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.
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- 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.