clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Swedish meatballs in a bowl with gravy, cranberries, and cucumbers

The Best Swedish Meatballs

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 servings 1x


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


Units Scale

Swedish Meatballs:

  • 4 slices white bread, no crusts
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound ground beef (I use 85/15)
  • 1 pound ground pork (you can also sub with another pound of ground beef instead)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • a few shakes of black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons butter (you can also use some drippings from the baked meatballs)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth (more as needed)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (more to taste)
  • 12 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste – I recommend adding it last so you can taste and adjust for how much you want)
  • Very slight dash of nutmeg (optional)


  1. Meatball Mixture: In a small bowl, soak the white bread in the heavy cream for 5-10 minutes. Mash with a spoon or you hands. Mix the bread paste in a large bowl with the garlic and onion powder, beef and pork, egg, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. When it’s all well-mixed, roll into smallish meatballs. (If you find the mixture is too wet to handle, you can add a bit of panko or a tablespoon of cornstarch to help them hold a bit more. But don’t panic – wet is normal for this mixture. It makes for very tender meatballs!)
  2. Bake the Meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place meatballs on a sheet pan or baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. 
  3. Gravy Time: In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. (You’re going to add the meatballs back into this pan so make sure it’s a nice big skillet, saute pan, or braiser casserole dish.) Whisk in the flour; let it bubble 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. Taste and adjust to get it just right! That’s where the magic happens.
  4. Add meatballs in with the gravy. Cover to keep warm until you want to serve them, or transfer the pan to the oven where they can hang out on low / warm heat and continue to get tender and delicious. (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 lingonberries.


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 it will be in the fridge, the gravy will probably need an extra 1/2 to 1 cup of broth to help it get back to a saucy consistency!

A great make-ahead option for this is to make the meatballs, and either bake them and freeze them, or just freeze them raw and bake day-of. That way, when it’s time to serve day-of, all you really have to make is the gravy! 

For a real easy version of this, use your favorite store-bought meatballs! I’ve had many readers tell me they do it that way and love it!

The cucumber salad (or just any salad with a vinegary punch) is very important in balancing this meal! I would highly recommend doing a simple Swedish cucumber salad – the flavors and textures were just made to create a beautiful balanced plate!

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

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