Basic Swedish Meatballs

Basic Swedish Meatballs
Diana Rattray
  • 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Ratings (5)

This recipe for classic Swedish meatballs features subtly spiced baked meatballs. The creamy sauce takes no more than 5 minutes to prepare and cook, and it finishes the meatballs perfectly. 

Swedish meatballs have Swedish origins and enjoy popularity across the U.S. There are nearly as many variations of the dish as there are home cooks. Beef broth and cream or milk usually make up the sauce, but chicken broth is fine if that's what you have on hand. As for the meatballs, many cooks add onions to the mixture. Saute 1/2 cup of finely chopped onions in a tablespoon or two of butter and add them to the meat mixture if you'd like. 

Swedish meatballs are often served with their sauce and hot buttered noodles, but mashed potatoes are an excellent choice as well. Lingonberry jam is traditionally served with the meatballs; if you can't find lingonberry jam or preserves, use whole berry cranberry sauce or relish.

What You'll Need

  • 3 slices bread (day-old, white)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (fine, unseasoned)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half (or light cream)

How to Make It

  1. Tear the bread into small pieces and put it into a large bowl. Add the milk and let stand for about 10 minutes.
  2. Oil a large baking pan or jelly roll pan or line with nonstick foil.
  3. Heat oven to 375 F.
  4. To the bowl with the soaked bread, add the ground beef, pork, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the allspice.
  5. Form the meat mixture into small meatballs; lightly roll the meatballs in the 1/4 cup of fine, dry breadcrumbs and arrange them on the prepared baking pan.
  1. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until meatballs are fully cooked. The minimum safe temperature for ground beef and pork is 160 F. If unsure, check the center of one or two large meatballs with an instant-read food thermometer. If you replace any of the ground meat with ground poultry, cook them to at least 165 F.
  2. Remove the meatballs from the oven and drain off any excess fat.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter is hot, add the flour; stir until well blended and bubbly. Continue to cook the roux for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add beef broth to the roux and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the half-and-half or cream to the sauce and stir to blend.
  6. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
  7. Add meatballs to the sauce and continue to cook until hot. Do not boil.