Swedish Meatballs

Total Time:
55 min
30 min
25 min

approximately 30 meatballs, 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 slices fresh white bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound ground chuck
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.

In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.

Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees F. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.

Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.

Pairs Well With

Jammy, earthy red wine

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    319 Reviews
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    Excellent recipe. I doubled the sauce after reading other reviews. Honestly, I could have quadrupled the sauce and not had too much. It does take a very long time to thicken. Instead of white bread I used some whisky/pecan bread that I had on hand and added garlic and salt free seasoning to spice it up a little. I mixed the garlic in while sweating the onion . Also, the meat mixture seemed wet so I added some crushed crackers I had on hand. I put it over egg noodles and complimented it with Alton Brown's Garlic Mashed Potato recipe. This was definitely a huge hit and I will make it again soon!
    I made these last night and doubled the sauce since I made egg noodles to go with it. I also doubled the onions and added mushrooms. Added 1/2 to the meatballs and reserved the other 1/2 for the sauce. Very flavorful and yummy. Highly recommend.
    I am actually from Sweden, and this is not how we make meatballs...
    How do you make them?
    What a fantastic recipe!! This is THE most perfect recipe for swedish meatballs I've tried. HUGE hit w/ the fam. Even the picky eater loved it. Hub had me hide a portion for his lunch 2 days from now. lol WTG Alton!!
    Husband and I loved these. I doubled the sauce. Have some left over and plan on freezing them.
    I thought these were delicious, but my husband thought they were just okay- I followed the recipe as written except that I did not bother with the clarified butter and they still turned out perfectly! While the sauce was simmering I was worried it would never thicken but after bubbling for a while it did and had great flavor, i think next time I will double the sauce too!
    I've made these meatballs several time now. I absolutely LOVE them! I followed the recipe as written with no problems. It is a little time consuming because of all the hand rolling and the sauce took a while to thicken, but I have to say they are the best sweedish meatballs I've ever made! The recipe makes a rather large batch (30+) and the leftovers are just as good the next day, if not better! I serve them over eggnoodles with a green side. Thanks Alton!
    These are soooooo good. Doubled the sauce, and served over egg noodles. Hubby says we can never, EVER use another Swedish meatball recipe!
    I served over egg noodles the first time, yummy! I doubled the sauce and served over garlic mashed potatoes the second time, even better! Just like Grandmas. :)
    This was a hit at our family Christmas gathering as a grazable appetizer. I essentially tripled the recipe (I was a little short on the meat amount) and came out with ~ 150 little meatballs. There were no leftovers. I didn't scale up the sauce amount -- otherwise the meatballs would have been swimming in sauce. I've seen some comments about this being bland. I think the benign flavoring works in the recipe's favor as an appetizer for a large group -- it can appeal across a wide age and taste range, it doesn't compete with the main course, it's easy to eat from a small cocktail plate while standing. The meatballs were moist yet held together well. What's not to love?
    We were skeptical at first trying this recipe as it varied from the tried and true family recipe of my childhood. However we were all amazed at how delicious these meatballs were even my mom loved them. I would make again for sure 
    I loved this recipe. I made minor modifications to sauce because of an overabundance of mushrooms and shallots on hand but it turned out lovely. My Swedish great grandmother would have been proud.
    Great! I replaced the white bread with a 1/4 of bread comes because I didn't have any on hand. The gravy was a little bland so I peppered in the allspice and nutmeg and it was delicious.
    This has become one our favorite meals we eat a couple of times a month. My picky son asked often to have Alton Brown's Sweedish Meatball recipe for dinner! It's really flavorful and delicious!
    This dish was a huge hit even with my very picky 14 year! The meat balls were very light, moist and airy. The cream sauce (gravey) was amesome. Alton, my daughter said, "you make the best and can"t go wrong!"
    Delish!! Not sure how you could not like this! Made as written and Alton scores again!
    Was edible, but very bland. My mother said "bland like hospital food". Sauce/gravy took a long time to thicken on low heat called for in the recipe directions and didn't have much flavor. Not worth the effort. I will never make this recipe again. I will try a different Swedish Meatball recipe next time. You might be able to doctor this recipe up, but then it wouldn't be this recipe any more. Notice how many people or the high percentage of people who wrote a review for this recipe, but made some sort of change and or ingredient substitution. I could go on and on, but I wasted enough time and effort on this recipe already. I just wanted to save some of you, that decide to trust me, the time effort and expense involved with trying this 2.5 star recipe. If you try this recipe remember I told you it's bland and not worth your time, effort and expense.
    You have to realize that scandinavian food is typically bland. It might not be to your taste, but if you are looking for food that will wake up your taste buds, scandinavian food is not the cuisine for you. My mother is first generation and that is how her family cooks. No reason you can't doctor this to your taste & make it your own.
    I agree! Many people don't realize the difference between what food should actually taste like versus what they would like it to taste like. This recipe for me was perfect and flavor very authentic to one a Scandinavian friend once made for me.
    Such an angry review! Not every recipe, no matter how good it is, will appeal to everyone...and just because people "doctor" it up it doesn't mean it's not this recipe anymore. Even at restaurants people will ask for hot sauce, pepper, etc. to adjust to personal preferences or diets. If you're so upset about having "wasted" your time, then maybe cooking isn't for you. Time, effort, and expense? These are basic ingredients from the cupboard! HA!
    I agree. Why such a nasty review? I see these recipes as a point of departure for your own liking. True chefs appreciate varying opinions and suggestions. If you like this recipe as is, terrific, but if you need more flavor or spice, go for it! I am truly amazed sometimes at the narrow mindedness of reviews on here.
    Delicious recipe!! I had to change it up a little bit but still came out great! I didn't have any pork so I just used ground beef, I used margarine instead of butter, I used whole milk instead of cream, and I used whole wheat bread instead of white. I also added some freshly chopped sauteed spinach with garlic to the sauce. I served it over medium sized shell pasta. Even my 2 year old enjoyed it!!
    'Yummy". This recipe is perfect as is. I've never made Swedish meatballs before. But decided to make them as an appetizer for a party my friend was having with 50 guests. (Over 150 meatballs. EVERYONE loved them! Not one meatball leftover. They are absolutely delicious. I know everyone has different preferences, so taste it! Add more salt, or nutmeg. Whatever is good for your taste buds. This was perfect for me. Will make it again. [But not for 50 people, (too much work].
    Surprisingly easy to make and even more surprising, my picking family loved it. I grew up with the Swedish meatball seasoning packet so I kind of miss that flavor. I will make this again
    Tasty!!! This recipe was soooo fun to make! It's super delicious! I made rice with it and it was a super big hit! Thank you!
    Even my picky Mom (at 80 she can make all the specal orders she wants! liked this. I forgot the cream and added seasoning salt and a bit of pepper too. It tasted lot like little meatloaves, with a nice creamy sauce. The way I had such a nice sauce was the way I was taught in France as a Nanny. I add a sprinkle of of flour while wisking and add a bit of the broth and alternate as it thickens. This keeps the gravy nice and smooth. It was unanimous here, that I seasoned it well. I certainly didn't bother with his precise way of making perfectly shaped, evenly weighed out, yada yada meat balls, but I do like this recipe. Great for that electric skillet I usually forget to use! Thanks.
    The meatballs were really easy to make and so soft and tasty! The gravy was a little more difficult. I have little experience making gravy, but it seemed to take a long time to thicken. I grew impatient so I added a cornstarch slurry (2 heaping T. of cornstarch + just enough cold water to make a liquid. That helped but it was still thin. I then added sour cream like some reviews suggested, but that didn't stir in smoothly; there were little lumps of sour cream for a long while until it finally smoothed out. After probably 30 minutes, I turned the heat down to very low, and I added the meatballs, along with some paprika and cayenne pepper to add a bit more flavor. After 10 minutes I turned off the heat, and it really thickened up once it cooled a little. It was so good! Next time I will try to be more patient, because I bet it would have thickened without adding the cornstarch. Also, I might let it cool down before adding the sour cream to see if that helps when stirring it in.
    if you take your sour cream and temper it with some of the hot liquid before adding it, you can avoid the clumps. put your sour cream in a larger bowl, ladle a few ounces of the hot liquid into the sour cream and whisk until smooth. this brings the temp of the sour cream up enough and thins it enough that it shouldn't be lumpy when you add it into the dish.
    The recipe definitely needs sour cream. After i added that the sauce was amazing except it had to cook for awhile to get it to thicken to the correct consistency.
    Delicious as usual Alton. I only made 2 small changes: no nutmeg bc I couldn't find it in my spice cabinet and I was cooking in 90 degree heat. And sour cream instead of heavy cream bc that's what I had on hand and hubby loves sour cream. Idk why some people voted you down bc of their errors. The recipe was flavorful but then I used homemade beef stock.
    This was my first Swedish meatball attempt. Only used beef. Was amazing and easy. I made 1 1/2 times the gravy recipe. I put the meatballs in a stainless 4" deep pan with a lid after browning and kept them warm in the oven. Made the gravy... Need to thicken a bit more with some flour and water mixed and then poured over the meatballs and let lightly bubble on the stove covered for 30 minutes, so the flavor of the meatballs would infuse into the gravy. Served this over fettucini. yummy! And, for those who have said the gravy was tasteless.... Re-season it with salt and pepper to your taste! 
    GREAT RECIPE, Alton!!!
    It was really good!
    So good...the whole family liked it. Will be putting this on my dinner rotation list. Yum yum. followed directions as is too. 
    There isn't a recipe of Alton Brown's that doesn't work based on his knowledge and geeky 'scientific' way of what makes recipes work. These Swedish Meatballs are absolutely delicious. I made a change however in the sauce. I didn't like how bland it was so I added some butter and ground nutmeg and it took the sauce over the top. Adding the pork to the beef makes the meatballs very juicy and tender. Also the use of the milk/bread mixture, brilliant! Finally a meatball recipe that doesn't call for dry breadcrumbs. A must try!
    OMG. Followed the recipe to the letter. Instant family favorite! Three picky eaters ages 3,7,10 all loved them. The meatballs were the most tender I have ever had, the sauce was flavorful and the perfect consistency. If these don't come out amazing when you make them YOU did something wrong.
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