These homemade IKEA Swedish meatballs, made with ground beef and pork, and served in a Dijon-tinged beef cream sauce, are the real deal, except you don’t have to leave the house or walk through the store to enjoy them. Here’s how to cook them.
In a crave-worthy act of compassion, IKEA has given the world the keys to its Swedish meatball kingdom. By sharing the recipe for their little meatball beauties slathered in cream sauce, we can all still get our Swedish fix.
This at-home alternative is made with easily accessible ingredients and offers some inspiration for people with some time on their hands. The recipe takes a little time but that pile of juicy meatballs you get at the end is truly worth it.–Jenny Latreille
☞ Table of Contents
Homemade Swedish Meatballs FAQs
What makes Swedish meatballs different?
Swedish meatballs are typically smaller in size than Italian meatballs. They also use spices such as allspice and nutmeg for flavoring instead of relying on Parmesan and oregano. Slathered in a creamy beef sauce flavored with Dijon and soy sauce, they’re often served with mashed potatoes or egg noodles and lingonberry jam.
What is the easiest way to roll meatballs?
The fastest and easiest way to roll meatballs is to use an ice cream scoop. I have several sizes of scoops, depending on how large I want the meatballs. For these meatballs, I use my 2-tablespoon scoop.
I dunk the scoop in a glass of water, which help the meatball mixture to release, scrap the top of the scoop across the edge of the bowl, and pop the meat into my palm. A quick roll between my palms makes sure I have even-sized meatballs that will cook at the same rate.
What makes the sauce for Swedish meatballs so good?
Let’s face it: It’s the gravy for Swedish meatballs that makes the dish so freaking addictive. The sauce (or gravy) is made with a slurry of butter and flour, beef stock, and cream.
But what puts the sauce for IKEA’s Swedish meatballs over the top is the stuck-on bits in the skillet, called a fond. By first browning the meatballs in a skillet before finishing the cooking in the oven, you get a deeply flavored gravy filled with tons of beefy umami flavor.
What should I serve with IKEA’s meatballs?
A better question is what NOT to serve with the meatballs! Traditionally, they’re served over mashed potatoes or egg noodles smothered in that gorgeously delicious creamy gravy. But I’ve served them with a dill-infused potato salad or smashed potatoes as well as lingonberry jam.
Homemade IKEA Swedish Meatballs
For the meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 8 1/2 ounces ground pork
- 1 medium (6 oz) onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs or panko
- 1 large egg
- 5 tablespoons whole milk
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mild vegetable oil for frying
For the cream sauce
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup beef stock
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Make the meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a large bowl, combine the beef and pork, and mix with your fingers to break up any lumps. Add the onion, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, and mix to combine.
- Stir in the milk and season with salt and pepper. Pinch off a small amount of meatball mixture and fry in a small skillet until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
- Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) round balls.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Working in batches if necessary, gently add the meatballs and cook until browned on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Place the meatballs in an ovenproof dish and cover. Bake for 30 minutes.
Make the cream sauce
- Meanwhile, in the same skillet you browned the meatballs, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir for 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the beef stock, loosening any bits stuck to the skillet, which will help flavor the sauce. Pour in the cream, soy sauce, and spoon in the mustard. Bring to the gravy to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: If your sauce becomes too thick, thin with additional beef stock.
- Serve the meatballs with the sauce on the side. Or do as I do, and add back the meatballs to the skillet and toss to coat with the gravy.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a new twist on meatballs with a taste similar to the Swedish meatballs that I’ve tasted in the past. It makes a large amount of sauce that would also pair nicely with egg noodles.
I prefer bolder flavors so I would omit the 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and replace it with 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. I think it would greatly enhance the flavor of the sauce.
We are huge fans of Swedish meatballs and this IKEA meatballs recipe was delicious. Using soy sauce and Dijon in the cream preparation definitely yielded a more umami result. The meatballs were tender and tasty; the cream sauce was bread-sop-worthy.
These are addictive little balls of meat! The cream sauce is the real star here. I served them with mashed potatoes, sauteed kale, and lingonberry jam. We loved this recipe.
These IKEA Swedish meatballs are the perfect winter These IKEA Swedish meatballs are a great recipe when you want to exert minimal effort with a pretty satisfying result. While it takes some time to prepare, these will appeal to even the pickiest of eaters due to the simple ingredients and the familiar taste.
The sauce is definitely on the thicker side (think more of a béchamel rather than a loose cream sauce) so I recommend adding an additional 1/2 cup of liquid (preferably one of the broths) if you want to either stretch out the sauce a little more of if you don’t want a thick sauce.
The flavor is pretty great but would definitely suggest finishing the sauce with some lemon juice to add some much-needed acidity to the dish. I also added a little hot paprika to bring some smokiness and heat to the dish.
I threw the tender meatballs and sauce on top of a bed of egg noodles but would also serve them with some toothpicks at a party or even on some mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfort food.
This homemade IKEA Swedish meatballs dish is nice for a comforting meal especially if the meatballs are prepared ahead of time and frozen without the sauce. The meatballs are moist and the flavorful sauce is creamy smooth and would be a tasty topping for steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
The meatballs didn’t throw off much oil in either the browning or baking so I didn’t need to drain any fat from the pan. They were perfectly baked in 30 minutes.
This isn’t a “make after work” recipe. The meatballs could simply be pan fried a bit longer then simmered in the sauce and skip the baking step or just baked on an uncovered sheet pan. Overall, this is a nice meatball recipe to use as a base for experimentation with other herbs and spices. Serve with roasted green beans for color on top of creamy polenta instead of the more expected buttered egg noodles.
These IKEA Swedish meatballs instructions were very easy to follow and it was nothing complicated to cook.
I fried a small meatball to check the seasonings and added a hint more salt. I used an ice-cream scoop to make the meatballs, so they would all be the same size. I made 40 medium meatballs.
My only tweaks: Next time I’ll add some dried oregano in order to enhance the taste.
I could have 6 portions for 6 meatballs per portion.
This homemade IKEA Swedish meatballs recipe is both comforting and delicious. The recipe for the meatballs is pretty standard but the cream sauce put it over the top for us. Reminiscent of stroganoff in flavor, it all came together pretty quickly.
I ground a couple of heels of bread that were going stale in the food processor to make the bread crumbs. The meatball mixture really comes together quickly. We made 73 small Swedish meatballs about 1″ big. Next time I may make larger meatballs to save a little time.
While the meatballs finished cooking in the oven, I made the cream sauce. Again, it was an easy sauce to pull together with minimum effort and a little whisking. We put the meatballs into the sauce to serve, but next time we may serve the sauce along with the meatballs in a separate container. It’s truly a versatile recipe.
We served it over vegetable noodles for dinner and it was great. I think it would go well with potatoes, rice, pasta or as an appetizer on a buffet. My husband would be happy to eat it as is in a bowl with a spoon. We plan to include this for our New Year’s Day Brunch with Cranberry Sauce and lots of fresh bread to sop up the sauce.
I think when I make it again for New Year’s, I’ll add chopped mushrooms and some parsley to the sauce. We got 3 generous dinner servings and divided the last serving for a couple of lunches for the next day.
At first glance, this recipe reminded me of traditional Swedish meatballs, but without the dill and sour cream that can overpower other recipes. I was making this as a weeknight meal, so I have to admit I made a few changes, but I don’t think it really changed the outcome.
The meat seemed a bit dry after mixing, so I added 2 additional tablespoons of milk. The meat was firm and easy to work with. For the sauce, I used a beef base (Minor’s) and a vegetable base (Better than Bullion). I reduced the amount of soy to 1 teaspoon as the base mixtures can be salty.
I found the instructions clear. I had no problems with the balls holding their shape (although I did have a wetter mixture due to the extra milk). I fried 36 meatballs in corn oil in 2 batches. After frying, I put them on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil, just to get some nice browning and extra flavor.
My IKEA meatballs did have some shrinkage, but after a slight cooling period, I found them to be pleasantly moist on the inside. The roux came together nicely, cooking over medium-low heat.
I increased the heat after adding the water, stock bases, and seasoning. Over medium-high heat, the sauce thickened up in about 5 minutes. It was pleasantly creamy with good umami and was a nice complement to the Swedish meatballs.
I served them over rice and a sprinkling of finely shaved green onion tops. I’m planning to freeze the extra meatballs for a quick weeknight meal. Comfort food at its best!
Originally published March 2, 2021