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A Scandinavian favourite: Swedish meatballs

Whether you’re looking for a great dish to serve at your next holiday gathering or for a satisfying meal to feed your family, this Swedish specialty will certainly be a hit!

Swedish meatballs

Traditional Swedish meatballs

Serving size 40


For the meatballs:

  • 2 slices white bread, preferably day-old
  • 1/3 cup milk or cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced or grated
  • 1 pound  (0.454 kilograms) lean ground beef
  • 1 pound (0.454 kilograms) lean ground pork
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Butter for frying

For the pan gravy:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1–2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Tear, cut or use a food processor to make small bread crumbs out of the bread.
  3. Add the bread crumbs and milk to a small bowl. Stir, and set aside to let soak.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook for a few minutes until softened. Remove from the heat to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumb-milk mixture, cooled onions, ground beef, ground pork, egg yolks, allspice, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands.
  6. Shape the mixture into small balls approximately 1 inch in size. Set them aside until all the meatballs are formed.
  7. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches, and cook until they are browned and cooked through, about 7–10 minutes. To keep the round shape, gently shake the pan while cooking.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked meatballs to covered baking dish, and keep them warm in the oven.
  9. To make the gravy, drain the fat from the skillet while keeping all the browned (but not burnt) bits in the pan. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, and melt over low heat.
  10. Whisk in the flour, and while stirring constantly, cook for 1–2 minutes, until lightly browned.
  11. Turn the heat up to medium, and slowly whisk in the beef stock.
  12. While stirring often, continue to cook until the mixture has thickened to a gravy consistency. To make a creamier sauce, add the optional sour cream as it thickens.
  13. Remove the meatballs from the oven, and top them with the gravy. Garnish with a sprinkling of parsley, and serve.

Serving suggestions

  • Serve the meatballs as part of your own holiday party buffet, or bring them to a potluck get-together.
  • For a tradition meal, serve the dish with a side of potatoes and another Scandinavian specialty: lingonberry preserves.
  • As an option, prepare the meatballs with the creamy version of sauce, and pour over egg noodles or rice.
  • Serve the meatballs — with or without the gravy — on a large platter as an appetizer. Accompany the dish with lingonberry sauce, cranberry sauce or redcurrant jelly.

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