The BEST Easy Homemade Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are easy to make from scratch before baking in the oven and then simmering in a skillet of homemade Swedish meatball sauce for a delicious, family-pleasing dinner!

Swedish Meatballs with text overlay.


 

There's something just so satisfying about meatballs! They're versatile and hearty...easy to make and fun to eat. It didn't take me long to figure out that my family will eagerly eat pretty much any variation of meatball, so it was just a matter of time before I added these fantastic Swedish Meatballs to our repertoire!

Anyone who has ever strolled through the rat-maze-that-is-IKEA is probably already familiar with Swedish Meatballs. Tender, lightly spiced meatballs get smothered in a creamy, sour cream-kissed Swedish meatball sauce, sprinkled with parsley, and optionally served with lingonberry jam (another Swedish delicacy akin to cranberry sauce). This dish is homey, comforting, and oh-so-good!

Swedish Meatballs in pan.

Ingredients

So what goes into these better-than-IKEA Swedish Meatballs? It's pretty simple:

Labeled ingredients to make Swedish meatball recipe.
  • Ground beef. I prefer using 90% lean.
  • Plain bread crumbs. You can use dried (store-bought) or fresh (homemade).
  • Milk + egg. To add moisture to your meatballs.
  • Spices. Specific spices are what give this recipe its unique flavor...namely, onion powder, allspice, and nutmeg.

Equally important as the meatballs? The easy homemade Swedish meatball sauce:

  • Butter + flour + beef broth. For the base of the sauce. I recommend using low-sodium beef broth to give you more control over the final saltiness of the dish. Alternatively, you can use water plus beef base.
  • Worcestershire sauce + apple cider vinegar. For savory depth of flavor and a touch of pucker.
  • Sour cream. The key ingredient for that ubiquitous sauce in all of its silky, luxurious glory!
  • Salt + pepper. To taste.
Close-up of Swedish Meatballs in skillet garnished with parsley.

And finally, for serving:

  • Egg noodles. The perfect vehicle for soaking up all of the scrumptious sauce! Alternatively, you could serve this recipe over mashed potatoes.
  • Fresh minced parsley. This meal would still be tasty without a sprinkle of parsley, of course. But I highly recommend including this fresh herb garnish, if at all possible. Parsley adds a pop of bright freshness to the rich, savory meatballs and sauce.
  • Lingonberry jam. The quintessential accompaniment to Swedish Meatballs!
Aerial view of Swedish Meatballs with parsley and lingonberry jam.

Baked Swedish Meatball Recipe

Today's Swedish Meatball recipe is actually an oven + stove-top version of the slow cooker recipe that I originally developed for my cookbook. What can I say? I like having both options...for the days I plan ahead as well as those days during which I'm operating a little more last-minute. 😉

I originally thought about cooking these meatballs on the stove and then making the sauce in the same skillet to reduce dirty dishes (and that option is explained below in case you're inclined to it).

But the truth is, I almost always prefer baking my meatballs in the oven! It's less messy (no splattering oil all over your stove-top!) and it's less work (no flipping and turning meatballs in the pan!).

Baked meatballs don't necessarily get those dark, crispy edges, but they do bake up beautifully as the grease drains out. And since I line my baking pan with heavy duty foil, there's nothing to clean there anyway.

Aerial view of pan of Swedish Meatballs.

How to Make Swedish Meatballs

(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)

So here's how to put together this recipe, from start to finish.

  1. Mix up the meatball mixture by combining ground beef with breadcrumbs, milk, egg, and seasonings.
Ingredients in bowl to make Swedish meatballs recipe.
Recipe for Swedish meatballs combined in bowl.
  1. Roll the mixture into balls and arrange 'em on a sheet pan.
Easy Swedish meatball recipe on baking sheet.
  1. Bake the meatballs until golden brown and then remove them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Easy Swedish meatball recipe baked on pan.
  1. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the Swedish meatball sauce on the stove. Melt butter in a skillet and whisk in flour, cooking for a couple minutes.
Melting butter in skillet for Swedish meatball sauce.
Whisking flour into Swedish meatballs sauce.
  1. Continue to whisk while slowing pouring in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook while whisking until the sauce has thickened.
Swedish meatball sauce in skillet.
  1. To temper the sour cream and prevent it from curdling when adding it to the hot skillet, first measure the sour cream into a bowl. Stir in a ladle full of hot Swedish Meatballs sauce until incorporated, and then stir in another ladle full of sauce until smooth.
Tempering sour cream in bowl.
Bowl of tempered sour cream.
  1. Scrape the tempered sour cream mixture into the skillet of sauce and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper.
Adding tempered sour cream to Swedish meatballs sauce.
Skillet of finished sauce for easy swedish meatballs recipe.
  1. Transfer the cooked meatballs into the pan, turning to coat, and allow them to heat through.
Easy Swedish meatballs in skillet of Swedish meatball sauce.
How to make Swedish meatballs in oven and skillet.
  1. Serve your Swedish Meatballs recipe hot over pasta or mashed potatoes. Garnish with fresh minced parsley and enjoy!
Aerial view of one of the best Swedish meatball recipes.
Fork Knife Plate icon in teal.

Making Swedish Meatballs on the Stove

If you prefer frying your Swedish Meatballs in the skillet as opposed to baking them, you may certainly do so.

But if you decide to go that route, you'll need to remove the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain them while you make the sauce.

If there's any fat left in the skillet, pour it into a measuring cup and then add enough butter to equal 6 tablespoons.

This grease + butter combo can be used for the base of your sauce instead of solely butter...since everyone knows that grease = flavor. 😉

Close-up of Swedish Meatballs on plate.

Lingonberry Jam

Before I get on with the recipe, I actually have a funny story about lingonberry jam (which you are free to scroll right past if you only want the recipe!). 😉

As previously mentioned, I developed a crock pot Swedish Meatballs recipe when writing my Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers cookbook. In the process of perfecting that recipe, I served it to my chief taste testers -- AKA, my family. And my kids thought it was so strange when I offered them lingonberry jam with their meatballs.

My ever-picky (then-3-year-old) daughter is skeptical about new foods in general. But something about jam on her dinner plate apparently piqued her interest so she conceded to try it. And wouldn't you know...she loved her Swedish Meatballs dipped in fruity preserves!

However, I wasn't expecting that the next time I made ground beef patties, she asked me if I could put jam on her plate again. Same thing the next time I made meatloaf muffins. You can probably see where this is going...my daughter started insisting on dipping anything related to a meatball in lingonberry (or, okay, sometimes strawberry) jam.

And honestly? As long as she was ingesting protein at the same time, I didn't even care. What's an occasional spoonful of jam going to hurt her? 😉

Wooden spoon scooping Swedish Meatballs out of sauce.

Serving

Whether you prefer to bake your meatballs in the oven or cook them on the stove, the end result will be the same...you will undoubtedly enjoy them!

You can spoon your Swedish Meatballs over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. (Don't forget that garnish of fresh parsley!)

Or you can serve them with boiled new potatoes on the side.

Just don't forget the lingonberry jam!

My daughter offers her personal guarantee that it makes the dish. 🙂

Aerial view of Swedish Meatball recipe over noodles with sauce, parsley, and lingonberry jam.

More Meatball Love

Swedish Meatballs on plate with noodles, sauce, lingonberries, and parsley.

The BEST Easy Homemade Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are made from scratch, baked in the oven, and then simmered in a skillet of homemade sauce. Served over noodles or mashed potatoes, smothered in Swedish meatball sauce, and garnished with parsley and a dollop of lingonberry jam, this Swedish meatball recipe is an easy, delicious, family-pleasing dinner!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Swedish
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 to 8 servings (recipe yields approximately 24 meatballs total)
Calories: 383kcal
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Ingredients

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, dried or fresh
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE SWEDISH MEATBALL SAUCE:

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • cup sour cream
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

TO SERVE:

  • 8 ounces egg noodles, cooked per directions (OR prepared mashed potatoes)
  • Fresh minced parsley
  • Lingonberry jam

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and/or parchment paper and set aside.
  • Prepare the Swedish Meatballs by combining ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, salt, onion powder, allspice, nutmeg, and pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands to gently mix ingredients until thoroughly combined but not packed down. Scoop meat into 3-tablespoon mounds (I use a 3 T. cookie scoop) and gently roll into balls (which should measure between 1 ½ and 2 inches across), yielding approximately 24 meatballs.
  • Arrange meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Bake meatballs for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through to the center (cut into a meatball to check for doneness). Remove meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any grease.
  • While the meatballs are baking, prepare the Swedish Meatball sauce. Heat a large pan or deep skillet over medium-high heat; add butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes while continuously whisking. Continue to whisk while slowing pouring in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, still whisking, for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
  • Temper the sour cream by measuring it into a bowl or large measuring cup and stirring in a ladle full of sauce. Stir in another ladle full of sauce until smooth. Then pour the sour cream mixture back into the skillet of sauce and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper, adding ¼ teaspoon salt at a time until adequately seasoned.
  • Carefully place the cooked and drained meatballs in the skillet of warm sauce, turning each meatball so that all sides are coated. Serve hot over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Garnish with fresh minced parsley and accompanied by a dollop of lingonberry jam, if desired.

Video

Notes

  • I make my Swedish Meatballs with all ground beef because that's what I typically have on hand. However, traditional Swedish Meatballs are often made with a mixture that includes half ground beef and half ground pork. Feel free to use this ratio, if you wish.
  • Adding hot Swedish Meatball sauce to the sour cream (before stirring the sour cream into the skillet of sauce) tempers it. This prevents the sour cream from curdling, which can happen if you add cold sour cream directly to the hot skillet of sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 798mg | Potassium: 698mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 340IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 4mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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5 from 8 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This Swedish meatball recipe is a game changer. My kids loved it and my husband said it was the best meatballs I've ever made. So easy to make and incredibly delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    One of my family's favorite easy dinners!! The meatballs have great flavor and the creamy gravy is good enough to drink. We love this recipe over pasta or rice!

  3. 5 stars
    Adore this recipe as well as the lingonberry anectode. As a native Swede I would like to add that meatballs are traditionally served with boiled potatoes. Much love

  4. 5 stars
    I used to base Swedish meatballs off of what I tried from IKEA, but I didn’t like them. Then I tried this recipe, which I now make on a regular basis. The seasoning in the meat and the tanginess of the sauce are delicious. I always make with rice and some vegetables, and it is great all together.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, using 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork, otherwise as directed. It was delicious! Next time I'd thicken the sauce more and maybe add some chopped onion to the meatballs. Served over egg noodles. Plenty of leftovers for a couple of lunches.