Easy Swedish Meatballs

Easy Swedish Meatballs

I have to make a confession: I'm not particularly fond of IKEA meatballs. But give me a batch of juicy homemade meatballs (here's a tutorial for you if you've never made them yourself before) in a delicious brown gravy – I could eat the whole pan by myself if it wasn't for my kids and husband, ahem.
And that's exactly how my easy Swedish Meatballs are made! They're simple to whip up and taste delicious – we love them for dinner with mashed potatoes, but they're just as good with egg noodles if you prefer.


For the meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion (very finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil

For the gravy:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon grape jelly OR lingonberry jam
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)


  1. Make the meatballs: Add all ingredients for the meatballs EXCEPT the oil to a large bowl. Knead very well. I like doing this with a handheld mixer with the hook attachment – it’s so much faster! Using about 2 teaspoons of meat mixture, roll into firm balls. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and freeze for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Cook the meatballs: Heat the oil in a wide, deep skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides, until just cooked through. This will take between 6-8 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside. If you prefer baking the meatballs, place them on a lined baking sheet and bake them at 425°F for 10-12 minutes or until browned and no longer pink in the middle.
  3. Make the gravy: Bring the skillet back to medium heat. Melt the butter, then stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until medium brown. Quickly pour in the beef broth while whisking constantly. Simmer until thickened, then whisk in the milk, mustard and jelly. Simmer gently over medium-low heat until creamy, about 1 minute. Season to taste.
  4. Finish the dish: Place the meatballs back in the gravy and warm until heated through. Serve immediately.

Important Cooking Tips:

  • if you’re in a hurry: use regular store-bought meatballs – you’ll need about 1.5 pounds
  • make sure to shape homemade meatballs tightly, or they’ll fall apart in the sauce
  • if you don’t knead/shape the meatball mix well, the meatballs will fall apart as you’re cooking them in the pan. if you’re unsure, bake the meatballs instead of pan-frying them to help them retain some shape (they could still fall apart in the sauce, so please do really make sure to roll them into firm balls).
  • if the jelly and mustard in the sauce sound weird to you (apparently those kind of people exist 😉), feel free to leave them out – but you’ll lack some of that beloved IKEA flavor if you do
  • to keep the meatballs round during cooking: freeze them for 5-10 minutes on a baking sheet after shaping them. sounds weird, but it works!

VIP Tips to Keep the Gravy Lump-Free:

Swedish meatball sauce starts with a roux. That’s just the fancy French word for gently heating some butter and flour before adding the liquids.
The first step to perfect gravy is to make sure you don’t burn the flour and butter for the sauce! It should turn a medium brown, but no more. (I’ve had to re-start the sauce before because I burnt the flour, it can’t be saved.)
For lump-free gravy, you’ll need to whisk very well and fast once you start adding the liquids. As soon as you start pouring the beef broth into the cooked flour and butter mix, it will begin to seize up and thicken. Do not be alarmed by this, it’s important that you keep going and add all the liquid while whisking!
Whisk all the while you’re pouring the liquid into the pan, and then keep whisking until it’s smooth.

This article adapted from this site