Ground Beef

Swedish Meatballs & Cream Sauce (Köttbullar Och Gräddsås)

November 17, 2018
11 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

My husband grew up in Sweden, and this was the recipe his great-grandmother used to make Swedish meatballs when he visited her as a young boy. There are three major differences to this recipe compared to Americanized versions. Salt and pepper are the only spices since these spices were not common in recipes except for special occasions. This recipe also uses potato as one of the binding agents, which I have not found in other recipes. Lastly, it only uses ground beef, instead of a mix of ground meats. —swedishturkey

What You'll Need
  • For the Meatballs
  • 1 medium-sized yellow potato
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, white preferred
  • 1 large egg
  • 500 grams lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, plain
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Olive oil nonstick spray
  • For the Cream Sauce and to Serve
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Boiled potatoes (to serve)
  • Lingonberry jam (to serve)
  1. Peel and boil the potato until soft through. Cool. Shred the potato with a grater.
  2. Mix the pepper, salt and egg into the meat.
  3. Microwave milk to slightly warm. Add breadcrumbs to the milk.
  4. Add milk/breadcrumbs and shredded potato to the ground beef. Mix well with hands. Roll into small, tight meatballs.
  5. Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat and spray with non-stick olive oil.
  6. Cook meatballs through in batches, allowing space between each meatball. Respray pan with oil spray between batches.
  7. In a separate saucepan, heat the cream and milk to a simmer. Add soy and beef bouillon to taste. Add flour mixed in a little water to the sauce to thicken.
  8. Serve meatballs and cream sauce with boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alexandra Westlund
    Alexandra Westlund
  • Smaug
  • Roxanne
  • Debbie

14 Reviews

Roxanne October 8, 2021
Have had this recipe in my collection for awhile now and decided to make it tonight because frankly I am sick of all the recipes here that call for “technique” and a number of ingredients that I have either never heard of or don’t want to purchase to use them for one recipe. I had my doubts about this but the meatballs were the tenderest I have ever made and the sauce to my great surprise was delicious. Thank you Swedishturkey. This is a keeper!
Debbie January 20, 2019
No allspice?
swedishturkey January 20, 2019
Correct. No Allspice. Allspice was not a common ingredient back in Sweden when this recipe was created.
Alexandra W. January 9, 2019
Hi there- is soy in this recipe soy sauce?
swedishturkey January 9, 2019
Oops thanks for catching that mistake. Yes, it is soy sauce.
Smaug March 9, 2019
Was soy sauce common in Sweden when the recipe was originated?
swedishturkey March 9, 2019
Soy was not in the meatball recipe itself. It was common once people started making it with that gravy. Nice try though.
Smaug March 9, 2019
So that would be a no? Allspice is pretty common now too, in fact has been well known in Europe since the 17th century.
PaigeBakes March 10, 2019
Smug, it's her recipe FFS.
Smaug March 10, 2019
Really? She said it was her husband's great grandmother's. GFY.
swedishturkey March 10, 2019
Really. I did not say that allspice was not available. I said it was not COMMON. If you go over to Sweden, most meatballs served in restaurants, or that can be bought premade do not contain allspice. My husband and I came up with the cream sauce, based on cream sauces we have had, and soy is readily available for us.
Smaug March 10, 2019
OK, but as a non-Swede don't see anything about the meatballs to make them particularly Swedish, that recipe could have come from anywhere. The grated potato isn't widely used (though it should be), but has plenty of history in other places- I think I first got it from Louis DeGuoy. So, since it's presented as a historical recipe, I would find the history of the sauce to be rather important.
swedishturkey March 10, 2019
It is Swedish because it came from Swedes - not an Americanized version of Swedish meatballs. Swedes tend to eat meatballs as everyday food, rather than for special occasions, where one would be more likely to use simple spices. If you want to believe that the allspice version here in America is more authentic, then that's fine. Move along from my recipe, but you'll miss out.
Smaug March 10, 2019
I have no dog in this fight- I came to this recipe in hopes of finding an answer to the question "what are these Swedish meatballs I hear so much about". Your answer. apparently, is that they're just meatballs like any other. I was hoping for more, but c'est la vie.