Swedish Meatballs Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Cook: 40 min.
Whip up a batch of these easy Swedish meatballs for a meal that's all comfort and no fuss!

Updated: Feb. 29, 2024

The next time you’re craving a meal that reminds you of Mom’s home cooking, turn to this easy recipe for Swedish meatballs. Just like classic meat loaf and cold-day chicken noodle soup, this recipe will warm your heart and soul every time.

With Swedish meatballs, the meatballs are usually made beef or pork (or both!) and smothered in a rich and creamy gravy. Sweden made this dish famous, but it was actually adapted from a recipe brought back from Turkey in the early 18th century by King Charles XII of Sweden.

Thankfully, our easy Swedish meatball recipe doesn’t require a trip to Turkey, Sweden or IKEA. In fact, these Swedish meatballs are better than the ones you might get at a cafe—and they come together in just about an hour. Best of all, they’re made with everyday ingredients that are likely already in your pantry. Served over a bed of buttery egg noodles, this is one of those easy dinner ideas everyone will love.


  • Ground beef: Ground beef gives the Swedish meatballs a robust, beefy flavor. For juicy meatballs, we suggest choosing 85/15 or 80/20 ground beef to ensure the meatballs stay moist throughout the cooking process.
  • Eggs: Eggs help bind the meatballs together so they don’t fall apart. They also help keep the meatballs soft and tender.
  • Bread crumbs: Bread crumbs are almost always used in meatball recipes because they absorb the fat and, along with the eggs, serve as a binder. Without bread crumbs, all the fat would simply leak out of the meatballs and cause them to become tough and dry.
  • Onion: Onion adds additional moisture and flavor to the meatballs. If you (or your kids) don’t enjoy the appearance of large pieces of onion in the meatballs, you may grate the onion finely rather than chop it with a knife. Or omit it if you prefer.
  • Flour: When added to the meatball drippings, flour helps form a simple roux to thicken the gravy and give it body.
  • Milk: For this recipe, we suggest using 2% milk or whole milk. These contain just enough fat to help thicken the gravy and make it creamy. Skim and nonfat milk would also work, but the sauce would be thinner and not quite as rich.
  • Consomme: A can of condensed beef consomme is full of rich beef flavor. If you are watching your sodium intake, you could opt for low-sodium beef broth instead. You can use homemade beef broth in this recipe, too.
  • Worcestershire sauce: While only 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce is used in Swedish meatballs, it goes a long way in flavoring the sauce, adding depth and extra umami flavor.


Step 1: Combine the meatball ingredients

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In a large bowl, mix together the bread crumbs (try homemade bread crumbs!), eggs, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the ground beef, mixing lightly but thoroughly.

Step 2: Shape the meatballs

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Use your hands to shape the mixture into 1-1/2-inch meatballs (you’ll get about 36 balls total). In a large preheated skillet over medium heat, brown the meatballs in batches, turning them occasionally to get color on all sides. Once browned, remove the meatballs to a paper towel-lined platter to drain, reserving as much of their drippings in the skillet as possible. Set aside.

Editor’s Tip: When shaping the meatballs (or cooking any of these meatball recipes from around the world), use a gentle hand, and roll them until they just begin to hold their shape. Overworked meatballs will be tough and dry, so try to handle the meatballs as little as possible.

Step 3: Make the Swedish meatballs sauce

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To the reserved pan drippings, stir in the flour, and cook over medium-high heat until light brown. Next, gradually whisk in the milk until a smooth sauce comes together. Add the consomme, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, allspice and nutmeg. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring, until thickened, for two minutes.

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Editor’s Tip: For a thinner sauce, gradually add a little extra milk or consomme until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. For a thicker sauce, here’s how to thicken sauce.

Step 4: Simmer the meatballs

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Reduce the heat to medium-low, and return the meatballs to the skillet. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 5: Cook the noodles, and serve

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While the meatballs finish cooking, cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and toss with butter. Serve with the meatball mixture, and garnish with a sprinkle of parsley if desired.

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Editor’s Tip: If you’re up for it, here’s how to make egg noodles from scratch.

Swedish Meatballs Variations

  • Use frozen meatballs: Make this dinner even easier by using already-prepared frozen meatballs. Frozen meatball recipes are lifesavers when you’re short on time!
  • Change the meat: For a leaner Swedish meatball variation, opt for ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef. Or, to make an even more flavorful version, try a mixture of half ground pork and half ground beef, which will also yield a softer meatball.
  • Baked the meatballs: You can make baked meatballs instead by cooking them on a baking sheet in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. For the sauce, prepare as directed, using 2 tablespoons butter instead of meatball drippings.

How to Store Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To reheat, warm in a saucepan on the stovetop, stirring over gentle heat.

Can you make Swedish meatballs ahead of time?

If you plan to make Swedish meatballs ahead, stick to storing them in the refrigerator rather than the freezer. Dairy-based sauces, like Swedish meatball sauce, tend to separate and curdle when frozen. This leads to changes in the sauce’s taste, texture and appearance. If these changes do not bother you, however, you may freeze them for up to three months. Store the meat and sauce in separate freezer-safe containers. Thaw both in the refrigerator overnight, and reheat together in a saucepan.

Swedish Meatball Tips

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What else can you serve with Swedish meatballs?

Swedish meatballs are delicious with mashed potatoes or a crisp cucumber salad, says Taste of Home culinary assistant Mark Neufang. He also suggests doubling this Swedish meatball recipe and keeping them warm in a slow cooker for the ultimate party appetizer.

How can I make the Swedish meatballs sauce creamier?

For a richer, creamier Swedish meatballs sauce, you can substitute half-and-half or heavy cream for the milk. Alternatively, you can adjust the richness of individual servings by adding a few dollops of full-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to the top of each plate just before serving.

Watch how to Make Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 6 servings


  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • GRAVY:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-3/4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cans (10-1/2 ounces each) condensed beef consomme, undiluted
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon each ground allspice and ground nutmeg
  • 1 package (16 ounces) egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. meatballs (about 36). In a large skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs in batches. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in pan.
  2. For gravy, stir flour into drippings; cook over medium-high heat until light brown (do not burn). Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Stir in consomme, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and allspice and nutmeg if desired. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low; return meatballs to pan. Cook, uncovered, until meatballs are cooked through, 15-20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; toss with butter. Serve with meatball mixture; sprinkle with parsley.

Nutrition Facts

6 meatballs with 1-3/4 cups noodles and about 1/3 cup gravy: 834 calories, 33g fat (14g saturated fat), 248mg cholesterol, 1711mg sodium, 81g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 4g fiber), 50g protein.

Mom fixed this Swedish meatball recipe for all sorts of family dinners, potluck suppers and PTA meetings. 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
Recipe Creator