Swedish meatballs (köttbullar)

11 Dec

Swedish meatballs

I’ve never eaten Swedish meatballs in the IKEA café, but I have bought bags of frozen köttbullar from their food hall once or twice. They were nice enough, but these homemade Swedish meatballs are in a different league – crispy on the outside, soft and juicy within, and coated in a velvety cream sauce.

Having frozen Swedish meatballs on hand is convenient. I’ll often make a double batch and freeze half for another meal. I do buy the lingonberry jam to serve with them from IKEA, when we have a need for some more “semi-disposable Swedish furniture” (to quote Douglas Coupland).


Swedish meatballs
(serves four)

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 a small onion, minced
  • 1 medium potato, boiled, cooled and mashed (or a cup of leftover mash)
  • 250g minced beef
  • 250g minced pork
  • 1 egg
  • 125 ml milk or cream
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tb butter
  • 2 Tb vegetable oil

For the cream sauce:

  • 125ml cream
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 1 Tb soy sauce
  • 1 Tb flour
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat a large frying pan over low heat. Add a tablespoon of butter, and fry the onion until soft and golden. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the onion, mashed potato, beef, pork, egg, milk, breadcrumbs, allspice and nutmeg. Season generously with salt and pepper, and mix well to combine.
  3. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls, place them on a baking tray lined with clingfilm, and chill for at least thirty minutes.
  4. Reheat the frying pan over low heat. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter with the vegetable oil, and slowly fry the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through, turning occasionally.
  5. When the meatballs are done, transfer them to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
  6. Add the cream, beef stock and soy sauce to the frying pan. Increase the heat and bring to a rapid simmer.
  7. Add the flour, whisking to prevent lumps. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is thickened, then return the meatballs to the pan. Stir gently to coat and cook for a few minutes to ensure the meatballs are heated through.
  8. Serve with boiled potatoes. Lingonberry jam is the traditional accompaniment, but red currant jelly or cranberry sauce work nicely too.

4 Responses to “Swedish meatballs (köttbullar)”

  1. The Novice Gardener December 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Love Swedish meatballs! Always have a plate when I go to Ikea 😀 I should make my own. And now I can, with your excellent recipe!

    • Andrea December 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Thank you – hope you enjoy them!

  2. katiebonken December 16, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    I used to buy the IKEA meatballs lots, but never made them. I’ve saved this recipe, wish I was having it for my dinner! The pink ‘caviar’ in tubes was also really good slathered on toast!

    • Andrea December 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

      Hope you enjoy them! And thanks for the tip – I’ll look out for that caviar spread next time…

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