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Swedish meatballs ingredients

Swedish Meatballs

A traditional Swedish Meatball recipe passed down through generations of Swedish family traditions. These hearty meatballs are paired well over egg noodles or next to boiled or mashed potatoes. They even make a great appetizer. 

Course Dinner
Cuisine Swedish
Keyword Swedish Meatballs
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 100 meatballs
Author Lisa York

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 4 slices white bread diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

For the gravy

  • 1 cup flour or cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

For the meatballs

  1. Dice the slices of bread into small pieces. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the breadcrumbs. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow the bread to absorb the milk.

    Swedish meatballs breadcrumbs with seasoning
  2. In a small pan over medium high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions  and saute until the onions are translucent. Add a pinch of the salt and pepper.

    Swedish meatballs diced onion
  3. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow the bread to absorb the milk then add the sautéed onions.

    Swedish meatballs breadcrumbs with added onions
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the rest of the salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, garlic powder, brown mustard and ketchup. Stir until well blended. Add the egg mixture to the bread and onions. Add the ground beef. Then, with your hands, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients until well blended.  

    Swedish meatballs egg mixture with seasoning
  5. Using a small spoon, small ince cream scoop, or melon baller, scoop out approximately a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture. Roll the meat mixture between your hands to form a meatball. The meatball should be rolled until it is fairly firm, otherwise they will fall apart during cooking. Repeat until you've formed all the meatballs.

    Swedish meatballs prior to cooking
  6. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt a pat of butter to coat the bottom of the pan then add 10-12 meatballs. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan and leave enough space between the meatballs. Otherwise, the meatballs will be steamed rather than fried. 

    Swedish meatballs fry the meatballs
  7. Fry the meatballs for a couple of minutes on each side. Just until they are browned. Then shake the pan so the meatballs roll around the pan acquiring a slight sear all around to lock in the juices. 

    Swedish meatballs pan frying
  8. Transfer the meatballs to a large pot. Pour approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to deglaze the frying pan. Using a scratch-proof utensil (if you're using a non-stick pan), scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan.

    Swedish meatballs deglaze the pan
  9. Pour the liquid from the pan over the meatballs in the pot. Don't worry if the liquid is still somewhat clear. Deglazing the pan will get all the flavor from the pan and the broth will darken and become more flavorful the longer you cook the meatballs in the broth. 

    Swedish meatballs poor liquid over meatballs
  10. Repeat buttering the pan, frying the meatballs, deglazing the pan and adding the broth to the pot with the meatballs until all the meatballs have been fried.

    Swedish meatballs ready to serve or make gravy if desired
  11. If the broth from deglazing the pans doesn't produce enough liquid to cover the meatballs, add some more water to cover them. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. They are ready at this point, but the longer they simmer, the better they will be. I usually try to let them simmer for at least 4 hours.

For the gravy

  1. Drain the liquid from the meatballs into a smaller pot. Set the meatballs aside.

    Swedish meatballs drain liquid into a pot
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and water. Gradually add the flour and water mixture. The gravy will thicken as it stands.

    Swedish meatballs bring liquid to a boil
  3. Pour the gravy over meatballs and serve.

    Swedish meatballs