This Swedish meatballs recipe has tender, perfectly seasoned homemade meatballs smothered in a deliciously creamy and buttery gravy. Making this IKEA favorite at home is easier than you think!
Try this classic Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe or Chicken Parmesan Meatballs next.
Why you'll love them
Sometimes meatballs are the only thing that will hit the spot, and these can be on your table in only 45 minutes. That's not long at all, right? Homemade Swedish meatballs are so cozy and the ultimate comfort food dinner for your family.
These are more like the Americanized version that you'd get at IKEA than truly authentic Swedish ones. I'll go ahead and say it, though... these bad boys are better than IKEA meatballs! The sauce is SO good. You could eat it on just about anything. And you totally can since this recipe makes plenty of leftovers.
Can I use pre-made meatballs?
- Yes, if you're in a rush! However, I recommend adding a pinch of allspice and nutmeg to the gravy since that's what gives Swedish meatballs their signature flavor.
How to make Swedish meatballs
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Add the meatball ingredients to a bowl, and mix with your hands.
Shape into 1 ¼ to 1 ½-inch meatballs (it makes about 25-30), and add them one-by-one to a parchment-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up; we're not baking these). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then cook them in two batches until they're browned all over. Transfer meatballs to a plate.
Drain the excess oil from the skillet. Add the butter and then the flour to make a roux.
Whisk in the beef broth until smooth, then add the seasonings. Add the meatballs back to the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in the sour cream, and season with salt & pepper as needed. Enjoy!
Meatball success tips
- A delicate touch is best. Don't over-handle the mixture, and use your hands to mix it. You want to be able to still see individual components of the meatballs. When forming them, don't pack them together too tightly.
- More fat is better. Low fat meatballs will be drier, less flavorful, and are likely to overcook faster. I avoid using extra lean ground meats.
- Brown them! That sear adds so much flavor and also helps them hold together better and seal in the juices. You can bake them if you prefer, but they won't be quite the same, and the browned bits from frying make the gravy taste even better!
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- Meatballs are cooked when they're 165F in the middle. Use an instant read thermometer to quickly test.
- Use cooking tongs to quickly and easily turn them when you're browning them.
- Use a large/deep skillet for this recipe or a Dutch oven. My 12" Le Creuset skillet is pictured. A regular 10.25" skillet will be a bit small (I tested it!)
Substitutions and variations
- I recommend using the suggested mix of beef and pork for the best flavor and moisture, but you could use all beef. Turkey is much leaner, so if you want to go that route, add some olive oil to the mixture (a tablespoon or two).
- You can use regular breadcrumbs instead of panko.
- Try subbing the allspice for cardamom if needed.
- You could use heavy cream instead of sour cream if you prefer, but the tanginess of the sour cream really makes the Swedish meatball sauce special, so you may need to add a bit of lemon juice to compensate if you use heavy cream and feel the sauce is lacking something.
- You could leave the sour cream out entirely if you need to.
Leftovers and storage
- Swedish meatballs will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Reheat slowly in a covered pan over a low heat. The cream sauce may separate if it's heated too high.
- I freeze leftovers in Tupperware containers and then thaw from frozen in a covered saucepan over low heat, or thaw in the fridge overnight. Since there's sour cream in the sauce, there's a chance it can separate a bit, but it'll still taste good. You could always make the sauce without the sour cream if you're planning on freezing the whole batch, then simply stir the sour cream in just prior to serving.
What to serve with Swedish meatballs
- Traditionally, Swedish meatballs are served with lingonberry jelly on the side. I've seen it available to buy at IKEA. You could also try Cranberry Sauce or raspberry jelly.
- These are amazing with Mashed Potatoes, egg noodles, or rice.
- For a veggie side dish, try my Easy Roasted Green Beans or these Easy Glazed Carrots.
More tasty meatball recipes
Questions about these easy Swedish meatballs? Made them? Leave me a comment or review below! I'm also on Instagram.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for frying)
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Get all ingredients ready prior to starting.
- Add all the meatball ingredients (except for the olive oil) to a fairly large prep bowl. Using your hands, mix it together and then form 1 ¼ - 1 ½-inch meatballs (use about 2 ½ tbsp meat/meatball and it'll make approx. 25-30 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet for easy clean-up.
- Add the olive oil to a large and deep skillet or a Dutch oven/pot and let it heat up for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs in two batches until all sides are browned (about 5-7 minutes/batch). It's easiest to turn the meatballs with tongs. You may need to add a splash more oil for the second batch. Transfer meatballs to a plate.
- Pour out most of the fat from the skillet, but keep the browned bits in for extra flavor (don't wipe it out).
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the skillet. Once it’s melted, stir in the flour and cook, stirring often, for a few minutes until the roux starts to turn golden.
- Slowly whisk the beef broth in, and ensure the flour has dissolved into the sauce.
- Whisk in the Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
- Add the meatballs back to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the gravy thickens to your liking (it's not meant to be a super thick gravy).
- Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream. I add it right into the skillet, but you could take out some of the sauce and add it to a cup and mix the sour cream in there first if that's easier for you.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
- See blog post for more tips, info on substitutions, etc... especially if you haven't made meatballs before!
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
I will be using this website for recipes more often. I followed the recipe to the t. I just didn’t add sour cream to the sauce. And I baked my meatballs. It was amazing!!!!
Thrilled you enjoyed it! Thank you!
Amy Schauer says
Very good sauce. Made it with frozen Italian meatballs so delicious 😋
Thank you!! So happy to hear it! 😀
Love this recipe! I have made this several times, as written. My daughter with autism even eats it. I squish up the meatballs in the gravy, and put over her noodles. She loves it! ASD kids are so picky, but she loves this recipe! Thank you!!
That's so nice to hear!! 😀
Made this tonight and this recipe is the best sweedish meatball recipe I have yet to find. Thank you!!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
That's wonderful to hear, Kallie! We're so pleased you found us.
This was delicious 😊 my son is allergic to dairy so left out the sour cream and it still tasted great! Will have it again for sure
I'm so happy you guys enjoyed it, Megan!
Esther Keeley says
Thank you for sharing this recipe, they are amazing for an easy tasteful dinner! Family loved them!
So happy to hear it!!
Trying to use frozen meatballs, they are currently thawing.(had a huge bag from Costco and trying to use them up) How will I start the roux without the fat that comes into the pan from searing uncooked meatballs? I have bacon grease, would that work if I added 1 tbsp? To help start the roux? Any suggestions?
I think bacon grease is a great idea!
I baked my meatballs and didn’t use any meat fat to make my gravy just the butter. It was amazing
It was delicious. I added fried onions to the meatballs and to the gravy. I also added a bit of red wine to the gravy. I’ll certainly make it again.
This is one of our favourite meals to have as a family! All three of my kids like this, and that says a lot! We do skip the sour cream at the end, as we found we prefer it without!
I'm glad it's a family favorite, Monique!
Rhiannon H says
Thanks for a great recipe! About done with the meatballs and sauce. I’ve taste-tested and it’s excellent. Used my cookie scoop for the meatball formation and it worked perfectly.
You're very welcome!! 😀
Easy and delicious! I make these a couple of times a month because I love them so much. Tonight I doubled the sauce because I like extra for serving over rice or egg noodles.
That's so nice to hear!! I love them too... I need to make them again!
Going to make these tonight! Could I double the sauce?
Just made these tonight. Sooo delicious and so simple! Better than Ikea ones by far. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you.
I'm thrilled to hear that!! Thanks so much for your review, Vida! Glad you enjoyed it.
FANtastic!!! My picky eater child even said he LOVED the meatballs & gravy! He's NEVER complimented a 'new' dish like this! I used 2#'s of farm fresh beef (not crom the grocery store). Otherwise, I folliwex the recipe precisely. This will be on our FAVORITES list!
That's awesome!! 🙂 Thanks for your review, Tammy!
Would you be able to make these ahead & put them in a crockpot to warm up the day you want to serve?
I think that would be ok, but in general for re-heating, I would definitely warm them over a fairly low heat (so I think slow cooker "low" should be fine) as the sauce can separate... especially if it's been sitting in the Crockpot for a while.
I want to do exactly this! Did they turn out alright for you?
I’ve tried almost a dozen different recipes for Swedish meatballs and this is by far my favorite! Very easy and I like that it doesn’t use heavy cream…will definitely be making again 💜💜
I'm so happy it was a hit!!
Delicious recipe. My family loved it and I will make it again.
I'm thrilled to hear that, Angela!! 🙂
My fiancé and was nervous to try something new. It’s now on our rotation of foods! It’s a great, easy recipe!
That's so nice to hear, Emily!! 🙂 It's one of my favs too... reminds me I need to make a batch again!
Lord have mercy. These are AMAZING! Sauce was so creamy and the spices just right. Thank you for this amazing recipe!
I'm thrilled you enjoyed them, Andrew! 😀 This is one of my personal favorites as well. Thanks for your 5-star review!
These looks very tasty but not authentic Swedish meatballs. We don't use nutmeg. IKEA is not authentic Swedish meatballs either. It's just Ikea meatballs.
Depending where in Sweden you from, some use only minced pork, some 50/50 pork and beef.
Breadcrumbs, egg, water/milk, Swedish allspice, chopped onion, salt and black pepper (old Swedish ppl used white pepper).
Depending where you from in Sweden, some put the meatballs in the sauce, some doesn't.
The sauce is made with heavy cream/heavy cream or mix of 50/50 milk and double cream. Spices in the sauce is Swedish allspice, salt and black pepper and the juice from the pan you fried the meatballs
Hi! Yes, it even says in the blog post that these are an Americanized version of Swedish meatballs. 🙂
Valerie Wahl says
Fabulous….just made these.. I lost my Swedish Grandmother’s recipe..and your recipe reminds me of hers from several years ago…Thank you♥️
Oh wow that's wonderful to hear!! I appreciate you taking the time to come back and write me a review. 🙂
Kristin Kingbay says
Best swedish meatballs recipe I've used! The meatballs and sauce were perfect. I used all beef, since that's what I had on hand, and left out the sour cream (no heavy cream sub), and served over egg noodles. I've already claimed the leftovers, which will go over mashed potatoes tonight! Such a great dish. Can't wait to make it again!
Wonderful!! I'm happy that you enjoyed it!! 🙂 I love them too... I ran out of the ones in my freezer and need to make them again soon. Thanks for your review!
These were amazing!! Will definitely be making more of this recipe. Followed the instructions exactly.
Thank you so much for your review, Misha!! 🙂 I'm so pleased you enjoyed them!
I prepared this amazing dish. The meatballs are excellent and the sauce was smooth. I accompanied this dish with "pine cones" (fried potatoes), arugula and pear with cranberries.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Virginie! Really appreciate you taking the time to write me a review! 🙂