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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, tasty Meatballs and Gravy, or Chicken Parmesan Meatballs next.

Swedish meatballs in a skillet

Why you’ll love it

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 are better than IKEA meatballs! The sauce is SO good, and this recipe makes plenty of tasty 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.

mixing ingredients in a glass bowl to make swedish meatballs

Add the meatball ingredients to a bowl, and mix with your hands.

forming swedish meatballs and frying them in a skillet

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.

making a roux for swedish meatball sauce

Drain the excess oil from the skillet. Add the butter and then the flour to make a roux.

adding meatballs back into the swedish meatball sauce

Whisk in the beef broth until smooth, then add the seasonings. Add the meatballs back to the pan and cook them through.

finishing swedish meatball sauce by adding in sour cream

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!
close-up of a spoon with a swedish meatballs over a skillet

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.
a bowl with mashed potatoes, broccolini, lingonberry sauce, and swedish meatballs

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

close-up of easy Swedish meatballs

Questions about these easy Swedish meatballs? Made them? Please leave me a star rating and review below! I’m also on Instagram, so tag me if you made any S&L recipes.

Swedish meatballs in a skillet
4.80 from 60 votes

Swedish Meatballs

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!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

Meatballs:

  • 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)

Sauce:

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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 extra salt & pepper as needed. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 606kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 49g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 21g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 169mg, Sodium: 1074mg, Potassium: 562mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 464IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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163 Comments

    1. Sorry to hear that. Not sure what went wrong in your kitchen as this is a very popular and highly rated recipe, and one of my personal favorites. Did you add enough salt to the sauce?

  1. I’m using pre-made meatballs since I had some left over and want to use a crockpot. How long should I cook them and the sauce or is there really no difference? Is there any tweaking I should do since it’s a different cooking method? Looks yummy! Can’t wait to try and thank you!

    1. Hi Victoria! I don’t know how you’d adapt this for the crockpot. You could definitely make the sauce separately in a skillet, though, and just add in the meatballs to heat through. See the “can I use pre-made meatballs?” tip in the blog post too.

  2. This recipe was delicious, as are all of your recipes! When I search on Pinterest for something and see the recipe is one by you, I know it will be good, and they always are! Thank you for sharing your heart and recipes

  3. I need to make enough for a group of 22. Would you take this x 4 or 3 since I am having ham too. Also canvv vs I make it the day before keep in crockpot and heat up by 1:00 pm?

    1. Hi Jill! I have very little experience with cooking for large groups, but I’d probably do x4 to err on the side of caution so there’s plenty. You may want to add the sour cream just before serving – I am not sure how well the sauce will fare in a slow cooker for hours.

    1. Can you provide some more details as to why you didn’t like it? It’s a very highly rated recipe and one of my personal favorites. Did you follow the recipe correctly? Did you make any swaps? Did you add enough salt?

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is the absolute best!
    My family loves it when I make this dish for them. I sauté some mushrooms to give the sauce even more depth. We love it paired with creamy mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.
    A family favourite for sure!
    Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    Very easy to make. I got 26 meatballs. I like more beef flavor in the gravy so added some powder beef flavor.