Sometimes it’s convenient to buy Ikea frozen Swedish meatballs, but making our homemade Swedish meatballs recipe with gravy is worth the effort. These tender meatballs are flavorful and simmered in a fantastic creamy gravy. Add this to a bowl of noodles, pasta, mashed potatoes or rice and you’ll understand why these are like an Ikea Swedish meatballs recipe, but better!

swedish meatballs recipe with gravy in pan

What are Swedish Meatballs?

There’s so much more history to swedish meatballs beyond what we know as Ikea Swedish meatballs. Also known as Svenska Kottbullar in Swedish, this is a national beloved dish. Kottbullar is meatballs in Swedish and it’s not any ordinary meatball. They’re tender and soft meatballs made that’s often made from a combination of pork and beef. Best of all, they’re simmered in gravy which makes the even more amazing. Some even claim the origins of Swedish meatballs come from Turkey.

Best Swedish Meatballs Recipe

Our easy Svenska Kottbullar recipe is simple and not fussy. But the results are fantastic meatballs that everyone in the family will love. We use a 50/50 combination of ground pork and ground beef, which adds great flavor and texture. It’s not too firm or tough. The tender ground pork is a nice balance to the meatballs. The nutmeg and other warm spices make these meatballs perfect for a cold day.

swedish meatballs recipe with noodles on plate

Is Lingonberry Jam necessary for Swedish Meatballs?

Some traditional recipes use lingonberry jam on the Swedish meatballs and some don’t. Lingonberries commonly grow in Sweden so you’ll often find them in some version on the dinner table. It’s a nice added sweet and light tang to the meatballs (similar to cranberry relish with turkey and gravy). If you have some or get to your local Ikea, you can add some over the meatballs. But it’s not necessary if you don’t like jam with your meatballs. Or you can use any type of jam that is slightly on the tangy side like cranberry jam.

Video: Swedish Meatballs Recipe with Gravy

Tips for Making Swedish Meatballs like Ikea (but better!)

  • Traditionally the main ground meats are pork and beef. These give a rich flavor and tender texture with the added bread crumbs. But if you prefer ground chicken or ground turkey, these will be great too. There’s nothing wrong with chicken Swedish meatballs or turkey Swedish meatballs!
  • The gravy is really yummy and if you want extra gravy, double the batch.
  • If you like your meatballs with the extra brown crust on the outside, then make sure your pan is hot. The heat from the pan will create a nice crust and sear. But it will cook faster on the outside, but maybe not cook all the way through. That’s when it’s important to simmer the meatballs in the gravy long enough for the meatballs to cook through the center.
  • To keep the meatball sizes even, use a cookie scoop. We prefer the small cookie scoop to give a 1 1/2 inch meatball, but a medium cookie scoop for a slightly larger meatball works too. Jut make sure to cook the meatballs a little more so they cook all the way through the center.
  • All Swedish meatballs recipe is in the recipe box below with all the step-by-step images.
  • Love meatballs? Check out all our easy meatballs recipes here.
swedish meatballs recipe with noodles on plate

Swedish Meatballs with Gravy

If you have lingonberry jam, it is a classic accompaniment to Swedish meatballs. Wild lingonberries are abundant in Sweden and can regularly be served in different forms with various Swedish dishes. The sweet and tart flavors go perfect with the savory meatballs (just like cranberry sauce and Thanksgiving).
Makes about 24 meatballs.
5 from 3 votes

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For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound (454 g) ground beef
  • 1/2 pound (227 g) ground pork
  • 1/2 small white or yellow onion , finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (27 g) breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) oil

For the Gravy

  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (60 ml) flour
  • 2 cups (480 ml) beef broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Dijon mustard
  • salt , to taste
  • black pepper , to taste
  • Optional chopped parsley , for garnish



  • Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl (beef, pork, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, and egg) and mix well.
    combining swedish meatball ingredients
  • Lightly oil your hands to help keep the meat from sticking to your hands as you form the meatballs. Roll into 1 1/2-inch sized meatballs (a small cookie scoop works great for quickly forming even sized meatballs).
    shaping meatballs
  • Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in a single layer (cook in batches if needed) and brown all sides of the meatballs and cook until they are nearly cooked through.
    searing meat balls
  • Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set aside, but keep the juices and tidbits in the skillet.
    pan with meat drippings
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth and removing all lumps.
    whisking flour
  • Whisk in the broth and continue whisking until smooth.
    adding broth
  • Then whisk in the cream, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.
    whisking finished gravy
  • Add the meatballs (and any juices) back to the gravy and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with optional chopped parsley and with lingonberry jam if you have it.
    adding meatballs back into gravy
  • Serve the meatballs on egg noodles, rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, in a sandwich or as an appetizer skewered with toothpics.
    serving pan of meatballs


YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 443kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 138mg, Sodium: 882mg, Potassium: 460mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 454IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 3mg

Tangy More Flavorful Gravy

If you really love rich flavor, add some extra spices to the gravy. You can add extra mustard and Worcestershire sauce. But don’t be afraid to season the gravy with enough salt. This salt is what helps bring out the flavor along with the additional Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. The savory flavor is what makes this creamy Swedish meatball gravy so good!

What to Serve with Swedish Meatballs

  • Perfect as appetizers, these meatballs are great little bites. Make sure to keep them in the gravy and slightly warmed. And add a few slices of bread on the side so if anyone wants to sop up the gravy, the bread is ready to go.
  • They’re great on egg noodles or pasta. The yummy sauce is perfect over cooked hot pasta. Add a few meatballs in there and it’s an amazing dinner for the whole family.
  • Even other starches like rice, quinoa or couscous are great comfort foods to serve the gravy and meatballs on.
  • Swedish meatball sandwiches are amazing! Wow, this is good on soft rolls when you douse all that gravy on top.
  • Mashed potatoes are another wonderful base for the swedish meatballs and gravy. This has to be one of our favorite ways of serving the our swedish meatballs recipe.
swedish meatballs recipe in skillet

Freezing Leftover Meatballs

It’s easy to freeze the meatballs but the gravy can be a little tricky. Thawing gravy will release alot of water and the gravy can be curdled. We suggest separating the meatballs from the gravy. And when you’re ready to re-heat the gravy, whisk in some heavy cream or milk to make it smooth. Then add the thawed meatballs back in the gravy.

Make ahead recipe

If you want to make this ahead of time, it’s perfect to make it the night before. Seriously, you can make this ahead of time and literally just re-heat it before serving. It can look like a fancy meal without all the fuss.

  • Don’t add the meatballs in the gravy yet. Separate the meatballs and store them in a different container.
  • Make the gravy, then store the gravy separately. Or just keep it in the pan that you made the gravy and put the whole pan in the fridge.
  • When ready to serve, just take the gravy pan out of the fridge and warm it up. If it’s too thick, add a little milk to the gravy.
  • Then place the meatballs in the gravy and simmer on low until everything is heated through.
  • Add a handful of chopped parsley and you have a restaurant quality dish. It’s so good and just like an Ikea Swedish Meatballs recipe but better.