Chef John's Swedish Meatballs Recipe -
Chef John's Swedish Meatballs Recipe
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How to Make Swedish Meatballs
See how to make amazing Swedish meatballs in a savory sauce. See more

Chef John's Swedish Meatballs

Recipe by  

"Swedish meatballs, traditionally served with boiled potatoes and lingonberry preserves, are a hearty meal the whole family will love!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    30 mins
  • COOK

    35 mins

    2 hrs 5 mins


  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in butter until onion begins to turn translucent, about 6 minutes.
  2. Transfer onion mixture to a large bowl. Add milk, eggs, bread crumbs, black pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and cayenne pepper to the breadcrumb mixture; stir to combine.
  3. Mix beef and pork into the bread crumb mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; whisk flour into butter and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk beef broth into butter mixture.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high, whisk cream into mixture and bring to a simmer. Stir sugar and Worcestershire sauce into gravy. Simmer until slightly thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat foil with cooking spray.
  7. Roll 2 to 3 tablespoons meatball mixture into a ball using wet hands; repeat with remaining meatball mixture. Place meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until browned, about 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
  9. Transfer meatballs to the gravy and cook over medium-low heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
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  • Easy Cleanup
  • If you make this in a slow cooker, using a slow cooker liner can make cleanup easier.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Feb 16, 2013

The aroma of these as I was mixing them were wonderful, and the flavor was great too. However, there are a few key ingredients left out of the original recipe post, so this is how I made my gravy: 2 T butter 1/4 cup flour 1.5 cups beef stock 1/2 cup cream 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper The recipe doesn't say how many meatballs this made. Making 2-3 tablespoon-sized meatballs gave me about 34 pretty big meatballs (like, spaghetti-and-meatball size versus IKEA meatball size), which needed to cook longer than the 20 minutes allotted. Mine ended up cooking for 40 minutes, and were slightly tough on the outside, and the temp only got to 150 inside with my thermometer, but they were definitely done. I think next time I will cook for a little longer at a lower temp to not have the outside so overdone. Also, the recipe called for making the gravy before making the meatballs, but I would definitely make the gravy AFTER they are cooked since it really doesn't take more than a few minutes to whisk up. The amount of gravy made with my measurements there only really coated about half the recipe (the hubby is a gravy fanatic, plus we wanted some for the potatoes too), so I'd at least double it next time since it's very thick, and doesn't stretch far. Because I was waiting so long for the meatballs to cook, the gravy got super thick, but a little splash of beef stock helped loosen it as I warmed it back up on the stove.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Feb 14, 2013

I want to try these meatballs, however in the instructions, #5 states to whisk in Worcestershire sauce. I don't see that in the ingredient list. How much do you use?

Sep 20, 2013

I just viewed Chef John's video for the Swedish Meatballs. This dish has always been one of my favorites and I have been looking for a recipe which tastes great. This one is the recipe I've been looking for. BTW, the video was most instructive and his delivery was very entertaining. I found your sense of humor to be very much like my own.

Oct 12, 2014

As a Norwegian cook who also cooks Swedish, I can assure you that authentic Swedish meatballs do NOT have either cayenne pepper or Worcestershire sauce in them---only regular black pepper, to taste. Otherwise, exactly the right recipe.

Mar 07, 2014

This is absolutely amazing!!! I just got done making, and the meatballs are the best I've ever made! The flavor of just the meatballs alone are outstanding! I did double the gravy and added 2 beef bouillon cubes for more flavor, but beyond that, I didn't change a thing! AMAZING!

Oct 31, 2013

I thought this recipe was really good, although I share the opinion of another reviewer which is to make & cook the meatballs first. I was in a rush so this made the cooking time faster, and took a couple extra shortcuts. I did not saute the onions-I just minced them, and did not chill the meatballs either, I just rolled them & tossed them right in the oven. (came out fine!) I started the gravy (I also added a bit of nutmeg to the sauce)after the meatballs were in the oven for about 10 minutes so both were hot & ready at the same time. I should add that I only made enough meatballs for 3 but kept the gravy amount as written so we would have plenty for the egg noodles we topped this dish with. We loved the flavor, and these will replace the recipe I've used in the past!

Oct 05, 2013

I've kinda winged Swedish meatballs for a while now, but this recipe really refined what I was doing. Totally awesome. I changed things ever so slightly - mixed the breadcrumbs with the milk ahead of time because that worked so well in the Italian meatballs. And I did not start the sauce until the meatballs were in the oven - in fact, sauce and meatballs finished at just the same time. Not buying frozen meatballs ever again!

Jun 07, 2013

Very good! I used ground chicken for the meat (because that is what I had on hand) and added extra breadcrumbs to make up for the extra moisture in ground chicken. Loved the meatball seasoning. Gravy was very good, used lowfat condensed milk in place of cream and for extra deep flavor in the gravy, I added about a 1/2 tsp. instant coffee. I know it sounds weird, but this is an ingredient I have always put in Swedish meatballs to deepen the flavor. I served them over spatzle.


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  • Calories
  • 479 kcal
  • 24%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 10.1 g
  • 3%
  • Cholesterol
  • 194 mg
  • 65%
  • Fat
  • 35.8 g
  • 55%
  • Fiber
  • 0.7 g
  • 3%
  • Protein
  • 28.2 g
  • 56%
  • Sodium
  • 1206 mg
  • 48%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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