This recipe for easy, homemade Swedish Meatballs in a rich, creamy sauce is one of our favorite comfort foods! These really are the best Swedish meatballs in a simple gravy sauce that is made from scratch that I've ever had!

If you love these Swedish meatballs, I'll bet you will also like my Baked Greek Feta MeatballsMeatloaf Hamburger Patties and Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles!

An image of homemade Swedish meatballs in a creamy gravy.

Swedish Meatballs Recipe

At our house, we definitely love good meatballs. But Swedish meatballs have a unique flavor profile that comes from the addition of spices like allspice and nutmeg. They differ significantly from Italian meatballs which are typically served in a tomato-based sauce and seasoned with basil, oregano, and other Italian spices.

My mom used to make Swedish meatballs for us often when I was growing up, but it was one of those dishes that sort of just fell out of the rotation at some point. A rare recent trip to Ikea reminded me how good these are, especially when they are homemade from scratch!

An image of a pan full of homemade Swedish meatballs made from beef and pork.

If I'm being honest, I find the Ikea Swedish meatballs only so-so. For me, they are a little on the spongy side and a tad bit too greasy. Having grown up eating my mom's Swedish meatballs, I knew I could do better at home. Also, our Ikea isn't super convenient for when I want a meatball fix!

So I picked up some lingonberry jam (because I love the contrast of the rich, creamy gravy and savory flavors of the Swedish meatballs with the contrast of the sweet, tart jam) and went home and made my own!

An image of a plate of Swedish meatballs served over mashed potatoes with the sauce, lingonberry jam, and green beans.

The lingonberry jam (affiliate link) is totally optional, but if you happen to be at Ikea, I really recommend picking up a jar (or you can order from Amazon)! The leftover jam is awesome added to muffins or used in Linzer Cookies!

Another option would be to serve these with cranberry sauce for a similar flavor profile.

Swedish Meatball Sauce

The easy, savory gravy that coats each one of the tender Swedish meatballs is so simple to throw together in the same pan that you use to cook the meatballs.

Some Swedish meatball recipes call for a combination of beef broth and sour cream to make the sauce, much like my Ground Beef Stroganoff Recipe, but I think that using a little cream makes for a silkier finish. 

An image of Swedish meatballs in a creamy gravy.

How to Make Swedish Meatballs

  1. Add the cubed bread and milk to a large bowl. Let the bread soak for 10 minutes.
  2. While the bread is soaking, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Add the ground beef, ground pork, egg, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and garlic powder to the bowl of bread and milk, along with the cooled onions. Mix well with your hands until combined.
  4. Form 30 small meatballs (each about 1" in diameter) and set aside on a baking sheet or plate.
  5. Heat the remaining oil and butter over medium-high heat in the same skillet used for the onions. Working in batches, fry the meatballs for about 4-5 minutes, rotating to brown on all sides. They don't need to be completely cooked through yet unless you plan to eat them plain since they will simmer in the Swedish meatball sauce in just a few minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. If you don't plan on making the sauce, you will need to cook the meatballs slightly longer, around 6-8 minutes in total, until they are cooked through.
  6. Once all of the meatballs are browned, make the sauce in the same pan by heating the butter until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes until light brown and bubbly.
  7. Whisk in broth, cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.
  8. Return the meatballs to the pan with the sauce, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles.

A collage of images showing how to make Swedish meatlballs. An image of easy Swedish meatballs in a creamy gravy sauce.

Can I bake Swedish Meatballs in the oven?

A good option if you don't want to stand by the stove and brown the meatballs in a couple of batches is to bake them in the oven instead. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, then arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easier cleanup and bake for 18-20 minutes, then add to the sauce.

Tips for the Best Swedish Meatballs

  • Traditionally, these meatballs are made with a combination of ground beef and ground pork. But you can use all beef, if you prefer, or even swap out part of the ground beef or ground pork for ground turkey. 
  • Don't overmix the meatball mixture when combining everything. I always just squish it together with my hands until everything is evenly combined, which is messy, but results in more tender meatballs than if you decided to add everything to a mixer and blend it that way.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd or to have extras for freezing!
An image of a large skillet of Swedish meatballs in sauce, next to a plate of mashed potatoes, green beans, and lingonberry jam.

Freezing and Storing Instructions

Swedish meatballs are great to make ahead and freeze for busy nights. And leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop (although you may need to add a little water or broth to thin out the sauce a bit).

To Freeze Uncooked Swedish Meatballs: One option is to shape and freeze the meatballs without cooking them first. Then just thaw them in the fridge overnight, and brown them and make the sauce the next day for dinner. Since most of the time spent making Swedish meatballs is in the prep of combining the ingredients and shaping the meatballs, this is a really great solution.

To Freeze Cooked Swedish Meatballs: Another option though, is to shape and brown the meatballs, then freeze them before making the sauce. This is a little more prep work up front, but the frozen cooked meatballs can be added to the sauce from frozen and just simmered a little longer until they are hot and cooked all the way through, making for a really easy weeknight meal. 

What do you serve with Swedish Meatballs?

We love to serve Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam (affiliate link), and green beans, just like at Ikea. 

But they are also delicious with the Swedish meatballs and sauce served over rice, egg noodles, or even spaetzle with roasted broccoli on the side.

An image of homemade Swedish meatballs in a creamy gravy.

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Swedish Meatballs

4.73 from 29 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
This recipe for easy, homemade Swedish Meatballs in a rich, creamy sauce is one of our favorite comfort foods! These really are the best Swedish meatballs in a simple gravy sauce that is made from scratch that I've ever had!

Ingredients
  

Meatballs

  • 3 slices white bread crust removed and cut into small cubes (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
  • ½ large onion grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter

Sauce

  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Add the cubed bread and milk to a large bowl. Let the bread soak for 10 minutes.
  • While the bread is soaking, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Add the ground beef, ground pork, egg, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and garlic powder to the bowl of bread and milk, along with the cooled onions. Mix well with your hands until combined.
  • Form about 30 small meatballs (each about 1" in diameter) and set aside on a baking sheet or plate.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat in the same skillet used for the onions. Working in batches, fry the meatballs for about 4-5 minutes, rotating to brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  • Once all of the meatballs are browned, make the sauce in the same pan by heating ¼ cup butter until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes until light brown and bubbly.
  • Whisk in broth, cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Return the meatballs to the pan with the sauce, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles.

Video

Notes

  • When browning, the meatballs don't need to be completely cooked through unless you plan to eat them plain since they will finish cooking as they simmer in the Swedish meatball sauce. If you don't plan on making the sauce, you will need to cook the meatballs slightly longer, around 6-8 minutes in total, until they are cooked through.
  • Freezing Instructions: The meatballs can be made and frozen either cooked or uncooked. If freezing uncooked meatballs, thaw them in the fridge, then proceed with cooking them as directed in the recipe. If freezing cooked meatballs, they can be added to the sauce while frozen and heated until hot all the way through.
  • Oven Method: The meatballs can be cooked in the oven, rather than browning them on the stove. To bake the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, then arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easier cleanup. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then add to the sauce.
Adapted from Cafe Delites and Damn Delicious.

Nutrition

Calories: 564kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 997mg | Potassium: 473mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 804IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. This recipe was excellent! ❤️❤️❤️❤️  Did the meatballs a day ahead in the oven, so the rest took  exactly 20 minutes- made mashed potatoes while I warmed up the meatballs and cooked the yummy sauce. So easy and impressive to serve! 

  2. Looks marvelous 😋... I saved recipe to my iPad notes.. looking forward to making for the games this weekend...Jeff

  3. Made these tonight and it was friggin delicious. We each wanted different things so we did the egg noodles
    and mashed potatoes. So good thanks. Going to make again for sure

  4. I made the meatballs a couple of weeks ago and froze them. Took them out and defrosted then made the sauce. I used vegetable broth and half and half instead of beef broth and heavy cream. Easy to make and was really good. Served with mashed potatoes. Only regret was not having ligonberry jelly.

  5. This was seriously the most delicious comfort food recipe! I modified it to be gluten-free, using millet flour for the sauce and gluten free bread for the meat balls. I also used a little more meat than it called for, because the package of pork I bought was 1.5 lbs. I added an extra egg to help with the "glue" aspect since GF doesn't have that property. The first round of meatballs stuck really badly to the skillet, so for the rest of them (and it made A LOT of meatballs!) I put in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment paper and baked for a while, and then added them to the sauce. That's how I will make them next time. The sauce is to die for! I served this with Tinkyada GF rice penne pasta and it was so amazing. I am thinking about making this as a mushroom stroganoff, with the same sauce, but sans meat, because, I probably shouldn't eat meatballs as often as I would like to! 🙂 Thanks so much for the recipe! I have pinned several others that I would like to try soon.

  6. Hi! Cooking newbie here. Really looking forward to making this recipe. I’d like to add mushrooms to the recipe just for a bit more veg. At what step of the sauce would you recommend that? Should I do it before adding the flour? Thank you! 

  7. Can you make the meatballs and sauce and freeze together? My son loves this recipe and i'm looking for freezable options for individual meals.

    1. Yes! The sauce might separate a bit from freezing, but once you reheat and stir it around a bit it should be alright!

  8. My family loved them, my son-in-law never eats leftovers but the next day he asked my daughter if there was any left. My younger girls even went back for seconds!

  9. These are delicious!! I mistakenly followed a different recipe for these than I did previously and your recipe is far better!! I love your tip to soak the bread in the milk.

  10. My daughter (13yo) and I made these for dinner today. We followed the recipe exactly and the flavor was amazing... but our meatballs just kept falling apart. We do use organic, home grown beef and pork and sometimes the fat content isn’t as high. Will add an egg next time and I think it will be perfect 

  11. Great recipe!   My only sub was to use ground chicken & turkey in lieu of beef and pork.  I chilled the mixture and baked them initially as they were very soft.    Once firmed up, I browned in a pan on the stovetop.    The sauce is amazing.   Thanks for posting!

  12. 3 slices of bread cubes is way more than 1/2 cup. I used the 3 slices more like 2 cups.  Came out fine.  Funny, this is my second time making the meatballs and didn’t notice the issue with the measurement last time 😄 Meatballs and gravy, what’s not to like.

  13. Do you remove onion before cooking the meatballs and add them once you start to make the sauce? I’m going to make this and so excited! 

  14. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made this as a special at the restaurant and a woman told me she was transported right back to her grandmother’s kitchen. 💛 That is the best compliment you can get in my book!

  15. This was very good but I could not get my meatballs to firm it was too gooey I added more bread and then bread crumbs and still gooey and I did the sauce exactly and it did not get thick I had to add more flour I was disappointed with how much work it was but it was very tasty and I will try it again not sure what I did wrong, thank you for the recipe 

  16. Made this last night and woke up wanting leftovers for breakfast! It was so good!! I tried to follow the recipe exactly as written, but I was just a little confused on two steps, so I winged it with a little common sense. Just in case you’d like to edit the directions, here’s where I was a little confused:

    Under the directions...

    In step 5, it says, “Heat remaining oil and butter...;” however, in step 6, it says, “... make the sauce... by heating the butter...” I used the butter in step 5, and it was fine - plenty left over in the pan for the sauce.

    In step 7, it says, “Bring to a simmer and cook,” then in step 8, it says, “... reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer...”  I was guessing the first “simmer” was really supposed to say boil. That’s a guess.

    Anyway, it was an amazing dinner and I’m going to have to make it again very soon. Thank you so much for this recipe! My family loved it.

  17. The is amazing!  My husband keeps asking me to make over and over again.  Thank you for sharing this with everyone.