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Swedish Meatballs

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Homemade Swedish Meatballs are smothered in the most decadent creamy sauce that’ll have you going back for more… and more. It’s an understatement to call these meatballs tasty, when in reality, they’re downright addictive!

Quite a few cooked meatballs are covered in a creamy light brown sauce in a large pot with a wooden serving spoon.

Swedish Meatballs…At Home!

Sorry, IKEA – these meatballs are better than yours! Well, in my humble opinion they are.

As much as I do love those IKEA meatballs, I don’t want to trek through crowded aisles of Swedish furniture and oversized plush bears to get my fix. At home, I can make the famous meatballs even tastier and not have to try and discover what gigantic Swedish words mean! No hate from me, IKEA has some amazing products (especially in their Marketplace area where my cart somehow is always full after strolling through it), I just prefer to not have to travel to IKEA for some Swedish meatballs!

Swedish Meatball Hack

Okay so, here’s the first way of doing it: The entirely homemade version is all made from scratch. The ground beef for these meatballs is mixed with flavorful additions like allspice and fresh parsley for flavor and breadcrumbs for structure. They hold up well when cooking and have the most mouthwatering flavor ever.

The hack: If you’re ever at IKEA, head over to their café area and go to their freezer section. They sell their classic meatballs in the beef/pork version (original) or the chicken meatball version. Buy a bag or two, skip the gravy packets (as my homemade version is much more delicious), and this Swedish meatball recipe is even easier than it already is!

Why are these the best Swedish meatballs?

The real star of the show here might not even be the meatballs themselves, but the sauce. Now, apparently this isn’t traditional because the Swedes don’t make gravy with their Swedish meatballs.

Anyway, the gravy recipe with ingredients like beef broth, soy sauce, and dijon mustard, this creamy sauce is seriously flavor packed. It’s also wonderfully smooth and decadent from the addition of heavy cream, of course! The best part is that as flavorful as the sauce is, it compliments the meatballs – it doesn’t overpower them.

A serving of egg noodles on a white plate is topped with Swedish meatballs and fresh parsley.

Ingredients

For the meatballs, you’ll need:

  • Ground beef – You can use 80/20, 85/15 or 90/10.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – This helps give the meatballs structure.
  • Egg – I like to use free range and organic when I can.
  • Parsley – It should be fresh, not dried! Also, reserve a little bit for garnishing.
  • Onion – White onion works best here, but a yellow onion will also get the job done.
  • Allspice – Just a pinch of ground allspice adds a unique depth to the meatballs.
  • Salt – Just a pinch.
  • Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper has the best flavor.

The creamy sauce calls for:

  • Butter – Unsalted works best to keep that sodium level down.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour acts as a thickener.
  • Beef broth – Any brand will do! Opt for a low sodium container if you’re watching your salt intake.
  • Soy sauce – Tamari is a good low sodium option.
  • Dijon mustard – Yellow mustard can NOT be used in place of dijon here.
  • Heavy cream – Half and half will work, but let’s be real – heavy cream is what really gets that decadent consistency we’re after.

Ingredient substitutions:

Sour cream: when I made my gravy, I added in about 2 tablespoons of sour cream for a little tang and a little more added creaminess. Feel free to give it a try too!

Heavy cream: half and half can be used here but you gotta be careful because it could separate when boiled.

Other ground meats: you can use a combination of beef and pork just like how the IKEA meatballs are but I chose to use all ground beef just because that’s what I had on hand.

Fresh parsley garnished a serving of meatballs on top of cooked egg noodles.

How do I serve Swedish meatballs?

I always serve these saucy meatballs on top of a carb like egg noodles. I want something to serve as a base that can soak up every last drop of that delicious sauce!

Traditionally, this is served with boiled potatoes and lingonberry sauce, which you can get at IKEA too!

A meatball with a few noodles are being lifted by a fork from the bowl.

How long will Swedish meatballs stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the fridge, any leftover Swedish meatballs you have will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

The best part is, they actually reheat pretty well in the microwave! Just zap them for 30 seconds at a time until they’re warmed through.

A meatball has been bitten into, revealing a fully cooked center.

Eating meatballs just with spaghetti is so boring.

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Swedish Meatballs

Move over IKEA, these homemade Swedish meatballs are smothered in a homemade gravy that's quite honestly better than doing a maze at the furniture store to get these!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 24 meatballs
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground beef, you can use 80/20 or 85/15 or 90/10
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced parsley
  • ¼ cup white onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup heavy cream
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Instructions

  • Add the beef, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, onion, allspice, salt and pepper to a large bowl and stir to combine then form the meat into 2-inch balls.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat the bottom in vegetable or olive oil.
  • Cook the meatballs in the skillet for 5-6 minutes and move around as they cook to prevent burning.
  • Remove them from the pan and set aside for later.
  • Add the butter and flour to the pan, whisk and let it cook for about 2 minutes or until it lightly browns.
  • Pour in the beef broth and soy sauce, whisk to combine and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes or until it thickens.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream and continue simmering as it thickens for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and add the meatballs back to the pan.
  • Gently stir to combine and serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes and garnish with freshly minced parsley.

Recipe Notes

These meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

YOUR NOTES

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 meatball | Calories: 100 kcal | Carbohydrates: 4 g | Protein: 5 g | Fat: 7 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 31 mg | Sodium: 207 mg | Potassium: 112 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 1 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: ikea copycat, meatball recipe
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