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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

Another Swedish food that my grandmother ALWAYS made was Swedish meatballs. Just like bulle, the smell alone takes me back in time. The last two years I’ve made meatballs 2 days before Christmas, ready to pop in the oven on Christmas Day. Making the meatballs is a little labor intensive, but doing them ahead makes for a super easy and delicious Christmas dinner.

swedish meatballs finished product2 web

Christmas or not, these are some good meatballs. They are best served with boiled red potatoes and lingonberry jam.

Swedish Meatballs
Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ pound ground veal
  • ¼ pound ground pork
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 onion (medium) (I do only about ⅓ of an onion)
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • Fat left in skillet
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic
  • 5 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon beef concentrate (or bouillon cube)
  • 2 cups bouillon or beef stock
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon aromatic bitters (I’ve never used these)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Have meat ground together twice or mix really well. Soak bread crumbs in milk. Add meat – mix well. Mix in pepper, nutmeg, paprika, and beaten eggs.
  2. In a large frying pan, saute onions in 2 T butter until soft. Add salt and dry mustard and stir. Add onion mixture to meat mixture and mix well. Form 48 small balls. Brown meatballs in ¼ C butter. Remove balls – set aside in a 9×13 baking pan.
  3. Add garlic and 1 T butter to fat left in skillet. Blend in 4 more Tbsp. butter, tomato paste, beef concentrate, and beef stock. Stir mixture over low heat until it thickens slightly. Stir in 1 cup sour cream and a few more tablespoons of butter (yes, more butter!). Pour sauce over meatballs. Heat in moderate oven (I think baked them at 350 degrees) until hot.
This recipe improves if made one day ahead.

swedish meatballs three meats web

swedish meatballs cooking web

swedish meatballs sauce web

swedish meatballs in pan web
swedish meatballs finished product1 web


  1. Mmmmmm, my favorite part of the holidays, thanks to my Svensk roots. But, I buy mine at Honeybaked Ham. Ha!

  2. 2

    Mmmmm, looks GREAT!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. 3

    Looks divine…I’ll have to try this weekend. Now, seriously, you do look VERY tiny and beautiful, but do you really only eat two meatballs? 🙂

    Just curious.

    Also we have an IKEA here with Lingonberries in a jar–do you know where I can get frozen lingonberries, or do you recommend the IKEA jar?

  4. 4
    Jane Maynard

    blah blah – I didn’t even know honeybaked had them. I’m curious to try them! I must admit, the frozen ones at ikea are quite good, too…although, my faves are these homemade ones.

    char – you’re welcome!

    anna – that is so funny…no, I definitely eat more than 2 meatballs…and plenty more potatoes, too! 😉

    as for the lingonberries…I just buy the jam from ikea myself! in fact, my family has for years. it’s good stuff! I don’t know about getting actual lingonberries anywhere…that’s a good question. unless your dying to make the jam, I would just go with ikea. 🙂

  5. Shhh … don’t tell my mother-in-law. Yours look better than hers. 🙂

  6. 6
    Jane Maynard

    mum’s the word. love it, hillary! 🙂

  7. 7

    Thanks for posting that recipe! I LOVE Ikea’s Swedish meatballs and can’t wait to try making them myself.

  8. 8
    Elyse R

    This is my very favorite meal at IKEA…never thought to make it at home!!!!

  9. 9

    Oooh, those look lovely and more tasty than Ikea’s!

  10. Thanks for this recipe. A good friend of my mother’s used to make Swedish meatballs for me when I was in college. They were heavenly.

  11. 11

    oh wow… those look amazing! I can’t wait to it.

  12. these look delicious!!!!!! Happy Friday!

  13. Is it bad that I’d rather buy them in bulk at IKEA? I won’t turn down my nose at yours though if you make some for me!

  14. 14

    Store-bought meatballs can’t match up to these.

  15. I’ve never made meatballs. Can you believe it? This looks like a good recipe to start with though.

    Great pictures.

  16. Oh, no you didn’t!! These look sooo good. I’m trying them next week, putting them on my meal plan!!

  17. 17
    Heidi Ho

    Made these for my 64 yr old 100% swedish father on his bday. Served w/ yellow mashed tators, brussle sprouts, colelaw, lingonberries (of course)and cardamon bread for dessert…my folks both declared these the “real deal”…must be all the butter:P Thanks for it….2 guests asked for the recipe

  18. 18
    Jane Maynard

    I LOVE hearing that!!! thanks, heidi!

  19. 19

    Agh – do the Ikea ones contain veal? For ethical/animal welfare reasons we never eat veal, or in establishments that serve it. If there is hidden veal in those, I’ll freak.

    The recipe looks fantastic and I’ll definitely try it out — replacing the veal with pork — but I’m quite disturbed by the idea that Ikea might be slipping veal into their meatballs and I might not have known (the restaurants don’t list ingredients, and I have never bought them in a bag or I’d have checked). 🙁

    I always wondered what was in the meatball gravy. This explains why it basically tastes like stroganoff. Very similar.

  20. 20

    Went to Ikea-45 miles- to buy several bulk containers of lingonberries and was told they no longer handle buk, only little jars. A very sad day for our family and friends

    • Jane Maynard

      I forgot they used to have those bulk containers! you’re right, it’s just little jars now.

      they stopped selling marabou chocolate for a while…that made me SAD. but they had it on my visit last week. maybe the big cans of lingonberries will reappear one day, too 🙂

  21. 21
    Cindy Savary

    I had this recipe and lost it 🙁 I tried to make it from memory last year but didn’t quite get it right. I am sooo glad you posted this as I know it is the exact recipe I had before. My family can’t do without these at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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