Is there anyone who hasn’t made a beeline for the meatballs after a hike around Ikea? Why not skip the tiring shopping trip and try this tasty 30-minute homemade copycat Swedish meatball recipe instead?
What would you say if I told you I have a recipe for Swedish meatballs that are better than the ones from Ikea?
Believe it or not, I’m not a big fan of the cheap and cheerful Ikea meatballs with sauce. But I do like these Swedish meatballs.
What makes these the best Swedish meatballs?
- You can make them in just 30 minutes. So they make a perfect crowd pleasing and comforting midweek meal.
- You know exactly what’s going into them. No unidentifiable filler or preservative. I’m not suggesting that’s what’s in Ikea’s meatballs, but you know… homemade has to be better!
- The combination of beef and pork mince, the spoonfuls of allspice and the dill give them a complexity of flavour that you’ll love.
- There are secret ingredients in the gravy that send it from good to amazing.
- Speaking of the sauce, follow this recipe and you’ll get a generous amount. Better a bit too much than not enough. No gravy stingy-ness here!
How to make them
The hardest part of this recipe is shaping the meatballs. And the word ‘hardest’ is relative i.e. not very hard at all.
All you do to make them is:
Step 1: Throw all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
Step 2: Shape into meatballs the size of a walnut.
Step 3: Pan fry until cooked through, then remove from the pan and keep warm in the oven.
Step 4: Make the sauce in the same pan.
How to make the gravy
Of course, the magic of this recipe lies mostly in the gravy!
There are just 6 ingredients in it:
- good quality beef stock
- lingonberry or cranberry sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
The last 2 ingredients (the mustard and Worcestershire sauce) are by no means essential, but provide a bit of extra tang.
On the other hand, the spoonful of berry sauce and large drizzle of cream are definitely not optional!
How to serve them
I like to serve these in the Winter with a big dollop of mashed potatoes and some peas or green beans.
They’re also great served over your favourite pasta.
Alternatively, serve them with fresh bread and salad. This makes the meal a bit lighter so you can serve it any time of year.
At Ikea of course they are always served with a spoonful of red berry sauce (lingonberry sauce) on the side. Either pick a jar up from the Ikea food shop next time you go flat pack furniture shopping, or use cranberry sauce instead.
Can you freeze them?
Yes! You can freeze them uncooked by freezing them first on baking trays then transferring to big freezer bags. When you want to eat them just defrost and cook as you normally would. Make the sauce fresh.
You can even cook them from frozen if you like. Just add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
Alternatively, sometimes I just freeze the meatball mixture in a container. I defrost the mixture and shape them into meatballs on the day I want to cook them.
I don’t recommend freezing the cooked meatballs in the sauce as the cream tends to separate when defrosting.
More 30-minute meals
- Creamy lemon chicken orzo soup
- Easy baked gnocchi with sausage, peppers and tomatoes
- Moussaka penne (Greek beef and eggplant pasta bake)
- The simplest stovetop chicken and rice
- OR check out all my easy midweek meals!
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Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
For the meatballs
For the sauce
- 2 1/2 cups beef stock good quality
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons lingonberry or cranberry sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard optional
- a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce optional
- 4 tablespoons cream
- lingonberry or cranberry sauce
- mashed potatoes or nice crusty bread and fresh salad leaves
- Mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs together well with your hands in a large bowl.
- With wet hands, shape into walnut-sized meatballs, then put onto a baking tray or plate.
- Switch on the oven at about 100C/210F. Then heat up a tablespoon or so of oil in a big skillet/frying pan and pan-fry the meatballs for about ten minutes, turning regularly, until golden brown and cooked through (you may have to do this in two batches – see note below). Then transfer the meatballs into a dish and pop in the oven to keep hot.
- To make the sauce, add a knob of butter to the oil left in the pan you cooked the meatballs in. Then add the flour to the pan and stir into the oil/butter, then gradually add the beef stock, stirring all the time. Let it bubble for a minute or two until thickened (*see note below).
- Stir in the berry sauce and mustard and Worcestershire sauce (if using), then take off the heat and stir in the cream. Add the meatballs back into the pan and jiggle around in the sauce until well coated.
- Serve the meatballs and sauce over mashed potatoes or with crusty bread and salad. Garnish with herbs and serve a bit of lingonberry/cranberry sauce on the side.