This easy Swedish Meatballs recipe makes perfectly tender meatballs with a rich and creamy gravy. It’s my homemade version of IKEA Swedish meatballs! Serve over potatoes or noodles, with traditional lingonberry preserves on the side.
Homemade IKEA Swedish Meatballs
Sometimes I go to IKEA just because I’m hungry for Swedish Meatballs. Yes, it’s true. (And I know there are more of you out there who do the same!)
I grew up on my mom’s meatballs and gravy, always one of my favorite meals. She makes her meatballs with all-beef and serves the meatballs and gravy over creamy mashed potatoes. One of the best comfort meals EVER.
This Swedish meatball recipe is similar to Mom’s recipe (no Swedish roots there), yet still quite different. There could never be too much meatball recipe goodness, in my opinion!
The First Time I Tried Swedish Meatballs
Do you remember the first time you ate Swedish meatballs?
My first IKEA experience was back in the spring of 1999, when I was living near my sister and her husband in Illinois. I was newly engaged to my extra-tall (he’s 6′-7″), dark, and handsome Blake, and we were planning our wedding for later that same fall. The ceremony was set to take place outdoors, on my parents’ farm in South Dakota. A small intimate immediate-family-only wedding, with more family and friends invited to celebrate after the ceremony. It was to be casual to the core, with picnic tables, a pig roasted by a family friend, a beer wagon, and dancing to a dj’s (my cousin) tunes in the garage.
My vision for the evening’s reception included tiki torches lit along the length of the driveway, with twinkle lights strung overhead in the garage and zig zagging through the front yard’s autumn tree limbs. There would be galvanized lanterns hanging from the trees, too, illuminated by simple white tea lights. (Little did we know that our day would actually consist of pouring down rain. Thank goodness we had planned to use the garage and a big tent!) My sister suggested we visit the nearby IKEA in Schaumburg (IL), to pick up all the goods to make our wedding plans happen. And that’s when Blake and I came face to face with the famous Swedish meatballs of IKEA…
Blake and I moved to Minnesota shortly after we were married, and lucky for us, an IKEA opened up here just a few years later. While we continue to enjoy both the shopping and the meatballs at our local store, it’s been awesome to have our own recipe to make at home whenever the craving hits us.
How to make Swedish Meatballs
Swedish meatballs are typically made with a combination of beef and pork, which gives them great flavor and texture. They also include just a touch of allspice and/or nutmeg.
IKEA’s meatballs are tender and light in texture. My recipe includes breadcrumbs soaked in milk to achieve that same bite.
I like to use a 1-1/2 tablespoon scoop to portion the meat mixture (a bit bigger in size than IKEA), and then roll by hand to form the meatballs.
Then the meatballs are browned in a skillet on the stovetop. I love the texture and added flavor that browning adds.
Plenty of people will use cans of cream of mushroom soup for the gravy, but I’m sharing my easy method for homemade gravy here. You won’t believe how quickly the rich and creamy gravy comes together.
And I hope you’ll agree that it’s a super fun process!
Our oldest daughter likes seeing the homemade gravy evolve, and often requests to create it all on her own. Yes, it’s that easy!
What Makes these the Best IKEA Swedish Meatballs Recipe?
The meatballs are perfectly tender and flavorful. And the rich and creamy gravy, poured over buttery boiled potatoes or whippy mashed potatoes, is whisked up from scratch.
It’s oh-so-worthy of licking your plate for.
And the piece that makes our IKEA Swedish meatballs replication complete? A spoonful of traditional lingonberry jam on the side, just like IKEA does. I’m in love with its tart contrast, much like a meal of Thanksgiving turkey and gravy with a side of cranberry sauce.
Like this Swedish Meatball recipe? Pin it!
Here are a few more recipes with creamy comfort: My Tater Tot Hotdish features a homemade gravy, similar to this one for Swedish meatballs – so many people love this recipe! Also try my mom’s Oyster Stew and this Creamy Enchilada Chili.
- 3 T. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 c. finely minced onion
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 T. soy sauce, divided
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1-1/4 c. breadcrumbs
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- chopped parsley, optional garnish
- lingonberry jam, optional side
- In a large skillet with tall sides, over medium to medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add onion and sauté until completely soft and translucent, stirring regularly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer onion to a plate and spread out the onion to cool completely.
- To a large bowl add beef, pork, eggs, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, black pepper, sugar, allspice, nutmeg, and the cooled onions. Mix to combine evenly with a wooden spoon or your hands. You could also use a stand mixer.
- Add breadcrumbs to a medium bowl. Pour milk over the top. Stir to completely combine. Then add to the meat mixture and use your hands to combine everything evenly.
- Using a 1-1/2 tablespoon measure (I like to use a 1-1/2 tablespoon scoop), roll meat mixture into balls and then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
- Using the same large skillet (no need to wash it, just wipe it out with a paper towel), place it over medium to medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Working in 2 batches and adding the remaining tablespoon of the butter between batches, brown meatballs on all sides, about 8-10 minutes per batch. Transfer meatballs to a platter or sheet pan.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from skillet. If there are any especially dark (black) pieces left in the skillet, remove them. Otherwise, keep as much of that good flavoring as possible in the skillet. If you are left with less than 2 tablespoons of drippings, add some butter to equal that amount. Whisk in flour (a flat whisk works great!) until a smooth paste forms, and the paste is lightly browned. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking all the while to break up any lumps. Turn the heat up just a bit, to medium to medium-high. Bring broth to a simmer, whisking often. Add sour cream, Worcestershire, and remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and whisk to incorporate. Let simmer until sauce is nicely thickened into a gravy.
- Add meatballs to gravy, folding gently to coat. Turn heat down to medium to medium-low, cover skillet, and simmer until meatballs are cooked and everything is nice and hot, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat and stir gently to coat meatballs.
- Serve meatballs with buttered boiled potatoes or fluffy mashed potatoes, and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley. We also recommend some traditional lingonberry jam on the side!
Note: If using beef broth, only add half the amount of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to the gravy. Then taste test and add more of each if needed.
from a farmgirl's dabbles
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 668Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 940mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 42g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
This post was previously published in 2013. Some of the photographs and some of the text were updated in 2019.