Thursday, February 12, 2015

The BEST Swedish Meatballs

The BEST Swedish Meatballs recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
The first time I made these Swedish Meatballs, my entire family declared them a favorite. They were immediately requested for a birthday dinner six months in the future and I was reminded multiple times, lest I forget. Over three years later, these are still some of the best meatballs I have ever tasted.

The texture is light, not heavy at all; as I typically expect with most dishes like this one. The meatballs are also very easy to form. They hold their shape quite well and I have never had a single one fall apart on me.

My boys (all four of them) always eat ridiculous amounts of this meal. Even after doubling the recipe, we still only have a small amount leftover. The sauce is perfect; flavorful and light. The blend of beef broth and cream helps make it much lighter than many other full cream sauces. Meatballs are not typically something I crave, but this is one of my all-time favorite meals.

If you aren't familiar with cooking things in batches, here is a tip. Start placing your meatballs in the pan, at the outer edge, next to the handle. Go clockwise around the pan and then fill in the middle. It is easy to remember which ones have cooked the longest that way and by the time you fill in the middle, it is time to start flipping them over and continue around the circle again.

I used a food processor to get the onions to an extremely fine mince. The smaller the pieces, the better the meatballs will hold together. The meatballs can be formed in advance and then refrigerated until you are ready to brown and bake them right before dinner.

The BEST Swedish Meatballs
recipe adapted from The View from Great Island
Yield: (30) 1" meatballs
(printable recipe)

Meatball Ingredients:
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
4 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Cream Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup cream
1 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot, cornstarch or flour
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon soy sauce
kosher salt
white pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
freshly ground nutmeg

In a large glass measuring cup or small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and the cream. Stir to combine and then let rest for 5-10 minutes, until the cream is absorbed. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions with the butter for about 5 minutes.

While the onion is cooking, place the meat in a large mixing bowl and break it up with your hands. Add the egg, spices, and the breadcrumbs and cream mixture. Add the onions and stir with a wooden spoon or your hands to gently combine. Form into small balls. I used a 1" scoop to make them uniform, and then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wipe out the skillet that you cooked the onions in and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Heat over medium high. When the butter has melted, add the meatballs in batches. The skillet should be hot enough that they sizzle when they contact the pan. I used tongs to place the meatballs into the hot pan and then two forks to turn them side to side. Brown the meatballs on all sides and then transfer to a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

When all of the meatballs have been browned, place the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes. If you cut a meatball in half, it should not be pink. The interior temperature should be 170 degrees.

While the meatballs are baking, heat a small saucepan over medium to medium low heat. Melt the butter and add the flour. Whisking constantly, cook for about a minute, being careful not to let it brown. Once it combines, add the stock and whisk well. Bring to a simmer and let it thicken, this should only take a couple minutes. Add the cream and heat through.

Remove from the heat and season with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the parsley and nutmeg, taste again and adjust as needed. Drizzle sauce over the meatballs right before serving. Enjoy!

The BEST Swedish Meatballs with a light cream sauce - recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

{originally posted 4-10-12 - recipe notes and photos updated 2-11-15}

ONE YEAR AGO: Herb Rubbed Sirloin Tip Pork Roast
TWO YEARS AGO: Key Lime and Honey Winter Fruit Salad
THREE YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookie Dough Dip


  1. I've never had swedish meatballs but I'm going to have to try out this recipe on my meat-loving family. I have a feeling they'll go crazy for it!

  2. Oh, this look exactly like Ikea meat balls, I like to order this when visit to Ikea. I must try to make this one day.

  3. I might be swayed by the sauce, but those indeed do look like the best Swedish meatballs I have ever laid eyes on! The look perfect!

  4. These look great! I don't normally buy ground pork, but may have to (or grind the boneless chops I already have). You're photos are always great and these are some of my favorites. :) I like the sprig of parsley? you have, add the perfect touch! :) How does your lighting always look perfect? My photos always have a yellow hue to them. :(

    1. Thanks for your sweet words. I use natural light, but beyond that, I'm so far from expert, it's ridiculous. Anytime I try a picture without light from a window or using interior lighting, the colors are way off. (Ha, you can EASILY find the few night time pictures I've posted that way!)

  5. I have been searching for a good swedish meatball recipe :)

  6. these meatballs look amazing!!!

  7. Very nice. These look and sound delicious! The pork and beef make for a beautiful meatball.

  8. Now you've got me craving them again! Thanks for the mention. I'm guessing your Panko crumbs worked a little better than the fresh ones I made. I'm going to use those next time. Yum!!!

  9. The are a favorite of mine too!

  10. I love these things but all I've ever had were swimming in brown sauce. These look delicious and provide an interesting twist that I look forward to trying

  11. I know my family would love this as well. Looks so good. Hope you had a nice Easter Mary. Take care.

  12. Bet I couldn't eat just three! Nice one - can't believe they have made you promise to make them again 6 months in advance. It's a winner I'm sure.

  13. I've always wanted to try these!

  14. Looks delicious - and I like your cooking-in-batches tip. As more of a baker than a cook I often end up looking at a pile of uncooked meatballs and thinking 'now how am I going to do this?' :)

  15. These are a big hit in my family too! They look absolutely delicious! Some of the best comfort food. I always eat more of them than I should. . . they're hard to resist.

  16. My husband loves Swedish meatballs. I will have to make your recipe for him.

  17. They looks wonderful - I've never actually made Swedish meatballs but always meant' to! thanks for a great recipe!
    Mary x

  18. That touch of nutmeg in the sauce sounds like a perfect touch. :-)

  19. Your blog is making me seriously hungry tonight, Mary! I love Swedish Meatballs, but have never made them. I keep thinking I will stop at Ikea one day and try theirs. These sound perfect though. I like that the sauce has the broth in it to lighten it up and I love the allspice in swedish meatballs. Definitely need to try these.

  20. So pink center meatball = bad? ha ha

    Great looking meatballs and that photo is picture perfect, Mary!

  21. I love a meatball but the sauce is what is really pullin' me into this.

  22. I put a little dill in my sauce. I come from a Swedish background and that's how I learned to make these. Awesome!!!!

  23. The meatballs seem okay, but here in Sweden we don't use parsley and nutmeg in our sauce. :-) Not as I know.

  24. Have never tried ground pork in Swedish meatballs, just ground beef. Think the pork would add a good richness to the flavor.
    I have regularly made a DANISH meatball recipe, which uses all ground pork, minced onion, a very small amount of lemon zest, and fresh Pepperage Farm white bread crumbs, and a gravy using chicken broth, a small amount of lemon juice, a little cream, and thickened by arrowroot.

    Joan Fisher Demshock

  25. I like your story and the meatballs look amazing! Will have to try! Also, I LOVE your cook's tip, really innovative!

  26. If these are one of your favorites then I have GOT to try these. I might make them tonight even.

  27. Meatballs are my desert island these :)

  28. Sounds like you could be giving IKEA a run for their money! These are a step beyond the traditional recipe toward flavour perfection!

  29. The BEST meatballs I have ever made/eaten! Many thanks.

  30. Personally, I would just use more beef in its place…that’s what I plan to do.