I was fortunate to have a Swedish meatball recipe in the collection I inherited from my grandmother. I tried them out for the first time last Christmas as part of my Christmas Around the World series. I emailed with Sophie from Sweden to get the scoop on Swedish food and she gave this recipe the seal of approval, authenticity-wise (she also sent me the recipe for Janssen’s Temptation, a potato gratin recipe, which I posted below).
Swedish meatballs are characterized by a fine texture and the addition of allspice. (Sophie said nutmeg is not in her family’s recipe, but that it may be in some.) They are usually served with lingonberry preserves, which can be bought probably at IKEA, or you can use cranberry sauce. It’s a very similar texture and flavor to preserved lingonberries.
A smooth gravy enriched with cream is also typical of Swedish meatballs. You may use whipping cream or sour cream, but either way make sure to have lots of mashed potatoes, noodles, or bread to soak it up. The gravy is delicious. If you want to make these meatballs ahead of time, please do so. They freeze perfectly and are super handy to have around when you’re hungry and don’t feel like cooking. Just freeze the raw meatballs on a baking sheet and once they are fully frozen, pop them off and into airtight containers or bags. They keep in the freezer this way for up to 3 months and when you’re ready to cook, don’t thaw them, just put them right into a hot buttery skillet and add a few extra minutes for browning.
Swedish Meatballs Recipe Video!
Swedish Meatballs Recipe — Printable!
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ pound lean ground pork
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (3 slices)
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup minced onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Gravy (for a whole batch; reduce amounts if cooking fewer meatballs)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups chicken or beef broth
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- Combine all meatball ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with paddle attachment until very smooth. Alternatively, mix by hand until smooth.
- Form into about 40 1-inch balls and arrange on waxed paper-lined baking tray. Chill 30 minutes. (Or freeze until solid, then pack into airtight containers to save for another meal. Do not thaw before cooking; add an extra 5-10 minutes cook time.)
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high in a large skillet and fry half the meatballs, turning frequently, until browned. They should not be cooked through at this point. Remove.
- Add remaining butter and cook rest of meatballs the same way. Remove.
- Add flour to skillet and whisk to cook until toasted.
- Whisk in stock until smooth.
- Add meatballs back to skillet and stir gently to coat in gravy. Simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened and meatballs are cooked through.
- Turn heat to low and gently stir in cream.
- Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes or rice.
Other Swedish Christmas Recipes
Glogg — Swedish Mulled Wine
Oddly (or maybe not; maybe my grandparents had Swedish friends) there was also a recipe for Swedish Glogg in my grandmother’s collection. This recipe, though, was written in my great-grandfather’s handwriting.
- 1 750 ml bottle dry red wine
- 1 cup brandy
- ½ cup sugar
- 16 whole cloves
- 3 - 2 inch cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup blanched raw almonds
- Dissolve the sugar in the wine and add the spices, raisins and almonds. Heat over medium heat several minutes until warm. Allow to cook, without simmering, for 10 minutes.
- Add the brandy and heat through.
- Serve warm.
I finally got around to making gravlax! And it’s easy. And delicious. And fancy.
Lussekatter! Or Swedish Saffron Buns
Lussekatter are lightly sweet saffron buns would make a great Christmas morning breakfast, or even as something to leave out for Old Saint Nick.
Janssen’s Temptation — Potatoes with Cream and Anchovies
This recipe came from Sophie. It’s very reminiscent of my scalloped potatoes recipe, but even a little simpler. Don’t fear the anchovies! They cook down into nothing, leaving behind a rich, salty layer of flavor.
- 1 1.2 pounds (750g) potatoes, about 8 medium
- 2 yellow onions
- 16-20 canned anchovy filets
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Set your oven to 435ºF (225 C)
- Peel potatoes and cut into French fries, about ¼" x ¼" x 2-3 inches long. Slice onion into half-moons
- Butter a 2-3 quart baking dish. Layer the potatoes, onion, anchovies, salt and pepper in the dish, starting and ending with potatoes.
- Then pour the double cream over and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top
- Bake in the lower part of the oven for about 1hour or until the potatoes are soft and the gratin have a nice color If it gets to dark then just put on some foil but you know that :)