The first time I had beef Stroganoff was in the ’70s, when the dish was so au courant. It was nestled in between Lipton Onion Soup Dip and Swedish meatballs. I always considered it kitsch, right up there with those paintings of sad kids with enormous eyes and Farrah Fawcett posters.

Thirty years later, The One and I traveled to Saint Petersburg, Russia, and on the menu of a decidedly non-touristy restaurant, there it was: Бефстро́ганов. If it weren’t for the French translation, Beouf à la Stroganov,” I would’ve missed it.

It was far more elegant than I remembered, probably owing more to the skill of the cooks back in Swansea, Massachusetts, than anything else. It was served over either rice or noodles. I opted for the latter.

It was the perfect comfort food for a cold winter night. (Yes, The One and I were probably the only tourists in all of Russia during January 2004.)

These days, though, it’s not a cheap dish to make, what with beef (either filet or strip strip) being so expensive. So I played around and came up with this version: All the same flavors but with much more affordable ground beef. Huzzah!

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The testers adored this inventive riff on a classic recipe and were incredibly pleased with the flavor of the tender meatballs and creamy mushroom sauce. Leah LeMoine is calling this meatball stroganoff recipe her “all-time favorite Stroganoff.” Makes you want to try it, doesn’t it?

What You’ll Need to Make This

The ingredients for meatball Stroganoff--ground beef, mushrooms, white wine, sour cream, egg, onion, paprika, Dijon mustard, beef stock, butter, and garlic and onion powders.
  • Ground beef–I recommend using 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef here for the most tender, juicy meatballs. Using very lean beef can turn out dry meatballs.
  • Panko breadcrumbs–This, along with the egg is a binder for the meatballs. It helps them to stay tender and juicy without falling apart. You can find panko in most large supermarkets.
  • Mushrooms–Use your favorite type of mushrooms here. No need to splurge on anything fancy. White button or cremini mushrooms will work splendidly.
  • White wine–Use a dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t use sweet wine, as it will alter the flavor of the sauce.
  • Dijon mustard–This adds a lot of depth to the sauce. If you’re sensitive to the flavor of mustard, you can reduce this to 1 1/2 tablespoons.
  • Sour cream–This lends the sauce richness and its signature tang. Don’t be tempted to substitute low-fat sour cream here; the sauce won’t thicken enough.
  • Egg noodles–Broad noodles are perfect for catching the creamy mushroom sauce, but if you want to keep the recipe gluten-free, try serving it over crispy French fries or garlic mashed potatoes.

How to Make Meatball Stroganoff

Ground beef, panko, and egg in a bowl; 20 meatballs on parchment on a baking sheet.
  1. Combine the beef, panko, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and spices in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Gently roll the beef into twenty 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
Meatballs being seared in a skillet; mushrooms being seared in a skillet
  1. Brown the meatballs in a large skillet. Transfer them to a bowl.
  2. Melt half the butter in the same skillet, then sauté the mushrooms until deeply browned. Transfer them to the bowl with the meatballs.
Onions and paprika being seared in a skillet; the same skillet with wine being poured in.
  1. Melt the remaining butter, add the onion, and sauté until translucent. Sprinkle in the paprika.
  2. Pour in the wine and reduce the liquid by half.
A skillet of cooked onions in a wine sauce with Dijon mustard being stirred in; a skillet of meatball Stroganoff.
  1. Stir in the beef stock, mustard, and Worcestershire.
  2. Return the mushrooms and meatballs to the skillet. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.
A skillet filled with meatball Stroganoff and a spatula stirring in sour cream.
  1. Remove the skillet from the heat. Whisk a few spoonfuls of the hot broth into the sour cream. Stir the warmed sour cream into the Stroganoff. Sprinkle with parsley and serve over egg noodles.

Common Questions

can I substitute another type of meat for the beef?

Absoulutely! If you’re not a beef fan, or you’re trying to cut down on red meat, consider chicken or turkey. Both work beautifully in this recipe.

Can I make this with cream instead of sour cream?

Yes. The sauce won’t be as thick, and it also will be less tangy. But sour cream adds so much to the dish.

How can I make my sauce thicker?

You have a few options. You can simmer the sauce uncovered in step 7 to help it reduce, which will thicken it slightly. Alternatively, you can add a couple of extra tablespoons of sour cream to give it a thicker texture.

If you want a much thicker gravy, you could mix 2 tablespoons of the sauce with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to create a slurry, then gently mix that back into the simmering sauce and let it cook for a few minutes.

Can I freeze Meatball Stroganoff?

I don’t recommend it. Creamy sauces can separate when thawed.

Helpful Tips

  • Use a gentle hand when shaping your meatballs. Pressing them too firmly can cause them to be tough when cooked.
  • Remove the pan from the heat before adding the sour cream. Cooking sour cream can cause it to separate. By stirring it in just before serving, you avoid the indignity of having to look at a mess on your plate.

What to Serve with this Recipe

The creamy sauce, meatballs, and buttery noodles make for a filling meal, so you only need a light side dish, such as roasted carrots or broccoli, or a simple salad rounds things out nicely. For dessert, go for something light, such as macerated strawberries.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Store leftover meatball Stroganoff and noodles in separate sealed containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat leftovers, heat the meatballs and sauce in a skillet over medium-low until warmed through. The noodles can be warmed in the microwave.

A platter of meatball Stroganoff over buttered noodles next to a black plate filled with the same.

More Great Creamy Meatball Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A platter of meatball Stroganoff over buttered noodles,

Meatball Stroganoff

5 / 4 votes
This updated version of the classic, made with mini meatballs and creamy mushroom sauce, is so rich and comforting that you may never go back to the original.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories619 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour


For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil

For the sauce

  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium (5 oz) onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups beef stock
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, (do not use smoked)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup full-fat sour cream

For serving

  • Chopped parsley, to garnish
  • Cooked and buttered egg noodles


Make the meatballs

  • Mix the beef, breadcrumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powders, salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl.
    Ground beef, panko, and egg in a bowl.
  • Roll heaping tablespoons of the beef mixture into 1 ½-inch (38-mm) balls (about 1 oz/25 g each), to make approximately 20 meatballs.
    Twenty golf ball-sized meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot then lightly coat with oil. Brown the meatballs all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and discard any oil and fat in the pan.

Make the sauce

  • Crank the heat to high. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until all their liquid has been released and are nicely browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Add to the meatballs.
    A person sautéing mushrooms in a skillet.
  • Lower the heat to medium and melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the paprika.
    A person sautéing onions in a skillet.
  • Deglaze with the white wine and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Scrape up the bits.
    White wine being poured into a skillet of sautéed onions.
  • Stir in the stock, Dijon mustard, and the Worcestershire sauce.
    A person adding beef broth and Dijon mustard to a onion gravy in a skillet.
  • Spoon the meatballs and mushrooms back into the skillet. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the meatballs aren’t sticking.
    A person stirring meatballs and mushrooms in a skillet.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Whisk a few spoonfuls of the hot broth into the sour cream. Stir the warm sour cream into the skillet until combined.
    A skillet filled with meatball Stroganoff and a spatula stirring in sour cream.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste and scatter with the chopped parsley. Serve over buttered noodles.


  1. Storage–Store leftover meatball Stroganoff and the noodles in separate containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  2. Reheating–Reheat the meatballs in a skillet over medium-low until warmed through. Heat the noodles in the microwave.
  3. Make it gluten-free–Serve the Stroganoff over French fries or mashed potatoes for a gluten-free meal.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 619 kcalCarbohydrates: 17 gProtein: 28 gFat: 46 gSaturated Fat: 21 gMonounsaturated Fat: 16 gTrans Fat: 2 gCholesterol: 183 mgSodium: 1670 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 6 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2024 David Leite. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

A plate of egg noodles topped with meatball stroganoff and asparagus on the side.

This meatball stroganoff has a delicious, bright gravy, thanks to the Dijon, on what could otherwise feel like a heavy meal. Super easy to put together and goes well with something bright green to keep your palate, if not plate, balanced!

It would pair well with a nice merlot or cabernet. At just under an hour, this is great for a weeknight, family meal.

A plate egg noodles topped with meatball stroganoff and garnished with chopped parsley.

Stroganoff is a supremely satisfying winter meal, and this version with meatballs is easy and delicious. The Worcestershire in both the meatballs and the cream sauce is prominent, so if you like Worcestershire you will love this recipe.

Mushrooms, Dijon, wine (Sauvignon Blanc), sweet paprika — what a great sauce! I might add 1/4 cup more sour cream next time but that is the only adjustment this recipe needs. My husband even went back for seconds, and the leftover warmed up nicely the next day with just a drizzle of beef stock to loosen it up.

I’ve made stroganoff in the past, but usually from memory, and I would make basic mistakes that led to not being totally satisfied with the result. This meatball stroganoff recipe was good in that it laid out the steps so that just about anyone could find success with this dish.

Kudos for the tip to temper the sour cream with a bit of the broth from the pan. Mrs. De Kok liked the dish more than I did, but nonetheless, it was the perfect cold-weather dish for Sunday night supper.

Substituting meatballs for chunks of beef guaranteed tenderness in this oft-made cold-weather dish which usually needs a longer cooking time.

The meatballs (using beef with 7% fat) were simple and came together quickly, though I would have preferred to cook them in the oven rather than pan-frying. Regular button mushrooms gave a hearty mushroom flavor and I opened a new jar of paprika to make sure it had the taste expected. I missed having fresh dill included in the recipe and will add it next time.

The creamy Dijon flavor was better with a cold glass of grechetto (that I also used to deglaze the pan) rather than the Côtes-du-Rhône I’d planned on. This recipe made four very hearty servings.

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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Super tasty and very easy to make – the perfect dish for a cold winter’s night. The dish was rich in flavor yet not too high in fat. I’ve made Stroganoff in the past with beef tenderloin – not meatballs – and this was just as delicious without being as expensive. I highly recommend it as an alternative to a more traditional Stroganoff. I served it with sautéed green beans.

    The leftovers were just as delicious the next day. I heated everything in the microwave with a damp paper towel over the plate.

    1. Thanks, Alan. We’re so pleased that you loved it. Green beans are an excellent choice to serve with this.