Swedish Meatballs

These Swedish meatballs are soft, tender, and deliciously seasoned with a hint of allspice smothered in a rich and decadent beef gravy!

This post is being sponsored by Nordic Ware® featuring their 3 QT Dutch Oven and the “Jul” cookbook. All opinions of these ABSOLUTELY AMAZING products are mine.

Swedish meatballs were something Mom seemed to ALWAYS make when she didn’t know what else to make for dinner in the winter. They were inexpensive, you could feed a huge family fairly inexpensive and they were so filling that you didn’t have to worry about starving later that night. Now full disclosure, I didn’t like Moms. Now don’t get me wrong as I have her recipe and absolutely love them now but when I was little, my tastes were very, VERY immature. If I could have lived on mashed potatoes, corn, butter bread and dippy eggs I would have. I was a ridiculously picky eater. If I even saw the teensiest trace of an onion I was convinced the dish was poisoned and if I ate it horrible things would happen to my body.

Swedish Meatballs

However, one thing my parents didn’t do was cater to us. If we didn’t like what we were served, we either ate it or we went to bed hungry. And you can be certain there was no dessert involved if you didn’t eat your dinner. And let me tell you what folks, you would have eaten a whole raw onion for a slice of my Mom’s blackout cake! HEAVEN! But Mom’s Swedish meatballs recipe I covet and yes I put onions in it like she did. I’ve actually grown to appreciate and dare I say, love them, in foods. Now I won’t go so far to say I’ll eat a raw one but if they are cooked I’m your girl!

This recipe for Swedish Meatballs comes from the cookbook Jul by Patrice Johnson. Patrice Johnson is a Nordic food geek and meatball historian. She writes food and culture posts for a variety of web and print publications as well as the weekly column “Called to the Table” for the Gaylord Hub (Sibley County, Minnesota). She teaches Nordic food classes and presents interactive cooking demonstrations at sites throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. You can follow her on Twitter – @NordicFoodGeek

Swedish Meatballs

Now before I rave on about Patrice, let’s dish about this 3 QT Dutch Oven from Nordic Ware! OMG it’s INCREDIBLE! First, it’s light-weight so no longer does it feel like you’re lugging a 50 pound rock around when using a dutch oven. Second, it’s GORGEOUS! OMG the cranberry color is gorgeous! And with it being Christmas time, this is a must-have in every kitchen!  This 3-quart enameled cast aluminum multipurpose pot is a great everyday pot. With it being made out of cast aluminum you get even temperature, controlled cooking, and lightweight. And what I truly love about it is that its non-stick coating makes for easy cleanup and eliminates the need to season the pan before you use it!  That’s a huge bonus for me!

Swedish Meatballs

When Nordic Ware asked me to go through this cookbook and pick out anything I wanted to make I immediately went to Swedish meatballs. I mean ‘hello’ it is a Swedish-American holiday cookbook!  Now in this cookbook, there actually are several submitted recipes for Swedish meatballs. After careful review, I gravitated to this one. What I liked about it was the simplicity of it plus it used a few different ingredients than Mom’s recipe did. This one used cardamom – something Mom just never had. Heck, I didn’t have that spice in my pantry until maybe 15 years ago. Another thing was allspice. Mom used cloves and nutmeg with just a ‘kiss’ of cinnamon.  And Mom’s onions were I swear the size of boulders lol where this one the onions are diced up super small – WIN!

Swedish Meatballs

Now in the original recipe, Patrice mentioned using a large skillet to brown the meatballs as well as a buttered casserole dish to bake them in. You know me guys, I’m all for one-pot simplicity. And that’s where this 3 QT Dutch Oven comes into play! When they first sent it to me I was worried because I have another brand of dutch ovens like this that weigh a million pounds. But this one, OMG it’s light-weight but super sturdy! So into the pot, I added the butter and fried up the meatballs. They fried up beautifully and then when I made the beef gravy it came together so thick and creamy. Now, remember this is coated with a non-stick coating so you cannot whisk or use metal utensils in it. I have a rubber coated whisk that is made specifically for non-stick pans. DEFINITELY, use that!

Swedish meatballs

So back to Patrice and her cookbook!  Patrice partnered up with the Minnesota Historical Society published this wonderful cookbook.  Nordic Ware® partnered up with the Minnesota Historical Society to help share their state’s stories while connecting people with history in meaningful ways. The Minnesota Historical Society, play an important role in their state’s historic preservation, education, and tourism; and provide the public with award-winning programs, exhibitions and events. Nordic Ware has been a major part of Minnesota’s heritage and history since 1946!

In looking through her book, Jul, it tells beautiful stories of smörgåsbord and St. Lucia processions to Christmas Eve gatherings with dear family and friends, Swedish Americans are linked through the generations by a legacy of meatballs and lutfisk. Christmas traditions, particularly those involving food, often honor our ancestors. Throughout the Midwest where Swedish immigrants settled, the dishes placed on the julbord (Christmas table) tell stories about who we are, where we come from, and where we are heading.

Swedish Meatballs

In exploring these holiday customs, Patrice Johnson begins with her own family’s Christmas Eve gathering, which involves a combination of culinary traditions: allspice-scented meatballs, Norwegian lefse served Swedish style (warm with butter), and the American interloper, macaroni and cheese. Just as she tracks down the meanings behind why her family celebrates as it does, she reaches into the lives and histories of other Swedish Americans with their own stories, their own versions of traditional recipes, their own joys of the season. The result is a fascinating exploration of the Swedish holiday calendar and its American translation.

Featured dishes include yellow pea soup (ärtsoppa) and Swedish pancakes (Svenska plättar); assorted Swedish cookies like pepparkakor, rosettes, and meringues; meatballs with pickled cucumber; the julhög, a breakfast pyramid of bread, cheese, fruit, and cookies; and so much more. Come, raise a glass of punsch, hear tell of holidays past, snack on cardamom bread, and celebrate jul the midwestern way.

Swedish Meatballs

This is definitely a must-get for your favorite Foodie for the holidays! It’s so unique and has some really incredible recipes that I’m anxious to try! This recipe is so simple to make, to be honest. What I love is the addition of milk with the breadcrumbs. In any Italian meatball “milk bread” is a must-have! That’s the key to super tender, super moist meatballs. And with these meatballs, they are so incredibly tender that it mimics those that Nonna would make with her Sunday gravy.

I’ve had some meatballs in my life where you need a fork AND knife to eat them. But not with these. OMG no way!  They pretty much fall apart just by looking at them!  And that beef gravy. OMG it’s NOTHING like what Mama made. This was so savory and had such a deep beef flavor. This all comes from that wonderous can of beef consommé. A consommé is a broth or stock that has been clarified and concentrated, making for a strong flavored and perfectly clear soup. The word consommé is a French word that means “perfect” or “to make perfect and complete.” It’s such an intense flavor that you really can’t consume it on its own. It’s simply too strong.

Swedish Meatballs

Now I would say the only thing I would change about this recipe is that for me, I would actually double the gravy/sauce recipe. I prefer a lot of sauce when I eat this with egg noodles. Plus guys that sauce is the bomb dot com! The taste, it’s true and authentic. I loved the addition of the cardamom though the jury is still out on the allspice. But then I’m not an allspice fan to be honest. As for the taste, Mr. Fantabulous was pleasantly pleased with it. He said “well these don’t taste like my cafeteria’s Swedish meatballs I had in high school.” I asked if that was a good thing or a bad thing. He said “Oh good, theirs were wretched. These are really good! And wow, they are so tender like your sauce meatballs!”

For those that aren’t Italian, “Sauce Meatballs” are the meatballs you serve alongside of Sunday gravy. Meatballs are never, EVER to be mixed in with or put a top spaghetti; they are always on the side.

Swedish Meatballs

So if you’re looking for a great winter comfort food, definitely make these. That sauce/gravy is killer and these meatballs are so flavorful you will not be disappointed!

Swedish Meatballs


Serves: 4-6

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  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbl butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 ounces ground pork
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 3 Tbl flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can condensed beef broth (beef consommé)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 pound cooked wide egg noodles
  1. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, and breadcrumbs. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbl of butter. Cook the onion, stirring often, until soft; ~5 minutes. When done, remove the onions from the pan. Add the cooked onions to the breadcrumb mixture along with ground beef, pork, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp dill, allspice, nutmeg, and cardamom. Mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Shape the meatballs about 1” in diameter. Add 1 Tbl of butter to the Nordic Ware 3 QT Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs in small batches browning all sides. Add more butter as needed. Place the cooked meatballs on a plate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325F. Remove all but 2 Tbl of drippings from the Dutch oven. Add 1 Tbl of butter. Using a rubber tipped whisk (or rubber spatula) whish in the flour, 1/2 tsp salt and the pepper stirring/whisking combined. Cook for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the beef consommé until combined. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Stir in the half-and-half and remaining dill. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and carefully place the meatballs into the pan, coating them with the sauce as best as possible.
  4. Cover with bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and server over wide egg noodles.




8 Responses to “Swedish Meatballs”

  • Jeff says:

    Made these for a party last night and they were incredible! Excellent flavor! Merry Christmas!

  • JoeW says:

    This is a great recipe, excellent flavor.

    Played very fast and loose with the meatball ingredient proportions. Butcher gave me about 1 lb of pork shoulder to grind, and I used it all, along with an extra egg and more breadcrumbs. Even after chilling, it was pretty soft. Not the recipe’s fault. Bad cook, or too much cider, or sunspots (always a good fall guy). The only issue with the above is that it made turning while browning a bit of a challenge.

    Doubled the sauce, as you suggested, and it was just the right amount.

    I cut back a bit on the allspice, since I eye that flavor with suspicion, when used in meat.

    I assume that the dill in the meatballs was to be dry? That’s what I used.

    Anyway, many thanks for sharing this. Will definitely make again.

    Merry Christmas,

  • Cathy says:

    I found the mixture to be rather “soupy”.i doubled up on the breadcrumbs, and then it was a better texture. I omitted the cardamom…was tin my spice rack. I’m sure it’ll be good anyway!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Soupy how? Meaning the meatballs themselves or the gravy? If the gravy was soupy then it wasn’t cooked long enough to thicken. The meatball mixture is very soft and tender this chilling it is key. Then to make the meatballs I actually lightly wet my hands to form them.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Brandy says:

    What does cardamom taste like? Never heard of it. Anything I can use instead?

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Brandy!

      Cardamom is citrusy with a hint of mint, savory spice and herbs. It’s actually a really complex flavor. There really is no real substitute. If you don’t have it you can use cinnamon with nutmeg or ginger in a pinch. Since the recipe already has nutmeg in it go with a trace bit of ginger with cinnamon but scale back on it as it can be strong in the recipe.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • JoeW says:

    OK, these are on the list for Saturday.

    Agree that doubling the sauce is the righteous thing to do.
    Double everything, right? No gotchas?


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