Homemade Swedish meatballs on a sheet pan

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE SWEDISH MEATBALLS

Traditional Swedish meatballs are a beloved comfort food which can be served as an appetizer or main course. The dish typically begins with meatballs made from a beef and ground pork mixture, prepared with a few warm spices, a little onion and smothered in a cream-based gravy. You’ll find though that many Makers like to bring their own interpretation to this dish.

See how easy it is to create Swedish meatballs using the KitchenAid® Metal Food Grinder Attachment for your KitchenAid® stand mixer, which comes with five tools to make a variety of ground foods.

HOMEMADE SWEDISH MEATBALL RECIPE

The most delectable Swedish meatballs begin with freshly ground meats. When you grind the mixture for meatballs yourself, you have complete control over the type, quality and amount of ingredients that go into them. If you like a little more richness, increase the pork in your Swedish meatballs. Experiment with the seasonings you add to help create your unique take on this classic recipe.

The exact ingredients used will vary from kitchen to kitchen, but the KitchenAid® stand mixer and KitchenAid® Metal Food Grinder Attachment can help create expertly ground meat mixtures for super fresh, mouthwatering Swedish meatball recipes.

YIELDS1

As a rule of thumb, approximately one pound of ground meat will produce about 30 one-inch meatballs. Plan on 5 or 6 meatballs per main course serving.
 

1. Exact yields will vary based on recipe

INGREDIENTS2

For the Meatballs:

  • 50-50 ratio of ground beef and ground pork – or other proteins of your choice – venison, turkey, lamb, veal, chicken

  • Toasted bread

  • Milk

  • Egg 

  • Allspice

  • Nutmeg

  • Onion

  • Garlic (optional)

  • Parsley (optional)

  • Salt 

  • Pepper

  • Oil or butter for cooking

 

For the Sauce:

  • Pan drippings

  • Butter

  • Flour

  • Cream 

  • Worcestershire Sauce

  • Mustard

  • Stock or broth

     

2. Exact ingredients will vary based on recipe

TOOLS

TIP: TOOLS

Not only are metal meat grinders durable and easy to clean, they’re often preferred for meat grinding because they’re easy to chill effectively and a cold temp is important when grinding meats. The metal food grinder can be pre-chilled in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain a cold grinding temperature, while giving you a clean grind when preparing meat.

PREP TIME

You can prepare Swedish meatballs for cooking in under 30 minutes.

TOTAL TIME

The meatballs and sauce will cook in 40 minutes; so the dish will take 1 hour and 10  minutes total.

KitchenAid® stand mixer with KitchenAid® food grinder attachment and clear bowl of ground chicken

STEP 1: GRIND MEAT 

Attach the food grinder attachment fitted with the fine plate to any KitchenAid® stand mixer. With the mixer set on speed 4 place very cold meat(s) in the grinder attachment a piece at a time. Alternate meat with pieces of toasted bread, chopped onion, garlic and parsley.

STEP 2: PREPARE THE MEATBALLS

When the ingredients are ground, remove the food grinder attachment and replace with the flat beater attachment. Add milk, egg and any other seasonings to the ground meat mixture in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on low for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients are well combined. Scoop the meatballs onto a cookie sheet with a small ice cream scoop, or form balls with damp fingers (meatballs should be about the size of a golf ball).

STEP 3: COOK THE MEATBALLS

You can bake the meatballs in the oven at this point, but to get a nice brown sear, heat butter and oil in a saute pan and brown meatballs until cooked through and a crust forms. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan – cook in batches – so meatballs brown and don’t steam. Remove cooked meatballs from the pan and cover with foil while you prepare the sauce.

STEP 4: PREPARE THE SAUCE

Add flour and butter to the pan drippings and stir until brown. Add stock and cream to the butter and flour and whisk together. Finish with a little mustard and worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs back to the sauce and warm for a minute or two. Serve with egg noodles, rice or side of your choice.

SHOP KITCHENAID® STAND MIXER ATTACHMENTS

KitchenAid brand offers a wide assortment of attachments and accessories to elevate all your dishes – including fresh and flavorful ground meats – for any meatball recipe.

Swedish meatball on wooden spoon

WHAT IS THE TRADITIONAL SAUCE FOR SWEDISH MEATBALLS

A traditional Swedish meatball “gravy” starts with the pan drippings which are thickened with flour, butter, stock and cream. The sauce is typically balanced with something sharp, like mustard or worcestershire sauce to cut through the richness.

It’s easy to take a classic Swedish meatball recipe and embellish it with twists that reflect your personal tastes. Instead of cream, creme fraiche or sour cream also work well. Try replacing the white bread with rye or pumpernickel. Play around with the “sharp” flavors; soy sauce can take the place of worcestershire sauce. Use a hot mustard to create a little heat. Or, consider adding a little lingonberry jam, or freshly grated orange zest to brighten up the sauce.

In addition to experimenting with different proteins, you can customize your meatball mixture by playing with different warm spices – cinnamon, cardamom and ginger pair well with the traditional nutmeg and allspice. Or, consider replacing the onion and garlic with shallots. Omit the parsley and add a little fresh rosemary, to bring a more intense, woodsy note to the dish.

Woman grating citrus over salad

WHAT ARE TRADITIONAL SIDES TO SERVE WITH SWEDISH MEATBALLS

You often find Swedish meatballs served with a side of egg noodles or mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and pressed cucumbers (pressgurka). This is another golden opportunity to “dress up” or just “mix up” your meatball dish.

The side dish possibilities are only limited by your imagination, try using the KitchenAid® Pasta Roller Attachment to make your own fresh, homemade egg noodles. The KitchenAid® Spiralizer Attachment can help create these delicious Spiralized Potato Pancakes with Spiced Applesauce. Or, for an autumnal accompaniment to your Swedish meatballs, this recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Puree will hit the perfect comforting note.

Be sure and add something fresh to help brighten up the meal. A crisp, green salad, steamed veggies or fresh cranberry chutney all make great additions to a Swedish meatball dish.

Woman making meatballs on cooktop

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWEDISH MEATBALLS AND OTHER MEATBALLS?

The beef and pork mixture,  warm spices – nutmeg and allspice – and rich, brown gravy are the hallmarks of a traditional Swedish meatball recipe. Italian meatballs are typically flavored with parmesan, garlic and oregano and served in a tomato based sauce.

In addition to these popular meatball dishes, there are meatballs from all over the world with regional flavor profiles. For instance, Korean meatballs are sweet and spicy. Danish meatballs, Frikadeller, are typically made with ground pork shoulder and are sauced with a red wine gravy.

Vegetarian “meatball” mixture coming out of KitchenAid® food grinder attachment

CAN YOU MAKE SWEDISH MEATBALLS USING DIFFERENT MEATS AND SAUCES?

The exact ingredients and ways to serve Swedish meatballs can be interpreted a number of ways, making this dish ideal for creative exploration. If you don’t love pork, skip it and increase the beef, or try adding another ground protein altogether. Some people prefer their meatballs without any sauce. That's entirely up to you. 

It’s also simple to adjust the ingredients in this dish to accommodate different dietary restrictions or preferences. Make the meatballs gluten free and leaner by replacing the ground beef/pork with ground turkey or chicken. Use rice, or gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs. Replace the cream with milk or yogurt.

CAN YOU MAKE MEATLESS SWEDISH MEATBALLS?

You can also achieve these same warm, comforting flavors for a vegetarian or vegan dish with “meatballs” using ingredients like oats, mushrooms, chickpeas, rice or tofu to mimic the texture of meat. To make a vegan sauce, replace beef with vegetable broth, worcestershire sauce with tamari and cream with coconut milk, or your preferred milk alternative.

Along with mushrooms and a legume, vegetarian meatballs can include egg and breadcrumbs to hold the “meatballs” together. With the exception of beef broth, which can be replaced with mushroom or vegetable broth, all other ingredients in a traditional brown sauce will work seamlessly for a vegetarian Swedish meatball dish.

CAN SWEDISH MEATBALLS BE FROZEN?

If you make too many, Swedish meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months. Simply divide meatballs and sauce and store in separate freezer safe containers. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating meatballs in the sauce. You may need to add a little water to thin the sauce.

FREEZING TIP

To prevent meatballs from clumping together in the freezer and to make it easier to use just what you need, place the cooled (or uncooked) meatballs on a parchment lined tray in the freezer. When the meatballs are frozen, layer between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.

SHOP FOR KITCHENAID® STAND MIXERS AND ATTACHMENTS

Truly craveworthy meatballs – and endless other great dishes – all start with the iconic KitchenAid® stand mixer and some versatile KitchenAid® attachments and accessories. See where the possibilities take you.

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