These easy Swedish Meatballs are even better than the iconic IKEA dish. Pan-fried beef and pork meatballs are covered in a luscious homemade gravy, then served over creamy mashed potatoes. It’s comfort food you’ll be daydreaming about!Jump to Recipe
Easy copycat IKEA Swedish meatballs
If there’s one thing that can cure a stressful trip to IKEA, it’s treating yourself to a plate of Swedish Meatballs. These warmly spiced, gravy-covered meatballs are deliciously comforting, moist, and tender. Good news: they’re easy to make at home, too!
My homemade Swedish meatball recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. Each one is filled with a blend of ground beef and pork, simple herbs and aromatics, and warm spices. They pan-fry quickly on the stove, leaving you with golden-crusted meatballs that are never dry.
To finish, the IKEA copycat meatballs are cooked and covered in an epic light brown gravy. This is no ordinary gravy – it’s finished with heavy cream for a divine, dreamy mouthfeel. Once it’s ready, treat yourself to a big scoop of meatballs and gravy over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes or egg noodles, and enjoy!
What are Swedish meatballs?
Chances are if you’ve stepped foot in an IKEA, you’ve heard of Swedish meatballs. These crave-worthy meatballs are different from traditional Italian meatballs because they contain warm spices, like allspice and nutmeg. They’re also served with a creamy, umami gravy that all rests on a luscious bed of mashed potatoes.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Ground beef and pork – Yep, you need both. Ground beef fills the meatballs with irresistible savory flavors while ground pork is really juicy. Use lean 80/20 meat to prevent the meatballs from being too greasy.
- Breadcrumbs – Make sure they’re unseasoned. Use panko for extra crunch or gluten free breadcrumbs if you’re gluten free!
- Egg – A whisked egg will help bind the meatball mixture together.
- Garlic powder
- Nutmeg and allspice – Both fill the meatballs and pan gravy with the classic warm flavors. Use freshly grated nutmeg if you can.
- Kosher salt
- Sweet onion
- Parsley – Fresh flat leaf parsley gives the meatballs a refreshing element.
- Olive oil – You need oil to pan-fry the meatballs.
- All purpose flour – Or use a gluten free flour blend.
- Beef broth – Used as the base of the gravy. Bone broth would work well here.
- Worcestershire sauce – While this is the best option for that punchy umami flavor, you can use soy sauce or tamari as a substitute.
- Dijon mustard – Yellow mustard works too, but the flavors aren’t as deep.
- Heavy cream – To give the gravy its signature creamy finish. Cream is the best option, but whole milk or coconut milk should work as well.
How to make homemade Swedish meatballs
Use clean hands to mix the ground beef and pork, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, spices, salt, grated onion, and parsley together in a bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop 1 ½ inch meatballs from the mixture.
Heat some oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Cook half of the meatballs until they’re browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate covered loosely in foil, then repeat with the remaining meatballs.
Clean the grease from the pan when they’re done and lower the heat. Melt the butter in the pan, then add the flour. Cook for 1 minute, then add a splash of beef broth at a time and whisk.
Season the gravy with salt, allspice, and nutmeg. Next, stir in the Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Finish by slowly adding the cream.
Tip: Be careful not to boil the cream. It can separate if you cook it at a higher temperature.
Bring the gravy up to a simmer and add the cooked meatballs back into the pan. Cook until the gravy thickens and the meatballs are cooked through.
Garnish the finished meatballs with fresh parsley and serve over a bed of mashed potatoes. Enjoy!
What to serve with Swedish meatballs
The Swedish meatballs and gravy are best served over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. You can go the traditional route or swap the potatoes for cauliflower mash, rice, or egg noodles instead. For a touch of sweetness, top the meal with a scoop of lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce.
Frequently asked questions
Pan frying is the best method for Swedish meatballs because it gives them a nicely browned crust on the outside. In addition, the leftover pan juices season the cream sauce perfectly and greatly enhances the flavor.
Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. You’ll know the meatballs are done cooking when their internal temperature reaches 165°F.
To keep this recipe gluten-free, swap the breadcrumbs for a gluten-free version. To keep the gluten out of the gravy, reserve 1 cup of beef stock and mix it with ⅓ cup of cornstarch. Add it to the gravy at the end to thicken it up.
Storing and freezing
Store: Allow the balls to cool completely, then store in an airtight container with the sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze: Let them cool, then freeze the cooked meatballs for up to 3 months.
Reheat: Allow the frozen meatballs to thaw overnight in the fridge, then place them and sauce in a saucepan with ¼ cup of beef broth or water. Cover with a lid and heat over medium heat until warmed through (about for 20 to 30 minutes).
Looking for more recipes with meatballs?
These recipes all feature homemade meatballs, made with either ground beef, pork, or chicken:
- Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders
- Chicken Meatball Banh Mi
- Air Fryer Asian Pork Meatballs
- French Onion Chicken Meatballs
- Keto Baked Asian Meatballs
Did you try this Swedish Meatballs recipe? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below and giving this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to take a picture tag me on Instagram or use #lenaskitchenblog to be featured in my stories! I love seeing what you come up with!
Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat)
- 1 lb ground beef 80/20
- 1 lb ground pork
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs unseasoned or use gluten-free
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated preffered
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 medium sweet onion grated
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups beef broth more if you like it thinner
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, spices, salt, grated onion, parsley, and mix with your hands to combine.
- Using a cookie scoop, measure out the meat mixture into 1.5- inch meatballs, you’ll get about 30-36 meatballs, depending on the size of your scoop.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Then add half of the meatballs and cook until browned on all sides. Cooks for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.
- Pour off any excess grease from the pan. Scaping some of the browned bits as well. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt and begin to bubble, sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute, making sure to stir. Add a little bit of the beef broth at a time and whisk so no clumps form.
- Season with salt, allspice and nutmeg. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Whisk to combine and slowly add in the cream.
- Bring the gravy to a simmer on low heat, add all the meatballs back into the pan.
- Simmer on low until the gravy has thicken up a bit and the meatballs are cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. (The meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165° F.)
- Sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve over creamy mashed potatoes, rice or egg noodles, add a spoonful of lingonberry jam, optional.