Seriously Amazing Swedish Meatballs in Brown Gravy
My favorite recipe for Swedish meatballs nuzzled in a simple yet creamy brown gravy! Just like IKEA but only better. It’s so good you’ll wanna slurp it through a straw!
Here it is. More comfort food. I hope you aren’t sick of it yet, because there’s soo much more where this ↑ came from. What, you didn’t get the memo? It’s comfort food FRIDAY my friend.
Gimme a big bowl of egg noodles topped with Swedish meatballs and a healthy drizzle of that brown gravy with a good show on Netflix and a cozy blankie. It’s all I ask for. I’ll be living that #blanketburrito life from now all the way into next year. Anyone with me? Next year. Yes, I said it. Guys it’s like, 3 months away. Where did this year go? And can December just not come around this time, pleaseandthankyou. Someone in the room is about to turn the big 3-0 and I really just don’t want it to be me. Speaking of turning thirty, I’m as old as the Oprah Winfrey show. Uh… well if I didn’t feel old before… Would you mind If I just stayed twenty-nine-and-some-change till the end of time?
I’ll just stay here in my sweat pants and drown my twenty-something self in a vat of the most comforting comfort food known to man.
My Swedish meatballs recipe is easy to make…
and they’re also possibly the best thing to come out of my kitchen, ever. That’s not saying I don’t love most of the food I share with you here on LSJ. It just means that this kinda recipe holds a big place in my heart. Perfectly browned little nuggets that are tender and juicy on the inside. Isn’t it amazing how many different ways there are to serve up meatballs? I’d have to say, my favorite is when they’re snuggled in a tangy, creamy and rich gravy that’s so good you’ll wanna bathe in it.
How to make the best Swedish meatballs:
In terms of flavor we’re using onions and a few spices. Keepin’ it simple yet flavorful. To make sure the onions don’t add too much additional moisture to the meatballs, we’re sautéing them in a little bit of butter to cook off some of that liquid. The spices used for my swedish meatballs are just a hint of nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper. Nutmeg and all spice are the heart and soul of a good swedish meatball recipe.
Now for that texture and moisture. I’m using an age-old trick to keep these meatballs nice and tender. This is something I learned from my mom and she from hers. You can never go wrong with a tip that’s been passed for generations. All you need is a couple slices of bread soaked in a 3 tablespoons of milk for a few minutes and friends, i’m telling you, not a dry meatball in sight. The onions that we sautéed also add moisture but just enough.
Too much moisture in a meatball is a BAD thing.
I don’t like to use too much binder in my meatball recipes because it takes away from the actual MEAT-ball. You know? Just enough to get the job done. A couple slices of bread soaked in milk, an egg, onions, and a few spices.
Once we mix up the meatballs, we’re going to sear them in a skillet until all the sides brown up nicely. This helps hold all the juices inside the meatball while gently browning up the outside. Don’t worry if they don’t cook all the way through, we’re going to simmer them in the sauce a little later.
Now for the brown gravy. Since the meatballs bring the onions to the party, I like to flavor the gravy with a hint of garlic. Did you think i’d make meatballs without garlic? We’ve been friends for too long, you should know me better than that! I know, it’s not a traditional Swedish meatball recipe, but you know what?
It’s kinda better.
Along with garlic we’re using beef or chicken broth, a hint of mustard, worcestershire sauce, and sour cream. If you’re thinking it’s starting to sound a little like stroganoff, well, you’re right.
It kinda does.
These Swedish meatballs are perfect for busy weekdays and even better for lazy Sunday suppers. I’d double the recipe and serve them with egg noodles over the weekend and then again a couple of days later with mashed potatoes.
Because the only thing better than Swedish meatballs in gravy is meatballs and gravy on top of mashed potatoes.
shop this post:
Seriously Amazing Swedish Meatballs in Brown Gravy
My favorite recipe for Swedish meatballs nuzzled in a simple yet creamy brown gravy! Just like IKEA but only better. It's so good you'll wanna slurp it through a straw!
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2 slices of bread, torn into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 ¼ pound lean ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon EACH ground allspice AND garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon EACH oil AND Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ¾ cup beef or chicken broth, low sodium
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ - 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes, for serving
- In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and allow them to soften and become translucent about 3-5 minutes. Remove to a medium bowl and allow them to cool.
- In a small bowl, pour the milk over the bread and press down with a spoon or your fingers so that the bread soaks up all the milk, let sit 5 minutes.
- When the onions have cooled, add the ground beef, bread mixture, an egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice to the bowl and mix until just combined. Don't overmix the meat as it will result in tough meatballs. Shape into 18-22 meatballs that are about 1- 1 ¼ inch in diameter.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter along with oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 6-9 minutes, turn every couple of minutes to ensure even browning. Remove to a plate. If you don't have a skillet large enough to hold all the meatballs, do it in batches, do not overcrowd the pan, you don't want them to steam as they won't develop that brown outer crust and as a result, the sauce will be very light in color.
- Add the remaining 3 tbsp of butter to the skillet on medium-low heat. Sprinkle the flour in and whisk for 1-2 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Slowly pour the beef broth in while you whisk. Lower the heat, whisk in the sour cream until it dissolves completely.
- Add the garlic powder, a ½ teaspoon of mustard, and Worcestershire sauce and let come to a gentle simmer before lowering the heat. Allow sauce to thicken for 6-10 minutes or until it reaches desired consistency. Taste and adjust with additional mustard as desired. Add meatballs in when there are 4 minutes remaining. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken as it sits, so if you aren't serving right away, consider leaving it a little thinner. Serve on top of buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Top with fresh parsley if desired!
- Edit: 05/19/2019 some readers have mentioned that they thought the mustard flavor was a little strong in this recipe. The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons, however, if this is your first time making this recipe, I suggest starting with a ½ teaspoon and then adjusting it as desired, up to 2 teaspoons.
- I've only tested the recipe with sour cream so not sure if greek yogurt can be substituted. But really, it's Swedish meatballs, go with the sour cream, just this once.
Looks good! And I should know, I’m Swedish!
Glad I have your stamp of approval 🙂
Great recipe! Do you use dijon mustard or regular yellow mustard? Thanks! Will be making this soon!
Thanks Candace! Just regular yellow mustard, such as French’s. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂
I made this this evening and it was so dang good. I may take it a little easy on the butter next time. Or I may not. Lol!! Some of my meatballs fell apart a little, and I think it’s because I didn’t break the bread up small enough. But it was still so good!! One question though, my sour cream looked grainy when I mixed and never fully dissolved. Did I put too much in too fast? Thanks so much for the recipe, it’s a favorite.!!
Glad to hear you enjoyed it Jae! Sometimes the meatballs also fall apart if they don’t sear on all sides properly but yes, the bread may have also been the culprit. For the sour cream, did you happen to use low-fat or fat free? I find these types almost always leave the sauce a little grainy. Also, for next time, you can try lowering the heat setting or moving the pan completely off the stove when adding it in. I’ll also add a little note to the recipe card about it. thanks for your feedback! 🙂
We just had these for dinner tonight. They were great!
So happy to hear that Brittany. Thanks! 🙂
Can we use ground chicken instead or would it be too “dry”? thanks!
I’ve only tested the recipe with ground beef so i’m a little unsure whether the chicken meatballs will actually even hold together with the same binding ingredients (and quantities).
These were fantastic! I made enough for leftovers and, even though I was planning on them for dinner again tonight, I may serve them for breakfast. Seriously. They were that awesome. Depending on the fat content of the hamburg, one may choose to drain the grease before making the sauce. I wanted a very little in there for flavor but because I mix ground sirloin and ground chuck, I find it necessary to add that small step. Be careful not to lose all the browned bits and pieces (fond) that are in there and stuck to the pan when you drain the grease, that is your money in this dish when you deglaze!
What kind of bread?
White bread or wheat bread, either will work.
Wondering if its legal to eat this every single day…..yum YUM:) Paired with egg noodles and large green salad. We didnt touch the salad haha! Thanks for a winner, absolutely delicious.
Amazing gravy! Mine did not get as brown as yours, but tasted delicious! Love that it made lots, too!
I really want to make these because they sound so yummy!! Just a quick question for you. My husband’s not a fan of sour cream is it necessary to use it?
The sour cream gives this that creamy, rich flavor that Swedish meatballs are known for, so personally, I wouldn’t leave it out, i’d use heavy cream as a replacement. Without it, it’ll be more of a brown gravy – nothing wrong with that, just a little different. Heavy cream makes a good substitute as it still give it that little bit of richness.
Beautiful. Perfect for a winter night in January. My husband loved them 🙂
Made this, super yummy!! I doubled the recipe for the meatballs and froze half so all I need to do is make the sauce next time <3
Why do you put mustard in it?
The mustard adds complexity to the sauce and gives it a nice depth of flavor.
This was so good, we loved it my husband thought he would not like it, (he don’t like sour cream) he loved it.
Thank you four this amazing recipe.
I made this recipe tonight for dinner and while it wasn’t bad, I found the heat and time settings to be completely off. Takes almost twice as long as indicated to cook the meatballs well done, and when making the gravy to start at medium low it will not come to a gentle simmer in anything less than 10 minutes. And even at twice the time indicated, the grave it did not turn brown. Overall, this is an OK recipe, but I will not be making it again.
How many meatballs is a serving?
I got 18 meatballs out of a batch, so we had 3 per serving.
Absolutely amazing. Got great reviews
Fantastic recipe. I goofed and added garlic to the meatballs so I also added it to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup white wine. I decreased the amount of sour cream slightly, and served the dish over rice. Was fantastic
When you added the white wine did you substitute it or was it used in addition to?
Wow. No words but wow. These are AMAZING! Who knew I could make such delicious meatballs 😉
Hi Marzia, I’m planning on using this recipe for a party. will ground turkey work with this recipe?
Yes, I think you could make this with ground turkey. You may need to play around with the binding ingredients a little bit (a little more bread, maybe) but it should work out well.
Sounds wonderful. I have a tip which works great everytime for me. Make the meatballs in advance and put them in the fridge for a few hours or as long as you have. They won’t fall apart then and yes any sort of meat like turkey would work.
Thanks for sharing your tip, Sue!
I made these this evening and have tried lots of variations of Swedish Meatballs. Served them with Lingonberry sauce and rosemary potato wedges and buttery carrots. Absolutely delicious! Thank you!
I absolutely love these meatballs and make them all the time now! Do you think this dish can be frozen? I’m not sure how the sour cream in the sauce would freeze.
Hi Brittany! Happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe and that you make it often! I’m not too sure about freezing the sauce. The meatballs you can certainly make ahead of time and freeze but I haven’t tried freezing the recipe with the prepared sauce so I’m not sure. If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to know how it goes.
I just popped it in the freezer; I’ll report back next week or so!
They froze great!! I’ll have to double the recipe to freeze next time
Oh perfect! Thank you so much for reporting back! 🙂
Excellent – made gluten free with Rudi’s Original Gluten free bread – doubled for leftovers,
I made this tonight and am eating it as I write this! Fantastic recipe! I used a lb of hamburger and a lb of pork sausage. I just added a little more of the ingredients called for! I also made the mistake of adding garlic to both the meatballs and sauce. It was still gr8, I love garlic! I didn’t know what kind of mustard to use so used spicey brown. I had it with buttered egg noodles. Next time I’ll try with mashed potatoes…..and there will be a next time!!
Just curious, do you think using heavy cream in place of the milk would work?
Do you have just the sauce recipe? I have a bunch of left over frozen meatballs and this sauce sounds delicious. I’d like to put them in the sauce after they are cooked in the oven. I will definitely make this entire recipe soon!
Hi Sarah, if you’d like to make just the sauce, you can follow steps 5-6 and add the cooked meatballs in once the sauce has thickened.
I tried your recipe, except that I added chopped tomatillos to the meat mixture and baked the meatballs at 350 F for 20 minutes. Doing this, my meatballs were moist but not greasy. Loved your sauce; but added Spanish smoked paprika. . Will make it again.
Used 2 cups of milk and cooked the noodles in the meatballs and gravy. Perfect solution for one pan ease ☺
Made it tonight, using mix of pork and turkey, followed exactly and stirred cranberry sauce into sauce before adding meatballs… one of my new favorites, comforting, great variation on serving classic meatballs especailly since I prefer potatoes to pasta, and made with all things I most always have on hand! Thank you, delicious !