Swedish Meatballs


Ikea has nothing on these authentic, homemade meatballs



Of course, when I called for meatball recipes from around the world, there were plenty of submissions for the famous Swedish meatballs. Swedish meatballs, or svenska kottbullar, are Sweden’s national dish. They are also some of the most iconic meatballs around the world, in part because of Ikea’s global influence. Ikea is also actually where I had my first Swedish meatballs.  

The recipe I used to make Swedish meatballs was given to me by Simon, who lives in Delsbo, Sweden. He shared with us the interesting history of Swedish meatballs and explained that Swedish meatballs were his all-time favorite childhood food. He has loved Swedish meatballs because they are easy to make and are juicy, flavorful, and have flavors that simply fit well together.    

While many people originally credited the Ottoman Empire for creating meatballs and believed King Charles XII brought them to Sweden, this claim was disputed. The first time the word kottbullar, or meatball, was mentioned was in 1755, and meatballs were only popularized with the invention of the meat grinder in the 1800s. In 1939, Swedish meatballs first went international when they were served at the New York World’s fair at the smorgasbord, which is a Swedish buffet.  

While Swedish meatballs are reminiscent of Italian meatballs, they are slightly smaller. Swedish meatballs are generally made with beef or a mixture of beef and pork, and some people also use veal and moose for Swedish meatballs. Aside from the meat, they are also made with eggs and breadcrumbs that combine all of the ingredients into a succulent ball of meat. Swedish meatballs are also seasoned with onion, allspice, and nutmeg for a warm, homey taste.  

Once the meatballs are finished pan-frying in butter, it is important to remember that no meal of Swedish meatballs is complete without a side of gravy, potatoes, lingonberry jam. The gravy is a creamy, savory sauce made from the meat drippings, and the tart and sweet lingonberry jam cuts through the fat and oils from the meat and gives it an acidic taste. This well colorful dish of taste and flavors has all of the texture components for a great meal.  

Although I usually don’t like including obvious foods in my videos about certain categories, I felt like Swedish meatballs were an important influencing part of how the world makes meatballs. This easy recipe makes meatball-making a fun, cultural experience that will give you a new perspective on meatballs.  

Watch the Video

Swedish Meatballs


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup onion finely chopped
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • In a medium sized bowl combine ground beef, panko, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic powder, pepper, salt and egg. Mix until combined.
  • Roll into 12 large meatballs or 20 small meatballs. In a large skillet heat olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter. Add the meatballs and cook turning continuously until brown on each side and cooked throughout. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
  • Add 4 Tablespoons butter and flour to skillet and whisk until it turns brown. Slowly stir in beef broth and heavy cream. Add worchestershire sauce and dijon mustard and bring to a simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Serve over egg noodles or rice.


Recipe inspired by The Recipe Critic
Course: Dinner
Region: Europe
Keyword: Comfort food


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