These easy skillet meatballs are simple to make, kid-friendly, and essentially foolproof. They’re also incredibly versatile, whether mounded atop spaghetti and smothered in pasta sauce, displayed on an elegant holiday buffet, served Swedish-style with a cream sauce, tucked into buns as sliders, napped with a dipping sauce, or simply savored by the forkful. They’re inspired by a recipe from the grandfather of Swedish traditional cooking, Tore Wretman. But they’re welcome in any cuisine. And we didn’t mention crazy delicious. Not overly fettered with extraneous ingredients. Just pure and simple meatballs. Kindly let us know in a comment below how you creatively or simply served yours.–Angie Zoobkoff

A cast-iron skillet filled with easy skillet meatballs, and a plate of meatballs with some sauce and mashed potatoes

Easy Skillet Meatballs

5 / 2 votes
Simple to make, kid-friendly, incredibly versatile, and essentially foolproof. Let's not forget to mention uber delicious. That's what we think of these easy skillet meatballs perfect for weeknights.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories466 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter, plus more as needed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 7 to 8 ounces ground beef
  • 3 1/2 to 4 ounces ground veal
  • 3 1/2 to 4 ounces ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste


  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Tip the onions out of the pan and onto a plate to cool.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs with the cream in a large bowl and let them sit until they soak up most off the cream and swell, 3 to 5 minutes. (The bread may not soak up all the cream and that's okay.)
  • Add the cooled onion and the egg to the breadcrumb mixture and mix everything together well. (If you prefer a less crumbly meatball, first squeeze the soaked breadcrumbs gently and drain the excess cream.) In a separate bowl, mix the beef, veal, and pork until thoroughly combined. Add the meats to the bread mixture, season well with salt and pepper, and then mix everything together, preferably with your hands.
  • Shape the meatballs mixture into balls the size of a small walnut using a heaping tablespoon for each. You should have about 20 meatballs.
  • Melt the remaining tablespoon butter in a large over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs, working in batches if necessary, and turning as necessary, until brown all over, about 15 minutes total. You may need to add more butter to the skillet. Serve plain, with a dipping sauce, atop spaghetti, or however else you please.

Adapted From

The Nordic Cookbook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 466 kcalCarbohydrates: 18 gProtein: 23 gFat: 33 gSaturated Fat: 16 gMonounsaturated Fat: 12 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 161 mgSodium: 532 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Magnus Nilsson. Photo © 2015 Erik Olsson. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

“Why complicate meatballs?” That’s the message I read in this recipe, and I couldn’t agree more. Save your fancy ingredients or cooking techniques for another dinner. Fresh bread crumbs and cream make these meatballs melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the sweet onion, salt, and white pepper give them a flavor that’s down to earth.

At my home, these meatballs were enjoyed as part of a comforting weekend dinner, along with Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Crunchy Crumb Topping and zucchini, yellow summer squash, and red bell peppers sautéed in olive oil and simply seasoned with salt and pepper. I used a slightly heaping #60 scoop (about 1 tablespoon, I think) to shape the meatballs.

One thing to note: Since the meat mixture was quite moist, the meatballs didn’t keep their round shape during cooking. When you first put them in the skillet, and every time you turn them, where the meatballs “sit” becomes flat, making them shaped somewhat like tiny pyramids with round corners—imperfection that is part of the charm of a home-cooked meal. To make fresh breadcrumbs, I put 2 slices of white sandwich bread (with the crust cut off) through the food processor and measured 3/4 cup.

Select a Tester

Let me start off by saying around my house spaghetti and meatballs are an almost weekly thing. When the list of recipes to test comes out, I have my daughter pick out a few recipes that she wants us to do together. This week she immediately saw meatballs and wanted to make them. I usually just make meatballs with beef and pork, veal is a little pricey for us. But for once I wanted to give it a try. Why have I not been doing this the whole time? A+.

I would maybe try less cream next time as it just seems way too wet, although most of the meatballs held their shape during cooking, some fell apart. Other than that, they tasted great! So good I might have snacked on 1 or 2 or…okay 5. I’m thinking I’m making these for a party next week as appetizers, they are so good on their own!

It took only about half an hour to get these mild and rich tiny meatballs onto our dinner table. They were easy to prepare and would be great as part of a holiday buffet. (I’m filing that idea away!)

I might put some fresh chopped parsley or dill in them next time. Making use of the rest of the long baguette I had used to make the crumbs, I served these as meatball sandwiches topped with chopped mushrooms that had been roasted in bacon fat. Yum. The meatballs would also be wonderful alongside buttered noodles or rice. Or mashed potatoes. Any carb-heavy side dish.

Meatballs are effortful but also fun to eat, especially for guests. The flavor was good—I liked the combination of meats and the cream added some luxe to the meatballs.

I asked the butcher to get to the amounts as close as possible. Iʻd say that it would be better to use 1/2 pound, 1/4 pound, and 1/4 pound next time because thatʻs just easier, unless youʻre grinding your own. I let the cream and bread crumbs sit for 5 minutes. It was a little chunky and needed to be broken up before adding. Thatʻs okay, though, because you have to mix everything all together, anyway.

I would have liked a suggestion for what to serve with the meatballs in terms of a sauce. Given that they are Swedish, Iʻd suspect a brown sauce. I ended up serving them as is and they were fine.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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