Perfect Swedish Meatballs

40 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Swedish Meatballs just like the ones at Ikea! Complete with a creamy Swedish meatball sauce, you’ll LOVE this easy meatball recipe for a quick weeknight meal.

When it comes to eating these Swedish Meatballs you just HAVE to serve it with my Easy Mashed Potatoes and the homemade gravy listed below. In a pinch serve it with my Cranberry Sauce, it is the season after all. 😉

Swedish Meatballs in Swedish Meatball SauceSWEDISH MEATBALL RECIPE

Swedish Meatballs are the delicious mixture of meatballs and meatloaf in one recipe. Why meatloaf? It’s the mixture of pork and beef in these meatballs, as in a classic meatloaf.

Swedish Meatballs Just Like Ikea

Swedish Meatballs are a dish we collectively go gaga for every time we go to Ikea. The “Ikea Meatballs” my kids refer to become the thing they pine after the entirety of our walk through the top floor of the store. We got to the point where we’d started buying the frozen bags until one afternoon I decided I would make it myself.

Making Swedish Meatballs aren’t even that hard and with a really EASY trick in the meatball recipe below, you’ll have the perfect meatballs you see at Ikea instead of sort of bumpy meatballs like you’re used to when your mom makes them.

What is different about a Swedish Meatball Recipe?

My standard meatball recipe uses just ground beef, but Swedish meatballs are made from pork and beef. I found a recipe card for the meatballs so I knew I was on the right track even though the ingredients list on the bag of Ikea Meatballs just says “meat.”

So the difference between a standard meatball and a Swedish Meatball like you’d find at Ikea is the blend of beef and pork along with the creamy beef gravy they swim in. They’re really easy and quick to make for a weeknight meal.

Just a note about the recipe card: To make authentic Swedish meatballs they call for using cooked and cooled potatoes along with rusk flour (which is made from biscuits made from yeasty bread…aka NOT easy to find locally). As a replacement for this in this meatball recipe, I’ve used milk and bread.

Also, authentic Swedes do not usually use this creamy brown gravy with their meatballs but since this is an Ikea Meatball copycat we’ve gone all the way with it. To eat it like an authentic Swede, serve it plain with noodles or mashed potatoes with just a bit of butter or lingonberry jam.


Meatball recipe for Swedish Meatballs that taste like Ikea!

How do you make Swedish meatballs?

  • The ingredients for Swedish meatballs are easy and quick with a mix of beef, pork, and milk-soaked bread.
  • Freeze your meatballs before browning to prevent the meatballs from losing their perfectly round shape or just brown immediately if you don’t care.
  • After browning in the pan, they are added to the pan of cream gravy to thicken and coat them.
  • Swedish meatballs (at least at Ikea) are served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

How do you make Swedish Meatball Sauce?

Swedish meatball sauce is actually a beef and cream gravy with beef stock, heavy cream, a splash of soy sauce, salt, and pepper with the meatballs added back into the pan to thicken and coat them. This sauce is included in the meatball recipe below!

Swedish Meatballs in pot

How do you make a Meatball?

You may be familiar with a meatball recipe that adds breadcrumbs to their meatball mix, but I like to add milk-soaked bread instead. It keeps just enough structure to mix with the meat while preserving the moisture in the meatballs while they cook. I also freeze the meatballs before they’re browned which keeps the shape of them as you brown them. They finish cooking through in the sauce.

Cooking the meatballs is my favorite part of this recipe and it really makes these meatballs perfect for meal-prepping.  I asked one of the people at Ikea how do you cook Ikea meatballs but they said they were mostly pre-cooked and just warmed through. It made me realize the best way to cook them and preserve the shape was to roll them, freeze them and cook them from frozen.

Why Cook Meatballs From Frozen:

  • Meatballs brown evenly and maintain their ball shape and don’t cook down into sort of lumpy looking rocks.
  • They keep their interior moistness as they are still only about half cooked in the middle by the time the gravy is added.
  • The meatballs take almost no time at all to cook the day you want to make them because its a matter of cook the meatballs for 5-7 minutes, add gravy and serve with either mashed potatoes or pasta.


Meatball recipe for Swedish Meatballs complete with Swedish Meatball Sauce

 Looking for more copycat recipes?

Tools Used in the making of these Swedish Meatballs:
Meatballer: The less you handle ground meat the less the heat of your hands will break down the fat in the meat making a tougher meatball/burger/etc.
Beef Better Than Bouillon: I love this brands products and have the ENTIRE line of them because a quick spoonful and water makes a flavorful stock.
Lingonberry Jam: I go with the original and buy it from Ikea (but it is shelf stable so you can buy in bulk and make these meatballs at home!) or use cranberry jelly instead.

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Swedish Meatballs (Ikea Meatballs)

Swedish Meatballs like you'll find in Ikea, but without the trip to the store. Served with the creamy beef gravy, you'll LOVE this easy weeknight meal.
Yield 40 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Swedish
Author Sabrina Snyder



  • 3 slices bread
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1 pound ground beef 80/20
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (regular black pepper is fine too, but you’ll see the flecks of pepper)



  • In the bowl of your stand mixer add the milk to the slices of bread.
  • Melt the butter in a pan and add the minced yellow onions.
  • Cook them on medium low until translucent but not browned.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In your bowl with the milk soaked bread add the rest of the meatball ingredients including the cooked onions, but only 2 tablespoons of the butter.
  • Mix it on low until the bread is broken apart and the meat is combined with the ingredients (using the stand mixer and not your hands helps keep the mixture cold and tender).
  • Using a meatballer or your hands scoop them into balls about the size of a ping pong ball.
  • Freeze on a cookie sheet if possible.
  • If cooking immediately, add the rest of your butter to your skillet and cook on medium high on all sides for a total of 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove the meatballs from the pan.


  • Add the butter to the pan, then add the flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  • Cook the flour 1-2 minutes or until it just starts to brown a bit.
  • Add in the beef stock and whisk well until combined.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk together.
  • Add the meatballs back in and coat with the gravy until it is thickened, another 3-5 minutes
  • Top with parsley (optional)


Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 123mg | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.5mg

We love these Swedish Meatballs as much as the Ikea Meatballs they're a copycat of!

We love these Swedish Meatballs as much as the Ikea Meatballs they're a copycat of!
Swedish Meatballs like you'll find in Ikea, but without the trip to the store. Served with the creamy beef gravy, you'll LOVE this easy weeknight meal.
Swedish Meatballs are so good and taste JUST LIKE Ikea Meatballs!
We loved these Swedish Ikea Meatballs so much we made them twice in two weeks!
Ikea Swedish Meatballs are an easy weeknight meal and an awesome copycat!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I made this recipe on the weekend and it was absolutely delicious, not too difficult to prepare and appreciated by all!!

    1. That would be a different recipe. I just double checked the many many meatball recipes on our site and they all have a unique recipe so over the years it looks like I haven’t written a recipe using frozen meatballs in a slow cooker!

  2. Girl! This is one of the best sauces I have ever tasted. I bought the bag of pre-cooked meatballs from IKEA and threw these in the sauce, amazing! Used the Better than Bouillon beef paste as well, such flavor.

  3. I made this tonight for dinner.It turned out deliciously good. Haven’t had swedish meatballs in years. It turned out very good.

  4. Excellent! These will definitely be a repeat. One item you may want to clarify: for the meatballs, it says that the 4 Tbsp of butter is divided but in step 2 doesn’t clarify how much butter is melted in the pan and in step 5 says to put only 2 Tbsp butter in the meatball mix. I took this to mean that in step 2, I used 2 Tbsp with the onions and then the rest with the meatball mix.

  5. These are easy and delicious. I made the meatballs the day before and froze them. I baked the next day on the same foil lined baking sheet for 25 minutes at 350. I used my regular gravy proportions and had perfect gravy. I used 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour to the 4 cups of broth and the rest the same. I think it is the addition of cream that completes this recipe.

    1. 1 pound of beef that’s 80/20 (the ground beef will be 80% beef to 20% fat). It’ll be labeled as such on the packaging. And the other is 1 pound of pork. Hope this helps clear things up. Enjoy!

  6. ..not sure about this…never had ikeas but ive had them in Sweden. Definitely not 25 mins..agree with the 1.5 hours.
    Not sure its worth the effort.

    1. I use the better than bouillon to make the stock for this recipe and the Lingonberry Jam is optional to add to this when serving. Hope this helps clear things up. Enjoy!

  7. I have made this recipe “as is” and also with impossible burger for vegetarian dinners. Everyone has loved it.

  8. I have made this recipe “as is” and also with impossible burger for vegetarian dinners. Everyone has loved it. I will keep making it as my meatball dinner.

  9. Qustion???? When I take the meatballs out of the freezer I have two options, right? #1, cook from frozen on the stove in 2 tablespoons of butter for 5 to 7 minutes. or bake in the oven – how long, what temp? oil the pan? what? Thanks for the info. Also, Can I make the gravy and freeze it? Thanks so much.


    1. You can bake them in a baking dish or sheet pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven. I wouldn’t freeze the gravy though. Cream based tend to separate during the thawing process and aren’t very good. Best to just make that fresh each time.

  10. These were delicious! I baked my meatballs in the oven and then added them to the sauce and Gently simmered for 15-20 mins. I also used beef broth and not stock but it still came out amazing! Will be making these again…thanks for the recipe!

  11. Am I understanding correctly, 2 tbsp of butter to cook the onions and 2 tbsp of butter to put in the meatball mixture?

  12. Hello!!dying to try but I don’t buy white bread. Would it be ok to use Panko or brown bread? Thank you!

  13. How long can you freeze the raw meatball for? I might want to freeze and save them to cook quickly on a busy weekday night.

  14. Can you use bread crumbs to substitute the sliced bread? If so, how much? Or does the recipe taste better with sliced bread?

  15. Easy to make and very good. My husband loved it. A couple of things I did different: I baked the meatballs instead of doing them in the frying pan. I could do a lot more at one time with less mess. I also thickened the sauce with a slurry.

  16. Delicious meatballs, but unless you are a chef I call BS on 25 minutes. 1.5 hrs is closer. Between forming the meatballs, cooking them and then doing the gravy there is no way it’s 25 minutes. Worth the effort cause they are amazing, but just FYI if you are an amateur looking for a quick weeknight dinner. This isn’t quick.

  17. I was so thankful to find this recipe to satisfy my craving for swedish meatballs, thank you! So much better than any other recipe I found. Delicious! Thank you, thank you!
    I didn’t have heavy cream so I used a combo of half and half and sour cream and added another dollup of sour cream at the end which helped the consistency of the gravy. I increased the seasonings amounts. Partially freezing the balls helped immensely!
    Sooo delicious . . .

  18. These meatballs…..very, very good!! Easy to make. My gravy didn’t get thick, next time I’ll just add more flour.

    1. Adding more flour or even a small cornstarch slurry will definitely help next time if it doesn’t thicken. So glad you liked the meatballs!

  19. These are delicious and the tip about freezing them beforehand was mind blowing. I’ll have better shaped meat balls because of this recipe forever! Thanks.

  20. I always enjoy seeing the different ways people make Swedish meatballs! Yours look good, I’d put them right on top of some egg noodles.

  21. A wonderful, savory dish (even though I goofed and forgot to add egg!) it turned out delicious. Thank you for your recipes!

  22. I’m considering this recipe for a party. Does “40 servings” mean approximately 40 meatballs? Not sure how many meatballs to make per person.

    1. Yes, we decided to make each meatball a serving since we didn’t want to decide how many meatballs a person would want.

  23. The sauce never thickened up for me. Any ideas what went wrong? I am able to make gravy and white sauces, but this turned out really runny.

    1. I’m not sure but usually a runny sauce means that it needs more flour to thicken. I would just adjust until it’s the consistency you’re looking for.

    2. I thought it tasted good, my husband thought it was a bit bland. BUT, the 15minutes cook time is an exaggeration, I couldn’t get the gravy to thicken, after an hour I added more flour. Next time I will add more flour to start, but I think the meat would still take more than 15 minutes to cook, I’ not comfortable undercooking pork.

  24. Thank you. Very useful recipe. Almost like beshamel. Super easy & tasty, I add just a hint of chilli yummy

  25. These turned out exactly like what I was hoping for on flavor. The gravy was perfect. MmmMmm Good !

  26. I don’t have a stand mixer. Any tips? Thanks! My kids and I love the IKEA meatballs and your recipe sounds perfect. 

  27. I’m thinking about making the meatballs in bulk, freezing them on a tray, then storing them in a container, and using only what I need for dinner. I’m wondering if they could be baked in the oven on a cookie sheet or such instead of frying them. Has anyone tried this?

  28. Hi, Im Swedish, must say that the meatballs looks yummy, BUT in the original recipe you dont use allspice or nutmeg.

    A must is allso the lingonberry jam, Think you can buy it in IKEA stores arod the World. Pickled cucumber is allso yummy

    1. Thanks for the tip! I am very familiar with IKEA, haha, probably too familiar! Every time we make a trip to the store, the lingonberry jam is always a must!!

    2. You can get lingonberry jam or preserves online. I, too, am of Swedish background and I was taught to use coffee in the gravy, certainly not soy sauce. LOL

  29. These were fantastic, Sabrina!  Plus they went together so easy.  Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  30. We are swedish meatballs addicted, too. Everytime we visit Ikea, we stop for meatballs! 🙂 Now it’s time to try them at home! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You’re welcome! Sometimes it’s not easy to get to an IKEA or you have a craving you need to satisfy….problem solved!

  31. I made your Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti recipe last week. It was absolutely “the bomb”! I already had spaghetti sauce (from the night before) but other than that, I followed the recipe explicitly. All the neighbors (the ones who were lucky enough to get a chunk of it) raved about it. I plan to bring it to the neighborhood picnic this month. You post some really great stuff! Thanx!!

  32. These sound great. I can’t wait to make them…They also remind me of some tiny meatbakks my Mom used to make and I don’t have the recipe…they had rice in them that cooked as they were cooked. she called them “Porcupine Balls” and she didn’t use a recipe. Do you ,ake these? Going to make these next time my Hubby is in!!!

    1. I don’t make those but I know exactly what you’re talking about! Go to Chelsea’s Messy Apron food blog. She has a recipe for Porcupine Balls!

      1. I made these and they were delicious. The second time I made them I changed it up a bit. Rather than pork and beef I used 50\50 pork and turkey. I use the same 50\50 mixture when I make spaghetti.