Swedish Meatballs

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Special thanks to the Ohio Pork Council for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

These robustly flavored Swedish Meatballs in a creamy gravy sauce are rich, tender, and absolutely divine served over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles. These meatballs and sauce are pure comfort food!

 

View of Swedish meatballs being stirred into the creamy sauce.

Swedish Meatballs

I distinctly remember years ago when an Ikea was built about 20 minutes away from my home. It was a big deal and, as a high schooler, it quickly became a very cool spot to hang out when the weather was cold. And, of course, you couldn’t go to Ikea without enjoying a plate of their famous Swedish Meatballs.

While I no longer have an Ikea near me, I still frequently get my fill of Swedish Meatballs by making them at home. Luckily, these creamy, saucy meatballs are loved by everyone in the family as well!

Process shots: Swedish Meatball ingredients; mix, portion and roll; brown on each side.

Swedish Meatballs Tips

  • Grate the yellow onion. While this step is (admittedly) tedious, it gives the sauce the best possible taste and texture. You won’t find large chunks of uncooked onions, and all the great flavors are evenly dispersed throughout.
  • Don’t overwork the meat mixture. Once the ingredients are incorporated into the ground pork, stop mixing. Overworking the meat mixture yields less-tender meatballs.
  • Keep the meat and ingredients cold. The colder the ingredients (especially the ground pork), the easier these meatballs are to roll and shape. 
  • Stick to heavy cream. While a lot of meatball recipes call for milk, we need the thickness of the cream for this recipe. I wouldn’t recommend replacing that ingredient in this recipe.

QUICK TIP

What are panko breadcrumbs? Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb and is usually found near other breadcrumbs or in the Asian food aisle of your store. I love using panko in these Swedish meatballs; it makes them soft and juicy while acting as a great binder.

Creamy Sauce Tips

  • Use high-quality cooking stocks. The stocks add so much flavor to the sauce. While we enjoyed the flavor with both vegetable and beef stock, in a pinch you can use just beef stock instead of both.
  • Thin the sauce as needed. While the sauce is fairly thick, you can gradually thin it by adding additional beef or vegetable stock, a tablespoon at a time.
  • Season. Make sure to taste the sauce before adding the meatballs. It may need a touch more Dijon mustard, soy sauce, or salt/pepper. Because there is soy sauce and stock in the sauce, it may not need too much (if any) additional salt.

Process shots: Bake meatballs; melt butter, whisk in flour and add remaining ingredients; simmer to thicken; add meatballs and parsley to sauce.

Ground pork

I love ground pork in these meatballs — the exteriors have a caramelized crust while the insides remain tender and juicy with a velvety texture.

  • Ohio’s pig farmers are committed to producing safe, wholesome pork in a responsible way.
  • Because of pork quality advancements over the years, pork has consistently been the number one protein worldwide.
  • Pork is an excellent source of nutrients important in supporting our health, including vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin and selenium, and protein.

QUICK TIP

Ground pork should always be cooked to 160° F. Since cooking time will vary due to several factors, I always recommend using a digital meat thermometer to remove any guesswork on your end. (Undercooked pork meatballs aren’t safe to consume and overcooked meatballs will become less flavorful.)

Faster Swedish Meatball Preparation

We want to make sure to roll small, even-sized meatballs in order for them to all finish cooking at the same time. Here’s how I ensure the meatballs are equal-sized and the preparation goes as fast as possible:

  • Start by scooping out even amounts of the meatball mixture. Use a lightly greased 1-tablespoon measuring spoon with nonstick cooking spray; press the measuring spoon into the meatball mixture and against the side of the bowl to get an evenly packed amount.
  • Using your index finger, scoop the mixture out of the measuring spoon on to a prepared plate. Repeat with the remaining meat.
  • Now, roll all the sectioned meat into even-sized, round meatballs.
  • Finally, roll all the meatballs into the flour.

QUICK TIP

It may not seem like it saves a lot of time, but it’s far quicker than individually measuring out, shaping, and rolling one meatball at a time. If the meat mixture gets too sticky, chill it in the fridge or lightly spritz your hands with cooking spray. And if you have helpers, you can turn this into an assembly-line project!

Image of Swedish Meatballs in sauce, over mashed potatoes and garnished with parsley.

Swedish Meatball Serving Suggestions

I have some ideas for what to serve as the base or on the side of these meatballs.

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Swedish Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
These robustly flavored Swedish Meatballs in a creamy gravy sauce are rich, tender, and absolutely divine served over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles. These meatballs and sauce are pure comfort food!
Print Recipe

Swedish Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
These robustly flavored Swedish Meatballs in a creamy gravy sauce are rich, tender, and absolutely divine served over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles. These meatballs and sauce are pure comfort food!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Swedish Meatballs
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 513kcal
Cost $5.68

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds ground pork 85/15 is a good blend for this.
  • 1 cup (215g) grated yellow onion (~2 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (~3-4 cloves)
  • 3/4 cup (65g) panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup (75g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: ground nutmeg, allspice powder, black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola

For the Swedish Cream Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (44g) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (145g) beef stock
  • 2/3 cup (140g) vegetable stock
  • 2/3 cup (141g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Optional: finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Serving suggestions: mashed potatoes or buttered noodles, lingonberry preserves or cranberry sauce

Instructions

  • MEAT MIXTURE: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, grated yellow onion (See Note 1), minced garlic, panko, egg, heavy cream, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, and salt. Gently mix until just combined, being careful to not overwork the mixture.
  • FORM MEATBALLS: Use a 1-tablespoon measuring spoon to portion out the meat into balls. Lightly toss the meatball between the palms of your hand to form small, round balls. Place on a platter or baking sheet and repeat with the remaining mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to help them hold their shape while cooking.
  • BROWN MEATBALLS: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and generously spray a 9x13-inch pan. Heat the canola oil (2 tablespoons at first) in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs (making sure to not overcrowd the pan) and fry for 2 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side for another 2 minutes. Transfer to the prepared 9x13 pan and repeat with remaining meatballs. Bake for 17-25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through (160 degrees F.).
  • CREAM SAUCE: Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Quickly wipe out the skillet used for the meatballs and melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add in the beef stock and then vegetable stock, whisking constantly until smooth. Cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add in the heavy cream, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Taste the sauce and add seasonings if needed (I typically add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper). The sauce is thick! If you'd like to thin it a bit, add additional stock slowly (1-2 tablespoons at a time) until the desired consistency is reached.
  • FINISHING: Toss cooked meatballs gently in the sauce. Serve over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles with a side of cranberry sauce or lingonberry preserves. Garnish with parsley if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: To grate the onion, peel and then grate on large holes of a box grater. Measure to get a lightly packed and leveled 1 cup.
Nutrition information is for the meatballs and sauce only.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.6g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 36.1g | Cholesterol: 145.9mg | Sodium: 411.8mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 3.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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