Old-School Swedish Meatballs Recipe on Food52 (2024)

Serves a Crowd

by: Corby



12 Ratings

  • Serves 6

Jump to Recipe

Author Notes

These aren't from Ikea. They contain no pre-made meatballs, onion soup mix, or cream of mushroom. They are not healthy in any way. Old-school Swedish meatballs are a hassle to make but are absolutely worth it -- even in the triple batches you will have to make to satisfy your family, friends, and yourself. Merry Christmas to all!

New-School Tips:
- When browning the meatballs, roll them frequently to maintain any semblance of roundness. Cooking chopsticks (the long ones) are a great asset for this and keep your wrists away from sputtering melted butter to boot.
- Swedish meatballs do quite well in a warm crockpot, should you find it in your heart to share them.
- Homemade, collagen-rich broth adds a lot to an already fantastic recipe. Out of distaste for store-bought broth, I once used homemade pho broth in the recipe and it complemented the spices in the meatballs nicely. —Corby

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Corby has been a member of the Food52 community for the past year and a half.
WHAT: Classic Swedish meatballs made painstakingly from scratch -- but worth the effort.
HOW: Combine ground pork and beef, butter, onions, egg, sugar, spices, and moistened bread into balls, then brown them in a large skillet. Place in a baking dish with broth and bake them until cooked. Add a healthy serving of gravy, made from the skillet drippings, and enjoy.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Once the meatballs, filled with a slew of spices (Ginger, Allspice, Nutmeg) have been baked in broth, they are irresistible -- as is the smell that will be emanating from your oven. Make the most of your gravy, and pair the meatballs with mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfort food combo. —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved
  • Your Best Family Recipe, Part 2 Contest Winner

What You'll Need

  • Swedish Meatballs
  • 2 piecesday-old white bread, crumbled
  • 1/2 cupheavy cream
  • 1 teaspoonbutter plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2/3 poundground beef
  • 1/3 poundfinely ground pork
  • 1 tablespoonbrown sugar
  • 1 teaspoonsalt
  • 1/4 teaspoonground pepper, white if possible
  • 1/4 teaspoonground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoonground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoonground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cupbeef stock or bone broth
  • Brown Gravy
  • 2 tablespoonsSwedish meatball pan drippings
  • 2 tablespoonsflour
  • 2 cupsbeef stock or bone broth
  • 4 ouncessour cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Swedish Meatballs
  2. Preheat your oven to 350º F (175º C).
  3. Place the bread and cream in a small bowl, mix, and let stand about 10 minutes until absorbed.
  4. Melt the teaspoon of butter in a large, shallow skillet and cook the onion for approximately 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer browned onion to a large mixing bowl and add the meats, brown sugar, salt, spices, and egg, then mix until nearly combined. Add the moistened bread and mix gently until combined.
  5. Melt the tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Form meatball mixture into 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls and cook in batches until the outsides are evenly browned, approximately 5 minutes. The meatballs will still be pink inside. Transfer to a baking dish when browned and add more butter to the skillet as needed to cook all of the batches of meatballs.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of broth into the baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 40 minutes, until the meatballs are fully cooked and tender.
  7. Transfer meatballs to a serving dish and pour gravy over (recipe follows).
  1. Brown Gravy
  2. After making the Swedish meatballs, transfer their drippings to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until light gold in color, then slowly pour in broth or stock while whisking constantly.
  3. Simmer the gravy until thick, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Just before serving the meatballs, stir in the sour cream.
  5. Note: If you are not serving all of the meatballs at once, reserve gravy before adding sour cream. Reheat the meatballs and gravy separately and combine the sour cream with the gravy after heating to prevent the sauce from breaking as it is heated.


  • Meatball
  • Swedish
  • Beef
  • Sour Cream
  • Serves a Crowd
  • Christmas
  • Winter
  • Entree
Contest Entries
  • Your Best Family Recipe, Part 2

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rob weaver

  • Pat Reynolds

  • Regan Stansfield

  • Marie

  • Austin Burges

Popular on Food52

67 Reviews

I look forward to making these. A recipe I've made for years has cardamom as one of the spices added which I find to be a pleasantly warm comfort spice. But for this recipe I promise to stay true and not add the cardamom. Thanks.

Pat R. August 10, 2020

Looks wonderful; can’t wait to try.

Regan S. February 22, 2020

I love these meatballs! They are fabulous without the gravy. Full of flavour and they pair well with scalloped potatoes, salad too of course. ;)

Marie December 19, 2019

These are absolutely delightful! I had never tried making them from scratch before so I figured why not go big and make complicated ones in a triple batch, lol. Time consuming but perfect. There are only two of us in our household so I froze 2/3 of the meatballs after browning.

Austin B. February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's day to one of the best recipes on this site!

Macy M. January 9, 2019

Made this tonight and loved every bit of it. Doubled it and froze half of the meatballs for quicker prep next time. Thank you for this divine recipe!

Rosemary M. December 27, 2018

These are amazing! And not difficult. This is my first ever review but I was compelled by this awesome recipe. Next time I will try an "everyday" version with milk instead of cream. The original recipe is delicious. I have celiac disease so I made it gluten-free with gluten-free white bread and GF flour. A winner! And I suspect kids would love these too.

Vicky M. February 18, 2018

Perfect Swedish Meatball recipe. I served over rice and with roasted cumin and coriander carrots on the side. Delicious.

Änneken December 25, 2017

I make these regularly and they continue to amaze me every single time. I am so in love with the seasoning and the gravy. I always have them with Marcells Hazan's mashed potatoes. A total winner!!

tosacem December 30, 2017

Can you share Marcells Hazan's mashed potato recipe?

Jennifer B. September 30, 2017

Do you add all the cream with the softened bread or just the bread?

Rob D. August 22, 2017

What a great recipe! I added some fresh dill to the meat mixture as well. I think the baking in the oven with a little broth really does it justice. They were incredibly tender and flavorful. The apartment smelled great. This is the best Swedish meatball recipe I have tried, hands down. I am an Italian-American and cook make types of meatballs and have to say this recipe is right up there. It is not difficult and try it as directed!

Salinas R. June 26, 2017

Congratulations @food52 ! this is the first recipe I try and now you have my trust. I didnt read the ingredients carefully and started cooking until I realized I didnt have sour cream so I used heavy whipping cream ( and no egg). The instructions leave room for interpretation that being said my final results were delicious. Im looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

Annika H. February 9, 2017

Sorry to say but this is not Swedish meatballs but I will try it anyway! Annika from Stockholm Sweden

valn February 9, 2017

Annika, I would love to hear how you or your friends in Sweden would make "Swedish Meatballs".

toweringinferno September 22, 2017

I made a recipe similar to this for a Midsommar gathering, and was told the flavours were on point but what differentiates Swedish meatballs is the texture. Apparently they whip the meat mixture so it becomes aerated and gets that spongy feel. Delicious either way, but for authenticity the devil's in the details!

Donna F. February 8, 2017

Question for you Corey- we wouldn't go through a big batch but I can see making a large batch at once is worth the effort. For th freezer- must they be cooked first and then frozen or do you freeze them raw? Which is preferable for best results?

Corby February 8, 2017

Since the balls are cooked in two stages- pan fried and then baked-I would pan fry them until they have enough structure to transfer to a bag, then freeze them in a single layer. They will finish cooking when they are thawed and baked in the oven. This leaves you without gravy drippings for the frozen batches, just plan accordingly.

Nancy F. December 1, 2016

I used ground veal instead of pork. I only had light cream instead of heavy. I didn't have beef stock so I had to use HERB-OX--UGH!!! But it all came out delicious. Next time, I'm going to do the crock pot. I like serving over egg noodles. Thank you!

Rhonda35 April 17, 2016

Corby, these meatballs are delicious! I didn't change much - added minced mushrooms to the onion, and added fresh dill and parsley to the meat mixture and also to the gravy. My husband, whose grandmother was 100% Swedish, said the meatballs tasted like the ones she used to make. :-) Thank you for sharing your recipe!

Kimberly M. December 24, 2015

How to change this to a crock pot recipe?

Corby October 21, 2016

I think you can transfer to a crock pot after searing the meatballs. Add the broth to the pot and cook on high until the meatballs reach 165 F

Julia C. December 19, 2015

So happy to find this recipe in time for Christmas! It seems to duplicate my mother's recipe traditionally served on Christmas Eve in our family. She began serving it after moving to Minneapolis as a newlywed and being befriended by Scandinavians. It joined a spaghetti dish taught to her by an Italian family as brand new bride during WWII on the table. You could say our Christmas Eve dinner was a symbol of her gratitude to the women who befriended a young bride by inviting her husband and and her to their family celebrations and gifted her with cherished recipes. I now honor and celebrate all their memories at my holiday table with those and other similarly given recipes.

Mike September 7, 2015

The recipe card looks exactly like my mothers! I don't know where it is, so glad to have the pic! I'll be configuring these to gluten-free now that I am older. Thanks for the post!

Horto May 6, 2015

How can we make these vegetarian

Corby June 2, 2015

Hi Horto,
I'm afraid I don't have much experience with mock meats, but my inkling is to use seitan and fully caramelize the onions. You might need to omit or reduce the sugar. For the gravy, I would favor mushroom stock over other vegetables. Let me know if you try it out, I'd love to share these with vegetarian friends.

Karyn G. February 17, 2020

Just made these using Beyond Meat. They were excellent! I'm not vegan, so I used beef broth, but I think mushroom stock would be great in this. Also, I'd probably use cashew cream instead of sour cream and cashew or soy milk instead of the heavy cream.

Old-School Swedish Meatballs Recipe on Food52 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Arline Emard IV

Last Updated:

Views: 6220

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arline Emard IV

Birthday: 1996-07-10

Address: 8912 Hintz Shore, West Louie, AZ 69363-0747

Phone: +13454700762376

Job: Administration Technician

Hobby: Paintball, Horseback riding, Cycling, Running, Macrame, Playing musical instruments, Soapmaking

Introduction: My name is Arline Emard IV, I am a cheerful, gorgeous, colorful, joyous, excited, super, inquisitive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.