Swedish Meatballs + Giveaway!

A classic Swedish meatball dish served over egg noodles or as an appetizer!


Swedish Meatballs + Giveaway!

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A few weeks ago I got my hands on one of the newest books from Cook’s Illustrated called “The Science of Good Cooking.” I knew right away that I would like it, but I wanted to have you guys vote on what I should make first.

You picked meatballs. In fact, for those keeping track, you guys have voted for some form of meatball two times in a row! And for the record, I have absolutely zero qualms about this.

These little guys are originally supposed to be an appetizer, but I turned them into a full meal just by serving them on some egg noodles.

After the recipe, be sure to enter to win one of three copies that I’m giving away of The Science of Good Cooking!

Swedish Meatballs

A classic Swedish meatball dish served over egg noodles or as an appetizer!
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Prep Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Appetizers, Main Dishes, Snack Time
Cuisine Swedish
Servings 15 Servings
Yield About 30 Meatballs



  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 piece of sandwich bread or ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • ¼ cup grated onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground allspice optional
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 8 ounces ground beef 85-90% lean
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • Egg noodles for serving


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Quick Pickles (optional):

  • 3 small cucumbers or one large one sliced into ⅛ inch rounds
  • 1 ½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 whole allspice berries


If you are making the pickles:

  • Slice cucumbers into ⅛ inch rounds.
  • Add vinegar, sugar, salt, and allspice berries to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a minute until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers in a small bowl and stir to separate cucumber slices. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Then uncover and let cool to room temperature as you make the meatballs. Drain and remove allspice berries before serving.

For meatballs:

  • Add cream, egg, and bread pieces to a small bowl and let the bread absorb the liquid.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment), or just in a medium bowl, mix together ground pork with onion and spices until the mixture is well combined. Then mix in bread mixture and beat until the mixture is pale and slightly fluffy.
  • Finally, beat in ground beef until it is just combined.
  • Form meat mixture into about 30 evenly sized balls (about a tablespoon per meatball).
  • Heat oil in a large high-walled skillet or pan until it is roughly 350 degrees. Add meatballs and cook until they are browned on all sides and cooked through, about five minutes per side.
  • When meatballs are done, remove them from the pan and let them drain on a few paper towels. Pour out oil (carefully) and reduce heat to medium. Add butter and flour to pan and whisk it until it forms a light roux. Cook for a minute to cook out the flour flavor.
  • Slowly whisk in chicken stock and use a spoon to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan as you go. The mixture should continue to thicken. Once all the stock is added, add cream and sugar and simmer until thickened, a few minutes.
  • Add meatballs back to pan and toss to warm them and coat them with sauce. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve meatballs as an appetizer with quick pickles or over egg noodles for a full meal!


Serving: 2MeatballsCalories: 510kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 7gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 487mgPotassium: 217mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 260IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Appetizers, Egg Noodles, Meatball Appetizer, Meatballs, Swedish Meatballs

Did you make this?

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The Quick Pickle

Have you ever read part of a recipe and said to yourself, “Well, that just seems silly” only to later find out that it is not, in fact, silly?

I did that for these quick pickles that go with the meatballs. The recipe specifies exactly twelve allspice berries. I thought this was silly so I just threw in a handful. Later, I realized why twelve is important.

You want to use twelve so you can find them all when you want to serve the pickles! Having a rogue allspice berry in your pickle is a good way to chip a tooth! If you go in with 12 and out with 12 then you know you are good to go.

Making the pickles is really easy. Just slice your cucumbers thin and then bring all the other ingredients to a simmer in a small pot. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and let it sit for about fifteen minutes.

Done deal!

Quick pickle!

I actually served the pickles with the pasta which was kind of weird. I think the pickles are more important if you want to make the meatballs as an appetizer.

The Meatball Mix

Swedish meatballs have a very distinct texture and the book explains how you can get that texture. It’s basically a mixture of pork, beef, spices, grated onion, and panade which is just a mixture of egg, cream, and bread.

Basic ingredients

The recipe for the panade calls for sandwich bread, but I weirdly didn’t have any bread on this day so I just used breadcrumbs. It seemed to work fine to me. I just mixed my egg, cream, and breadcrumbs together in a small bowl.

Supposed to use bread…

The original recipe recommends using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to whip the ground pork with the onions and spices so it gets almost fluffy. Then you add in your panade mixture.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still make this recipe. Just mix together everything really well.

Just beat it.

Once you have the pork, spices, onions, and panade mixed together, then you can add in the beef.

Now add the beef!

Stir that all together until it is just combined and then portion out your meatballs. Shoot for large tablespoon-sized meatballs and you should get about thirty.

These are pretty delicate.

Cooking the Meatballs

You actually fry these suckers. It makes them extra delicious.

Just add about half an inch of oil to a large skillet or pan and heat it over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add your meatballs and let them cook for about ten minutes total until they are nicely browned on all sides.

Here are my finished meatballs!

Great browning.

Once they are cooked, remove them and let them drain on a few paper towels while you make the sauce.

Carefully pour out the oil from your pan and then you’ll be left with a pretty dirty pan. This is good news because all of that dirtiness is actually flavor.

Add the butter and flour to the pan and turn your stove down to medium heat. Whisk all of that together and after about a minute you’ll have a dry roux from the butter/flour mixture.

Sauce basics.

Then start slowly adding your chicken stock, whisking constantly. Use the liquid to continue scraping up bits from the pan.

After all your chicken stock is added, it should start to thicken as it simmers. At that point, stir in the cream and sugar and continue to simmer. Season the gravy with the lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Then add the meatballs back into the sauce and stir everything together!

Done deal!

You could easily just put these in a bowl and let people snack on them (they won’t last long), but I like to make a full meal out of mine.

Up Close!

These are really delicious. I would definitely say that I’m one for one out of this cookbook!

The Giveaway!

The Science of Good Cooking is a really cool concept for a book. The book is broken up into 50 different concepts. Each concept will teach you how to be a better cook and also comes with a few recipes that use that specific concept.

I love the layout. The chapter with these meatballs, for example, is called “A Panade keeps ground meat tender.” It explains the science behind why that is true and then gives you a few recipes to try out with that concept like these meatballs or some good burgers.

Cook’s Illustrated is nice enough that they are giving me three copies of the book to give away to you guys! Just use the widget below to enter to win or, if you can’t get the widget to load, just leave a comment!

The giveaway closes on Friday at 8PM Pacific time and I’ll announce the winners on Saturday! Unfortunately, I can only ship to U.S. addresses.


The winners for the cookbooks are Danny McClary (Facebook), Heather (comment), and Carly (comment). Congrats!

151 Responses to “Swedish Meatballs + Giveaway!” Leave a comment

  1. LOVE swedish meatballs!!! This recipe looks amazing and can’t wait to try it out (definitely with egg noodles!)
    Thanks for all the great recipes and ideas you share :)

  2. These look delicious, will have to make this! Love the comment about the allspice berries. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Love Swedish meatballs ;and since my hubby likes to hunt, we mix deerburger in with them. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  4. Swedish meatballs remind me of Ikea, no matter how much I try to like them. But, meatballs are always delicious, no matter their country of origin :P.

  5. I like the nasty frozen Swedish meatballs in the grocery store. I’m sure I would LOVE homeade ones.

  6. Love Swedish meatballs and I am generally not a huge meatball fan! But I love the sauce and for some reason, the flavor balance is just right.

  7. I actually don’t like Swedish meatballs, but I haven’t had them in years and I’m totally willing to give them another try!

  8. We have friends who are originally from Sweden. They moved here about 4 years ago. Niklas makes excellent Swedish Meatballs. I’m curious if your recipe tastes similar to what he makes. Maybe I’ll make them for him!

  9. Never had Swedish meatballs…but anything covered in gravy sauce is instantly delicious, right?

  10. mmm, I LOVE Swedish meatballs but I have never made them before! this sounds like a fun weekend project. all your recipes are amazing – thank you! :)

  11. My mom used to make these all the time. The sauce used is reminiscent of my wife’s beef stroganoff minus the mushrooms, but that’s just ground meat, not meatballs. These look really good.

  12. I’ll eat IKEA’s even though I don’t care for them. With that said, I’m sure they would be tasty homemade.

  13. I love Swedish meatballs. Years ago, I lived in San Diego literally across the street from Ikea. My guilty pleasure would be to sneak out and have a snack of Swedish meatballs. More times that I’d like to admit.

  14. I’ve never had Swedish meatballs, so I have no clue if I’d like them or not. But they sound pretty tasty, and I like how you made them into a meal instead of just an appetizer, because let’s be real here–I never need appetizers, but I always need meals!

  15. I have been wanting to make these for awhile and this looks like a great recipe. I first had Swedish meatballs two years ago at Thanksgiving when a Swedish friend brought them and I have loved them ever since!

  16. Never had Swedish meatballs, but the cookbook sounds exciting! It combines my love of science and cooking!

  17. I made this exact recipe (pulled it from their web site). They are excellent. Best Swedish meatball recipe I’ve ever tried and that includes Ann Sather’s restaurant in Chicago. This rocks. That sauce is even better the next day.

  18. Nick, in order ro lower the fat ccontent of this dish, would it be ok if the meatballs are sauteed in one or two tbsps of oil and then cooked in the sauce? I do something similar when I make meatballs with tomato sauce. I know that is not the original method, and that there would be less of an outer crust, but the meatballs would still be fully cooked. What do you think?

  19. I’ve made some CI Swedish meatballs and enjoyed them. They froze pretty well too. Good article above. Thanks.

  20. Yes, I love Swedish meatballs. I like the different texture, and the creamy gravy that goes with them.

  21. Swedish meatballs are awesome. I just lack the patience to make them myself most of the time. :(

  22. I have quickly become obsessed with this blog and can’t shut up about it. These meatballs look awesome.

  23. Love em! A childhood comfort food. Cool air outside, warm swedish meatballs and fluffy egg noodles. Mmmm. Only now I subsitiute a copper ale instead of the glass of milk!

  24. I love Swedish meatballs. Of all meatballs, these are my favorites. When my girls were young, it was a staple of our dinner table. I will have to make up a batch soon for old times sake.

  25. I love Swedish Meatballs. Mom used to make them and serve them in a chafing dish with the little can of Sterno (?) providing a source of heat for holiday entertaining!
    Your description of the cookbook reminds me of you…I read your blog for the recipes, but also for the pointers and explanations…like the reason for the 12 allspice berries!

  26. I haven’t had Swedish Meatballs since the holiday parties my parents threw when I was a kid! I think they’ll be even better over noodles.

  27. I had Swedish meatballs once in a frozen dinner (I know…). Wasn’t a big fan and haven’t been compelled to give them another chance.

  28. I love this recipe. I bake my balls for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, top shelf. This saves alot of time with making a large quanity.

    Why do you not have a Pinterest Account, @Nick???

    1. Ha! I love Pinterest for browsing but just haven’t had the time to dive in as a user. I love it when people Pin my stuff though! There’s an easy PIN button on the SHARE tab that’s on the left side of the site.

  29. Thanks. I do Pin alot of your stuff. I use it for browsing ideas. You always have some of the best. I have more re-Pins of your ideas.
    Keep up the good work.

  30. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually eaten Swedish meatballs. This recipe looks pretty tasty, though!

  31. I love Swedish meatballs and I love that I now know the technique my godmother taught me for meatballs is called panade!

  32. I love cookbooks from Cook’s Illustrated. They are my favorites. The Science of Good Cooking sounds like a winner!!!

  33. Swedish meatballs are so good! They remind me of the holidays. We tend to have them at Christmas Eve supper, though we are not Swedish and other than the meatballs follow the tradition of a meatless Christmas Eve… Family traditions are weird.

  34. Believe it or not, I have never had Swedish meatballs. I’ll stick with my Sicilian grandmother’s meatballs, please. Hahaha

  35. I really love Swedish meatballs. Can these be browned/cooked in convection oven? Made and frozen for later use?

  36. I LOVE Swedish meatballs – I haven’t really had any since, well, since Grandma Nelson used to make them. :)

    I am all over this recipe!

  37. I like Swedish meatballs! The funny thing in my family is we have a meatball recipe that’s tomato based that we’ve always called “Swedish” meatballs, even though they’re not remotely Swedish.

  38. I love Swedish Meatballs but I’ve never made them. Most of the Swedish Meatballs I eat originate from a frozen dinner or from Ikea. =)

  39. I like Swedish Meatballs, but my daughter-in-law loves them, and her birthday is just around the corner, so I’m bookmarking your recipe!

  40. I love Swedish meatballs but the only time I tried making them was a disappointment, they came out bland and tough. Cant wait to try cooks illustrated’s method, they are always great

  41. I made these last night!! They were fantastic. I will be eating them for lunch again today and it seems like it is taking forever to get to noon. :)

    We will probably be making this again for a Thanksgiving potluck next week, and I will probably double the sauce recipe…I felt like we could have used a bit more sauce to coat the noodles and to have enough to go with all the meatballs. But it’s a really great recipe, the lemon in the sauce complements the nutmeg in the meatballs wonderfully.

  42. Thanks for a great recipe! I made these a few days ago and even as leftovers they were perfect. The egg noodles were a good compliment to the dish.

  43. I love Swedish meatballs ^.^
    But I prefer to eat them the real way haha – the Scandinavian way; with mashed potatoes and lots of brown sauce and lingonberry jam. An easy and fully delicious dinner ^.^, especially if you’re camping in a tent by the fire :D

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