Basic Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs on a plate

Mariha-kitchen / Getty Images 

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
663 Calories
44g Fat
22g Carbs
43g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 663
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 22g 110%
Cholesterol 322mg 107%
Sodium 1122mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 43g
Calcium 175mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for classic Swedish meatballs features subtly spiced, baked meatballs. The creamy sauce takes no more than 5 minutes to prepare and cook, and it finishes the meatballs perfectly. 


  • 3 slices bread (day-old, white)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice (ground)
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (fine, unseasoned)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half (or light cream)

Steps to Make It

  1. Tear the bread into small pieces, and put it into a large bowl. Add the milk, and let stand for about 10 minutes.

  2. Oil a large baking pan or jelly roll pan, or line with nonstick foil.

  3. Heat oven to 375 F.

  4. To the bowl with the soaked bread, add the ground beef, pork, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the allspice.

  5. Form the meat mixture into small meatballs; lightly roll the meatballs in the 1/4 cup of fine, dry breadcrumbs, and arrange them on the prepared baking pan.

  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until meatballs are fully cooked. The minimum safe temperature for ground beef and pork is 160 F. If unsure, check the center of one or two large meatballs with an instant-read food thermometer. If you replace any of the ground meat with ground poultry, cook them to at least 165 F.

  7. Remove the meatballs from the oven, and drain off any excess fat.

  8. Melt the butter in a skillet, or sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter is hot, add the flour; stir until well blended and bubbly. Continue to cook the roux for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

  9. Add beef broth to the roux, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

  10. Add the half-and-half or cream to the sauce, and stir to blend.

  11. Taste, and add salt and pepper, as needed.

  12. Add meatballs to the sauce, and continue to cook until hot. Do not boil.


Recipe Variations

  • Swedish meatballs have Swedish origins and enjoy popularity across the U.S. There are nearly as many variations of the dish as there are home cooks.
  • Beef broth and cream or milk usually make up the sauce, but chicken broth is fine if that's what you have on hand.
  • As for the meatballs, many cooks add onions to the mixture. Saute 1/2 cup of finely chopped onions in a tablespoon or two of butter, and add them to the meat mixture if you'd like. 
  • Swedish meatballs are often served with their sauce and hot buttered noodles, but mashed potatoes are an excellent choice as well.
  • Lingonberry jam is traditionally served with the meatballs; if you can't find lingonberry jam or preserves, use whole berry cranberry sauce or relish.