Swedish Meatballs

5 from 2 votes

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If there’s one thing that brings joy to both food enthusiasts and IKEA shoppers, it’s those delectable little wonders known as Swedish Meatballs. Bursting with flavor and served with a side of nostalgia, these meatballs have earned their place as a beloved culinary icon.

swedish meatball POV on a spoon with sauce
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History of Swedish Meatballs

The history of Swedish meatballs is as rich as the creamy gravy they’re often served with. Although their exact origin remains disputed, one thing is for sure: these savory delights have been delighting taste buds for centuries.

Some stories suggest that Vikings enjoyed their own version of meatballs, while others claim that they were introduced to Swedish cuisine by King Charles XII during his travels in Turkey. Regardless of their origins, the world is grateful that these mouthwatering morsels made their way to our plates.

swedish meatball ingredients

While you can always grab a bag of frozen meatballs from your local grocery store, there’s something special about crafting them from scratch. The traditional recipe calls for a mixture of ground beef and pork, breadcrumbs, onions, eggs, and a delicate blend of spices. Shaped into small balls, they are then pan-fried until golden brown and cooked through.

Swedish meatballs are incredibly versatile when it comes to serving options. They can be enjoyed as an appetizer, a main course, or even in sandwiches. Whether served with mashed potatoes, pasta, or as part of a smorgasbord, the adaptability of Swedish meatballs allows them to fit seamlessly into various culinary contexts.

Swedish meatballs on pasta with sauce


  • Butter
  • Ground beef 
  • Bread crumbs
  • Dry basil
  • Onion powder
  • Ground allspice
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Beef broth
  • Soy sauce
  • Onion powder
  • Heavy cream

Keep scrolling to find a full, printable recipe with a detailed ingredient list.

Recipe Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine ground chuck, bread crumbs, dry basil, onion powder, ground allspice, black pepper, and salt.
  2. Add the egg and mix until incorporated with the meat mixture.
  3. Shape the mixture into small balls using a small cookie scoop or about 2 teaspoons then place the meatballs on a plate.
  4. Preheat a skillet and melt the butter.
  5. Cook the meatballs in batches, moving them around to brown all sides (8 to 10 minutes).
  6. Set the cooked meatballs aside.
  7. To make the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until a thick paste forms.Slowly add beef broth and whisk until combined.
  8. Add soy sauce, onion powder, salt, and ground pepper. Whisk to combine. Add heavy cream, whisk, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the sauce thickens (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  9. Pour the sauce into a skillet, bring to a boil, and add the cooked meatballs.
  10. Coat the meatballs with the sauce and warm until heated through.
  11. Serve the Swedish meatballs over rice, pasta noodles, or mashed potatoes.
swedish meatballs raw and ready to bake

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground chuck?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option. However, keep in mind that it may alter the flavor and texture slightly.

Can I make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them?

You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid. Then transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before cooking.

Can I use store-bought meatballs instead of making them from scratch?

Yes, you can use store-bought meatballs if you’re short on time or prefer the convenience. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as store-bought meatballs may have different cooking instructions.

swedish meatballs in sauce in cast iron pan

More Recipes

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Swedish meatballs on pasta with sauce
5 from 2 votes

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are popular due to their flavorful profile, comforting appeal, and versatile serving options, making them a beloved culinary delight enjoyed by people around the world.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound of ground beef, (80/20 fat ratio)
  • cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoons dry basil
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

For the Sauce:

  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¾ cup heavy cream


To make the meatballs:

  • In a mixing bowl, mix ground chuck, bread crumbs, dry basil, onion powder, ground allspice, black pepper, and salt. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  • Add the egg and mix until incorporated with the meat mixture.
  • Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoons), scoop the meat into balls. Roll the balls in the palm of your hands.
  • Place the rolled balls on a plate.
  • Preheat a skillet, I used a Staub braiser, and add the butter.
  • Once the butter is melted, cook the meatballs. You may need to do it in a few batches.
  • Move the meatballs around to brown all sides. (8 to 10 minutes)
  • Once cooked, set aside.

To make the sauce:

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the flour and whisk until you have a thick paste.
  • Slowly add the beef broth and whisk until combined.
  • Add the soy sauce, onion powder, salt, and ground pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Finally add the heavy cream. Whisk and bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer until the sauce thickens up about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce into a skillet, add the sauce and bring to a boil.
  • Add the cooked meatballs and coat them with the sauce. Warm it up until the meatballs are heated through.
  • Serve over rice, pasta noodles, or mashed potatoes.
  • Serve and Enjoy!


  • Add some fresh herbs when serving like parsley or some fresh grated cheese. Serve the meatballs dry as an appetizer.
  • If you are mixing ground beef and ground sausage, make sure the meatballs are cooked to 165 degrees F internal temperature.
  • I like to use 80-20 ground beef because if I am using leaner ground beef, there is not enough fat for the ball to stick together
  • Keep the meatballs in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can freeze the uncooked meatballs for up to 60 days in a freezer safe bag.
  • Change the spices, add some chili powder or red pepper flakes. Add some lemon pepper instead of ground pepper.


Serving: 1 of 6 servings, Calories: 246kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 86mg, Sodium: 359mg, Potassium: 234mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 0.4g, Vitamin A: 112IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 2mg
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Their rich flavor and comforting nature make Swedish meatballs an irresistible and versatile dish that brings joy to every bite. Whether enjoyed at home, in a restaurant, or amidst the aisles of IKEA, Swedish meatballs continue to captivate and satisfy, proving that good food knows no boundaries.

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