November 5, 2021

Swedish meatballs

Bowl of Swedish meatballs on egg noodles.

Swedish meatballs are a delicious and comforting dish. The spices and flavors make them perfect for around the winter holidays, or any winter evening where you want a warming and hearty meal. 

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When I first made these meatballs more than a decade ago, my only experience with Swedish meatballs was having them once as a kid using a kid's cookbook recipe. I had never had them otherwise except when I started making them. Once I made them using a combination of recipes I read, we instantly fell in love.

I've tweaked this recipe ever so slightly over the years. My recipe does not contain sour cream (though you can certainly add some if you wish) and it definitely does contain nutmeg and allspice. You will find tons of variations for Swedish meatballs recipes, but this is how we make them.

We love to make these around the holidays and make a double batch to freeze for eating throughout the cold winter. The spices in them make them a lovely dinner around the holidays and through the cold weather.

While we try to keep the meatball recipe fairly traditional, we like to serve ours on egg noodles, which is not traditional. Boiled or pureed potatoes would be a more traditional choice, but they are all delicious. Make sure you look to find lingonberry sauce to serve with your meatballs. It's a perfect compliment to the flavors of the meatballs and the gravy. 

We also serve these with a side of peas and green beans for a complete meal. They are even a hit with the kids, which is always a bonus! We've served these for both Christmas Eve and New Year's Day over the years and it's a perfect holiday time meal.

Swedish meatballs topped with lingonberry sauce.

Yield: 6-8 servings (about 40-50 meatballs)

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are a delicious and comforting dish. The spices and flavors make them perfect for around the winter holidays, or any winter evening where you want a warming and hearty meal.


For the meatballs
  • 2 thick slices of white bread with crusts removed, cubed
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, grated on a box grater or food processor
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
For the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • parsley, for garnish


How to cook Swedish Meatballs

  1. In a large bowl, place the bread and 1/4 cup half and half. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes. In a large and deep skillet, warm one tablespoon of butter. Add the onion and pinch of salt to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent and soft. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Add the bread and milk mixture to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Place back in the large bowl. Add the remaining meatball ingredients (beef through black pepper), including the cooled onions to the bowl. Mix with your hands for about two minutes. You want everything to be combined, but don't over-work the meat.
  3. Add the remaining one tablespoon of butter and the olive oil to the skillet and warm over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Begin to make your meatballs. Use your fingers or a tablespoon to scoop up the meat mixture. Try to make them all about the same size (about the size of a ping pong ball). 
  4. Brown the meatballs in batches in the skillet, carefully turning once to get both sides browned (about 2-3 minutes per side). Place the browned meatballs on a large baking sheet. Repeat until all the meatballs are made and browned.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the oven to finish cooking the meatballs. This should take about 10-15 minutes. 
  6. While they are finishing, make your sauce (and start cooking your noodles or potatoes). In the skillet, add the last two tablespoons of butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour to make a roux. Continue whisking and cooking the flour until it turns a light brown color, about 3-5 minutes. Add the beef stock slowly, while whisking. Keep whisking until all the flour lumps are out and the sauce is smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it begins to thicken. Add the last 1/4 cup of half and half and whisk together. Once it reaches your desired consistency, check for salt and pepper. 
  7. Remove the meatballs from the baking sheet once they are fully cooked (centers will no longer be pink) and carefully add them to the sauce. Stir to coat.
  8. Serve hot over egg noodles or boiled potatoes. Top with parsley, if desired. Add a tablespoon or two of lingonberry sauce to the side or top of your meatballs. You can add a dollop of sour cream on top as well.


I've also made these meatballs with ground dark meat turkey subbed for one of the meats with success.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I hope you give these Swedish meatballs a try! Let me know in the comments below.

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Finished Swedish meatballs with gravy on egg noodles.

This recipe was originally published in 2010. I've updated it in 2019 and 2021 with new photos, text, and a recipe card to improve reader experience. 

Check out these other ground meat recipes: 

Cranberry & Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

Toddler Turkey, Carrot, & Apple Meatballs

Turkey & Apple Cheddar Biscuit Pie 

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie


  1. These sound like the perfect comfort food. I love how they look in that bed of noodles!

  2. I would have to use all beef for the family, but these are getting made! It's been too long since I've had Swedish meatballs

  3. My family is Swedish and we love meatballs. I haven't used allspice in but recipes, but nutmeg is a must!

  4. This is probably one of my favorite things to eat...yet I only actually eat it about once every five years. Such a shame! I guess I should really work on that!

  5. Such a hearty and comforting meal. Can't wait to make it for my family.

  6. THis is one of my favorite dinners, they look delicious.

  7. We love meatballs. They look very tender and flavourful!

  8. Can't remember the last time I've made meatballs. Your delicious looking recipe has inspired me to change that during the holidays. Great recipe!

  9. I love this dish! And it's been a long time since I've made it. Your version looks wonderful -- thanks.

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