Swedish Meatballs with Cream Gravy (Svenska Kottbullar)

Meatballs are the ultimate Scandinavian dish, eaten everywhere and almost every day. As with all recipes for popular dishes, everyone has their own favorite, and believe everything else to be heresy.

The shape and size of meatballs vary in different parts of Scandinavia, and so do the accompaniments. In Sweden, they are served with mashed potatoes and lingonberries, while in Denmark it’s pickled red cabbage in winter, and creamed kale or creamed summer cabbage with potatoes and pickled beetroot for the rest of the year. Norwegians eat their kjøttkaker with potatoes, lingonberries and creamed cabbage.

Swedish Svenska Kottbullar

Svenska Kottbullar- Swedish Meatballs with Cream Gravy

Swedish meatballs are easy to make and even easier to eat. The Swedish furniture company IKEA has introduced them to the world and they are so good that they raised the bar on the deliciousness of this traditional dish in Scandinavia. This recipe is adapted from a verbalized version told to MHT's Creative Director, Jessie, from her Swedish Mother-in-Law, Karin.
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Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: North Western European, Scandanavian, Sweden
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large bowl
  • Large skillet


  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 1 lb Ground pork
  • ½ cup Rye bread crumbs- make sure rye bread has caraway seeds (Sub: panko)
  • ½ cup Half & half or whole milk
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • ½ tsp Ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp Butter


  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • cup All-purpose flour
  • 4 cup Beef broth
  • ¾ cup Sour cream
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp Fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Lingonberry jam on the side (optional)



  • Add half the butter to the skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground beef and pork, half & half, bread crumbs, egg, allspice, nutmeg, and cooked onion. Using clean hands, mix every together until well combined. Pinch off enough meat to form small 1¼-inch round meatballs. You should have around 24 meatballs, give-or-take.
    At this stage, fry up a small piece of the meat mixture to test. If desired, add additional nutmeg, allspice, pepper or salt .
  • Add remaining butter to skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Creamy Gravy

  • Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in sour cream and season with salt and pepper.

Complete Dish

  • Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    Serve immediately garnished with parsley. Serve with lingonberry jam on the side so each diner can add, if they desire.


  • The rye bread in this recipe really makes a difference. You can make your own bread crumbs by drying a few slices of store-bought rye bread in advance of making the meatballs 


Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 809mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 394IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3mg

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