Svenska Köttbullar - Authentic Swedish Meatballs

4 servings
50 min

This simple, one-pan recipe for classic Swedish meatballs in creamy sauce uses only basic seasonings, just like grandmas from the land of Svea used to make. Serve with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

If you're looking for the perfect comfort food, look no further than these Swedish meatballs. The sauce is a creamy gravy made with butter and thickened using flour to create a fantastic taste that will have your mouth watering from the first bite!

Whether as a main course or as a party snack: Svenska köttbullar is always tasty. In any case, homemade Swedish meatballs taste far better than those from IKEA.

How to serve Swedish meatballs?

Traditionally, Swedish köttbullar is served with creamy gravy over boiled or mashed potatoes, and with a side of green peas, lingonberry jam, and pressgurka (vinegar cucumber dill salad). Such a treat!

If you're wondering what else goes with Swedish meatballs, try one of these delicious ideas:

  • Buttered egg noodles.
  • Plain basmati or djuvec rice.
  • Roasted cauliflower.
  • Warm potato salad.
  • Garlicky potatoes with kidney beans.
  • Mango chutney.
  • Creamy stinging nettle.
  • Swiss chard and potatoes.
  • Butternut squash barley risotto.
  • Rabbits salad.
  • Pretzel rolls.

What is Svenska Kӧttbullar?

Considered a national dish of Sweden, these traditional meatballs are popular with young and old across Sweden and belong to every authentic Swedish buffet, especially at Christmas and Midsummer.

The deliciously rich flavor has been enjoyed all over Europe, Asia, and North America since its introduction by King Karl XII, who brought the recipe from Turkey.

In Sweden, Svenska Köttbullar is also known as Köttbullar med Gräddsås - meatballs with cream sauce.

There are many variations on this classic dish, but I like the simplicity of this recipe by a Svenska Mormor (Swedish grandma).

They are smaller and different in taste from Italian meatballs. The rich homemade gravy has a hint of sweetness from the lingonberry jam. It's so good!

Svenska Köttbullar - Authentic Swedish Meatballs
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 50 min
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For Meatballs
  • ▢ 1 small onion finely minced
  • ▢ 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • ▢ 1/2 pound ground pork
  • ▢ 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • ▢ 1 large egg
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon salt
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ▢ 1 stick butter or 1/2 cup oil
  • ▢ Cornstarch if needed
For Cream Gravy
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ▢ 2 cups beef stock
  • ▢ 1 cup milk
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ▢ 3 tablespoons heavy cream optional
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon lingonberry or red currant jam
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon salt
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
In a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet, sauté one diced onion in ½ tablespoon butter until translucent. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl of the stand mixer or another large bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
To the bowl with onions, add the pound of ground beef and pork blend, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon white pepper.
Mix, using the paddle attachment on your mixer, on medium-low speed until the meat mixture appears just blended (alternatively, use your hands).
Roll the meat into medium-size balls (about an inch in diameter).
Heat the remaining butter until bubbly, but not smoking. Fry the meatballs, often turning, until they're golden brown; transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Cream Gravy
Drain off the excess butter from the skillet, leaving 1 tablespoon.
Over medium-low heat, whisk 2 tablespoons flour in butter until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually stir in 2 cups of beef broth and 1 cup milk, constantly whisking, until slightly thickened.
Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, if using. Return to simmer and cook for a couple of minutes until the gravy thickens.
Season with 1 teaspoon of each salt and white pepper. Lastly, stir in 1 tablespoon lingonberry jam until well mixed.
Return the meatballs to the skillet with the sauce and stir to cover and warm thoroughly.
Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
  • Mix the meat blend ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to form and fry.
  • Instead of sautéing the onion (it adds more flavor this way), grate it over the bowl to capture its juices.
  • If your meat mixture is too moist, add cornstarch to the meat mixture (one tablespoon at a time). It will absorb the extra moisture and keep the meatballs from falling apart.
  • If your meat mixture is too dry, keep adding beef stock until the desired consistency.
  • Don't over-mix the meatball mixture, or your meatballs will be tough.
  • For even fluffier meatballs, soak the breadcrumbs in 3 tablespoons of whipped cream.
  • To make meatballs the same size, use a small ice cream scooper or tablespoon-size measuring spoon. You want the meatballs to be about 1-inch (1 oz.) in size. Place all the meat scoops on a baking sheet, then roll each with your hands into a ball. It makes the process much quicker!
  • For food safety, meatballs should reach at least 160°F (72°C) of internal temperature; I love this thermometer because it reads the temperature super quickly!
  • Don't discard pan drippings after searing the meatballs. They bring the best flavor to the gravy!
  • Can't find lingonberry jam? Substitute it with red or black currant jam.
  • For more tips, visit the original post by clicking the button "go" below.
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  • Lori Ward-Laatsch Lori Ward-Laatsch on Jun 29, 2022

    Is the jam normally put in the gravy? I have only seen it used on the side. Confession I loved those seasoning packs, they may not sell it anymore, for Swedish Meatballs, they always turned out so delish. I like to serve on rice or noodles. I am going to save this recipe and try it out not sure on the jam although I am a fan of a little sweet in savory dishes I just don't care for the lingonberry or current jam any other subs?

  • Barb Brown Barb Brown on Jul 03, 2022

    Just missing the ground allspice my Swedish grandfather used. He'd make well over 10 lbs of meatballs for dinner , and we kids would snatch them just out of the frying pan, then run back out to play with the rest of the cousins. There was just enough left for the adults for dinner. These meatballs are great for a snack straight from the fridge. Now I have to make some....😉