Indulge in rich and savory Swedish meatballs. These tender meatballs are smothered in the best creamy gravy and served over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
My family loves comfort food recipes and this is one of their most requested. You can prepare the meatballs ahead of time for a quick and easy weekday meal. This meatball recipe also makes a great appetizer to serve at your next party.
What are Swedish Meatballs?
Swedish Meatballs are a comforting, classic dish consisting of juicy ground beef meatballs smothered in a creamy gravy. The sauce is usually made with warm spices like allspice and nutmeg. My husband does not like allspice or nutmeg with ground beef so I like to flavor my sauce with a combination of Worcestershire sauce, beef stock or beef broth, dijon mustard, black pepper, and salt.
The key to making flavorful Swedish meatball sauce is scraping all the browned meatball bits off of the bottom of the skillet. Pan-frying in a cast iron skillet works perfectly for this. I use a combination of butter and olive oil when browning the meatballs because the olive oil helps prevent burning the butter. Burned butter will not make a great tasting sauce, so keep an eye on the heat while browning your meatballs!
How to Make Swedish Meatballs
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef, sautéed onion, garlic and oregano.
- Mix in salt, pepper, egg, and breadcrumbs.
- On medium heat, brown meatballs on all sides, carefully turning so they don't break apart.
- Transfer meatballs to a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven while making your sauce.
- Add butter and flour to the pan to create a roux, then add in beef broth, cream, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard until sauce thickens.
- Add meatballs into sauce, cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.
Substitutions for this recipe
- Ground Beef - use a combination of ground beef and ground pork. You can even substitute ground turkey or chicken.
- Spices - add nutmeg or allspice for a more traditional Swedish Meatball recipe.
- Panko breadcrumbs - regular breadcrumbs, pieces of bread or saltine crackers.
- Substitute ground beef meatballs with this Turkey Meatball recipe.
What to Serve with Swedish Meatballs
Serve Swedish Meatballs with broad leg noodles, rice, or this great tasting recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Top these juicy meatballs with different condiments such as classic Swedish lingonberry jam, cranberry sauce or mustard pickles.
This post was originally published on November 17, 2014. Occasionally I update with fresh tips, content, and photos. Current update February 20, 2022.
- 1 lb ground beef
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped or 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups beef broth warmed up
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- In a small bowl combine panko bread crumbs and milk. Let sit for 10 minutes until breadcrumbs have soaked up the milk.
- In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, sautéed onion, garlic and oregano.
- Mix in the salt, pepper and egg. Combine until the eggs are mixed into the ground beef.
- Add the breadcrumbs to meat mixture and combine well.
- Use a tablespoon or scoop to make equal sized meatballs. This recipe makes approximately 20 meatballs.
- Reheat the skillet used to sauté onions and garlic, adding a bit more olive oil and butter if needed.
- On medium heat, brown the meat balls on all sides, carefully turning so they don't break apart.
- Don't overcrowd the skillet with meatballs, work in batches.
- Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Once melted whisk in the flour and cook until golden brown.
- Slowly stir in the heated beef broth and cook at a temperature that keeps the sauce at slow bubble.
- Add in the cream, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard and simmer until sauce thickens at bit.
- Add the meatballs into sauce. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve over egg noodles, broad noodles or mashed potatoes.