This Swedish Meatballs Recipe skips the messy frying of each meatball on stovetop. Instead, simply broil the meatballs in the oven for even browning and tenderness.
Better than Ikea
I wasn’t planning to talk about Ikea at all when sharing these tantalizing Swedish meatballs with you today. However, Ikea is synonymous with Swedish meatballs – they sell over 2 million meatballs per day. That’s a whole lot of meatballs. People go there as much (if not more) for their lunches than their lamps.
We’ve had our share of going to the top floor for Ikea’s saucy meatballs, mashed potatoes, and lingonberry jam. I’ve even brought home packages of the famous gravy. Until one day when I tried to make sense of the dizzying ingredients list. That was the end of that.
These days, we make this easy Swedish meatballs with gravy, anytime we’re craving some saucy comfort food that’s — dare I say it — way better than Ikea…
Easy Swedish Meatballs, done in the oven
You heard it right. There is no need to stand over the stovetop to turn meatballs over one at a time with this easy meatball recipe. No oil splatters all over the stovetop and your own self.
Please say I’m not the only one that gets pelted by random darts of oil on my arms and face when I fry anything. So painful and not pretty.
I literally trial and error’d my way through about 5 batches of these meatballs in the oven in search of the best way to get tender, browned meatballs without having to fry them in the skillet.
The answer: simply place raw meatballs on a large sheet pan. Cook on high broil for 5 minutes. Turn meatballs over and broil another 5 minutes. Voilá.
You do want to watch for even browning – much depends on your oven’s broiler. If it’s not browning evenly, you can always turn meatballs over with tongs as needed. The overall cook time shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes max.
No need to fry a bunch of small batches on stovetop. A large sheet pan in the oven allows you to make 25 meatballs in one shot.
Swedish meatballs vs. Italian meatballs
Swedish meatballs commonly contain a blend of 50/50 beef and pork, whereas Italian meatballs often contain some mixture of beef, pork, and veal. Swedish meatballs are generally quite a bit smaller than their Italian counterparts; the Swedish version are roughly 1 heaping tablespoon.
While Italian meatballs often include seasonings such as oregano and parmesan, you’ll find spices like nutmeg and allspice in Swedish meatballs.
The sauces really set these two styles of meatballs apart. Italian meatballs are famous for their tangy tomato based sauce. Swedish meatballs are bathed in a rich, creamy gravy. Here’s more if you want to read all about it.
Pssst: we added a couple of secret ingredients in our recipe for an irresistible umami zip. You know, because we can and because it works. And you probably already have those ingredients in your panty right now.
Our best tips for your best meatballs
Do use a mixture of ground beef and ground pork, if you can. It will produce the best flavor and tenderness. We go with half the pork than beef here, but a 50/50 mixture would work great.
Use freshly chopped bread in lieu of bread crumbs for best texture.
Be generous with the garlic and onion powder. A bit of allspice and nutmeg gives these meatballs their classic flavor.
We add a bit of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce brings out the luscious umami, without anyone guessing your secret 🙂 Unconventional, yes. Delicious, absolutely.
Rather than a traditional butter/flour roux, we thicken the gravy with dissolved cornstarch. This allows for controlled thickening without any accidental gritty-ness and keeps the flavors pure.
Serve your tender Swedish meatballs over garlic mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and pour on the gravy because that’s what they’ll be begging for.
This Swedish Meatballs Recipe lets you skip the tedious monitoring of each meatball on stovetop. Instead, simply broil the meatballs in the oven for even browning and tenderness.
1 cup freshly chopped white bread
1/2 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2/3 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
cooking oil spray
3 TB butter
3 cups beef or chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TB cornstarch fully dissolved in 2 TB water
Optional: freshly chopped parsley for garnish
In a small bowl, combine the chopped bread with milk and beaten egg, stirring to fully incorporate. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, allspice, soy sauce, and Worcestershire. Hand whisk to combine well. Add the egg/milk mixture and stir to fully incorporate. Add ground beef and pork, folding just until fully combined (don’t over-mix.)
Line a large rimmed sheet pan with foil. Generously grease the foil. Form meatballs about 1.5 inches or 1 heaping TB each and place onto prepared pan. . A cookie scoop or measuring spoon helps for equal sizing. Tip: moisten hands with water or a bit of cooking oil for easy handling of meatballs. About 25 meatballs should fit onto your sheet pan. Generously spray top of meatballs with oil.
Set oven to high broil, with rack on upper position. Broil meatballs 5 minutes. Carefully turn pan halfway and broil another 2 minutes. Remove pan and quickly use tongs to turn over any meatballs that need even browning. Broil 3 more minutes. Meatballs should be nicely browned and cooked through, but not overcooked. Transfer meatballs to a container and cover. Repeat with second batch.
While your meatballs are broiling, make the Gravy: In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium high heat, stirring frequently. Add the broth, cream, soy sauce, Worcestershire, and pepper. Stir to combine well. Very slowly drizzle in the dissolved cornstarch while stirring. Let sauce simmer on low boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
Add cooked meatballs into the saucepan with gravy, gently stirring just until warmed through. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.