How to Make Classic Swedish Meatballs

The classic Swedish Meatball is something that’s popular everywhere from the country that gives it its name, to quick TV dinner manufacturers in the United States. It’s a simple, comfort dish that is as hearty as it traditionally Swedish… or is it?

Rumors persist that the traditional Swedish dish actually is based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from (what is today) Turkey in the early 18th century. Regardless of the origin, Swedish Meatballs go hand-in-hand with overpurchasing of throw pillows at IKEA, and childhood.

That’s good enough for us!

Classic Swedish Meatballs

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins



  • ½ pound ground lean meat beef, pork and/or veal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion about ¼ cup (2 ounces) minced; sweet red works nicely
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • ¼ cup of fine bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Swedish Meatball Sauce

  • teaspoons of flour
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 250° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil and set it in the oven on the middle rack.
  • Mix all the meatball ingredients thoroughly with your hands (I wear latex gloves).
  • Divide the mixture in half, then in fourths, then eighths and so on until you have 16 little balls about 1½” in diameter (8 meatballs per serving).
  • Fry the meatballs for about 10 minutes with a little butter or oil in a moderately hot pan. The meatballs should be able to roll in the pan.
  • Shake the pan gently during cooking to keep them turning.
  • Once they are nicely browned, take them out and keep them warm in the preheated oven on the baking sheet while you prepare the Swedish meatball sauce in the same pan.
  • Leave the fat in it!
  • To make the sauce, stir the flour, salt and pepper into the hot fat.
  • Stir until smooth and bubbly, then gradually add the milk.
  • Cook and stir until thickened.
  • Plate the meatballs and pour the sauce over them.

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