Authentic Swedish Meatballs

"This recipe is one of my earliest food memories. Every Christmas Eve, my family enjoys an authentic Swedish Smorgasbord, of which this is an essential part. My mother still tells tales (and I'm 40) of me as a toddler, standing by the dish of meatballs and eating as many as I could hold. These are not spicy, like most Scandinavian food, but have a great flavor and texture. In fact, they are so soft, that I usually chill the meat mixture before rolling and frying to avoid meatballs with flat sides. I've included the directions for the gravy, which I usually don't make, as it's traditional, but the balls are wonderful without it on any buffet table, or as an addition to a potluck. They are also good cold, straight from the fridge. If you like to do OAMC cooking, these freeze beautifully, in fact, I never make less than 100 meatballs at a time, lightly brown them, then flash freeze to finish later. The traditional recipe calls for a mix of beef, pork, and veal- if you object to veal, they work equally well with an even mix of beef and pork. Don't try to use these as an option for spaghetti, the seasonings just don't match. Prep time does not include chilling the meat mixture or the prepared meatballs."
photo by LifeIsGood photo by LifeIsGood
photo by LifeIsGood
photo by NorthwestGal photo by NorthwestGal
photo by wicked cook 46 photo by wicked cook 46
photo by wicked cook 46 photo by wicked cook 46
photo by Realtor by day, Chef by night photo by Realtor by day, Chef by night
Ready In:




  • Melt butter in a skillet.
  • Saute onions in the butter until golden.
  • Soak the bread crumbs in the milk.
  • To the bread mixture, add the meats, egg, onion, allspice, salt, and pepper. Mix until a smooth texture is achieved.
  • Chill mix for an hour or so, to firm it up.
  • Form mix into meatballs, using 1-2 tablespoons of meat per ball. (these should be smaller than a golf ball). If you are making these on a warm day, you might want to chill the formed balls again, so that you don't get flat sides when you fry them.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Melt a small amount of butter (traditional) or oil in the pan.
  • Add enough meatballs to fill the pan very loosely.
  • Shake the pan as you fry the balls, to keep the round shape as they cook. Continue to cook until they are evenly brown on all sides.
  • Remove each batch to a warm platter in the oven, as you fry the rest.
  • If you wish to make the gravy, deglaze the pan with a little water after each batch, and reserve the resulting drippings in a bowl.
  • For the gravy:.
  • When all of the meatballs have been fried, mix the flour and cream (or milk), and add to the reserved pan drippings in the skillet.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of cream (or milk) to thin, then taste and season with salt and/or pepper as needed.
  • Pour gravy over warm meatballs and serve with boiled potatoes and lingonberry sauce.

Questions & Replies

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  1. this is an authentic recipe for swedish meatballs. i married a swede and his gamla mor mor (old mother's mother) taught me to make them just like this. the secrets that you must follow are these.... always grate the onions very fine, including the onion juice and make your meatballs small. not like italian meatballs, but about double the size of a marble. i can't remember if they make them petite at ikea. as far as the sauce, or gravy, make plenty of it and let the diner scoop it on themself. if you can't fid lingonberry, you can use cranberry, or raspberry on the side. make sure to boil fingerling. or small red potatoes with the skin on.
  2. I am seeing that many people had trouble with them being to wet. This is due to the difference between Panko and bread crumbs. If you choose to use Panko instead of true bread crumbs you need to double the amount. These are delish! Just like I remember from my childhood.
  3. We really enjoyed these. They have such a nice flavor and although they are not "spicey" they have a nice delicate flavor that is well rounded. I put them over tricolor radiatore pasta. My little girl loves Swedish meatballs so I made these as a surprise for her. She really loved them. I used a slightly different gravy because I needed alot of it since I was putting them over pasta. I made just one change to the meatballs- I had to add more meat. There was too much liquid for this small amount of meat. It was still really squishy and wet after the chill time so I added meat a quarter pound at a time until I thought they were about right. I ended up adding another whole pound of meat and they were still very soft but I left them that way because the recipe says they are supposed to be very soft. All the other ingredients I left as written in the recipe. For the gravy, I cooked 3 tablespoons of butter with 4 tablespoons of flour until browned and then added 2 cups of light cream, the pan juices, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp white pepper and 1 teaspoon of beef base. It was absolutely perfect and complimented your meatballs perefectly! The gravy did not over power the delicate flavor of the meatballs. I also resisted my urge to add garlic. Being Italian, I just want to add garlic to everything and I think it does not belong here so I held my garlic hand back! :) I ended up with 51 of these little cuties. Thanks for the great recipe Ingrid!
  4. Recipe was delicious but waaaayy too wet. I knew one and a half cups of milk would be too much, but wanted to make the recipe as written the first time. I will cut the milk in half (at least) next time. And no, I did not use panko. The meatballs were good, just mixture was too difficult to work with due to all the liquid.
  5. I’m looking forward to trying this. My daughter is married to a Swede also. It’s awesome being a Mor Mor. ??.


I live near Seattle, WA with my husband of 11 years and our pet ferrets. We're lucky enough to own a home with a big, south facing yard which is great for entertaining. It also allows me to have a big vegetable garden where I grow most of my own herbs and a lot of the vegetables we eat in the summer, as well as a bunch to share with family and friends. In my professional life, I'm an accountant- but what I really love to do is cook and eat! Most of my ability is self-taught. I love to experiment with new recipes and techniques, most of which I get from watching way too much food tv and reading foodie magazines. Recently I decided to start a personal chef business and have cooked for a few clients. I love the challenge of designing a menu to fit a family's specific tastes and needs, and then cooking it for them to enjoy. For me, cooking is an expression of love. Everyone needs to eat, but food is more than just fuel for the body, it can nurture and comfort ~ give us a memory from childhood, or a retreat when we feel ill. I always think of the people who I'm cooking for when I make a dish, and there is no better compliment than when someone enjoys the food I've made especially for them. I also like to do OAMC- style cooking, but instead of using it mainly to get dinner on the table, I focus on getting lunch in the bag! Eating out is far too expensive in both dollars and nutrition to make a habit of, yet I want a hot, satisfying meal to enjoy in the middle of the day. Cookin ahead allows me to have great food, without sacrificing either my dollars or my waistline. <img src=""><img src=""> <img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> <img src=""><img src=""><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> <img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> <img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> <img src=""><img src="">[IMG][/IMG]
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