It was recently confirmed by Sweden that Swedish meatballs you know and love actually aren’t Swedish after all. (Be that as it may, we’ll always love this meatball recipe!) While it’s unclear what triggered the recent fact-check, it was recently revealed that the meatballs—the traditional holiday meal served in IKEA’s worldwide actually aren’t Swedish after all. The Twitter confirmation was met by confusion from Swedes and fans of the meatballs alike, who were always under the impression that they were in fact Swedish.
Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century. Let's stick to the facts! pic.twitter.com/JuTDEjq9MM
Charles XII (known as “the Lion of the North” and the “Swedish Meteor”) reigned as King of Sweden from 1697 to 1718, and lived in Turkey from 1709 to 1714 during the Great Northern War. When he returned home after the war, he brought köfte, the meatballs home with them, and adapted them to the Swedish way of life as köttbullars.
After the initial tweet from Sweden’s official Twitter, they confirmed a few days later that Sweden added an important component of the dish we know today: lingonberry jam.
These wild berries are abundant in Sweden, and play an important role in many Swedish dish. Much like cranberries, lingonberries have that sweet, sour and tart flavor that pairs well with sweet and savory dishes.
They don't grow in Sweden exclusively. But lingonberry jam accompanying meatballs is damn near as Swedish as it gets!
No matter the origin, these meatballs sure are tasty! You can get the classic IKEA meatballs served hot while you shop, or buy them frozen to have at home. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can make them at home too, to be served with a creamy sauce, lingonberries, and a side of mashed potatoes.
Craving more meatballs? Here are some of our favorites.
One of our favorite comfort food dinners is spaghetti and meatballs. We're crazy about this lightened-up, healthier version featuring so many veggies. The same beloved flavors with more nutritious ingredients! — Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
(Need more meatballs? Try these meatball recipes from around the world!)
While it looks complicated, this attractive meatball-filled ring is really very easy to assemble. My family loves tacos, and we find that the crescent roll dough is a nice change from the usual tortilla shells or chips. There are never any leftovers. —Brenda Johnson, Davison, Michigan
I got the idea for how to make this soup after I went to a brewhouse restaurant that put ale in their gravy. I make this every time the weather starts to cool down in the fall—it's comfort food for the soul. —Crystal Holsinger, Surprise, Arizona
As amazing as this flatbread is, you would never know how unbelievably easy it is to make. And hiding veggies in the sauce is a great trick, especially if you have kids. For a crunchy crust, bake the naan in the oven until slightly crispy on top before adding the tomato puree. —Kimberly Berg, North Street, Michigan
When the temperatures are high, and so is your craving for Italian fare, turn to these deliciously different kabobs. A green salad and rustic bread are all you'll need to complete this summer meal. —Marie Rizzio, Interlochen, Michigan
We love lasagna, but it takes too long on weeknights. My solution: meatball taquitos. My kids get the flavors they want, and I get a meal on the table in a hurry. —Lauren Wyler, Dripping Springs, Texas
I like to dunk these appetizer meatballs in blue cheese or ranch salad dressing. If I make them for a meal, I often skip the dressing and serve with blue cheese polenta on the side. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
I developed this one-skillet spaghetti and meatball dish to cut down on cooking time on busy nights. The beans, artichokes and tomatoes bump up the nutrition factor, while the lemon and parsley make it pop with brightness. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
Chimichurri is a tangy herb sauce that comes from South America that's often served with steak. If you've never had it with meatballs, it's time to give it a try! —Amy Chase, Vanderhoof, British Columbia
This is the easiest soup you will ever make—believe me! I always keep the ingredients on hand, so if I'm feeling under the weather or just plain busy I can throw together this comforting soup in a flash. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas
For a seniors potluck at church, I wanted to create a recipe that would incorporate a meat dish and side dish in one. This casserole proved to be a crowd-pleaser, and many people asked for the recipe. —Joann Fritzler, Belen, New Mexico
This is a simple weeknight recipe my grandma passed along to me. I grew up on a farm where my father was a beef producer, so we always had ground beef in the freezer. I made these meatballs for our family and for kids while I was babysitting, and they were always a hit. Leftovers reheat well the next day. —Karen Davis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
My mother often had these cabbage rolls simmering in her slow cooker when my family and I arrived at her house for weekend visits. The mouthwatering meatballs tucked inside made these stand out from any other cabbage rolls I've tried. —Betty Buckmaster, Muskogee, Oklahoma
This is one of our favorite main dishes. Because we raise our own pork and beef, the meat we use is always freshly ground. For variety, these meatballs can be cooked with a sweet cream gravy or steamed with tomatoes. But we prefer them with homemade sauerkraut. —Iona Redemer, Calumet, Oklahoma
Mom fixed this Swedish meatball recipe for all sorts of family dinners, potluck suppers and PTA meetings when I was growing up. The scent of browning meat is intoxicating. Add to that the sweet smell of onions caramelizing, and everyone’s mouth starts watering. —Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas
My strategy to get picky kids to eat healthy: Let everyone assemble their dinner at the table. We love these easy meatball wraps topped with crunchy veggies and peanuts, sweet raisins and a creamy dollop of yogurt. —Jennifer Beckman, Falls Church, Virginia
Turkey gives a different twist to these slightly sweet and spicy meatballs. For the holidays, I serve them on a tray lined with parsley and garnished with red pepper or pimientos. —Audrey Thibodeau, Gilbert, Arizona
I’ve been cooking for 50 years, and this dish is still one that guests request frequently. It is my No. 1 standby recipe and also makes amazing meatball sandwiches. The sauce works for any type of pasta. —Jane Whittaker, Pensacola, Florida
This is one of those recipes you always come back to. A flavorful tomato sauce and mildly spiced meatballs make a hearty sandwich filling, or they can be served over pasta. I broil the meatballs first to quickly brown them. —Jean Glacken, Elkton, Maryland
Throughout Vietnam there are many kinds of soups, “canh,” served all year long. I particularly love enjoying this warm, flavorful bowl of Vietnamese chicken soup on laid-back weekends, but it's also great packed in a Thermos for lunch. It's the perfect bok choy soup, too! —Brenda Watts, Gaffney, South Carolina
We were hosting a bunch of friends, and after a comedy of errors, I had to come up with a plan B for dinner. I realized that much-loved meatball subs are even better as a hearty casserole—so delicious! —Rick Friedman, Palm Springs, California
My great-grandmother started this easy meatball recipe with our family. We use ground beef and turkey for these meatballs, and the flavor’s so good, you won’t miss the extra calories. —Audrey Colantino, Winchester, Massachusetts
Here is one of my favorite ways to cook and enjoy cabbage. It has all the good flavor of regular cabbage rolls, but it's a lot less bother to make. In fact, it's a one-pot meal! —Mrs. Bernard Snow, Lewiston, Michigan
Talk about one easy dish that creates an amazing sweet and sour sauce! You can serve over rice for more of a dinner-like option, but I also like to offer them as an appetizer simply served with toothpicks. —Julie Schiefer, Nappanee, Indiana
When my husband's not manning the grill, I count on my slow cooker. These mouthwatering meatballs are just one reason why. They’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser as an appetizer, or spooned over crusty rolls and topped with cheese for irresistible sandwiches. —Peggy Rios, Mechanicsville, Virginia
I came up with this hearty meal-in-one as another way to use frozen meatballs. It's quick to put together in the morning and ready when my husband gets home in the evening. —Iris Schultz, Miamisburg, Ohio
One evening, we had unexpected company. Since I had the ingredients on hand, I made this spaghetti and meatballs recipe. Everyone raved! This classic recipe makes a big batch. —Mary Lou Koskella, Prescott, Arizona
Frozen meatballs and a jar of sweet-and-sour sauce make this microwave meal a last-minute lifesaver when racing against the clock. The flavorful sauce is dressed up with a hint of garlic and nicely coats the colorful mixture of meatballs, carrots, green pepper and onion. —Ivy Eresmas, Dade City, Florida
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.