Make Ahead

Swedish-ish Meatballs

April  8, 2015
1 Ratings
  • Makes 40 to 45 meatballs
Author Notes

Although I have never been to Sweden, I love to make up a big batch of these meatballs and travel with my imagination. —From The Kitchen

What You'll Need
  • For the meatballs:
  • 2 pounds and 3 ounces minced pork
  • 1 pound minced beef
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 slices white bread, crusts removed and roughly torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • For the sauce:
  • 3 1/2 ounces butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups good quality beef stock
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill or fennel stalks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 10 ounces sour cream
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fennel or dill sprigs, plus some to serve
  • 1 1/2 cups lingonberry or cherry jam, divided
  • Sea salt or freshly ground pepper
  1. Break apart the minced pork and beef into a large bowl and stir in eggs.
  2. Put the milk and the bread into a food processor. Let the bread soak for a minute while you add the garlic, Parmesan, ricotta, chile flakes, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Pulse everything until the mixture is just combined.
  3. Add bread mix to the minced meat mixture, then combine. Roll into about 40 to 45 golf ball-size meatballs and chill in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
  4. Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C). Heat half of the butter in a frying pan. Add 15 to 20 meatballs at a time over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until golden brown. Remove them from the pan and transfer them to an ovenproof dish and bake for another 5 minutes while you repeat with the rest of the meatballs and butter until all of the meatballs are cooked. Set all meatballs aside and lower heat in the pan to medium-low.
  5. Add flour to the frying pan and use a wooden spoon to beat it into the butter that's in the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom as you go. Once it is a dense, blobby paste, add stock along with the herbs and spices (chopped dill, nutmeg, and allspice) and whisk to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and stir sauce for 5 minutes or so, until it thickens.
  6. Add sour cream, Parmesan, fennel fronds or dill sprigs, and 1/2 cup lingonberry jam. Whisk together and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until thick and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. If your pan is ovenproof, you can now just place meatballs into the sauce and place the entire pan into the oven. If your pan isn't ovenproof, transfer everything to an ovenproof dish. Allow the meatballs to reheat for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Serve meatballs garnished with fennel fronds or dill sprigs and either a good dollop of mashed potatoes or wide egg noodles. Spoon over gravy and enjoy with remaining 1 cup lingonberry jam on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • juleeclip
  • Annika Henriksen Uppström
    Annika Henriksen Uppström
  • Oui, c'est bon
    Oui, c'est bon
  • From The Kitchen
    From The Kitchen
  • Nicole Seguin-andreijeff
    Nicole Seguin-andreijeff
I absolutely love food and food styling and have been writing a blog with my own recipes since July 2012. I also have a Pinterest page at and a Facebook page here:

8 Reviews

juleeclip February 22, 2017
Hi there, I gave this recipe a whirl for a party and the meatballs themselves came out great: super tender and flavorful. The sauce came together great, however it had far too much allspice and/or nutmeg for my taste. I love strong flavors, but it was really overpowering for me. Maybe my particular spices, or maybe I somehow ended up with more concentrated sauce, but I recommend starting with half and taste testing.
Annika H. February 9, 2017
I can't understand why you have garlic in the meatballs It is defenetly not Swedish but maby good tasting. Annika from Stockholm Sweden
Oui, C. January 30, 2016
Your "ish" ish is fabulous all-over again. I think this time i added the preserves❗️❗️
Thank you for sharing. Sususkitchen below
Sixblade K. May 30, 2015
Was an interesting recipe. Title clearly states not authentic so i wasn't concerned with that. Followed the recipe precisely, and it was tasty. Definitely going to modify if i try again though. First off its "heavy" like you would expect from a restaurant not a home made dish. Between the 2:1 pork to beef, 10oz of sour cream, all that butter, and almost 1 cup of parmesan, i will definitely be cutting way back. The sour cream made the sauce much lighter in color and much thicker than the picture shown and i would prefer a more liquid sauce. Also, i will probably throw meatballs straight into the oven, drain liquid and deglaze the roasting pan. I used cherry jam and i liked it that way, as im not a fan of purchasing highly specialized, hard to acquire confections that i will only use in one dish (:re lingonberry jam)
Oui, C. May 14, 2015
oh -ish. I knew up front the meatballs were not authentic, but the recipe is DELISH-ish.
From T. May 11, 2015
Hi Nicole and Viktor,
Thanks so much for your comments, I really appreciate your taking the time to give me the authentic versions of Swedish meatballs. The reason this recipe is called 'Swedish-ish' is to show they are not authentic, and this recipe is part of a series of five different variations using the same meatball recipe - so there are options for people to make one base recipe and then use them for different meals - one with barbecue sauce, one with peanut sauce and slaw, another in wraps with Mexican flavours and another with spiced eggplant and tomato sauce in flatbreads. None of them are designed to be authentic, just fun options for busy cooks. Thanks again! Sarah :)
Nicole S. May 11, 2015
Also living Sweden I think you have completely missed the essence of Scandinavian meatball by adding Parmesan cheese. No offence, but if you truly want a Swedish meatball you need to do it the correct way. 500 g (18 oz) ground (minced) beef/pork mixture
250 ml (1¼ cup) milk
75 g (¾ cup) white breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 onion
2 tsp djon mustard
1 tsp sugar
salt, white pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup soda water


Finely dice the onion and sauté gently in a little butter without browning. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk. Blend the ground meat, using your hands or with a wooden spoon,add the cooked onion, egg, sugar, spices, mustard milk/breadcrumb mixture and the spices to the wet and sticky consistency and taste. Add a little bit of the soda water if the mixture feels too firm. Check the taste by test-frying one meatball. Then shape small meatballs with the aid of two spoons or your hands and place on water-rinsed plates. Brown a generous pat of butter in a frying pan, and when it ‘goes quiet’ place the meatballs in the pan and let them brown on all sides. Shake the frying pan often. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes and raw stirred lingonberries. These are the real deal.
Viktor G. May 4, 2015
Beeing a swede, I'll have to admit that they sound awesome. Although, if you really,really want to taste how my family usually does.

First of all, use all beef. Secomd. You don't really need to have any breadcrumbs in your mixture. First of all you don't want to overwork your mixture. Keeping it light makes it hold together better. Roll your balls fast and sloppy, since they're going to look shitloads more appetizing that way. Second is that you need onion in some way. Either ju can put raw finely minced onion in your meat mixture, or you can put sautéed finely minced onions on your mixture. Third is that you don't have any other spicing than black or white peppar and salt. Or you can just sautée some onions right before you add the flour to make your sauce.

And is we do it in our family, we first sautée them on high heat in an iron skillet giving them an awesome crust, then just lower the heat to medium low and finish them of in your pan. This way makes it easier to take a bite if your hungry during your cooking.