A la Swedish meatballs

casaveneracion.com A la Swedish meatballs

I don’t know exactly what makes meatballs “Swedish” — the white sauce (or is it gravy?) that goes with them or serving them with lingonberry jam. I made these meatballs with a gravy but did not serve them with lingonberry jam. The meatballs were made with ground pork because my older girl, Sam, does not like beef. And they were broiled in the oven, not fried in butter, because I really don’t like frying. Instead of finely chopped bread, I used panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) as suggested in a recipe by Martha Stewart. A wonderful idea, it turns out, because the panko absorbed the milk wonderfully.

Makes about 20 meatballs.


  • 500 g. of ground pork (or beef, or half beef and half pork)
    1 onion, finely chopped
    2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    3/4 c. of panko, soaked in about 6 tbsps. of milk
    1 egg
    1 tsp. of salt
    1 tsp. of pepper

    For the sauce / gravy:

    1/4 c. of butter
    4 tbsps. of flour (more if you want a thicker sauce)
    1-1/2 to 2. c. of milk (depending on how thick you want the sauce)
    salt and pepper, to taste


  1. casaveneracion.com A la Swedish meatballs

    Preheat the oven to 400F.

    In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs. Form into balls about two inches in diameter. Arrange on a baking dish. Broil (or bake) in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or just until lightly browned.

    casaveneracion.com A la Swedish meatballs

    Heat the butter in a pan. Add the flour, all at once, stirring to remove lumps. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until the mixture starts to turn brown along the edges. Pour in the milk slowly, stirring as you pour. Stop when you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

    Add the meatballs to the sauce. Boil gently for a couple of minutes.

    casaveneracion.com A la Swedish meatballs

    Serving suggestions:

    1. Pour the meatballs and sauce into a bowl. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley (optional). Serve with crusty bread to mop up the wonderful sauce.

    2. Ladle the sauce over cooked pasta. Top with meatballs. Garnish with grated cheese.

    3. Arrange the meatballs on a plate. Drizzle with some sauce. Serve as an appetizer.

Cooking time (duration): 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): about 20 meatballs, good for 4 to 5 persons

Meal type: supper

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The Author

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

20 Responses

  1. Raquel says:

    Ooh yum! This will definitely be a part of our Noche Buena (for two!). I’ve been meaning to make Swedish meatballs – anything Swedish actually – after finishing the Millennium Trilogy. hehehe! Will drop by Ikea later to get lingonberry jam.
    Thank you very much Connie for the inspiration as always! :)

  2. may says:

    This reminds me of the meatballs fr ikea w/ the gravy on it. I always have a stock just in case i don’t feel like cooking! Nothing beats home made of course!

    • Connie says:

      I read about IKEA meatballs. I always thought IKEA was a furniture maker. Didn’t know it sells food too. :)

      • JANICE says:

        IKEA is like a warehouse that sell about anything from the furnitures, to home decors, to kitchen wares and beddings, they also have showrooms. inside IKEA there is cafeteria so if you feel hungry and tired while shopping you can always stop and have something to eat, and continue with your shopping again, and everything they serve on the cafeteria you can find in the freezer outside the cashier, including the sauce / gravy which comes in powder form.

  3. maruh says:

    yeah i love their gravy! there’s an ikea food corner ( in every ikea shops ) where they sell jam and cookies. They even sell their yummy frozen meatballs hmm this dish is a good idea for this season. thanks ms.connie advance happy holiday! :)

  4. Joy says:

    Those look great. I never knew why it was called swished meatballs.

  5. Mrs. Kolca says:

    This is something new. I wanna try this with the combination of ground beef and chicken. Masarap kaya? :)

  6. Dona says:

    Hi ms Connie,

    ano po ang panko? do u have any substitute if not available? i’m very interested in this recipe..reminds me of swedish meatballs in ikea dito sa spore…

  7. Dona says:

    oohh i got it…sorry ms Connie medyo na excite ako sa recipe mo kaya nakapag post agad ng question..i’ve read it again & andon ang sagot..
    this is an addtl recipe for our noche buena..
    thanks a lot..i love ur website and u too..
    Merry Christmas!

  8. amoritak says:

    Hi Connie,

    I would like to comment to your thoughts about what makes the Swedish meatballs Swedish. I am married to a Swede and have been taught to make meatballs by my husband’s grandmother and mother and based on what I’ve learned what makes the meatballs Swedish are the simplicity of the ingredients used, not the sauce. The basic ingredients to a Swedish meatball are eggs, breadcrumbs, milk, finely chopped onions and salt and pepper. The first basic step is to soak the crumbs in milk before mixing in the other ingredients. Then after taking them out of the oven they are transferred to a casserole. The fat and meat juice left on the tin is then directly mixed with water (while the tin is hot) and then poured into the meatballs together with a slice of butter perhaps 50 g). Then the meatballs are made to simmer for a few minutes. I make 5 kilos of them sometimes and pack them into 4-person meal portions and freeze them…they’re ideal to microwave when you don’t have so much time to cook due to an exhausting day. I just serve them with brown sauce and boiled potatoes.

    My husband’s family uses ground oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs and now after learning from a Swedish friend and tasting her very tasty meatballs, I found out I could also mix in a spoon of Dijon mustard and crushed garlic.

  9. nina says:

    tried this just now… meatballs were good but i think the 4 tbsps of flour was too much for me re the thickness i prefer…maybe next time i will half it. thanks for a great dinner idea :)

  10. athena says:

    can i use ground pork and bacon (sliced into bits) instead?

  11. Menchie says:

    I’m doing this for my little girl’s food-to-share on their UN Day celebration. It’s Sweden for the Jr. casa kids and they will be dancing to the makabagbag damdaming tune of Mamma Mia by ABBA!!!!! Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • I love ABBA and I love Mamma Mia! Hope the kids like the meatballs and have loads of fun. :)

      • Lena says:

        Hello Connie, I really love your blog and recipies. I was cleaning out a cupboard when I found an old note from a phillipine friend, about making Lechon Kawali liver sauce. In an effort to figure out more about what to serve with the sauce, I came across your blog. Very interesting. I will absolutely try some of your recipes.
        Being swedish, however, I just have to comment on the meatball recipies. Swedish people are very serious about their meatballs ;) Meatballs can be eaten for dinner, served with pale brown cream sauce, (or brown sauce) made from the juice that you get when frying them (or no sauce at all), small boiled or mashed (with butter) potatoes, lingonberry jam (very important), a fresh green salad sprinkled with parsley and some fresh tomatoes. Those meatballs are pretty much like Amoritak says, but more than often not boiled but fried in butter (or boiled, then fried in butter) in a frying pan before being added to the sauce.
        But on social occations we often serve the smaller, saltier, more spicy, coarser meatballs. We sometimes even mix in some anchovies instead of salt. These meatballs are ALWAYS fried in a frying pan so that they are brown and crispy all around. At Christmas and at Midsummer celebration, the Swedish Smorgasbord-a buffet containing all sorts of traditional foods- is mandatory. And there is never a Smorgasbord without the smaller spicier meatballs. :) Lena