Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs with subtle spice are perfect for a fast-fix holiday dinner.
Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

We are really down to the wire for this holiday thing. Have you got all your shopping and prep done for whichever holiday you celebrate?

Well, if you celebrate New Years, you still have another couple weeks. Even so, I just bought myself some field peas just today for Hoppin’ John. What luck!

But you know, it doesn’t seem to matter how well one plans with celebrations, parties, and dinners. There is always going to be something that comes up at the last minute. So this week, with a number of other Sunday Supper Tastemakers, I put together my best recipe for Swedish meatballs, a traditional Christmas classic. Then when your cousins suddenly call you an hour before your holiday dinner is served, you can still have a plan. And how does that work, exactly?

This is a matter of making meatballs in advance and keeping them frozen. I have instructions for you to warm them up here. So while you microwave those, put on the water for noodles, you can mix the sauce up easy as making breakfast gravy. Of course, if you want to skip making the meatballs (BUT WHY? Would you want to do that? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe just wore out from everything else?) you could pick up some frozen meatballs at the store (IKEA has some really good ones, but then, they are Swedish! LOL!) and mix up the sauce and noodles. Serve them with a bit of lingonberry preserves, or if you have to, a little cranberry sauce will be fine.

So even with an hours notice until bomb time, you can add in another 8 people to your dinner without missing a beat. And knowing how to do that, in my opinion, is priceless. So relax and enjoy your meal-making and merry-making and just all around joy. No need to stress about the cousins showing up out of nowhere. Happy holidays!

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Swedish Meatballs
Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2 cup  instant mashed potato flakes
  • 3/4 cup hot milk
  • 1/4  cup dried minced onion
  • 1/2  cup sour cream
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried chives
  • 1 tablespoon dry parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • egg noodles, mashed potatoes or rice if desired (not needed if meatballs are an appetizer)
  • lingonberry preserves or cranberry sauce (optional)


  1. Mix together meatball ingredients.
  2. Scoop meat into 1 ounce meatballs and cook over low heat (I used 3 large skillets at the same time but you could cook these  in batches)- cook over low heat 5 minutes, then add 1/3 cup water to each pan. Don’t move the meatballs around while they are first cooking!
  3. Cover skillet and simmer over low heat 5 minutes; remove lid and let cook 5 minutes more to cook off any water, then from that point, cook a few minutes more until as brown as you like.
  4. To make sauce, melt butter in a skillet and whisk in the flour until smooth.
  5. Whisk in the broth, milk, soy sauce, chives, parsley, salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg, cooking over low heat until it comes to a boil, then cook about another minute or two until it thickens up like gravy. 
  6. Remove sauce from heat and whisk in the sour cream.
  7. Stir meatballs into sauce and cook over low heat until everything is hot.
  8. Serve meatballs alone, with mashed/noodles/rice and with a dallop of lingonberry preserves or cranberry sauce if desired.


  1. Meatballs can be made in advance, frozen in a single layer then put into a freezer bag. To heat, place meatballs on a microwave safe plate and cover with a paper towel. Heat on high for two minutes, then turn meatballs and cook at one minute intervals until hot; then let sit for two minutes.
  2. Meatballs in sauce can be kept warm for holiday buffets on warm setting in a slow cooker for up to two hours.
  3. You can choose to use commercial frozen meatballs with the sauce- I would think about 2-3 bags would be enough.

From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com

Swedish Meatballs

Last Minute Holiday Recipes

As part of the Sunday Supper Movement, I and a host of other food bloggers are pleased to present to you some of our favorite last minute holiday recipes to help celebrate your holiday season!

Be sure to check these recipes out below, and be sure to pin your favorites! Sunday Supper bloggers love being pinned!




Main Dishes

Side Dishes



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18 responses

  1. We love Swedish Meatballs. This recipe is a little different from the one we use, I have never heard of adding instant potatoes, but I can see how it would bind the meatballs. We have an Ikea close and sometimes I do pop over there and grab some of the meatballs!

  2. Grrreat idea and grrrreat recipe for last minute entertaining indeed. Love that you’ve added a splash of soy sauce to your meatball sauce =)

  3. I haven’t had Swedish Meatballs in ages and this brings back so many memories of when my parent would make it long ago. What a comforting meal.

  4. Swedish Meatballs were my absolute favorite growing up. I’ve not had them in years, now that I see yours the memories are flooding back. I’ll have to try this soon!

  5. This totally reminds me of one of my coworkers, he’d eat a whole pot himself (and never gain a pound!)

  6. Looks incredible, Sue. I bet serving this with cranberry sauce is really fun and brightens up the pasta, too. I’ll definitely have to give this a try.

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