In the past, I haven’t been a huge fan of Swedish meatballs. The only rendition I’d had of them was from a frozen microwavable meal, and certainly left something to be desired. A couple of years ago, while we were on travel with my husband in DC, Andrew and I were looking for something to do. We’d been to the museums, the National Zoo, and all the upscale grocery stores in the “big city” to stock up on provisions to take home with us. I’d noticed that there was an Ikea about 5 minutes from the hotel, and thought that could be a fun activity to spend some time waiting for “Dad” to get out of work.

Andrew was confined to the stroller at the time, but was a trooper as I investigated ever nook and cranny of the store. I loved the bright colors and patterns of all the textiles, the organization options- a place for everything, the clean simple lines of the furniture. Oh yeah, and the Swedish Meatballs! Halfway through our journey Andrew and I stopped at the cafeteria for a bite to eat. We shared an order of the meatballs, with a side of mashed red potatoes and lingonberry jelly. A far, far cry from the dreaded microwave meals! I knew this dish had to be even better made at home as well. Their meatballs are okay, but they’re still frozen, mass-produced, and chock full of fillers.

I Googled recipes and bookmarked a few, but finally decided on Elise’s version after a recommendation from my best friend. They were absolutely delicious. The rich, beefy, creamy sauce en robes the tender bites of the beef/pork mixture. I was always of the school of the beef meatball, but I think this recipe has made me a convert. They literally melt in your mouth, a different texture completely from a beef meatball.  The recipe makes a lot of meatballs. I think they’d be delightful for a party as an appetizer instead of the traditional red sauce meatballs. The meatballs and sauce would be fine in a Crock-Pot on low for a few hours. I did change the spice combination in them, as I diddn’t have cardamom, and had no problems. I stock up on Lingonberry jelly (and the drink concentrate too!) when I’m at Ikea, but if you can’t find it then I think boysenberry jam or cranberry jelly would be a good alternative.


  1. Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Hi Laura! I’m so glad to have found your blog, and a fellow Eastern Shore native too! I grew up on a farm in Cordova and have been itching to get back ever since. Your beautiful boys are very lucky to grow up there! Anyway, thanks for sharing this yummy recipe… I’ve always wanted to try Swedish meatballs and will definitely be giving this a go.

  2. Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    I love Swedish meatballs! Your looks delicious! Nice blog and beautiful pictures!

  3. Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    This looks like a great recipe! I’ve never tried swedish meatballs because I was always turned off to the premade frozen kind. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try them!

  4. Posted September 29, 2011 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    I was not aware that there was a cafeteria at Ikea that serves Swedish Meatballs and Lingonberry jelly. Who knew???:-)

    These sound absolutely delicious and your picture looks mouthwatering! I love swedish meatballs and have only had them about once or twice in my life. Yum!

  5. Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    I have Swedish friends that come over every other year for a vacation. Perhaps I can keep this recipe and prepare this when they go on vacation, so they wont be missing home that bad. =)

  6. Posted October 1, 2011 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    I have been craving these and haven’t found a recipe that didn’t call for canned soups and things, so this sounds perfect. I’m going to try it tomorrow night. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    You know, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Swedish meatball but they sound pretty good and you’re making me want to try them!

  8. Posted December 9, 2011 at 2:01 AM | Permalink

    Hi! Just an FYI, Ikea Meatballs are NOT “Chock full of Fillers” …. In fact, Serious Eats did a post on them and stated that the ingredients did not contain anything a home cook would not put in their own meatballs. I bought a frozen package of them the last time I was at Ikea, and sure enough, the ingredients are very similar to yours up there, and there are no “fillers” or anything like that. 🙂

    • Laura
      Posted December 9, 2011 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

      That’s awesome to know, Jady! Ikea rocks.

  9. Ginny Prell
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    Hi I found your recipe and can’t wait to try it thanks for sharing. It looks so good. I’m from Mount Washington, KY.

    Thank you,

  10. Jamie
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

    Loved this recipe! I’m too lazy to stand and cook meatballs though, so I baked them. They whole dish was wonderful! Thank you!

  11. Connie
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Made this for dinner last night and scored major points with the family. I can still smell them in the kitchen this morning. Too bad I froze the left-overs, but another greal meal to look forward to. Fabulous recipe.

  12. Lisa
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    Very excited to try these…we looove Ikea meatballs, but we recently discovered 2 out of four in our family our gluten sensitive…and alas Ikea’s meatballs have wheat! Thanks!

  13. Linda
    Posted November 4, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    My grandmother us to make these.
    I have made them from memory and knew there was something missing.
    So thank you for pinning this it’s the closest one to my grandmother I’ve ever found. My grandfather was from Sweden and he’s the one who gave us the recipe from what he could remember from his mother.

    • Laura
      Posted November 5, 2012 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

      Linda, thanks so much for sharing that. I’m so glad you loved them!

  14. Posted January 20, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    I followed this recipe exactly but my gravy did not thicken. Any suggestions?

    • Laura
      Posted January 20, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

      You can always thicken sauces up at the end if they seem too “loose” by making a cornstarch slurry – about 1 tbsp cornstarch to 1 tsp cold water. Id’ say you probably just didn’t let it cook long enough though. Flour takes longer to thicken the finished product than most thickening agents.

  15. Erica
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    My grandparents came from Sweden and these are tradition in my house, passed to my mom, down to me. Your recipe looks very close to what we use. The only thing I see missing is cinnamon. It’s amazing the difference it makes. It doesn’t take much.

    I’ve heard rumor that we’re getting an Ikea in my area in the next year or so, so I’m very excited about this. I’m so glad you found what they’re supposed to taste like, because the frozen stuff is sacriledge!!!

  16. vicki
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    U have been making these for probably 30 years. I have never used the jelly but it may be good. I use Wonda flour to make my gravy. you can adjust the amount of thickness. good luck. great receipe.

  17. Alana
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    I cut the meatball part of the recipe in half & still got 60 meatballs!! ( traditionally about 1in) so I made the full recipe for sauce. Delicious !!

  18. Allison
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Just made these last night! Instead of bread I bought some premade bread crumbs and it turned out delish! Everyone loved them! I found lingonberry’s at whole foods and they were just the best side to go with the meatballs! Thank you for putting this recipe up!

  19. Alicia
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    Swedish meatballs was always one of my favorites growing up. Don’t tell my mom, but these are better. I don’t know how many times I’ve made these now (I usually do a mixture of pork and lamb) and every time they are amazing.

  20. Sarah Palladino
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    This recipe looks great! I would like to make it and then transfer to a crock pot to keep warm for a party. I saw your note that these would hold up well for a few hours on low. Have you actually tried this? If so, do you have any tips? I am worried about the sauce separating and the meatballs falling apart

    • Posted December 5, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

      The sauce never separates when I reheat, so I’m sure it will be fine. And the meatballs are pretty sturdy, don’t worry about them falling apart.

      • Sarah
        Posted December 8, 2014 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

        Hi Laura! I just wanted to send an update, especially for others who might be curious about how these work in a slow cooker. I doubled this recipe for a large party (a meatball bar was the theme). I was a little worried because i found the mixture to be very loose. I had to bake them in the oven, because I just ran out of time to fry in batches, but the flavor was still excellent! I just transferred the meatballs and sauce to a slow cooker and placed on low. The sauce stayed smooth and coated the meatballs nicely, and the meatballs held together wonderfully, but were still so tender! They were a hit! This is my third swedish meatball recipe, but the best so far! Thank you!

  21. Jan King
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    Made these the other day and they are delicious. I always have a meal of Swedish meatballs when I go to Ikea. Love them!

  22. Denise
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    I found the meatballs a little mushy. I prefer firmer meatballs. The rest of the dish was great, spices and sauce . Loved it

  23. Gabie
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    Could you use breadcrumbs? Or do you have to soak the bread?

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