and beef and spiced to perfection for a flavorful meatball and with a rich and flavorful gravy to go with it!

Sign in and save recipe to your profile.

The Best Swedish Meatballs and Gravy are made with a combination of ground pork and beef and spiced to perfection for a flavorful meatball and with a rich and flavorful gravy to go with it!

This recipe took quite a number of rounds of testing, but I’m happy to say I’ve finally perfected the Swedish Meatball. Seriously guys, this’ll put anything you might find at Ikea to shame. I even recently took a trip to Sweden and sought out a restaurant that specializes in Swedish meatballs. And guess what? I prefer mine. And I’m not just saying that either.

What makes this recipe so good? It’s full of flavor. I’ve taken traditional flavors and kicked it all up a notch. I hate bland food, and I’ve eaten a lot of bland versions of Swedish meatballs. This recipe is anything but bland. You get a flavorful meatball combined with a rich and flavorful sauce and it’s just magic.

To add even more flavor in this recipe, you can always use a country style pork sausage instead of just ground pork. Let me tell you, that can really add a lot to this recipe. Just make sure you stay away from Italian style ground pork sausage. It just isn’t the right flavor profile.

The meatballs are baked in this recipe for convenience. Not only does baking the meatballs free you up to work on other things, it also keeps things separate for kids who will eat meatballs, but won’t eat sauce. Yup, that’s my kids. You can always cook your meatballs in a skillet, but I really am a huge fan of baking simply for the convenience.

I prefer to serve my Swedish Meatballs over egg noodles. Another more traditional option is to serve them with mashed potatoes. You can also serve them over rice if you want.

Step number 4 in this recipe involves making a roux. The flour in the recipe acts as a thickening agent. If you just added flour to a liquid you’d end up with a clumpy mess. By combining the flour with a fat source (melted butter), you will be able to distribute the thickening agent throughout the sauce without leaving clumps behind. This same principle can be applied to any sauce or soup that needs to be thickened. A roux is equal parts flour to fat. Cornstarch is a stronger thickening agent that I use (with butter) in things like puddings and cream pies.

Watch the video below where I walk you through every step of this recipe. I have over 270 videos on my website to help you up your game in the kitchen. Sometimes having a visual reference makes all the difference. Here at The Stay At Home Chef we believe that every family can easily serve restaurant quality recipes at home. Feel free to stay a while and check out our library of amazing recipe. Perhaps you’ll be interested in The Best Homemade Dinner Rolls or The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake or one of the other recipes that you can search of in our recipe index.


Reviews

These are the best. The spices are so interesting. My family loves them. I’ve been making these for my husband since this recipe was published and it replaced a tried and true Swedish meatball recipe. They are a little time consuming - only for the weekend or special occasions. I halve the salt, and for more sauce I double the sour cream, double the beef stock. Sometimes I double the bacon too.

My son is a fairly picky eater. I went all out and used mace instead of nutmeg and actually bought ligonberry sauce as a condiment. My son took one bite and said it was the most wonderful thing he had ever tasted. This recipe is now on my monthly menu.

Since I started learning how to cook last year, this has absolutely been the best recipe I made. The meatballs are heavenly, rich and have lots of layers of flavor. I served these with Egg Noodles and Broccoli. I do wish the recipe had instructions to make more sauce. I didn't have nearly enough moisture to eat up all the flour so I had to add a few tablespoons of butter just to make the sauce into a liquid.

This recipe is perfect exactly as written. I paired mine with spaetzle. A delicious addition to my repertoire!

These are amazing, especially when it's cold outside. I recommend doubling the sauce and serving over egg noodles.

Although a little time consuming, but well worth it. I used minced turkey and left the sugar out to cut some of the calories and it still tasted great. I also forgot to get the sour cream at the store so I just used the broth at the end, so not quite a full Swedish meatball, but still full of flavour. They tasted even better the next day.

I think all the reviewers who thought this was way too salty have a very good point kosher salt would be more salty than regular. The sugar isn't a great idea either.

I think all the reviewers who thought this was too salty may have inadvertently substituted regular salt for kosher.

I'm not too proud to say I love me an Ikea meatball, but these definitely have more flavor--especially if you use fresh ground pepper--they were a little less dense, and these were easy to make. A little more nutmeg or allspice wouldn't hurt. The 6-8 minutes of browning plus another 6 minutes in the gravy worked out perfectly for moist, light meatballs. All in all a great recipe, or a great base from which to ad lib with other herbs and spices.

This is similar to the meatballs I had at IKEA. Tastes delicious.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. with a few modifications. Some from previous suggestions, while I added a few of my own. Like others, I added a bit more allspice and nutmeg than the recipe called for, and a bit more salt as well. I also added some fresh parsley to the meatballs and gravy (chopped finely for the meatballs). This added a bit of freshness to the dish. I might go a bit easy on the breadcrumbs next time too. All in all, a good first pass. to be tweaked further as I make it in future.

I'll be making these myself this Christmas Eve as a special surprise for my brother-in-law who loves them. Happily, so do all of my guests, so the effort will be well rewarded. These are spectacular!

Delicious! I followed some of the other suggestions and added a few more alterations: 1. Reduced the salt to a teaspoon 2. Doubled the allspice and nutmeg. The nutmeg has a pretty strong note, something I liked, but others may want to go with a little less than doubling it. I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of coriander. 3. I threw in a few dashes of Worcestershire to the meatballs and the sauce to take care of the blandness others described. 4. Searing the meatballs in batches is a pain. I like the recommendation to bake at a high temp instead. 4. Definitely double the sauce. at least. Even then, there doesn't seem to be enough to complete cooking the meatballs. So, I cooked them thoroughly before adding them to the sauce. 5. I sautéed some mushrooms and extra onion for the sauce. 6. I may put a splash of cognac or port in the sauce next time.

Loved these! I have made them half a dozen times and they are a regular dish for me which I make every week or two. If I do it right, there's a magic to the combination of spices and a dash of sugar which gives these a real personality.

Love it the whole family! We like to serve it next to spatzele.

I've made this before as per the recipe and found the meatballs a bit too salty, the sauce a bit bland and also insufficient for accompanying noodles. This time I used only a teaspoon of salt but i doubled the allspice. I also doubled the sauce. Finally I added sliced mushrooms sauted in truffle oil to the sauce and it turned out great. Will def make again

I would definitely make this again, but I would increase the allspice and nutmeg and double the sauce recipe. Also, browning the meatballs on a rack on a jellyroll pan for about 20 minutes in a 500 degree oven saves loads of time and work.

I thought it was delicious. However, I did add more allspice to the gravy for flavor, and yes, you do need more gravy for noodles

I thought was just ok, but my comfort-food loving husband LOVED this. Will make again for his benefit for sure. I left out the nutmeg (hate it!), reduced the allspice a bit, and doubled the quantity of sauce based on previous reviews - glad I did. Served over egg noodles.

I made a large batch for an open house and they were perfectly delicious.

Having made this recipe several times, I have a few suggestions. First, cook the bacon THEN remove it and saute onion in drippings. The recipe doesn't say but chip the bacon into the meatballs. Use much less butter, if any. Finally, the way it is served at IKEA is over egg noodles with lingonberries on the side. Definitely 'kid friendly'.

I really liked these, and passed the recipe along to my mother, who replaced her decades-long Swedish meatball recipe! The bacon, allspice, and nutmeg was a pleasantly surprising flavor combination. I thought 1 Tablespoon salt was WAY too much so I added a scant 1/2 Tablespoon and it was plenty salty. Next time I would double the sauce. I served with egg noodles.

These really were a lot of work. I subbed turkey for the beef (only cause a guest didn't eat red meat) and added a bit of sherry and tomato paste to the gravy (when it needed a little more "umami" flavor). They were a huge hit at the new years eve dinner we attended! Kids and adults went crazy! Served over buttered noodles.

Only OK. not worth making again, nothing special. Made exactly as noted. Blah!

Made these for a potluck, and everyone was so glad not to have the same old chili sauce & grape jelly concoction over pre-made meatballs that I have been asked to make this again already. Nice combination of seasonings, and I also added a bit of chopped fresh dill to the sauce. Yum!


What you’ll need to make Swedish Meatballs

So, let’s get to the recipe. My starting point was this Swedish Meatball recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, however, I have changed it up quite a bit over the years. The recipe is unique for a few reasons:

First, the meatball mixture is made in an electric mixer, which makes tender meatballs with a nice “snap” to them — so they won’t fall apart when you spear them with toothpicks. Second, the meatballs are baked, not fried. I have tried cooking them both ways and honestly don’t think much is gained from frying, other than nicer color, and once the meatballs are covered in sauce, who cares?


Points of Interest for Authentic Swedish Meatballs:

Easy/Hard: Chopping an onion is the hardest part of the recipe. The fact that the whole recipe comes together in 30 or so minutes makes it a sure-fire winner.

Serving Suggestions: As an appetizer serve them alone with a spoonful of sauce. If you are serving them for a meal serve atop buttered egg noodles. It also works really well over simple steamed rice. In true Swedish form and like they do at IKEA you can serve a side of lingonberries with them too!

Cocktail Suggestion: Pair this with a lighter wine. The sauce is not heavy, but it is rich so a heavy red wine won&rsquot do. It also goes great with a nice lager beer. I&rsquove also served it with a hefeweizen beer because they are lighter as well.


Truly, Swedish Meatballs are the ultimate in leftover use!

Why did they cook them in a pan, on the stovetop, you wonder? Well, I'm thinking that they weren't terribly concerned about perfect ball shapes for their leftovers. AND. ovens. Yeah, they weren't quite as available, in that time, as a plain ol' fire or cooktop.

Traditionally, Swedish meatballs use the scrapings of the pan with a bit of cream and flour added to create the gravy that you pour on them. And, of course. serve with mashed potatoes and lingonberries.


The Best Swedish Meatballs

I made my own Swedish meatballs for the first time. And gosh it wasn’t difficult at all! Thank you so much for the amazing recipe.

All hail the tender, savory, creamy Swedish Meatball!

I grew up eating a lot of Swedish meatballs, and I have to say – Swedish meatball recipes are varied and they all kind of have their own personality. But after testing several ingredient combinations and methods, this is the one that I like best:

Sautéed garlic and onion and cream-soaked bread pulsed into a semi-smooth paste, mixed with ground beef and ground pork with plenty of salt and pepper, browned to golden meatball perfection, baked to tender meatball perfection, and finally rolled around in a rich and creamy, savory, sour cream-based gravy. It is mellow, comforting, and flavorful all at the same time.

The meatballs in and of themselves are a world wonder, but let me fill out the plate for you for what to serve with Swedish meatballs.

    <– I like these, obviously, because they’re very easy and have so much garlic herb flavor.
  • Tangy Cranberry Sauce, for which we use the recipe on the back of the cranberry package. , which seems a little strange at first glance but is so essential for cutting through everything and waking the whole plate up.

Okay now friends, be warned: Swedish meatballs are a tad bit more diva-status than most of the recipes we share on POY. They’re gonna take a little time to make. You’ve got the rolling, you’ve got the browning, you’ve got the baking and gravy-making…

But they are SPECIAL. They are perfect for holiday meals or dinner club or just a little something extra on a Thursday.

May your gravy be creamy and your meatballs be extra-savory and your special dinner be one to remember. ♡