Swedish meatballs in Sauce are crazy delicious, perfectly seasoned balls of ground beef in a rich, creamy gravy sauce. These little beauties are a family-friendly no-fuss meal perfect for busy weeknights! Even better, you can serve them over egg noodles or on top of mashed potatoes.
I drove past IKEA recently, only to remember that I haven’t shared one of the most famous meatball recipes on the entire planet. Now, I love shopping there, and I can browse all day! I’ve even driven there occasionally just to get a Swedish-meatballs-and-sauce fix.
But ever since our big move, I decided I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic for those delicious meatballs anymore. That gave me the best reason ever to make my own homemade Immulate Bites version. 😉
The Secret Is in the Swedish Meatball Sauce
While Swedish meatballs are perfect on their own, the real secret to this dish is the flavorful cream sauce. That uniquely Swedish gravy made of cream, sour cream, broth, and the perfect amount of spice is so tasty. The flawlessly seasoned meatballs and creamy sauce are so tempting you’ll be chowing down before you get them to the table.
- Ground Beef – Finely ground beef is the leading player in Swedish meatballs. Feel free to switch it out with ground pork, chicken, or turkey.
- Panko Breadcrumbs – These Japanese breadcrumbs have a light, airy, and delicate texture. They also absorb less oil than regular breadcrumbs, making them even better. You can use regular breadcrumbs, but the texture will vary slightly.
- Seasonings – Parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, and garlic add a unique flavor to Swedish meatballs. And you can adjust each one to your family’s palate, even omitting the garlic if you prefer.
- Egg – Eggs keep your meatballs all together and in good shape (yes, round is a beautiful shape😉).
- Swedish Meatball Sauce – Butter, flour, broth, cream, and sour cream with garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and other flavorings make the perfectly creamy sauce we know and love.
How to Make Swedish Meatballs in Sauce
Make the Swedish Meatballs
- Combine ground beef, panko, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well using a spatula until thoroughly combined. (Photos 1-3)
- Roll the meat mixture into 12 large meatballs or 16 small meatballs. (Photo 4)
- Cook – Heat oil in a large skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning continuously until brown on each side and cooked through. (Photos 5-6)
- Keep Warm – Transfer cooked meatballs to a plate and cover with foil.
Make the Swedish Meatball Sauce
- The Roux – Add butter to the skillet. Once it melts, add the flour and whisk until it turns brown and smooth. (Photo 7)
- Liquids – Slowly stir in beef broth and heavy cream, and cook for about a minute. (Photos 8-9)
- Seasonings – Add garlic, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Slowly stir until the sauce comes together. Then add the sour cream and stir until the sauce is evenly combined. (Photo 10)
- Simmer – Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer until it starts to thicken (5-7 minutes).
- Taste Test – Add salt and pepper as needed.
- Final Stretch – Add the meatballs to the skillet and simmer them in the sauce for another 1-2 minutes.
- Serve – Garnish with parsley and serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice.
- Sausage – If you’re not worried about authenticity, bulk hot Italian sausage makes incredible meatballs.
- Dairy-Free – Oh, it’s just not the same! But if you can’t enjoy dairy, please don’t miss out on this fantastic recipe. Coconut cream’s flavor may be strong enough flavor to affect the outcome. However, 4 ounces (115 grams) of soft tofu with a tablespoon of lemon juice pureed in the blender can replace both the heavy and sour cream.
Tips and Tricks
- Avoid overmixing the meat mixture, as this can result in tough Swedish meatballs.
- Cut one open if you’re not sure your meatballs are cooked through. There shouldn’t be any pink inside when they’re done.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve Swedish meatballs as soon as they are cooked with a healthy dose of sauce poured all over them, then garnish with fresh chopped parsley. You can serve these meatballs over rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes. Oh yeah!
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
You can reheat leftovers on the stovetop at medium heat until the sauce just starts to bubble and the meatballs are warmed through.
Eggs and breadcrumbs hold the meatballs together, but be mindful of how many breadcrumbs you use. Too many can make your meatballs too loose and crumbly, and not enough won’t hold them together very well, either. Try to stick to the suggested proportions in the recipe.
Yes, you can! Roll them into 12 balls, then place them on a foil or parchment paper-lined baking pan. Or place them on a wire rack on your baking sheet. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer and spray them with oil. Bake the meatballs at 375℉/190℃ until cooked through or browned – 12-15 minutes.
Absolutely! I like making a huge batch of meatballs, cooking them, and freezing them in an airtight container. Then when my family wants Swedish meatballs in sauce, I pull them out of the freezer, make the sauce, and add the meatballs to the pan. Simmer them all together until the meatballs are hot all the way through, and voila!
Another option is to freeze the uncooked meatballs, then thaw them in the fridge when ready to make this recipe. Brown them as directed and follow the rest of the recipe instructions.
What Goes With Swedish Meatballs in Sauce
Homemade Swedish meatballs are traditionally served on top of egg noodles, but you can use any pasta. Roast garlic mashed potatoes are a good option if you’re avoiding pasta. Side dishes I love to serve include roasted broccoli, bacon-wrapped asparagus, or green bean casserole. For an authentic IKEA experience, add a dollop of lingonberry jam on the side.
More Soul-Satisfying Meatball Recipes to Try
- Baked Meatballs
- Pineapple Glazed Meatballs
- Chicken Meatball Soup
- African-Style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- Sausage Balls (with video)
Watch How To Make It
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This blog post was first published in August 2019 and has been updated with an additional write-up and a video.
Swedish Meatballs in Sauce
- 1 pound (453.6g) ground beef
- ¼ cup (12.5g) Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon (4g) parsley, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon (0.60g) ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon (0.50g) ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup (29g) onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon (5g) garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon (4g) salt
- 1 teaspoon (2g) black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
- 3 tablespoon (42g) butter
- 3 tablespoon (30g) flour
- 2 cup (500ml) beef broth
- ¼ cup (60g) heavy cream
- 2 teaspoon (10g) garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon (10g) thyme (optional)
- 1 tablespoon (17g) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon (5g) Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup (57.5g) sour cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine ground beef, Panko, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg in a medium-size mixing bowl. Mix well using a spatula until thoroughly combined.
- Roll the meat mixture into 12 large or 16 small meatballs.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning continuously until brown on each side and cooked throughout.
The Swedish Cream Sauce
- Add butter to the skillet. Once it melts, add the flour and whisk until it turns brown and smooth.
- Slowly stir in beef broth and heavy cream, cook for about a minute.
- Add garlic, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Slowly stir until the sauce comes together.
- Add the sour cream and stir until the sauce is even throughout.
- Bring sauce to a boil and simmer until it starts to thicken, 5-7 minutes.
- Time for a taste test! Add salt and pepper as needed.
- Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer them in the sauce for another 1-2 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley and serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice.
Tips & Notes:
- You can go all ground pork like I do or a 50-50 pork and beef ratio. You can even make this with ground chicken or turkey!
- Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese variety of breadcrumbs with a light, airy, and delicate texture that helps it beautifully crisp as it cooks. Furthermore, panko breadcrumbs actually ABSORB LESS oil than the usual breadcrumbs.
- For a lower-carb option, you may replace Panko breadcrumbs with almond meal.
- If you’re watchful with your calorie intake, you can replace heavy cream with reduced-fat cream. Half and half would work, too, but be careful NOT to bring it to a boil, or it may separate.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on products used in the recipe.