Swedish Meatballs with super moist, tender and flavorful meatballs in a delicious cream sauce for the ultimate comfort food. Quick and easy to make, they’re perfect for busy weeknights.
Back when I used to manage the dietary department of a skilled nursing facility, Swedish meatballs were my most favorite thing on the weekly menu. Our head chef made the tenderest, juiciest, meanest meatballs on the planet and I just couldn’t get enough of them!
Judging from the polished off plates that came back to the kitchen after dinner, our patients love them just as much.
The chef has a long list of fabulous dishes he regularly delighted us with but he was pretty secretive about his “techniques”. I had to covertly follow him around in the kitchen for days to learn how to recreate my precious Svenska Kottbullar.
Swedish meatballs are the epitome of comfort food. Served over egg noodles or creamy mashed potatoes, they are a hearty and scrumptious dinner everyone in the family will love. They go from kitchen to table in an hour or less yet tastes like you slaved all day!
This Swedish meatball recipe is not only simple to make, but it’s also budget-friendly and a great make-ahead meal. It yields roughly 40 meatballs which will easily feed a crowd or freeze well for future use.
How to Freeze Meatballs
Below are three options on how you can freeze these homemade Swedish meatballs as part of your meal planning.
- To freeze raw, portion and shape the meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 40 to 50 minutes or until very firm. Transfer to resealable bags or airtight containers and freeze up to 4 months. When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge until no longer frozen but still firm and use according to the recipe.
- To freeze fully cooked, portion and shape the meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 20 to 30 minutes or until firm. Pan-fry in the butter until lightly browned and completely cooked. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool. Transfer to resealable bags or airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw completely in the fridge, and finish off in the gravy until thoroughly heated.
- To freeze with the gravy, skip the sour cream when preparing the gravy. Allow the meatballs and sauce to cool completely. Transfer to resealable bags or airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw overnight and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat. Add beef broth in 1/2 cup increments if needed to loosen the gravy to desired consistency and stir in the sour cream just before serving.
Tips on How to Make Homemade Swedish Meatballs
- Use fresh breadcrumbs and make sure to soak in milk. This soaked bread or panade adds moisture to the meat mixture, making for lighter and more tender meatballs.
- Keep ingredients as cold as possible as the natural fat in the meat is what makes meatballs juicy and flavorful.
- Do not overmix and overhandle the meat mixture to keep meatballs from becoming tough and rubbery.
- Use a small cookie scoop to portion meatballs for a more uniform size. Rinse hands with cold water between shaping to keep the meat from sticking.
- Grate the onions instead of chopping. This makes the meatballs juicier, more flavorful and no chunks of onions to bite into!
- The allspice gives the meatballs a hint of peppery taste; omit if you like.
- Don’t forget to taste test. The worst thing is to have a whole batch of meatballs shaped and cooked only to find they’re under-seasoned. Fry one piece or two and correct seasonings as needed.
- To help maintain shape and keep from falling apart, freeze the meatballs for about 20 to 30 minutes or until firm.
- To prepare for a large party, you can cook the meatballs in the oven. In a large cast iron pan, add butter and heat and put it in a 400 F oven until melted Carefully add the meatballs in a single layer and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Make sure to shake the pan a few times to ensure even cooking.
How to Make Swedish Meatball Sauce
While Swedish Meatballs are also commonly enjoyed sans gravy with sides of boiled or mashed potatoes and lingonberries, the generous smothering of thick cream gravy is what really takes these pork and beef meatballs over the top in my opinion.
To make this liquid gold, the meatballs are first fried in butter and then removed from the pan. Flour is sprinkled on the pan drippings for the roux and beef broth is slowly whisked in until thickened. Cream or sour cream is stirred in to add creamy flavor.
Lingonberry jam can be added to the gravy or served on the side to balance the richness with a touch of sweetness.
Try these homemade meatballs for dinner tonight! I am sure you’ll agree they’re one of the juiciest, moistest, tenderest and tastiest meat morsels you’ll ever have!
More Beef Recipes:
For the Meatballs
- 3 slices white bread, sides trimmed
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 onion, peeled and grated
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Lingonberry or cranberry jelly
- In a small bowl, soak bread in milk. Tear with hands until it resembles a soft paste.
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, soaked bread, onions, eggs, salt, and allspice. Gently mix until combined.
- Using a small scoop, portion about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture and using roll between palms of hands into a 1-inch diameter ball.
- Arrange meatballs in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 20 to 30 minutes or until firm.
- In a skillet over medium heat, the butter until melted. Add meatballs in a single layer and cook, gently turning on sides as needed, until lightly browned but not cooked through. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Keep warm.
- In the pan over medium heat, sprinkle in the flour over the pan drippings (add more butter if needed to equal 6 tablespoons) and whisk until smooth and blended. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until roux turns lightly golden.
- Add sherry, whisking regularly, until smooth.
- Slowly add beef stock, whisk until smooth, and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken.
- Add meatballs in a single layer. Lower heat, cover, and continue to cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked.
- Add sour cream and Dijon mustard and stir until well-dispersed. Season with pepper to taste.
- Stir in the jelly or serve on the side. Serve hot with boiled or mashed potatoes or over egg noodles.