Swedish Meatballs Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)

Swedish Meatballs Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (1)

By: Becky Hardin

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You might think of Ikea when you hear Swedish Meatballs, but trust me, this homemade recipe is even better! Perfectly-spiced meatballs with a rich, creamy, delectable gravy comes together quicker than you’d think. It’s such a cozy meal idea, but just as great for parties.

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Table of Contents

What’s in this Swedish Meatball Recipe?

These chicken and beef meatballs are made with allspice and nutmeg for that specific flavor that makes Swedish meatballs so unique. They’re then cooked in a creamy gravy sauce that is just unbelievably delicious!

  • Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs create a better texture in the meatball mixture.
  • Milk + Cream: Add moisture to the meatballs and makes the sauce creamy.
  • Egg: This binds the ingredients together.
  • Spices: Allspice and nutmeg are important for the warm, comforting flavor of the meatballs. Salt and pepper enhance the natural flavors.
  • Fresh Parsley: Adds a pop of freshness to the meatballs and sauce.
  • Butter + Oil: Vegetable oil helps the onions cook without burning, while butter adds richness and helps to thicken the gravy.
  • Onion + Garlic: Adds a savory and earthy flavor to the meatballs.
  • Ground Chuck + Chicken: This mixture of meats makes for a flavorful meatball! You can stick with the more traditional mixture of beef and pork instead if you prefer– just use pork in place of the chicken.
  • All-Purpose Flour: This thickens the gravy.
  • Broth: I used both beef and chicken broth in the sauce, but you can use one or the other if you prefer.
  • Sour Cream: Adds richness and tangy flavor to the sauce.
  • Dijon Mustard: Adds a bit of an acidic tang to the sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This is the perfect mix of savory, salty, and tangy, so it adds great flavor to the sauce.
  • Beef Bouillon: Use instant bouillon granules. This adds a really rich and savory taste to the gravy.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This tangy ingredient creates more balance in the flavor.

Pro Tip: If you want to turn these meatballs into the coziest meal ever, try this Swedish Meatball Soup!

Easy Swedish Meatballs

You can use frozen meatballs to make this Swedish meatball recipe even easier. You’ll miss out on the warm spices cooked into the meat, but the gravy itself will still add so much flavor.

To do this, simply cook your frozen meatballs (use chicken, beef, or pork) according to package instructions, then make the sauce and cook the meatballs in it according to the recipe card below.

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What makes Swedish meatballs different?

The addition of warming spices, like allspice and nutmeg, gives these meatballs an otherworldly flavor!

What is Swedish meatball sauce made of?

This amazing sauce is made with butter, heavy cream, sour cream, broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon, cider vinegar, flour, sugar, Dijon mustard, and parsley.

What is a substitute for pork in Swedish meatballs?

Traditionally, these meatballs are made with a combination of pork and beef. But for this recipe, we used a combination of ground chicken and ground chuck (beef) instead. However, you can use any combination of chicken, turkey, beef, and pork you prefer, or just stick to one.

How do you thicken Swedish meatball sauce?

Flour creates a thicker, gravy-like texture to the sauce. If you’d like an even thicker sauce: Before adding the meatballs, mix together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of milk or cold water and add it to the sauce. Stir over low heat until the mixture thickens.

Can I make these in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! Follow the instructions in this crockpot Swedish meatballs recipe instead.

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How to Store and Reheat

Store leftovers in an airtight container, and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can store the meatballs directly in the sauce, or separate them (both options work fine).

To reheat, warm them up in the oven until fully heated through. You can also mix in a bit more cream to help make the sauce creamy again.

How to Freeze

While I do not recommend freezing the sauce, you can freeze the Swedish meatballs for up to 3 months. Freeze in a single layer on a lined baking sheet until solid, about 1-2 hours. Transfer to an airtight container or Ziplock bag to store. Let thaw overnight before finishing in the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

For a really cozy and comforting dinner with these traditional Swedish meatballs, serve them with egg noodles or homemade pasta, and creamy mashed potatoes or these simple roasted potatoes. The gravy coats the pasta and potatoes so beautifully!

If you’re serving these as an appetizer, don’t forget the lingonberry jam (or cranberry sauce if you can’t find it!) for dipping.

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5-Star Review

“I have tried out at least three different recipes of Swedish Meatball sauce and this is far and away the best. I am always having to add something to the other recipes to make them taste better but this one needed no alterations. Thank you!!” – Renee

Step by Step

How to make Swedish Meatballs

Click to Watch


Swedish Meatballs Recipe

4.56 from 465 votes

Author: Becky Hardin

Prep: 10 minutes minutes

Cook: 30 minutes minutes

Total: 40 minutes minutes

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Everyone should make this Classic Swedish Meatball recipe made with the ultimate delicious sauce.

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For the Meatballs

  • cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (⅛ stick)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ yellow onion minced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • pounds ground chuck

For the Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (¾ stick)
  • cup all-purpose flour (see note for an optional thickener)
  • 14.5 ounces low sodium beef broth (1 can)
  • 14.5 ounces low-sodium chicken broth (1 can)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Beef Instant Bouillon Granules — I used Wyler’s
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt as needed; taste first
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

For Serving (Optional)

  • Cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam

Recommended Equipment


For the Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover 2 large baking sheets with foil and spray the foil with nonstick spray. Set aside for now.

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  • In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, milk, cream, egg, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and parsley. Set the mixture aside to allow the milk to soak into the breadcrumbs, at least 10 minutes.

    ⅓ cup breadcrumbs, ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 large egg, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

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  • Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the minced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Transfer the onion/garlic mixture to the breadcrumb mixture.

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, ½ yellow onion, 1 clove garlic

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  • Once the breadcrumb mixture is ready, add the ground chuck and chicken. Mix well using a wooden spoon.

    1 pound ground chicken, 1½ pounds ground chuck

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  • Roll meat into 1½-inch balls (or use a 1½ inch scoop) and place on the prepared sheet pan 1 inch apart.

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  • Cook 20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.

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For the Sauce

  • While meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce: Melt the butter in a large skillet.

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  • Add the flour to the butter and whisk well. Cook over med-low heat until mixture turns a little darker. Whisk often.

    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, 14.5 ounces low sodium beef broth, 14.5 ounces low-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup heavy cream, ¾ cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon Beef Instant Bouillon Granules, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, Kosher salt, 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

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  • Add beef broth, chicken broth, cream, sour cream, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Taste, then season with salt, if needed.

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  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and add the meatballs. Simmer, stirring gently and often, until gravy has thickened. Add chopped parsley and stir gently.

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  • Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or macaroni. If eating Swedish Meatballs without noodles or a side dish, serve with a teaspoon of cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam on the side, optional.

    Cranberry sauce

Last step! Don’t forget to show me a pic of what you made! Upload an image or tag me @thecookierookie on Instagram!

Becky’s tips

Yield:This recipe yields about 25 (1½-inch) meatballs. A serving is 3 meatballs.

  • Note: For an optional thickener, before adding the meatballs, mix together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk or cold water and add it to the sauce, stir over low heat until mixture thickens.

Storage:Store Swedish meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 636kcal (32%) Carbohydrates: 13g (4%) Protein: 31g (62%) Fat: 51g (78%) Saturated Fat: 25g (156%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g Monounsaturated Fat: 17g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 211mg (70%) Sodium: 560mg (24%) Potassium: 816mg (23%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 5g (6%) Vitamin A: 1078IU (22%) Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) Calcium: 106mg (11%) Iron: 3mg (17%)

Did You Make This?I want to see! Be sure to upload an image below & tag @thecookierookie on social media!

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More Meatball Recipes We Love

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  • Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs
  • Peruvian Chicken Meatballs

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Swedish Meatballs Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)


What is the sauce for Swedish meatballs made from? ›

The sauce for Swedish Meatballs is a creamy gravy that is made with butter, beef broth/stock, thickened with flour and made creamy with cream. But the most important flavour for the a really good creamy gravy is the pan drippings after searing the meatballs.

Why are Ikea Swedish meatballs so good? ›

They're made with all-natural ingredients

The Ikea website lists the ingredients of their meatballs (which Ikea calls ALLEMANSRÄTTEN), and the rundown is surprisingly simple: Meat (a combination of pork and beef, for texture, flavor, and juiciness), onion, breadcrumbs, egg, water, salt, and pepper.

What makes Swedish meatballs different from regular meatballs? ›

While both varieties include ingredients such as grated onion and panade (milk-soaked bread) or bread crumbs, plus the usual salt and pepper, Swedish meatballs traditionally use spices like allspice, nutmeg, white pepper, and sometimes ground ginger as flavoring.

What is the secret to firm meatballs? ›

Massage your meat

Get your hands into your mixing bowl and combine the ingredients for your meatballs using your fingers. The heat from your hands will help release the proteins in the meat which will in turn help the mixture stick together when it cooks. Don't overmix, just a few minutes will do.

Is Swedish meatball sauce the same as stroganoff? ›

Stroganoff sauce has mushrooms, while Swedish meatball sauce does not. Another key difference is the seasoning for each sauce. Swedish meatballs are typically seasoned with spices like nutmeg and ginger, while Stroganoff sauce includes paprika, onion powder, and thyme.

Is there a premade Swedish meatball sauce? ›

McCormick Sweedish Meatballs Sauce Mix (2.11 oz Packets) 4 Pack.

What is the jam they put on Ikea meatballs? ›

There is probably no other dish that is so connected to Swedish cuisine, as meatballs with cream sauce and lingonberry jam.

Why did Ikea stop selling meatballs? ›

STOCKHOLM - Swedish furniture giant Ikea became entangled in Europe's widening meat scandal Monday, forced to withdraw meatballs from stores across Europe amid suspicions that they contained horse meat. Stores in the U.S. and Canada were not affected, Ikea said.

Are Ikea meatballs made of horses? ›

In a statement later in the day, Anders Lennartsson, a spokesman for Ikea Food Services, said, “We take seriously the test result from the Czech Republic authorities, indicating presence of horse meat in one batch of our meatballs.”

What is a fun fact about Swedish meatballs? ›

When it comes to the Swedish meatball it is thought that it was brought to Sweden by King Charles XII when he returned from Istanbul in 1713. The first recipe for meatballs in print was in the Cajsa Warg Cookbook in 1754.

What can you use instead of breadcrumbs in Swedish meatballs? ›

I have done them with panko, crusty bread, crushed Ritz crackers, and once a few packages of Cheese sandwich crackers because I didn't have anything else that night. All of them add different characteristics to the end product but all came out good and unique. Try both and see how you like it.

Are homestyle meatballs the same as Swedish meatballs? ›

The major difference between Swedish and Italian meatballs is what they're accompanied with. Swedish meatballs are traditionally topped with a creamy gravy and served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce to cut through the richness, similar to how they're cooked at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Aquavit.

What not to do when making meatballs? ›

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Meatballs
  1. Not seasoning the meat.
  2. Not adding any moisture to the meat.
  3. Over-mixing the meat.
  4. Not shaping the meatballs correctly.
  5. Not forming evenly-sized meatballs.
May 1, 2019

Why soak breadcrumbs in milk for meatballs? ›

The Key to Tender Meatballs

Here, we're soaking fresh or dried breadcrumbs in a little milk until the bread becomes soggy, then mixing that right into the meat. This binder (aka panade) helps add moisture to the meatballs and also prevents the meat proteins from shrinking and becoming tough.

Why do you put baking soda in meatballs? ›

Baking soda, otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, appears often in köfte recipes. It raises the PH level of the meat, making it harder for the meat's protein molecules to bond. This in turn allows the meat to retain water as it cooks. And more water means a moist meatball.

What is Ikea meatball gravy made of? ›

Iconic Swedish cream sauce: Melt 40g of butter in a pan. Whisk in 40g of plain flour and stir for 2 mins. Add 300ml of bouillon (or consommé) and continue to stir. Add 150ml double cream, 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of (Dijon) mustard.

What are real Swedish meatballs made of? ›

Mix ground beef, ground pork, egg, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger with onion in the mixing bowl. Lightly mix in bread crumbs and cream. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Pinch off about 1 1/2 tablespoon meat mixture per meatball; form into balls.

What is served with Swedish meatballs? ›

Traditional Swedish way: Do not make the cream sauce at all. Serve meatballs over plain or stewed macaroni, plain or mashed potatoes, and lingenberry jam (optional)

Does Swedish meatballs contain sour cream? ›

It's All About the Sauce

Flavored with nutmeg and cardamom, these little beef-and-pork meatballs are best served with a Swedish meatball sauce—a rich roux-based and beef stock gravy, spiked with sour cream and a little lingonberry jelly.

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