These warm-spiced Swedish meatballs in a lush and easy cream gravy sauce are just like those served at Ikea, but made even tastier when fixed at home.
This post is brought to you by DeLallo Foods
I’m a firm believer that you can’t have too many meatball recipes. They’re a comfort food favorite and ‘ve got several recipes I rotate through, like my classic Italian meatballs, Thai turkey meatballs, and my buffalo chicken meatballs. Strolling through the maze that is Ikea, who hasn’t arrived at the café mid-way through the shopping mission and been tempted to take a Swedish meatball break? Shopping requires fortification, and since there’s still half the store to cover, let’s fortify! When stores temporarily closed in the early part of 2020, Ikea knew their fans were craving comfort hard, and that’s why they shared their original Swedish meatball and sauce recipe online. Now, no matter where you live, or whether you can go out to eat, you can still make Ikea’s Swedish meatballs recipe at home.
I’ve made this meal several times. The velvety cream sauce. The tender meatballs. The eggy noodles. SO GOOD! Glazed in a lush creamy gravy sauce, these warmly spiced beef and pork Swedish meatballs are comfort food to the core. Ikea Swedish meatballs are served with boiled red potatoes or mashed potatoes, but my favorite way to eat them is slathered in sauce over thick pappardelle egg pasta noodles, making them the perfect easy dinner, or an easy appetizer when served on their own.
What’s in Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs
These meatballs are full of rich, savory flavor and are so tasty on their own, but this umami-rich cream sauce really seals the deal.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Swedish meatballs:
- Ground beef
- Ground pork
- Yellow onion
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Canola or vegetable oil
- All-purpose flour
- Beef stock or beef broth
- Heavy cream
- Soy sauce
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh parsley
- DeLallo pappardelle egg pasta noodles
Tip: If you wanted to serve these with a dollop of sour cream or lingonberry jam on top, that would be super delicious and make these Swedish meatballs even more Swedish.
How to Make Swedish Meatballs
This recipe is broken down into three stages: The meatballs, the noodles, and the sauce.
First, let’s talk meatballs…
Use a combination of ground beef and ground pork. For the most tender bite, these meatballs require a bit of fat to render through them as they cook. In these meatballs, ground beef provides the structure and the fat from the ground pork adds richness. In this recipe, I use 85/15 ground sirloin and good-quality ground pork.
Finely grate the onion and garlic. So that the meatballs hold together while cooking, avoid big chunks of onion or garlic in the mix that can cause the meatballs to fall apart. Mince these ingredients, or use a grater or a garlic press for best results.
Allspice adds that warm Swedish spiced bite. Warming spices are the signature of Swedish meatballs. While the recipe Ikea shared on the internet didn’t mention spices as an ingredient, looking at the ingredient list of Ikea’s frozen meatballs shows allspice is indeed added. Nutmeg would make a good addition or substitution as well.
Dig in, but don’t overwork the meatballs when mixing. Use the best tools you own—your hands!—to dig in and mix the meatballs together. Don’t overwork the mixture or they may become tough.
How to Form Swedish Meatballs
Do you like mammoth meatballs that need a fork and a knife to eat, or are you more of a meatball popper straight in your mouth? So how big should Swedish meatballs be? For this recipe, I keep the meatballs on the smaller size, making them more manageable to enjoy with each noodled bite.
When measuring the meatball mix, use a 1 tablespoon or #40 scoop. For consistent cooking, no matter what size you choose, make the meatballs the same.
Form the meatballs by lightly tossing them back and forth. Make the meaty spheres bind tighter by tossing the balls back and forth in your hands like a hot potato, lightly compressing them into consistent rounds.
Refrigerate or Freeze Swedish Meatballs Before Cooking
To help the meatballs keep shape, place them on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper and chill before cooking.
Cool in the fridge: Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Chill in the freezer: Speed up the process by placing the meatballs in the freezer for 15 minutes. Or, freeze overnight then place the meatballs in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Cook Swedish Meatballs
Cooked over medium-high heat, these meatballs brown quickly, and when following these tips, they won’t burn.
Brown in batches in a large cast iron skillet or large skillet (nonstick is best) with oil. Even though the meatballs release their own fat, a skiff of oil on the non-stick surface keeps the meatballs from sticking to the pan while still building up a flavorful fond (all the crispy bits). Brown the meatballs in batches so the outsides crisp instead of steam.
Shake the pan to keep the balls round and rolling. These meatballs go quickly from bronzed to charcoal brown if they aren’t kept in motion. They’ll also flatten out on the cooked sides so they’re no longer round. To avoid this, sear the meatballs undisturbed for 45-60 seconds then shake the pan to toss them to the other sides. Tongs, a large spoon, or chopsticks also help to keep them turning.
Brown on the stove and finish in the oven. It only takes about 5 minutes per batch to brown. Finish cooking in a 375°F oven for about 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
And now, the noodles…
What to Serve With Swedish Meatballs: Golden Egg Noodles
A starchy side is where the comfort comes into this meatball dish, and nothing’s more comforting than wide, egg pasta pappardelle noodles that welcome this delicious, creamy sauce.
DeLallo’s pappardelle has become my favorite egg noodle. Made in Northern Italy with the finest durum wheat, DeLallo pappardelle pasta is kneaded with six egg yolks per kilo for superior golden color and extruded with traditional bronze dies. This process creates a noodle with a chewy bite and texture for the sauce to stick to.
Pappardelle noodles are wider than most noodles, then cut into long strips. DeLallo’s egg noodles are folded into nests before drying, making them easy to portion and cook.
How to Cook Egg Noodles
Cook in salted water until al denté. Like most pasta, wide-cut pappardelle egg noodles are best when cooked in generously salted boiling water. These noodles take 9 minutes to cook until tender.
Drain but don’t rinse the noodles. Shake the water from the noodles before adding them back to the pot. Rinsing the noodles removes all the starch so the sauce won’t stick.
Buttered Egg Noodles
You could serve these pappardelle egg noodles naked, but adding a bit of butter, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper with a sprinkling of fresh parsley makes this meal even better.
Add the drained noodles back to the warm pot and place them on the burner with the heat turned off. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and parsley, stir and cover with a lid to keep warm.
Next up, the final step: The creamy Swedish sauce…
How to Make Swedish Meatball Sauce
Like most gravies, this creamy sauce starts with a butter and flour roux.
Melt the butter and whisk in the butter. Continue whisking the butter and flour mixture until the flour turns golden and smells nutty.
Add the beef stock and cook to thicken. The sauce will take 3-4 minutes to thicken while continuing to whisk while bubbling.
Add the cream off the heat. Another layer of thickening power comes from the addition of cream. So the sauce doesn’t break, be sure to add the cream to the gravy with the heat turned off.
Add Umami to the Sauce
There’s something special about this sauce that comes from two important ingredients you may not think would be in a Swedish dish: Soy sauce and Dijon mustard. Together they add depth to the creamy sauce, known in culinary circles as umami.
Double the Sauce if You’re Feeling Saucy
My husband’s favorite part of any dish is the sauce, and he’s always asking for extra. If you’re like him, this sauce recipe quickly makes more by doubling the ingredients in the same proportions.
Add Sauce to the Meatballs In the Skillet
Remove the skillet with the meatballs from the oven and add the sauce. Toss the meatballs In the sauce, picking up the fond and extra cooking liquid the meatballs may have released. All those bits are flavor!
Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve as is, or serve as a main meal over the buttered noodles.
What to Serve With Swedish Meatballs
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- 5-Ingredient Stovetop Creamed Spinach
- Easy Glazed Carrots
- Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
- Easy Green Beans with Browned Butter Almondine
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
The BEST Swedish Meatballs (Just Like Ikea!)
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¾ pound ground pork
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic , pressed or finely minced
- ¾ cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
For the Swedish Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅓ cup beef stock
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
For the Pasta Noodles
- 1 8.8 ounce DeLallo Pappardelle Egg Pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, use your fingers to mix the ground beef and ground pork with with the chopped onion, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, milk, allspice, kosher salt and black pepper until combined.
- Use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon or #40 scoop to portion out the meatball mix. Lightly toss the meatball between the palms of your hand to form small, round balls. Place on a platter or baking sheet and repeat with the remaining mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to help them hold their shape while cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and remove the meatballs from the refrigerator.
- Heat the canola oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add half of the meatballs and fry for 1-2 minutes. Shake the pan so the meatballs turn and cook, repeating until they are lightly browned on all sides, a total of about 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining meatballs. Add all of the meatballs back to the skillet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through with an internal temperature of 160°F.
- While the meatballs are baking, make the Swedish cream sauce and prepare the noodles.
- To make the noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with kosher salt, and add the pappardelle pasta. Cook for 9 minutes, drain, and return the noodles to the pot (off the heat) with the butter, parsley, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then cover with a lid until ready to serve.
- To make the creamy sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan or high-sided skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute or until it is lightly browned. Add the beef stock and whisk until smooth. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in the cream, soy sauce and Dijon mustard and simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If the sauce seems too thick, add more beef stock 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
- Pour the sauce into the pan with the meatballs and stir to combine. Serve over the warm noodles and enjoy.
More Easy Dinner Ideas
- Baked Sausage and Cheese Rigatoni
- Gnocchi With Pomodoro Sauce
- Baked Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Polenta and Marinara
- Beef Bourguignon
- Chicken Piccata Pasta
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This recipe is sponsored by DeLallo Foods. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There are affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.
I would like to make this over the weekend. Is it possible to use half and half instead of heavy cream for the sauce?
Yes Dorie, you can use half and half. The gravy may not be as thick but it will still taste good.
I made this recipe for 6 very fussy family members, 4 adults and 2 large appetite eaters children.
A few changes, I used a 12 ounce pack ground pork but did not change other ingredients. I used a small food processor to mince onion and garlic. I had 42 meatballs.
I initially made a double batch of the recipe to make the sauce but I knew the small amount left in the beef broth and heavy cream would be thrown away, I made a third batch.
I used 2 packages of pasta for 16 ounces. I could not find this brand of pasta but a egg based fettuccine to use.
There were a few meatballs left after dinner as well as pasta and even sauce to make a yummy leftover lunch for 2.
My family said this is a keeper.
I’m so glad to hear your family enjoyed it Patti! And great idea to do some batch cooking and make extra for later.
I wouldn’t put “best” and Ikea together when it comes to Swedish meatballs. There are many variants, and don’t be afraid to over-mix. That’s what you want, a well mixed, smooth paste. The mince should be fine ground and really cold when mixing. Never add raw onion, braise or fry until golden otherwise it won’t incorporate and will separate.
Thanks for the note Jonas. Grating the onion helps hold the meatballs together, and you’re right, never over mix.
The meatballs are so delicious, perfect with the noodles and delicious sauce.
So glad you enjoyed them mama!
These sound great. I plan to make them. How many mearballs does this recipe make?
Brook, using a rounded tablespoon or #40 scoop I made 35 meatballs from this recipe. Enjoy!