Swedish Meatballs

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If we had to pick one dish that is guaranteed to be a hit at your next party or gathering, this would probably be it.

Meatballs are just so much fun to serve and to eat. They can easily be prepared in advance and then kept warm in a slow-cooker. Perfect party food and insanely delicious. 

A large stainless steel skillet filled with Swedish meatballs and wooden spoon.

How To Make Swedish Meatballs

This classic hors d’oeuvre is not difficult to prepare at all.

We’ve got a few tricks to share with you that will produce extra-moist meatballs and a deeply flavorful sauce.

The recipe can easily be doubled if serving a crowd.

Incidentally, there is an interesting history to Swedish meatballs. Did they actually originate in Sweden? Learn more here.

 

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The Ingredients You Will Need

We recommend using a mix of ground beef and ground pork, but you can certainly use only beef, or even a combination of beef, pork, and veal.

Season the mixture with ground nutmeg, ginger, salt, pepper, and freshly chopped parsley. An egg binds it together.

EXPERT TIP: To make the meatballs extra moist, we take 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs and add ¼ cup of heavy cream. Use your fingers to work the cream into the bread and then let it sit for 15 minutes. Mix this in with the other ingredients. This will produce super moist and juicy meatballs.

Roll the balls into 1-ounce meatballs. A heaping tablespoon or small ice cream scoop works perfectly.

A glass bowl filled with ground meat, an egg, chopped parsley, spices, and milked-soaked breadcrumbs, and then the same bowl after everything is mixed, and then a baking sheet with uncooked meatballs on it.

We recommend searing the meatballs in a non-stick skillet, if possible.

Our favorite 12-inch non-stick skillet is our Sardel. Amazing.

Brown the meatballs in olive oil and do them in batches. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan.

EXPERT TIP: You won’t be cooking the meatballs all the way through. You just want to brown them to lock in amazing flavor. They will finish cooking while simmering in the sauce.

Swedish meatballs being seared in a large silver saucepan.

The Secret Ingredient for the Best Sauce

In the same skillet you seared the Swedish meatballs you will want to make the sauce.

Create a roux with melted butter and all-purpose flour. Cook for about 1 minute to cook out the flour taste.

SECRET TIP: In addition to beef broth, heavy cream, salt, and pepper, you’re going to add ⅓ cup of strongly brewed coffee. As the meatballs simmer with the thickened sauce, the flavors all meld to make the most deeply flavorful sauce imaginable.

A person pouring heavy cream from a small milk jug into a skillet filled with a brown sauce.

When to Serve Swedish Meatballs

These amazing balls of yumminess are quintessential party food.

As mentioned, you can make them several hours in advance and then keep them warm in your slow-cooker.

However, they are so easy to prepare and always such a family-favorite dish, serve them alongside mashed potatoes and simmered green beans for the perfect weeknight meal.

These are as delicious as they are festive.

A large stainless steel skilled filled with Swedish meatballs and a wooden spoon with sauce on it.

We love serving these at parties, especially on New Year’s Eve.

Let folks grab them directly from the skillet with a toothpick, or transfer them to a platter and pour the sauce over them.

We typically serve them with small cocktail plates and let guests serve themselves.

Tender, saucy, and so flavorful.

Three Swedish meatballs on a white cocktail plate with one of them broken open from a fork sitting next to the plate.

Ready to make the best meatballs this side of Stockholm? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of them, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A large stainless steel skillet filled with Swedish meatballs and wooden spoon.

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are always a crowd favorite. These meatballs are incredibly juicy and moist and the sauce is deeply flavorful. You can make these several hours in advance and then keep them warm in a slow-cooker, if desired. They are great for parties but also a weeknight dinner with a side of mashed potatoes.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer or Entree
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: how to make Swedish meatballs, party food recipes, Swedish meatbalss recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 368kcal

Equipment

  • Non-stick skillet (See NOTES)

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs fresh, from 2 white slices with crusts removed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb ground beef 85% lean
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup parsley fresh, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg ground
  • ¼ tsp ginger ground
  • 2 tbsp olive oil more, as needed

For the Sauce

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • cup beef broth
  • cup coffee strongly brewed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions

Start the Meatballs

  • Heat the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and pour the cream over them. Use your fingers to work the cream into to bread. Let it sit for 15 minutes (you can do this while you're sautéing and then cooling the onions).
  • In a large bowl, add the beef, pork, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg, ginger, sautéed onions, and soaked breadcrumbs. Use two wooden spoons (or your hands) to fully mix it all together. Make sure there are no large chunks of the soaked bread.
  • Use a heaping tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop to form 1 oz balls. Place them on a baking sheet until all the balls have been formed. You have about 30 meatballs.
  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in your large skillet. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the hot skillet and use a couple of spoons to move them around so they brown all over but don't stick to the skillet. Once browned, transfer them to a platter (they won't be fully cooked at this point). Repeat with remaining meatballs adding more oil as needed.

Make the Sauce and Finish the Dish

  • Discard excess oil in the skillet. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat, using a spatula to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Add the flour and stir to combine, it should resemble wet sand. Cook, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Carefully whisk in the beef broth, coffee, and heavy cream. Stir in the salt and pepper. Continue stirring until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs into the sauce and simmer on low for another 25 minutes. Either transfer to a platter or serve directly from the skillet. Sprinkle the extra chopped parsley over the top.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance.  If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
If you don't have a food processor, no worries.  Just remove the crusts from 2 slices of white bread, and then roughly chop them up with a knife, or even your hands.  Then soak with cream. 
If you prefer, you can make the meatballs completely out of beef, or any combination of beef, pork, and/or veal.  Make sure the total amount of meat is 1½ lbs. 
A non-stick skillet works well for searing the meatballs, but a regular skillet works, too, just make sure to keep enough oil in the pan, and don't let the meatballs sit for too long in one spot for too long (or they will stick, and lose their shape). 
The uncooked meatballs can be prepared up to 12 hours in advance.  Keep them covered in the fridge until ready to sear them.  
The entire dish can be made hours in advance.  Gently reheat in the skillet over medium heat, or transfer to a slow-cooker set on the WARM or LOW setting. 
The cooked meatballs will keep covered in the fridge for up to 1 week and will freeze nicely for up to 2 months.  

Nutrition

Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 801mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 741IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

4 Comments

  • 5 stars
    Wow! Was looking for some good comfort food for New Years Day dinner. Prepared them exactly per the recipe. Absolutely delicious. Served with creamy mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce, to rave reviews—about the meatballs and sauce, to be sure. Will be making this again.

    The “interesting history” about Swedish meatballs above mentions Den Gyldene Freden (oldest restaurant in Stockholm—1722). My wife and I dined there 3 years ago and, of course, had the Swedish meatballs, which were brilliant. This recipe was so very reminiscent of that exquisite dining experience. In other words, this is most definitely a keeper.

    Thanks Kris & Wesley for yet another superb recipe (and great video!). Happy New Year and look forward to the recipes to come in 2022!

    • Mark!! That is so amazing! We LOVE that you and your wife dined at the Den Gyldene Freden and had the meatballs! That must have been just amazing. Well, that is high praise for sure if ours were any way comparable. You prepare them flawlessly, no doubt! Thanks as always for your wonderful support and love. Happy New Year to you and Cindy!!! More fun and food on the way!!

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