How To Make The Best Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs in a rich, silky smooth gravy, tarragon, and onion flavored beef served with a dollop of lingonberry jam make these Swedish meatballs a dish that will have them begging for more.
We made a huge batch of about 64 Swedish meatballs and sent half of those to the freezer for another quick and easy weeknight meal at the ready.
We have provided a couple of recipe modifications to our Swedish Meatball that you can make to this if ingredients are not on hand. Be sure to see the notes at the end of this post!
Let’s get to rolling our Swedish Meatballs!
Start with a large bowl to make your meatball mixture. Take off those rings and get ready to dive in! Mix the ground beef, spices, herbs, onion, egg, and breadcrumbs until evenly dispersed and well combined.
Once your mixture is combined, start rolling your meatballs. I weighed these pre-cooked and they came out to 0.9 ounces each. Swedish meatballs are to be on the small side as opposed to other meatballs you are accustomed to. Remember, they will shrink upon cooking and I’ve found this weight to be a nice starting point.
I’m not completely crazy, I didn’t weigh each one as I made them. I tried to keep them relatively the same size and it seemed to work out, on average, the few random soldiers I selected weighed 0.9 ounces. Don’t stress if they are less or a little more. They will taste amazing regardless.
Now, admittingly, I could have eaten the whole tray, however, I sometimes like to make things easy on myself so I scooped up half of these, flash froze them for about an hour then put them in a freezer safe container for a quick meal on a night I have zero time. Genius, right? Mostly it was so I didn’t eat them all because honestly, I could. Like, for reals!
Look at those beauties, gorgeous!
Ready to cook?!? If you’re like me and love your stainless cookware, make sure to preheat the pan and let all of those pores open up. I like to think of this as giving my cookware a little facial. No? Okay, moving on…… I added some olive oil and a little bit of butter (because I truly enjoy the flavor it adds) to the pan once heated and placed in my little Swedish meatballs. You can see I left a little bit of room between each one as to not completely crowd them out and to make sure they were happy.
You will need to turn these as they cook to brown them all the way around and assure they are cooked through. I do like to leave them cooking in the gravy for a short time after it is made just to be sure there is not any pink left in the middle when serving. I’m a little over cautious but it works lol
Once they have browned in the pan, remove the meatballs and set aside. Look at that gorgeous little-caramelized onion peeking through that one meatball! Ugh, I’m getting hungry for them all over again!
Using the same pan that you cooked your meatballs in, you’re going to make a roux. Adding flour and butter to the pan and whisking for about 1 minute to cook the flour taste out.
This is where I apologize to you dear wonderful readers. I was so excited about making this, my photo for the roux came out super blurry. It just looks like a color swatch and I’m not going to subject you to that!
After one minute, add in the beef stock and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Once the gravy is at a simmer, add salt, pepper, and tarragon. Place your meatballs back in the pan and coat with the gravy and let simmer up to 15 minutes. Turn down the heat, add the fresh parsley and lingonberry jam. Serve and watch the smiles that come your way.
Don’t have Lingonberry jam available in your area?
Want to make these meatballs but do not have time to wait for an online order?
Cranberries, red currants, and huckleberries have a similar taste and tartness that is close to Lingonberries. Cranberries, so I’ve come to understand, are actually related to the Lingonberry. Try out my recipe for the easiest cranberry sauce ever!
My cranberry sauce should equally substitute the Lingonberry tartness and flavor to satisfy the taste buds. A few other quick notes about the recipe to take into consideration if you happen to not have all the listed ingredients on hand.
- Allspice: Contrary to popular belief, allspice is a spice all on its own. However, you can come close to the flavor with a few spice rack staples. By combining cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, the flavor profile is close enough to pull off the recipe. This combination from Genius Kitchen is one that I personally like. You can check it out here.
- Beef Stock: I prefer beef stock as opposed to the broth for the depth of flavor. By all means, if you have beef broth in your pantry, go ahead and use it. No need to run out to the store for stock. Hopefully, you will have stock packed away in the freezer that you made from scratch, but, let’s be real. Not everyone has time for that! One thing I do like to do if using broth instead of stock is to add a beef bullion cube or a teaspoon of Better than Bullion to the broth. It deepens the beef flavor and provides a richer sauce.
- Tarragon: I realize that not everyone uses nor has in stock Tarragon. It’s an amazing spice and I love to add it to everything! Especially butter. Then put that butter on Irish Soda Bread. Or ANY bread for that matter hahaha. If you do not have it in stock, don’t fret! Although it has its own unique flavor that I LOVE….ahem, did I mention that already? It adds a bit of sweetness to the dish, just a bit, but it is a bit that I do enjoy. If you don’t have it and you’re looking to make this soon, you can substitute with a pinch of oregano or anise. If using anise, use a small amount per teaspoon otherwise it will overpower the recipe.
- Cooking: If you are an avid reader here at OvenStruck you know that I am a huge proponent of HAVING FUN! Cooking should be something that you enjoy. We are all unique and so are our taste buds. Make things your own and use recipes as a guide. They are not the end all be all to cooking, however, I do hope that you try and enjoy them as written 🙂
Let’s get cooking!
How To Make The Best Swedish Meatballs
For the Meatballs
- 3 lbs Quality Ground Beef
- 3/4 Tablespoon Allspice
- 2 Tablespoons dried Tarragon
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons freshly chopped or dried parsley
- 1/2 Large Onion - finely diced remember these meatballs are small
- 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs you could use regular or homemade breadcrumbs too
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Butter for cooking
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil for cooking
For the Roux (thickener)
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 3-1/2 to 4 Tablespoons Flour
For the Gravy
- 2 Cups Beef Stock *see notes
- 2-1/2 Cups heavy cream
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon dried Tarragon
- Lingonberry jam/preserves
- Fresh Chopped Parsley
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, Allspice, Tarragon, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, Parsley, bread crumbs, parsley, onion, and egg. Mix until evenly distributed and well combined.
- Spray or line a sheet pan and begin to roll out your meatballs. Remeber, Swedish meatballs are smaller than the ones we are normally accustomed too. Start with one heaping tablespoon of mixture. Meatballs should be about 1-1/2 inches round. Roll out meatballs until there is no mixture left in the bowl.
- Preheat your skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil. Starting on the outside edge of the pan, place your meatballs in a circular pattern, working inward, and leaving 1 to 1-1/2 inches in between each meatball. Cook, turning each meatball until browned on all sides. Once meatballs are browned and cooked through, remove and set aside.
- In the same pan, add in the butter until melted. Once melted, whisk in the flour until a thick roux is formed. Cook for 1 minute to allow the flour taste to "cook-out".
- Whisk in your beef stock and heavy cream and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Once at a simmer add the salt, pepper, and Tarragon.
- Place your meatballs back in the pan, coat with the gravy and allow to simmer for up to 15 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and Lingonberry jam and serve!