Swedish-ish Meatballs

2 lb ground pork
2 slices white sandwich bread
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
white pepper

for the sauce:
3 cups pork or chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup defrosted frozen spinach
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
white pepper

to serve:
lingonberry preserves
1 lb egg noodles, cooked to package instructions or boiled small red potatoes

Tear the bread into small pieces place in a small pan and top with milk. Allow to soak 2 minutes over low heat or until the milk is full absorbed by the bread. Combine the milk-soaked bread with the rest of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Then follow these directions to make mini meatballs or simply roll 1 tablespoon’s worth of the meat mixture into balls and broil, turning once until they are cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and spices then the milk and broth. Bring to boil then add spinach and reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve over noodles or with boiled red potatoes for a meal or with toothpicks as an appetizer.

Yield: 6-8 meal sized servings or 10-15 appetizer sized servings

Spring this recipe!

My thoughts:

Swedish meatballs are a somewhat retro party food. Great as appetizers or a snack they also make a wonderfully comforting dinner. Who doesn’t, if even secretly, love meatballs? They are easy to make and can be kept warm for a long time over a slow simmer on the stove or in the slow cooker.

I call these Swedish-ish meatballs because there are a few differences between how I like to make them and what is strictly traditional. I like to use ground pork instead of beef or a pork-beef combination; they end up much less greasy and I think the flavor is better. Since I am using pork I like to use pork or chicken broth instead of beef stock. I also like to add spinach to the recipe to eliminate the need for a side dish when I am serving them as a meal and a splash of color when they are on appetizer duty. I also like to use milk instead of heavy cream in the sauce. The sauce is still quite rich and creamy but not nearly as heavy.


  1. Yumm! This meatballs looks so delicious!!

  2. So crazy! I just made Swedish meatballs for the first time ever last night! I wish I would have seen this first so that I would have thought to put spinach in the sauce…although my husband was happy not to have been forced to eat anything green for at least one meal. Yours look awesome!

  3. This looks great! Is the lingonberry preserve a “Swedish accent”? I’ve never been sure what makes Swedish meatballs Swedish.

  4. Julia, well no, the lingonberries are not exactly what makes Swedish meatballs Swedish. While the preserves are Swedish, so is this method of preparing meatballs. Small meatballs in am allspice flavored sauce (Köttbullar) has been a staple of holidays and smorgasbords in Sweden for generations and were brought to the US by Scandinavian immigrants.

  5. I made a batch of these last year and they were wonderful and much better than what IKEA serves up.

  6. This sounds really good. I actually love Swedish meatballs but have never made them. Time I did!

  7. We eat meatballs regularly (finnish meatballs of course – there’s an ongoing fight over the origins of meatballs) and always add chopped raw onion to the meat mix. For parties (when eaten cold) I also like to add 2 tablespoons of tomato pure and dried mushrooms to intensify the flavour.

  8. Oh I always forget about Swedish Meatballs. Good one!!