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Traditional Swedish meatballs recipe

Traditional Swedish meatballs recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Beef mince

Served with boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam Swedish köttbullar are as traditional as it gets in Sweden on the holidays as well as for an everyday meal. It’s one of the essentials on the Christmas table but without the creamy sauce since the Swedish Christmas table consists of many things you combine together!


Stockholms, Sweden

7 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 100g milk or water
  • 1 egg
  • 500g mixed minced meat (beef and pork)
  • 1 medium sized onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • butter for frying
  • Cream sauce
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 stock cube dissolved in water
  • 200g cream or milk
  • salt and white pepper to taste

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:30min ›Extra time:10min resting › Ready in:55min

  1. Boil the potato in a saucepan with water until soft. Drain and let it cool, before you mash it.
  2. Mix breadcrumbs with the milk or water and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the egg to breadcrumb and milk mix and then add the minced meat, potato, onion and spices. Mix well together.
  4. Form small round balls and fry them in a pan with butter or liquid margarine. Try not to put too many in one go or else they will lose their shape and won’t look very nice.
  5. When they are nice and brown put the cooked meatballs in an oven pan and keep them in the oven at the lowest heat to continue the cooking. You will need to do this process several times so in order not to burn the first meatballs you took out make sure your oven is at its lowest heat. I had mine at 50 C.
  6. Cream sauce: when you have finished frying all the meatballs and they’re sitting nicely in the oven take the frying pan off the heat. You will be making your cream sauce in the same pan, you have fried your meatballs in, so don’t get rid of the fat. Add the flour to the pan and whisk well until all the fat is absorbed.
  7. Put the pan back on medium heat, add the stock and continue whisking. This is so that your sauce doesn't get clumpy. Then add the cream or milk, salt and pepper to your taste and whisk together until you have a nice creamy sauce.

Tip

If the cream sauce gets too thick add a little milk even if you’re using cream. The consistency will be a bit thicker if you use cream and it will come together faster, than if you use milk.

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Pickled herring

If you are planning a Swedish style midsummer lunch you obviously need to include some pickled herring, so be sure to order some ready-salted herring soon or start salting your own! Normally at least three types are provided, so that guests have a choice, usually including senapssill (mustard herring), as it is so popular, one clear type and one that includes fruit, such as blackcurrants. More…


Authentic Swedish Meatballs

This recipe is one of my earliest food memories. Every Christmas Eve, my family enjoys an authentic Swedish Smorgasbord, of which this is an essential part. My mother still tells tales (and I'm 40) of me as a toddler, standing by the dish of meatballs and eating as many as I could hold. These are not spicy, like most Scandinavian food, but have a great flavor and texture. In fact, they are so soft, that I usually chill the meat mixture before rolling and frying to avoid meatballs with flat sides. I've included the directions for the gravy, which I usually don't make, as it's traditional, but the balls are wonderful without it on any buffet table, or as an addition to a potluck. They are also good cold, straight from the fridge. If you like to do OAMC cooking, these freeze beautifully, in fact, I never make less than 100 meatballs at a time, lightly brown them, then flash freeze to finish later. The traditional recipe calls for a mix of beef, pork, and veal- if you object to veal, they work equally well with an even mix of beef and pork. Don't try to use these as an option for spaghetti, the seasonings just don't match. Prep time does not include chilling the meat mixture or the prepared meatballs.


Traditional Swedish Meatball Recipes That Scream Awesome!

The Swedish meatball recipe has been around since the 1920s. Learn here, how to make it the traditional way, and some easy and interesting variations of the Swedish meatball recipe.

The Swedish meatball recipe has been around since the 1920s. Learn here, how to make it the traditional way, and some easy and interesting variations of the Swedish meatball recipe.

Meatballs in Sweden, were traditionally considered a luxury item, and generally are served on festive occasions. The Swedish meatball recipe was brought to America by the Scandinavians and has undergone a variety of changes over time. They were most popular in the 20th century, and continue to remain so. For those of you wondering how to make Swedish meatballs, read on for the traditional and popular Swedish meatball recipe, and also find some delectable variations in the recipe.

Traditional Recipe

Ingredients
For the Meatballs

  • 3 tbsp finely chopped Onion
  • ¾ cup Light Cream
  • 5 tbsp Butter or Margarine
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Allspice
  • A dash of Cloves
  • ¾ cup Water
  • ¾ cup dried Breadcrumbs
  • 1½ lb ground Chuck
  • ½ lb ground Pork
  • ½ cup Light Cream
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 1½ cup Water
  • ½ tsp bottled Gravy Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • A dash of Pepper
  • Parsley sprigs to garnish
  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter, add the onions, and saute for 3 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.
  2. Mix the water, breadcrumbs and cream in a large bowl. Add in the sauteed onions, the meat, eggs, and all the spices together, and toss all the ingredients together, lightly.
  3. Shape the mixture into meatballs that are ¾ inch in diameter. You will be able to make about 75 meatballs.
  4. In the same skillet, heat 2 tbsp of butter, and toss in the meatballs, a few at a time. Cook until they have browned from all sides. You may add more butter as and when required.
  5. For the sauce, let 2 tbsp of the drippings from the meatballs remain in the skillet. Add in the flour and stir slowly till the mix is smooth.
  6. Slowly add in the cream with water, and keep stirring to avoid the formation of lumps, till the sauce begins to boil.
  7. Add in the salt and pepper, and the gravy seasoning.
  8. Toss in the meatballs and cook until the gravy has settled into the meatballs. Once garnished with parsley, this traditional recipe is ready to serve.

Swedish Meatballs with Spicy Plum Sauce

Ingredients
For the Meatballs

  • ¾ cup ground Beef
  • ¾ cup ground Pork
  • ¾ cup ground Veal
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion, minced
  • 1½ tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • ¾ cup heavy Cream
  • 1 large Egg
  • ½ cup dried Breadcrumbs
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp Plum Sauce
  • 1 large Shallot, minced
  • 6 pickled Plums, pitted and minced
  • ½ red Bell Pepper
  1. Combine in a small bowl, the breadcrumbs and heavy cream, stirring until the mixture smoothens.
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil and add in the onions. Cook on medium heat till the onions soften, for about 5 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, add together, the beef, veal, pork, honey, egg, onions, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix in the breadcrumb mixture with the meat.
  5. Apply very little oil on your hands, and start making the meatballs, 1 inch in diameter. The oil is to prevent the meat from sticking to your hands.
  6. Place them on a plate that has been mildly brushed with oil. You will be able to make about 24 meatballs.
  7. Following the same procedure as in the above recipe, saute the meatballs in butter until they have browned on all sides.
  8. Remove the fat from the skillet, and add the plums, red peppers and shallots, cooking until they’re soft and lightly brown.
  9. Add in the remaining ¼ cup of cream and the chicken broth.
  10. Slowly stir in the plum sauce and add the salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Toss in the meatballs into the sauce, and cook until the sauce thickens, for about 5 minutes. You are now ready to serve Swedish Meatballs with Spicy Plum Sauce.

Hungarian Style Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients
For the Meatballs

  • 1½ lbs ground Chuck
  • 1 ounce dried Porcini Mushrooms
  • 12 ounces mixed Exotic Mushrooms
  • 3 cups Beef Stock
  • 1 large Onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 6 thin slices White Bread, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 6 sheets cooked Pasta
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Sour Cream plus a little extra
  • 1 tbsp Sweet Hungarian Paprika
  1. Boil the porcini mushrooms in the beef stock for 15 minutes. Leave them to cool for half an hour and then drain them and squeeze out all the excess water from the mushrooms. Chop them after rinsing.
  2. Combine the beef, onion, bread cubes and seasoning. Make 1-inch meatballs with the mixture.
  3. Toss the meatballs in some heated butter till they have browned.
  4. After removing the meatballs from the pan, put in the crimini mushrooms and flour and saute. Also add the cream, the stock mixture and the dried chopped mushrooms, and cook it for 3 minutes. Add the paprika.
  5. Just before serving, pour in the sour cream and stir. Add the meatballs and pour over one sheet of fresh pasta with some additional sour cream for taste.

Try out these yummy and easy recipes either just for yourself, or for any kind of social gathering at home, and watch how your guests relish it. You may now even be asked to host the regular weekend gathering more often than usual!


Classic Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs bring me back in time to dinners at my grandparents house.

For many years, Christmas Eve dinner would be at their house and these delicious meatballs were often on the menu.

Grandma, of course, would serve her Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and homemade lefse, which was also such a treat.

I recently realized that I had never made Swedish meatballs myself and decided it was time I gave a nod to my Swedish heritage and make them.

I thought for sure I would be able to find my grandma&rsquos recipe somewhere among my recipes.

I was quite certain I didn&rsquot have her hand written recipe, but I thought for sure she would have contributed her recipe to her old church cookbook, which I did have. But no, it wasn&rsquot in there.

I&rsquoll keep looking for it, but I fear it&rsquos lost for good. I had some ideas of what went into her delicious meatballs, but still needed some help.

So with those ideas, along with some research, I came up with what I think is a pretty darn good recipe that my grandma would approve of.

As I said, she always served her meatballs with mashed potatoes and lefse, but I thought the meatballs on their own would make a great appetizer to add to any holiday spread.

Swedish meatballs are not difficult to make, but they do have a list of spices that you may not think of putting into meatballs.

The meatballs traditionally have allspice and nutmeg in them, which is something I suspected, but it&rsquos certainly not an expected ingredient in a savory dish. More expected is the addition of thyme and garlic.

Overall, the flavor of the meatballs as well as the sauce is supposed to be mild.

For that reason, I used dried onion and onion powder to flavor the dish. I didn&rsquot want any one flavor to be over powering.

The result, I believe, is spot on. The flavor is mild and the meatballs are soft, tender bites of perfection.

As I said, these make a perfect holiday appetizer, but you certainly could serve them as a main dish.

Serve them with either mashed potatoes, as my grandma did, or over egg noodles. Both would be absolutely delish!


Meatballs with cream sauce

Köttbullar med gräddsås (meatballs with cream sauce) is widely thought of as Sweden's national dish. Köttbullar are smaller and have a diferent flavour to Italian meatballs and are nearly always served with a cream sauce. The recipe first appeared in a book by the legendary Cajsa Warg, published in 1755, and has been a firm favourite ever since.

Unfortunately, the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show demonstrated to the world how to cook them, whilst singing in semi-comprehensible gibberish in a mock-Swedish accent! And what did we learn? Swedish meatballs are only fit for tennis!

Of course, that is not true. When made by a skilled chef, like Stefano Catenacci at Operabaren in Stockholm, köttbullar are light, delicate and a real treat. He serves them in a traditional style, with potato purée, sweetened lingonberries and pressed cucumber. Personally, I think Operabaren, with its beautifully maintained Art Nouveau interior, is the best places in the world to enjoy köttbullar.

The recipe

Of course, you might want to know whether the recipe below is authentic? The short answer is that there is not an authentic method. If you asked ten Swedes about making köttbullar you would get ten different answers. They would be similar for sure, but most Swedish cooks will have their own way and so will use a bit more or a bit less of this or that. Nonetheless, I think most Swedes would agree that these meatballs are pretty good.

Opinions about gräddsås (cream sauce) are even more divided. The recipe below is adapted from Vår Kok Bok (Sweden's most popular cookery book) and I think it strikes a good balance, but of course you can tweak it to suit your own preferences and still feel it is genuinely Swedish. Some add more cream, sometimes a lot more cream(!), and some add some white wine vinegar or a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly. Nonetheless, I think you will find the gräddsås recipe below a good starting point.

Accompaniments

Be sure to serve your meatballs with some pressgurka (pressed cucumber), rårörda lingon (sweetend lingonberries) and potatismos (mashed potatoes) as they really are the best dishes to accompany köttbullar med gräddsås. John Duxbury

Summary

• Swedes generally only season meatballs with salt and white pepper, but occasionally other seasoning is also added such as some allspice or sugar and mustard.
• Take your time rolling the meat into balls between the palms of your hand otherwise they will go out of shape quickly when you fry them.
• Fry the meatballs in two batches because if you fry too many at once they will steam rather than brown.

• If you like a foamy gräddsås, use an immersion blender to incorporate air into the sauce after adding the cream in step 9 below. Have the blade half in and half out of the sauce to incorporate lots of air. If you've not got an electric blender, whisk by hand for 2-3 minutes.
• For a julbord (Christmas buffet), grated potato and cream are usually added to the meat mixture. Julköttbullar (Christmas meatballs) are often baked. More…
• If you are making very large quantities for a party make the meatballs in advance and then reheat them in an oven for 10-15 minutes at 175°C (350°F, gas 4, fan 160°C). Use aluminium foil trays with lids, as the lids help to prevent the meatballs drying out.
• Use any leftovers to make some delicious köttbullesmörgås med rödbetssallad (open meatball sandwich with beetroot salad). More…

Ingredients

Meatballs

4 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
4 tbsp milk or water
225 g (8 oz) pork mince
225 g (8 oz) veal or beef mince
2 tbsp grated onion*
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 whole allspice, crushed (optional)
salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp butter, for frying

*The onion is better grated than chopped

Cream sauce

300 ml (1¼ cups) hot water
½-1 beef stock cube
2 tbsp plain flour (all-purpose flour)
100 ml (7 tbsp) milk or water
½-1 tsp soy sauce
2-3 tbsp cream

Method

Köttbullar

1. Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and add 4 tablespoons of milk or water. Leave them to absorb the liquid for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the mince, grated onion, egg, allspice (optional) and seasoning. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Don’t over mix or the meatballs will be heavy.

3. Take a tablespoon of mixture and roll it until it is nice and round. (Rinse your hands in cold water if the mixture is too sticky.) Repeat until you have used up all the mixture, by which time you should have between 30 and 40 meatballs.

4. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over a medium high heat until the butter stops sizzling. Fry half the meatballs, shaking the pan frequently when you first add them. When they are nicely browned, turn down the heat and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and keep warm.

5. Add another tablespoon of butter and fry the remaining meatballs in the same way as in step 4.

Gräddsås

6. When the meatballs are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the warm water and use it to scrap up all the meaty bits in the pan. Bring it up to the boil and let it simmer for a minute or two.

7. Sieve the mixture into a saucepan, add the stock cube and stir until dissolved.

8. Mix the flour with the milk or water and stir until dissolved. Pour into the saucepan, whisking continuously as you do so. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.

9. Add the soy sauce and cream. Heat for another couple of minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. (Use a whisk if you like a little foam, as shown above. If you like lots of bubbles, use an immersion blender with the blade half in and half out of the sauce.) Taste and adjust the seasoning.

10. Serve the meatballs with rårörda lingon, mashed potatoes, pressed cucumber and a light coating of the sauce. Pour the rest of the cream sauce into a jug for people to help themselves to if they want more.

Downloads

Julköttbullar

For julköttbullar (Christmas meatballs) the breadcrumbs and milk/water are replaced with grated potato and cream and the onion is finely chopped and lightly fried first.

1 small onion
3 tbsp butter
2 medium sized cooked potatoes
225 g (8 oz) minced beef
225 g (8 oz) minced pork
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ tsp salt
3-4 whole allspice, finely crushed
150 ml 5 fl oz cream

1. Peel and finely chop a small onion and fry in a tablespoon of butter until softened.

2. Grate the two cooked potatoes into a bowl.

3. Add the minced beef, pork, egg, salt, allspice and cream. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Don’t over mix or the meatballs will be heavy.

4. Take a tablespoon of mixture and roll it until it is nice and round. (Rinse your hands in cold water if the mixture is too sticky.) Repeat until you have used up all the mixture, by which time you should have about 30-40 meatballs.

5. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over a medium high heat until the butter stops sizzling. Fry half the meatballs, shaking the pan frequently when you first add them. When they are nicely browned, turn down the heat and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.

For a large party

For a large party, julköttbullar are normally cooked in an oven. Add the butter to a large pan and put it in a hot oven at 250°C (475°F, gas 9, fan 220°C) until the butter is melted and a light brown colour. Add the julköttbullar and cook in the middle of the oven for 8-12 minutes until nicely browned, shaking the pan a few times to ensure that the balls are evenly browned.

Köttbullesmörgås med rödbetssallad

If you have any meatballs leftover use them to make an open sandwich with a beetroot salad. Butter some bread and arrange on a serving dish. Top with rödbetssallad, slice the meatballs and then place them on top of the salad. Garnish with parsley or chervil, slices of smörgåsgurka (pickled gherkin/cucumber) and some very thin slices of peeled raw beetroot (optional).

Sometimes, as shown above, I make smaller meatballs, using just half a tablespoon of mixture per ball, especially for open sandwiches.

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Traditional Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberries – recipe

2 tbs of breadcrumbs
50 ml single cream
1 egg
1 tbs concentrated stock from beef, calf or chicken
0.5 finely chopped yellow onion
25 g butter
500 g ground mince (half pork and beef)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
about 1.5 tsp of salt
Butter to fry in

2.5 dl double cream
1,5 tsp dark soy
2.5 dl beef stock (not concentrated)
25 g butter
1 tbs corn starch (or something similar) to thicken the sauce with
salt and pepper
2 tbs jam from lingonberries or cherries

To serve:
mashed potatoes
lingonberry jam
chopped parsley

Fold together bread crumbs, cream, stock and egg and leave to rest for about 5 minutes. Fry the onion in the butter until soft and then mix it with the breadcrumb-cream. Add salt, pepper and mince and work everything together, with your hands or fork. Try not to work it too much, as this will make the meatballs compact. Take a small piece of mince and fry it to test the flavours. When satisfied with salt and pepper, roll the rest of the mince to small balls (about one tablespoon mince per ball) Make sure your hands are wet with water, then the mince won’t stick to your hands. Fry the meatballs until golden brown and thoroughly cooked, then put aside.

Mix cream and the corn starch and then pour this, stock and the soy in the pan where you fried the meatballs. Whisk through the pan and let boil for a couple of minutes. Taste with salt, pepper and jam for a little bit of sweetness. Put the meatballs back to the sauce and serve with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam, maybe some chopped parsley on top too.


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.


Swedish Meatballs

Course Appetizer, Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. minced onion
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/4 cup Kosher chicken stock
  • 1 lb. Kosher ground beef
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Instructions

…The Backstory continues: This delicious recipe comes to The Jewish Kitchen from my late cousin Shirlee Feldberg. The recipe was originally published in her Sisterhood’s Kosher cookbook from Congregation Shaarey Tfiloh, (Spring Valley, New York). This recipe can easily be made as a main dish and goes perfectly with wide egg noodles and a green vegetable such as sauteed string beans.The’y’re also wonderful as a party appetizer and especially good for any holiday get together on a large platter with those old-fashioned frilly toothpicks (I think of my grandmother whenever I see those, so that’s always a good thing). No one can eat just one of these, so consider making a double batch.

Thank you to my cousin, Lenny Feldberg, for allowing me to republish Shirlee’s recipe here.


Recipe for Swedish meatballs

Ingredients

500 g (18 oz) ground (minced) beef/pork mixture
250 ml (1¼ cup) milk
75 g (¾ cup) white breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 onion
salt, white pepper
ground allspice

Preparation

Finely dice the onion and sauté gently in a little butter without browning. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk. Blend the ground meat, preferably in a food processor, with the onion, egg, milk–breadcrumb mixture and the spices to the proper consistency and taste. Add a little water if the mixture feels too firm.

Check the taste by test-frying one meatball. Then shape small meatballs with the aid of two spoons and place on water-rinsed plates.

Brown a generous pat of butter in a frying pan, and when it ‘goes quiet’ place the meatballs in the pan and let them brown on all sides. Shake the frying pan often.

Serve with potato purée or boiled potatoes and raw stirred lingonberries.