Authentic Unbeatable Swedish Meatballs! (Horse Meat Free!)

This post was originally a guest post of mine on A Reluctant Foodie. But due to popular demand, I have decided to re-publish it here as well so no one misses out. This post has become even more topical lately after the horse meat scandal having hit Ikea and it’s Swedish meatballs. (Although I must mention that just like the French, the Swedes think nothing of eating horse meat although I am sure it was not present in Ikea meatballs on purpose). If you love Swedish meatballs but are now firmly put off from buying them at Ikea, then look no further for a truly authentic unbeatable recipe! (definitely not containing any horse)

Here you go….

My last recipe challenge with Al from A Reluctant Foodie (Stuffed Peppers) was such fun that we decided to do it again and this time I suggested ‘Balls’!

‘Balls’ was a fun choice as it gives such a large scope for experimenting – meatballs, fish balls, rice balls, chocolate balls, ice cream balls…the possibilities are endless. Not to mention the childishness of repeatedly writing ‘balls’!! (and yes, I am 36 not 3!)

In fact I had no trouble at all deciding which ‘balls’ I was going to make, it was inevitable. I am half Swedish and I was brought up in a house where certain Swedish foods were regulars at our table. I was aware of Ikea and their meatballs before the rest of the world began their love affair with them.

My Mormor (Grandma) used to make them fresh and serve them with dollops of sweet lingon berry sauce, boiled potatoes and delicious creamy gravy. I remember how she would break up my potatoes for me and then pour over the sauce and mix it in… was heavenly.

Even Ikea’s processed meatballs are pretty damn good. I don’t think that I have ever met anyone who doesn’t know of them and in fact love them! Doesn’t everyone who shops at Ikea stop for a plate of their Swedish meatballs? They make the whole nightmare experience so much more acceptable, if even just for a few minutes! My kids gobble them up as though they were chocolate not meat. My homemade meatballs really do taste like Ikea meatballs, just much much better!

Swedish meatballs are superior to all other meatballs in my opinion. They have a lighter texture…not too dense or crumbly. They are simply seasoned so that the quality meat remains the main flavour. And to top it all off, they are called ‘köttbullar‘ (pronounced ‘shurt bullar’) *she childishly giggles again*!

The key to these balls is two fold. Firstly, the meat is a mixture of 70% beef and 30% pork – good quality mince. I got mine from the local butcher, no scrimping. (My Mormor would also add some chicken liver for a really luxurious meatball) Secondly, to achieve the lightness, quite a lot of breadcrumbs soaked in milk and cream are added to the meat before shaping into balls. This makes the mince quite wet and loose in texture. It might seem a bit strange but stick with it, the end result is unlike the usual stodgy balls you may be used to.

My daughter was 4 years old on December 23rd and I decided to make my meatballs for her birthday party. Definitely something that kids enjoy and adults alike, I decided to serve them as a little nibble to pass around during the festivities with some dips. My recipe makes 40+ meatballs so plenty for everyone or enough to make a substantial meal for the family to serve with sides.

These balls are seriously good, I kid you not…. Here’s how to make them:

Swedish Meatballs – Makes around 40 balls

  • 700g beef mince
  • 300g pork mince
  • 200ml milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 150gm fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g grated onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • First of all, soak your breadcrumbs in the milk and cream and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a large bowl add to the two types of mince the salt, pepper and sugar and give it all a good mix.
  • Then stir in the grated onion and egg.Meatball mince & Egg
  • Next you need to add the breadcrumbs and milk. Do this a little at a time, mixing in as you go. You may find you don’t want to add all the milky mix but do try and add as much as you can. It will make the mince quite wet but not sloppy, much wetter than perhaps you would be used to when making meatballs but thats what makes these ones so special. Meatballs with Milk Added
  • Piping Swedish MeatballsRolling Swedish MeatballsNext to make the balls. Wet your hands first with a little cold water which will help the meat not to stick too much. But if you want to get a nice uniform sized meatball, you could pipe the meat into little portions and then roll. It really does work and you will find yourself with much more even little balls. You want them to be quite small…not quite as big as a golf ball.
  • Then melt a good knob of butter and a little of the olive oil in a pan and start to fry your meatballs. Do them in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, adding a little more butter and oil each time. Shake the pan around every so often to allow the balls to bump around and keep their roundness rather than be flat of one side. They take abut 10 minutes to cook. Remove and keep warm until you have done all your balls.Frying Swedish Meatballs
  • I made my meatballs in the morning and then just reheated them in the oven for 15 minutes at 180C just before serving. As I said you can serve them in many ways. As a nibble with some dips – I used BBQ, Ketchup and a spicy Spanish sauce. Or alongside chips or mashed potatoes with a creamy gravy and Lingon if you can get it. You could also add them to a pasta sauce. Anything you like really – they are just so delicious and versatile. Any way you have them, they will be gobbled up in minutes…no one can resist the power of the Swedish meatball!
You can see Al’s guest post (A Reluctant Foodie) for meatballs here on Delicieux.

10 thoughts on “Authentic Unbeatable Swedish Meatballs! (Horse Meat Free!)”

  1. Oh these look so good! If your duck pie was anything to go by, these are going to taste fantastic – can’t wait to try. And I rather like the idea of the ‘luxurious’ meatball with some chicken liver in there too…

  2. Now you’ve just reminded me I really must make these, they were mentally bookmarked from your blog swop with The Reluctant Foodie. But as ever I’ve not got around to making yet BUT I will and SOON! How can I resist, horseless authentic Swedish meatballs.

  3. I do love me a good Swedish meatball (or 10). Can’t say I’m put off buying them from IKEA, but of course it’s definitely better and more authentic to make them at home. Do you make Christmas meatballs at Christmas too? They usually have some spices… cinnamon etc added I think. We made them the year before last – really good 🙂

    By the way – I envy you, I can’t find pork mince anywhere. They only ever have this “chair de saucisse” rubbish which has bits of gristle and bone in it and is pre-seasoned with some filthy spice. 🙁

    1. Mmm Christmas meatballs. I love the way food tastes of Christmas in Sweden 🙂 Have you tried Yule Must? I remember it so well from my childhood – Christmas tasting cola! I have had some from Ikea more recently and it was delicious but oh so sweet. But still Christmas in a glass.
      Sorry to hear of your pork mince troubles – if in doubt, order direct from the butchers, then you know what is in it and it won’t be pre-seasoned. It’s always worth a few more centimes 🙂

  4. Hi! I’ve made these several times now and I must say today was my best batch ever – off to a surprise 40th tonight and I’ll be bringing 100 delicious meatballs! Thank you for posting


    1. Thank you so much for coming and letting me know that you have made these and loved them Yvonne! I love getting feedback like this! And I may be biased but in my opinion, you can’t beat a Swedish meatball! It makes me very happy to think of you and your friends enjoying them at a party! x

  5. I made these last night and they were great. I added too much of the bread mixture in, so they were a little wet – I’ll know better for next time though.

    I just made a simple cream gravy to go with them, and had some lingonberry sauce. Delicious….

    1. Delicious indeed! So glad to hear you made them and enjoyed them. They truly are one of my favourite things to eat in the world. Thanks so much for stopping by to tell me how they went for you. I really appreciate that.

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