During the colder months, a plate of Swedish Meatballs is a must-have comfort food.
A delicious combination of juicy meatballs and creamy gravy, they are surprisingly easy to cook at home, making them a great option for an easy weeknight dinner. And most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry. It’s a meal your whole family will love, and your kids will have fun helping you make it.
Get ready to discover your favorite with our list of 14 Swedish Meatball recipes!
What Are Swedish Meatballs?
Smothered in a rich gravy, Swedish Meatballs, or kottbullar, are a meat dish that was brought back from Turkey by King Charles the XII of Sweden in the 18th century. They quickly became part of both traditional holiday meals and everyday home cooking in Sweden. IKEA, the Swedish big box retailer, then brought them to the masses in 1985 when they began selling their own Swedish Meatballs to guests in their stores.
Unlike their larger Italian counterparts, Swedish meatballs are much smaller, about the size of a golf ball. The gravy is typically roux-based with the addition of beef or bone broth, onions, and either heavy cream or sour cream. Then spices like nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, ground ginger, or white pepper are added.
They’re typically served with fluffy mashed potatoes, or over rice or buttered egg noodles. And if you’re being traditional, you’ll add a side of lingonberry sauce or pickled cucumber. Their size makes them a great appetizer – you can easily pick them up and eat them with a toothpick.
10 Tips to Make the Perfect Swedish Meatballs
- Choosing the right meat – The recipe you choose may call for one or more types of meat. Ultimately, you can decide which meat or combination of meat you want to use. However, the combination of ground pork and ground beef meatballs are the best recipe for moist and tender meatballs.
- Using cream – When the recipe calls for cream, it’s important not to substitute it with half and half, since it may separate. However, if you prefer not to use the full amount of cream, you can replace some of the cream with sour cream, which will give the sauce a delicious tang.
- Rolling your meatballs – Make sure to roll your meatballs tightly so they don’t end up falling apart in the pan when you cook them. Dipping your hands in water while you roll them will keep them smooth. And pay attention to the size. You want them to be about the same size as a rounded tablespoon. A small cookie scoop can help you get the size just right. If they’re too large, you risk undercooking them.
- Spread them out – Don’t try to cook all your meatballs at the same time. Instead, cook them up in batches. Spread your meatballs out in the pan and rotate them with a fork so that they brown evenly on all sides. If they’re packed too tightly, they will steam instead, and you want them brown all around.
- Reduce calories – This is a traditionally high-calorie dish – which is what makes it so delicious. However, you can reduce the calories by replacing heavy cream with reduced fat cream. You can also reduce your carbs by replacing breadcrumbs with almond meal.
- The right jelly or jam – Although a side of lingonberry jam is the traditional way to go, you can add other jellies or jams to your plate or directly to the sauce while cooking. Some great choices include raspberry jam and red currant jelly.
- Bread vs. breadcrumbs – Some recipes call for bread, while others call for breadcrumbs. So, what is better? Breadcrumbs are easy to use and store in your pantry. Fresh bread takes a little more time to prepare, but they help make your meatballs extra soft.
- Baking vs. pan frying – Different recipes call for different cooking methods. Some start with pan frying and then finishing in the oven. Others pan fry the meatballs exclusively. One great benefit to pan frying is that the meatballs get nice and crispy. Plus, adding the pan juices greatly enhances the flavor of the sauce.
- Make them ahead – If you plan to make your meatballs in advance, you can store them in your refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to make the sauce. Just be sure that you’ve cooked them all the way through. If you are making both the meatballs and the sauce, you’ll want to store them separately. Before freezing them, cool the meatballs and the sauce completely before placing them in a freezer-safe container. You can then thaw them safely in the fridge.
- Reheat right – If you happen to have leftovers, they are easy to reheat. Place the meatballs and sauce in a covered, oven-safe dish and place them in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10-15 minutes. Then spoon the sauce over the meatballs and serve. You can also reheat the meatballs on the stovetop, heating the sauce separately, adding the sour cream or jelly right before serving.
14 Swedish Meatball Recipes We Love
- The Best Swedish Meatballs | The Recipe Critic
- Swedish Meatballs | The Modern Proper
- Swedish Meatballs | Cafe Delites
- Swedish Meatballs | Tastes Better From Scratch
- The Best Swedish Meatballs | Simply Recipes
- Homemade IKEA Meatballs | Recipe Tin Eats
- Easy Swedish Meatballs | Home Made Interest
- Swedish Meatballs | Food Network
- Swedish Meatballs | Ahead of Thyme
- Swedish Meatballs | Campbells Soup Company
- Swedish Meatballs Recipe | Add a Pinch
- Homemade Swedish Meatballs | BellyFull
- IKEA Swedish Meatballs | A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
- Swedish Meatballs | The Cookie Rookie
You’ll want to try every single one of these 14 homemade Swedish Meatball recipes.
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