Grills & Smokers

Swedish Meatballs (Best Sauce!) – The Cookie Rookie®


Becky Hardin

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These Swedish Meatballs are cooked up in the best sauce for an appetizer or dinner that everyone will love! Perfectly-spiced meatballs with a rich, creamy, delectable gravy comes together quicker than you’d think. Serve this traditional dish with pasta, egg noodles, mashed potatoes, and lingonberry jam. It’s such a cozy meal idea, but just as great for parties.

You might think of Ikea when you hear Swedish meatballs, but trust me, this homemade recipe is even better!

close up on Swedish meatballs cooking in a creamy sauce in a skillet

What’s in the Best Swedish Meatballs

These chicken and beef meatballs are made with allspice and nutmeg for that specific flavor that makes Swedish meatballs so unique. They’re then cooked in a creamy gravy sauce that is just unbelievably delicious!

  • Ground Chuck and Chicken: This mixture of meats makes for a flavorful meatball! You can stick with the more traditional mixture of beef and pork instead if you prefer–just use pork in place of the chicken.
  • Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs create a better texture in the meatball mixture.
  • Cream: You’ll need both sour cream and heavy cream for this recipe. 
  • Egg: This binds the ingredients together.
  • Spices: Allspice and nutmeg are important for the warm, comforting flavor of the meatballs. There’s also fresh parsley in both the meatballs and the sauce.
  • Broth: I used both beef and chicken broth in the sauce, but you can use one or the other if you prefer.
  • Flour: This thickens the gravy.
  • Butter: You’ll need butter to saute the onions and garlic, as well as to fill out and flavor the sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This is the perfect mix of savory, salty, and tangy, so it adds great flavor to the sauce.
  • Beef Bouillon: Use instant bouillon granules. This adds a really rich and savory taste to the gravy.
  • Cider Vinegar: This tangy ingredient creates more balance in the flavor.

Check the recipe card for the full ingredients list and details. And if you want to turn these meatballs into the coziest meal ever, try this Swedish Meatball Soup!

Can I use frozen meatballs with Swedish meatball sauce?

Yes, you can use frozen meatballs to make this Swedish meatball recipe even easier. You’ll miss out on the warm spices cooked into the meat, but the gravy itself will still add so much flavor.

To do this, simply cook your frozen meatballs (use chicken, beef, or pork) according to package instructions, then make the sauce and cook the meatballs in it according to the recipe card below.

traditional Swedish meatballs served on a plate of noodles
How do you thicken Swedish meatball sauce?

Flour creates a thicker, gravy-like texture to the sauce. If you’d like an even thicker sauce: Before adding the meatballs, mix together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk or cold water and add it to the sauce, stir over low heat until mixture thickens.

What kind of meat is used in Swedish meatballs?

Traditionally, they are a combination of pork and beef. But for this recipe we used a combination of ground chicken and ground chuck (beef) instead. However, you can use any combination of chicken, turkey, beef, and pork you prefer, or just stick to one.

What is Swedish meatball sauce made of?

This amazing sauce is made with butter, heavy cream, sour cream, broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon, cider vinegar, flour, sugar, Dijon mustard, and parsley.

spoon holding up a meatball above a pan of meatballs in Swedish meatball gravy

How to Store and Reheat

Store leftovers in an airtight container, and keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. You can store the meatballs directly in the sauce, or separate them (both options work fine).

To reheat, warm them up in the oven until fully heated through. You can also mix in a bit more cream to help make the sauce creamy again.

How to Make Ahead and Freeze Swedish Meatballs and Sauce

Freeze the Swedish meatballs and the sauce separately for best results. Store them in freeze-safe bags or containers for up to 3 months, then defrost overnight and reheat in the oven.

I recommend freezing the meatballs on a baking tray in a single layer for about 1 hour, then moving them to a resealable bag for long-term storage. This will prevent them from sticking and freezing unto one clump.

While you can freeze the sauce, for the best, creamiest sauce when serving, I recommend making it fresh. You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze those. But make the sauce while the meatballs are reheating (it only takes a few minutes), and finish by simmering them in the sauce.

What to Serve with Swedish Meatballs

For a really cozy and comforting dinner with these traditional Swedish meatballs, serve them with egg noodles or homemade pasta, and creamy mashed potatoes or these simple roasted potatoes. The gravy coats the pasta and potatoes so beautifully! Cranberry sauce is a great addition to the meal too, and don’t forget some crusty, hearty bread.

If you’re serving these as an appetizer, don’t forget the lingonberry jam for dipping!

fork picking up a Swedish meatball and dipping it in lingonberry jam

If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy! You can also jump to recipe.

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