This great recipe for homemade Swedish Meatballs starts with my best ever meatball recipe! The meatballs are then smothered in a rich and creamy Swedish meatball sauce.
My family absolutely loves this recipe! It is one of their favorite meals and I'm sure it will become one of your family's favorites as well. I love when my home is filled with the smell of tender meatballs simmering in creamy sauce in a cast iron skillet.
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 this sensational sauce is scraping all the browned meatball bits off of the bottom of the skillet after frying the meatballs on medium high heat. 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 bread crumbs.
- 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.
- Bread crumbs - pieces of bread or saltine crackers.
What to Serve with Swedish Meatballs
You can serve your Swedish Meatballs with broad egg noodles, rice, or even this great tasting recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes. You can even top your juicy meatballs with different condiments, such as the classic Swedish topping lingonberry jam or simply some sour cream. Feel free to double the recipe and stash some in the freezer for easy weeknight dinners in the future.
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 small bowl combine panko bread crumbs and milk. Let sit for 10 minutes until bread crumbs have soaked up milk.
- In large skillet heat 1 tbsp. olive oil with 1 tbsp. butter, medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes, add garlic and oregano and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
- In large bowl, combine ground beef sautéed onion, garlic and oregano.
- Mix in salt, pepper and egg, combine until egg is mixed in.
- Add bread crumbs to meat mixture and combine well.
- Use a tablespoon or scoop to make equal sized meatballs. Recipe makes approximately 20.
- Reheat skillet used to sauté onions and garlic, adding a bit more olive oil and butter if needed.
- On medium heat, brown meat balls on all sides, carefully turning so they don't break apart.
- Don't overcrowd skillet with meatballs, work in batches.
- Transfer meatballs to baking sheet and keep warm in oven while making sauce.
- Add 4 tbsp. butter to skillet, when melted whisk in flour, cook until golden brown.
- Slowly stir in heated beef broth, cook at temperature that keeps sauce at slow bubble.
- Add in cream, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard, simmer until sauce thickens at bit.
- Add meatballs into sauce, cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.
- Serve with egg or broad noodles or mashed potatoes.
Brilliant!nice warming supper for Christmas Eve at our daughters ,grandson Matty will be looking for more and our Fikey eater (son in law John ) will have a problem with Santa if he complains!!! Great recipe thank you ,Merry Christmas Jan in the Scottish Borders
Thank you Jan, hope you have a wonderful Christmas season.
If I want to triple this recipe do I literally triple everything? Any ingredient I shouldn't triple but maybe double?
Hi Gail, I would only double the oregano, and start with double Worcestershire sauce
and Dijon mustard, then add more to taste.
Thank you. Husband-approved meal. I was attracted to them by the gravy--it looked like my mother's. They are not really Swedish meatballs with the oregano, but they will be made again, husband liked.
Hi Jean, so glad your husband enjoyed the recipe. Have a great Holiday season
Seriously good sauce. I had left over meatballs in the freezer and used this sauce. It was great.
thank Kathleen, yes I love the sauce. One of my favs is on mashed potatoes.
This was an awesome dinner! I made a change to make it gluten free. My husband, daughter and I loved it.
Thank you Brandy,
I have celiac The first time I made this a couple months ago I made it over rice which was delicious. The meatballs and sauce were rich and tasty!! (drooling writing this haha!) I finally found some really GOOD tasting gluten-free egg noodles; therefore, I am going to make this again this week with the noodles this time. Can't wait!! Great great great recipe!!! Yummm!!!!
Thank you so much, I love these meatballs over rice as well.
Absolutely the best Swedish meatballs recipe I've ever had! I love the sauce so much that I double it - YUM!
Thank you Shannon, I really appreciate that you took the time to comment. Happy New Year!
Loved this recipe. I cooked it for my daughters, for their freezer, and I made more tonight for my husband and me. Delicious. I only cook about 7 meat balls in the frying pan, the rest I cook in the oven on a wire rack at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. It is quicker and the meat balls are perfect.
Hi Faith, you daughters are so lucky. I often sear the meatballs, then transfer to oven to finish cooking as well. Searing them 1st leaves all those great browned bits that are needed to add flavour to the sauce.
My sauce didn't seem very thick, however, it tasted delicious and the meatballs were so yummy!
Thanks for sharing!
Hi Karalee, not sure what could have affected the thickness of the sauce, but if this happens again you can thicken it up with a bit of flour or cornstarch. Scoop out a bit of the sauce, then whisk it together with about 1 tbsp. of flour or cornstarch to make a slurry. Then whisk slurry back into sauce.
Made this last night and it was great! Its a cold weekend here in Michigan and this warmed us right up! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Kourtney, Michigan is sure getting blasted with some cold weather lately. So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
These were so very good. And they got the ultimate seal of approval, my picky tween boy. He loved them. Thanks for a great, easy recipe!
So glad to hear your family enjoyed the recipe, makes my day when I get messages like yours. Thanks!
I made this recipe for dinner tonight and we LOVED it! I had Omaha steaks meatballs, so I used them, but I love your meatball recipe and will make them next time. The seasonings for the sauce were amazing and the sauce thickened beautifully. I am disappointed to see so many comments from people who didn't like the recipe. I am sorry people feel the need to say these aren't real Swedish Meatballs or that the recipe is bland. I thought it was comforting and full of flavor! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I love it!
Thank you Crissy, so glad you enjoyed the recipe. An extremely large percentage of people who have tried my recipe love it, my family loves it, and that helps me ignore the negative comments. As food blogger, I have to accept the fact I'm not going to please everyone 🙂 Thanks again for your kind comments.
I made these the other night and they were delicious. I didn't have heavy cream so I added an extra tablespoon of flour to the butter and flour mixture and used skim milk instead and it turned out great!
I'll definitely be making these again!
That is great Penny, good way to make the recipe lower fat.
Hi! This recipe looks delicious! I don't have any Heavy Whipping Cream and am stuck at home with a broken ankle. Would 1% Milk work? Maybe a little sour cream?
Hi Rochelle, use milk and thicken the sauce a bit more by adding 2 more tbsp. of flour and 1 more tbsp of butter. you may also have to add a bit more seasonings.
I have made these...delish! You will love them. Making this recipe in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven really does make a difference too!
Agreed Kari, dutch ovens and cast iron skillets get great sears on meat.
Fabulous! Thank you very much!
You can call them meatballs, but don't call them swedish meatballs. That is not even close to swedish meatballs.
Peter, in the United States "Swedish meatballs" has evolved to be a generic term for meatballs that are smaller than the larger Italian meatballs. Swedish cuisine and culture. make that Scandinavian, is pretty much non-existent to the general public except for Ikea. I live just outside Chicago. At one time (1890s) Chicago had more Swedes than any other city except Stockholm. The last Swedish deli here closed in 2007. There is little Swedish presence today except for a small Swedish American Museum, one restaurant and North Park University.
This was really good! I think I'd add more garlic and possibly some Allspice and nutmeg for more authenticity. I liked that there was extra sauce.
Thank you Christy, allspice and nutmeg sound like delicious additions
And it's even less SWEDISH meatballs!!!
Seriously we get you don't like the name Swedish meatballs. Don't make it then!
I could make them, and call them mediterean meatballs. Because there is nothing swedish with them. It's just plain ignorance to call them swedish meatballs.
More ignorant to give a recipe 1 star that you haven't made because you don't like the name. Again we all get you don't like the name.
Oh, I made italian spiced meatballs many times. I can give the recipe 1 star because expecting swedish flavour and get italian is not correct.
He's a very cranky Swede....
Amazing!!!! Made tonight, my 14 yr old son asked what we were having. When I told him, he said he wasn't really hungry. I knew he didn't really like meatballs, but I told him he had to try it. Okay so his fork was going so fast from the bowl to his mouth I was afraid he was gonna choke. He said it's a keeper!! My husband kept making mmm noises every bite. He loved it!! Thank you great recipee
Your comment made my day Christina, thank you!
I made this tonight for dinner using ground turkey and served over mashed potatoes- everyone loved it! I didn't have heavy cream so I substituted it with whole milk and sour cream. I also threw in some paprika. It was delicious and was a great dish that I will make again.