Easy Swedish Meatballs are homemade meatballs in a rich brown gravy sauce. They’re simple to make and taste delicious – try them for dinner with mashed potatoes or egg noodles tonight!
Swedish Meatballs are my family’s favorite type of comfort food – especially with all that delicious and creamy gravy. For more comfort food dinner recipes, see my Beef Tips and Gravy Skillet or my Instant Pot Sour Cream Pork Chops!
I have to make a shocking confession: I’m not particularly fond of IKEA meatballs.
Now their cinnamon rolls? I love. The meatballs everyone seems to go crazy for on the other hand – meh.
But give me a batch of homemade meatballs (here’s a tutorial for you if you’ve never made any before) in a delicious homemade brown gravy – I could eat the whole pan by myself if it wasn’t for my kids and husband 😉
Swedish Meatballs Video Tutorial:
These Easy Swedish Meatballs
- are simple to make with ingredients from the regular grocery store
- are a budget-friendly dinner option for families
- taste amazing in their rich, brown, creamy gravy!
I’ve been meaning to share my Swedish meatball recipe here on the blog since 2014, ever since my Sticky BBQ Slow Cooker Meatballs got so popular, ha! I just never managed to snap a photo I was happy with.
Why are the tastiest foods the ugliest?
But my word of the year is pursue, so I’m making it my mission to pursue everything I want for Savory Nothings.
And thus, here’s the best Swedish meatball recipe for you today.
How to Make Swedish Meatballs:
Read on for the steps in this recipe, or scroll down below for more tips like how to keep meatballs round during cooking, how to make a roux for gravy and the printable recipe card!
1 – Make the meatball mix by adding all ingredients for them to a large mixing bowl. Then combine the ingredients either by kneading with your hands, or – my preferred method! – use your hand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
It’s so quick and easy, plus there’s no need to stick your hands into the raw meat!
If you’re in the market for a new hand mixer, I have a similar one to this on Amazon! (This is an affiliate link and I make a commission for purchases made after clicking through.)
2 – Shape the meatballs. Again, I have a trick up my sleeve: I use a small cookie scoop! The meatballs turn out evenly sized and shaped and it’s super quick.
I have a cookie scoop similar to this one on Amazon! (This is an affiliate link and I earn a commission for purchases made after clicking through.)
3 – Freeze the meatballs: Place the shaped meatballs on a lined cookie sheet and freeze for around 10 minutes. This helps to firm them up so they keep their shape during cooking!
4 – Cook the meatballs: Heat some oil in a large skillet. Brown the meatballs in batches (don’t crowd the pan or they’ll get soggy!) and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. I usually cook them for 3-4 minutes on one side, and then keep turning them until they’re done for another 5-10 minutes, depending on their size.
5 – Start the gravy by bringing the skillet back to medium heat (don’t wipe it after making the meatballs or you’ll remove all the flavor!). Melt some butter in the skillet, then whisk in flour until medium brown (read below for more tips on making a gravy with a roux).
6 – Finish the gravy: Whisk in the beef stock – you’ll have to whisk well and fast to avoid lumps! Simmer until thickened, then stir in milk, mustard and grape jelly or lingonberry jam. Don’t be put off by the jelly – or do you never have it with your meatballs at IKEA?? See 😉
7 – Warm the meatballs in the finished sauce until heated through and serve immediately over noodles or mashed potatoes.
Tips for the BEST Swedish Meatballs:
- if you’re in a hurry, use regular store-bought meatballs – you’ll need about 1.5 pounds
- make sure to shape homemade meatballs tightly, or they’ll fall apart in the sauce
- if the jelly and mustard in the sauce sound weird to you (apparently those kind of people exist 😉), feel free to leave them out – but you’ll lack some of that beloved IKEA flavor if you do
How do you keep the meatballs round during cooking?
Freeze the meatballs before cooking!
I know it sounds strange, but if you freeze the meatballs for 10-ish minutes before pan-frying them, they’ll hold their shape better.
I find it really helps for them to not start falling apart once they’re in the sauce!
How do you make Swedish meatball sauce?
The sauce starts with a roux.
That’s just the fancy French word for gently heating some butter and flour before adding the liquids.
Make sure you don’t burn the flour and butter for the sauce though! It should turn a medium brown, but no more.
I’ve had to re-start the sauce before because I burnt the flour, it can’t be saved.
Once you add the liquids, you’ll need to whisk really fast.
Nobody likes a lumpy gravy.
As soon as you start pouring the beef broth into the cooked flour and butter mix, it will begin to seize up and thicken. Do not be alarmed by this, it’s important that you keep going and add all the liquid while whisking!
Whisk all the while you’re pouring the liquid into the pan, and then keep whisking until it’s smooth.
What to serve with Swedish Meatballs?
We love eating this either with the best mashed potatoes in the world (really, so easy and so good!) or with simple egg noodles.
The ones in the photo below were homemade by my sweet husband and three year old. They tasted amazing!
We usually just buy some, but I forgot (oops) so they stepped in and made me some to snap a picture.
No matter how you serve them (oh hey, I just wrote a post on all the possible side dishes for any kind of meatballs!), I can guarantee you one thing:
They definitely taste better than IKEA’s – well, at least in my opinion they do.
Easy Swedish Meatballs
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 small onion very finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 egg
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon oil
For the gravy:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon grape jelly OR lingonberry jam
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Make the meatballs: Add all ingredients for the meatballs EXCEPT the oil to a large bowl. Knead very well. I like doing this with a handheld mixer with the hook attachment – it’s so much faster! Using about 2 teaspoons of meat mixture, roll into firm balls. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and freeze for 5-10 minutes.
- Cook the meatballs: Heat the oil in a wide, deep skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides, until just cooked through. This will take between 6-8 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside.
- Make the gravy: Bring the skillet back to medium heat. Melt the butter, then stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until medium brown. Quickly pour in the beef broth while whisking constantly. Simmer until thickened, then whisk in the milk, mustard and jelly. Simmer gently over medium-low heat until creamy, about 1 minute. Season to taste.
- Finish the dish: Place the meatballs back in the gravy and warm until heated through. Serve immediately.
P.S: Check out our collection of easy dinner recipes with ground beef for more ideas!