Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (2024)

50 minutes mins


4.72 from 259 votes

Jump to Recipe | Updated: | by Nora

My Swedish meatball recipe is simple to whip up and tastes delicious – we love them for dinner withmashed potatoes, but they’re just as good with egg noodles if you prefer.

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (1)

My Swedish meatball recipe

I have to make a confession: It’s been a long time since I ate meatballs at IKEA. Unpopular opinion, but I’m not their biggest fan.

Juicy homemade meatballs in a delicious brown gravy, though? These happen all the time around here, and I could eat the whole pan by myself if it wasn’t for my kids and husband, ha!

Ingredients you’ll need

Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities!

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (2)

Ingredient notes

  • meat: I use lean beef, but you can also use a fattier ground beef if that’s what you have – I recommend draining some of the fat after browning the meatballs. You can also use a mix of ground beef and pork if you prefer.
  • broth: Beef broth is best here, but you can also use chicken broth with a dash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce added.
  • mustard/jelly: these are optional and can be left out if you think they’re too weird in a gravy – but I will say these are the ingredients to help get that “IKEA taste”

Step by step photos

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (3)

Cooking Tips

  • if you’re in a hurry:use regular store-bought meatballs – you’ll need about 1.5 pounds
  • if you don’t knead/shape the meatball mix well, the meatballs will fall apart as you’re cooking them in the pan.if you’re unsure, bake the meatballs instead of pan-frying them to help them retain some shape (they could still fall apart in the sauce, so please do really make sure to roll them into firm balls).
  • likewise, brown the meatballs very well, until browned and crisp, or they’ll fall apart as you’re turning them.
  • if the jelly and mustard in the sauce sound weird to you(apparently those kind of people exist ?), feel free to leave them out – but you’ll lack some of that beloved IKEA flavor
  • to keep the meatballs round during cooking:freeze them for 5-10 minutes on a baking sheet after shaping them. sounds weird, but it helps them retain their shape!

Tips for lump free gravy

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (4)

Swedish meatball sauce starts with a roux. That’s just the fancy French word for gently heating some butter and flour before adding the liquids.

The first step to perfect gravy is to make sure you don’t burn the flour and butter for the sauce! It should turn a medium brown, but no more. (I’ve had to re-start the sauce before because I burnt the flour, it can’t be saved.)

For lump-free gravy, you’ll need to whisk very well and fast once you start adding the liquids. As soon as you start pouring the beef broth into the cooked flour and butter mix, it will begin to seize up and thicken.

Do not be alarmed by this, it’s important that you keep going and add all the liquid while whisking! Whisk all the while you’re pouring the liquid into the pan, and then keep whisking until it’s smooth.

Side dishes

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (5)
Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (6)

We love eating these either withthe best mashed potatoes in the world(really, so easy and so good!) or with simple egg noodles. PS If you have an Instant Pot? MakeInstant Pot Mashed Potatoes!

As a veggie side, we often enjoy myeasy sautéed green beans orroasted asparagus. Or frozen peas, if I’m in a hurry. A Creamy Cucumber Salad is another favorite, especially when it gets warmer outside!

No matter how you serve them (oh hey, I just wrote a post on all the possible side dishes for any kind of meatballs!), I can guarantee you one thing: They definitely taste better than IKEA’s – well, at least in my opinion they do.

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (7)
Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (8)

More classic comfort food

  • Instant Pot Sour Cream Pork Chops
  • Homemade Shepherd’s Pie
  • Easy Beef Stroganoff
  • Mozzarella Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

PSIf you try this recipe, please leavea review in the comment section and add a star rating in the recipe card – I appreciate your feedback! Follow along onPinterest,FacebookorInstagram.

Printable recipe

Printable Recipe Card

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (13)

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Easy Swedish Meatballs

My Swedish meatball recipe is simple to whip up and tastes delicious – we love them for dinner with mashed potatoes, but they're just as good with egg noodles if you prefer.

Recipe by Nora from Savory Nothings

made it? tap the stars to add your rating!

4.72 from 259 votes

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Recipe details

Prep 30 minutes mins

Cook 20 minutes mins

Total 50 minutes mins

Servings 4 Servings

Difficulty Easy



For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil

For the gravy:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour use 2 tablespoons if you prefer a thinner gravy
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grape jelly OR lingonberry jam; or less, to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • Make the meatballs:

    Add all ingredients for the meatballs EXCEPT for the oil to a large bowl. Knead very well. I like doing this with a handheld mixer with the hook attachment – it's so much faster! Using about 2 teaspoons of meat mixture, roll into firm balls. (Freezing the meatballs for 5-10 minutes at this point helps them to keep their shape.)

  • Cook the meatballs:

    Heat the oil in a wide, deep skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides, until well browned on all sides. This will take between 6-8 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside. If you prefer baking the meatballs, place them on a lined baking sheet and bake them at 425°F for 10-12 minutes or until browned and no longer pink in the middle.

  • Make the gravy:

    Bring the skillet back to medium heat. Melt the butter, then stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until medium brown. Quickly pour in the beef broth while whisking constantly. Simmer until thickened, then whisk in the milk, mustard and jelly. Simmer gently over medium-low heat until creamy, about 1 minute. Season to taste.

  • Finish the dish:

    Place the meatballs back in the gravy and warm very gently until heated through. Serve immediately.

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Serving: 1servingCalories: 509kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 25gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 885mgSugar: 4g

Nutrition is an estimate.

More recipe information

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Traditional

Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (14)
About Nora
When I got married to my professional chef husband, I realized I had to step up my game in the kitchen. Now I share my favorite foolproof family recipes here on Savory Nothings: Chef-approved, kid-vetted and easy enough for everyday home cooks like you and me! Learn more.

Reader Interactions

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  1. Amethyst Schy says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (17)
    I used a small onion, which for most might be a medium onion I guess…it was too much. Next time I’ll use half or sub with onion powder and add more seasoning to the meatball itself, it was pretty bland meat, such as some Worcestershire sauce. Pan sauce was amazing with fresh made focaccia. I didn’t have grape jelly so used apricot instead. So good! That sauce would be good on chicken or pork too!


  2. Tish says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (18)
    Delicious and so easy, I used pre-cooked frozen meatballs put them in the air drier for 10 minutes then added them to the gravy.
    I served them with mashed potatoes


  3. Lisa G says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (19)
    I made these exactly as written and they were delicious. Even my ultra picky hubby loved them. I am now making them in big batches (5-10 lbs of hamburger) and freezing them in vac packs. I bought a couple of those huge sheet pans at Costco and bake them. While they’re baking I make the sauce. Then when everything has cooled, I bag them up and put them in the freezer. And when you are really tired, or have unexpected guests you just pull them out and serve them up. I use your instant pot mashed potatoes recipe and freeze those as well to serve with the meatballs. They taste like fresh and you only have the mess once. Thank you so much for an excellent recipe which truly rivals IKEA’s!


    • Nora says

      Thank you so much for sharing, Lisa! That’s so helpful. And I’m very glad you like the recipe!


  4. Myrna C Shank says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (20)
    My very first time to make this dish and it turned out very delicious!! My husband and his bother was with us for a visit and he liked it so very much!. It will be in our family’s list of special dish. Thanks for sharing!😋😋😋


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Myrna!


  5. Janetl says

    Am I able to make this recipe the day prior to serving?
    any adjustments..?


    • Nora says

      Yes, you can. I have never had any issues reheating leftovers. Allow the dish to cool for 30 minutes, or until just cool enough to be put into the refrigerator. Refrigerate covered. To reheat, I recommend taking it out of the fridge 15 minutes before reheating. Heat gently, stirring from time to time, until the meatballs are steaming hot all the way through. The gravy will thicken in the fridge. Before you add any additional broth to thin it out, allow it to heat up first – it’s runnier when hot. Hope this helps!


  6. Sara says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (21)
    Absolutely amazing! ! I will definitely be making this again. My boyfriend has already requested I make it again! Thank you so much for this recipe


  7. Kiersten Gascon says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (22)
    I used a melon baller to make the meatballs. They were all a very uniform size.


  8. Betty says

    I thought Swedish Meatballs always had a sauce with sour cream in it.


    • Nora says

      Betty, I’m not from Sweden but I’ve been to Sweden a few times and have never been served meatballs in a sour cream sauce, only in a brown cream sauce. I think the sour cream type is a more American version, or maybe something more regional in Sweden? I prefer a sour cream sauce for Beef Stroganoff and a rich sauce for Swedish meatballs. You can easily stir some sour cream into the finished sauce if you prefer a more tangy taste. Hope this helps!


    • Kiersten Gascon says

      Are you sure you might not be thinking of Beef stroganoff? That’s also served with sour cream and noodles.


  9. Cher says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (23)
    Made 3x the recipe. Cut back to 4 cups beef broth, 2 cups milk. Added 5 tablespoons flour to thicken. Excellent. Served hungry yet picky eaters. It was a hit, especially with the 12 year old. Definitely a repeat recipe.


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Cher!


  10. Cris says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (24)
    I made these meatballs with ground turkey for less fat. Instead of adding Dijon to the gravy, I added some ground mustard to the meatball mixture and added sour cream instead of milk and I was pleasantly surprised. I will try with ground beef next time to see the difference. Something different for a change….


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Cris! Hope you’ll enjoy the beef version, too.


  11. Jessica says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (25)
    This was delicious. The only modification I made was to add a couple tablespoons of sour cream at the end(instead of milk), and some fresh dill in the meatballs and sauce. Will definitely make again.


    • Nora says

      Your modifications sound delicious, Jessica!


  12. Karen says

    Can you use grape jam instead of jelly?


    • Nora says

      Karen, it will work for flavor, but it will definitely not “melt” into the sauce as jelly does. I would definitely pass it through a sieve, unless you’re not concerned about bits from the jam in your gravy. Hope this helps!


  13. Anna says

    Would the gravy for this recipe turn out good using heavy cream in place of milk?


    • Nora says

      I think so, Anna!


  14. Kathleen Miley says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (26)
    Made this recipe exactly as written. We loved it! I have shared it with several family members. Will definitely make again.


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Kathleen!


  15. Jen L says

    Hi there, would this be tasty with canned coconut milk instead of milk? We never have milk in the house because we don’t drink it! Thx


    • Nora says

      Jen, I know some readers have made it with almond milk. I think I would personally go with cashew milk, which is my favorite to use in mild, savory dishes where I don’t want any nutty flavour added. Hope this helps!


  16. Shelly Dyer says

    I’ve made this three or four times now, but every time I add the milk to the gravy it gets very soupy and takes quite a long time to thicken. [We’re talking at least another 20 minutes] Any idea what I’m doing wrong?


    • Nora says

      Shelly, it definitely shouldn’t take 20 minutes. Are you using whole milk or skim milk? Skim milk will yield a less creamy/less thick gravy. You could try using an additional tablespoon of flour. How long are you cooking the flour initially? if it gets too hot/too browned, it can lose some of its thickening power. Hope this helps, please don’t hesitate to ask more questions!


  17. Gretchen M3 says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (27)
    I’m going to be honest; I was a bit skeptical of the results when I first saw this recipe since I grew up in a very Swedish & Danish household where my family’s recipe is absolutely delicious. But, I was surprised that these were REALLY good, less labor intensive & quick! Even my boys approved!
    I love the addition of the Lingonberries, they really add a whole level of flavor.


    • Nora says

      That’s so great to hear, Gretchen! And I agree, the Lingonberries add so much goodness to this recipe.


  18. Paul C. says

    I’m on a Keto Diet so I substituted Almond Flour, Sugar free Grape Jelly, and half whole milk & half Sour Cream. served with Riced Cauliflower.
    Got the Carbs down to about 10 carbs Total including the Cauliflower.
    Very Very Good
    The kids loved it.


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad to hear it, Paul!


  19. WALKENE NASH says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (28)
    Very ritzy tasting, I think it was the de jon mustard and jelly. Served it with buttered noodles, salad, and homemade yeast rolls. Yummy!


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Walkene!


  20. ANN BERGSTROM says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (29)
    My husband has been craving meatballs lately, so I decided to make this recipe. We really enjoyed it. Made with the grape jelly over egg noodles. Thank you for sharing!


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Ann!


  21. Peggy Roberts says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (30)
    Love them! Great job adding the jelly! Thank you


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Peggy!


  22. Lori C says

    Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (31)
    Fantastic! Made exactly as written and wouldn’t change a thing.
    I would urge anyone to pan sear the meatballs vs. baking them as the browned bits at the bottom of the pan add so much flavor to the gravy. It’s worth the effort!

    Thank you for sharing – I found this recipe on pinterest ?


    • Nora says

      I’m so glad, Lori! Yes, agreed on the pan searing. Some readers were having trouble with the meatballs sticking and breaking up in the skillet, so I ended up adding the baking instructions. But absolutely, pan searing adds a ton of extra flavor!


      • Lora says

        Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Better than IKEA! (32)
        Loved it!


        • Nora says

          I’m so glad, Lora!


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