The Best Swedish Meatballs

All hail tender, savory, creamy Swedish Meatballs!

Swedish meatballs with cucumbers and cranberries in a bowl.

I grew up eating a lot of Swedish meatballs, and I have to say – Swedish meatball recipes are varied and they all kind of have their own personality. But after testing several ingredient combinations and methods, this is the one that I like best:

Cream-soaked bread mixed with ground beef and ground pork with plenty of salt and pepper, baked to golden meatball perfection, and finally rolled around in a rich and savory cream-based gravy. It is mellow, ultra comforting, and deeply flavorful all at the same time.

Swedish meatballs in a pan with gravy.

How To Make Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs may or may not be something that you want to make on a random Tuesday night because they’re gonna take a little time to make. You’ve got the rolling, you’ve got the baking, you’ve got the gravy-making…

But they are SPECIAL. And they aren’t hard. They are perfect for holiday meals or dinner club or just a little something extra when you’re looking for a good reason to live your best life.

Here are the basics:

  1. You’re going to mix up your meatballs (pork, beef, BREAD, butter, onions, garlic, all that’s good).
  2. Then you’ll roll them and bake them until they’re done.
  3. Next up you’ll build the gravy: butter, flour, broth, Worcestershire, and some heavy cream for that delicious tangy bite.
  4. Pop those meatballs back in the pan with the gravy and…


Swedish meatballs in a bowl with cucumbers and cranberries.

What To Serve with Swedish Meatballs

The meatballs in and of themselves are a world wonder, but let me fill out the plate for you for what to serve with Swedish meatballs.

  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes <– I like these, obviously, because they’re very easy and have so much garlic herb flavor.
  • Tangy Cranberry Sauce, for which we use the recipe on the back of the cranberry package.
  • Vinegary Cucumber Salad, which seems a little strange at first glance but is so delicious and essential for cutting through everything. It wakes the whole plate up.

May your gravy be creamy and your meatballs be extra-savory and your special dinner be one to remember. ♡

Swedish meatballs in a bowl with cucumbers and cranberries.

Swedish Meatballs: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use all pork or all beef?

Yes! The flavor combo of the two meats is really good but I’ve also enjoyed the all-beef versions that I’ve made.

How do I make the gravy?

You can use pan drippings to make your gravy, which will have the most flavor (as instructed below)! But if you’d rather, you can just start fresh with butter – and that will make the texture of the gravy a little smoother since you won’t have the browned meatball bits in there.

What’s the meatball mixture like?

The meatball mixture is pretty wet! That’s normal, especially because there’s not any dry elements in this, like cheese or breadcrumbs. The wet texture from the cream-soaked bread makes for a very tender meatball once it’s cooked. If you get your hands slightly wet, you’ll have an easier time rolling them. 

Can I use sandwich bread?

You can! If you are using thin, plain white sandwich bread, you may want to use 6-8 slices instead to make a thicker bread mixture.

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Swedish meatballs in a bowl with gravy, cranberries, and cucumbers

The Best Swedish Meatballs

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


Swedish Meatballs that are perfectly tender and spiced, served with creamy, savory, tangy gravy. Comfort food at its best!



Swedish Meatballs:

  • 4 slices white bread, no crusts
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef (I like using 85/15)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • a few shakes of black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons butter (or drippings from meatballs)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (more to taste)
  • 12 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (to taste – add it last so you can taste and adjust for how much you want)
  • Dash of nutmeg


  1. In a small bowl, soak the white bread in the heavy cream for 5-10 minutes. Add the soaked bread and the onion and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 10-15 seconds until mostly smooth. Mix the bread paste in a large bowl with the meat, egg, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. When it’s all well-mixed, roll into smallish meatballs.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place meatballs in a casserole dish or baking dish with sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. (You can bake some or all — I often freeze half of the meatballs for later.)
  3. Gravy time! Drain off and reserve the grease from the meatball pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the grease to a small skillet (alternatively, you can use butter). Over medium heat, whisk in the flour; sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the beef broth, slowly, stirring after each addition. Gradually a smooth gravy should start to form. Stir in the heavy cream and season with Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, and a bit of nutmeg if you want.
  4. Add meatballs in with the gravy in the skillet and cover to keep warm until you want to serve them. (The meatballs are already great on their own, but the longer they soak in sauce, the more tender and  delicious they get.) Serve over mashed potatoes, with a cucumber salad and cranberries or lingonberries.


You can also use dry onion powder (1 1/2 teaspoons) and garlic powder (1 teaspoon) to make it a little easier eliminate the food processor step! 

If you prefer, you can use all ground beef in this recipe instead of half beef, half pork.

The gravy thickens and the meatballs get more tender as you let them rest in the sauce. I like to make this in the afternoon so it has a few hours to settle in before I serve it in the evening – I just keeping it warm if it’s for 2-3 hours, or put in the fridge if it’ll be longer. If you need to serve immediately, that’s fine! It will still be super super yummy.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Swedish

Keywords: swedish meatballs, meatballs, swedish food, gravy recipe

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