Swedish Meatballs from Scratch

A favorite comfort food: Swedish meatballs from scratch, including the mouthwatering buttery cream gravy.

In the Midwest, meatballs tend to be served one main way: sticky and sweet.

I’m not sure I’ve even been to a church potluck that didn’t involve meatballs smothered in grape jelly, in fact!

Wanting to branch out from my roots a little, I started looking for different ways to cook meatballs.

And I realized recently that I had never actually made Swedish meatballs in my own kitchen.

Graphic of serving spoon with creamy meatballs and text overlay "Homemade meatballs with gravy"

So, that clearly needed to change.

I found some ideas for the components of Swedish meatballs, and they actually remind me of salisbury steak, minus the mushrooms.

Side note: did you know Swedish meatballs actually originated in Turkey?

Apparently it was quite the scandal when it was discovered that King Charles VII brought them back from Turkey in the 1700s!

At any rate, Sweden gave these iconic meatballs their fame, and that’s how they are still recognized.

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Making Swedish Meatballs from Scratch

This recipe doesn’t involve too many ingredients, which is one more thing to love.

If you keep your pantry stocked, you probably have the makings for Swedish meatballs.

You’ll start by mixing ground beef with some flour, minced onion and a few other spices. Then brown meatballs in oil until they’re cooked through.

Browning meatballs in avocado oil in a skillet.

After removing the meatballs from the skillet, you’ll make your cream gravy with butter, flour, heavy cream and some Better than Bouillon beef base (or beef bouillon cubes).

Meatballs in cream gravy, in skillet.

Once the gravy is thickened, add the meatballs back to the skillet and stir to coat.

What to serve with Swedish Meatballs

Typically, Swedish meatballs are served with mashed potatoes. Rice is another good option.

Personally, I really like the long-grain brown rice that I get the Azure Standard food co-op. It has a nice, firm texture and nutty flavor.

My favorite way to make brown rice is in the Instant Pot. Add equal amounts of rice and water; cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Then let it naturally release for 10 minutes.

Another idea (and a healthy pick) would be to serve it alongside cooked quinoa.

For a side vegetable, we love steamed broccoli.

If you have a steamer basket, you simply add an inch or two of water to a saucepan, then place the steamer basket inside. (The water should be below the basket.)

Heat water on medium heat just until boiling. Then add brocolli florets to the steamer basket and cover with lid.

Steam for about 10 minutes or until fork-tender.

Let us know in the comments if you enjoy this recipe!

Yield: 6 servings

Swedish Meatballs from Scratch

Swedish meatballs on plate with rice and brocolli on the side and skillet with meatballs on table.

Swedish meatballs in a cream gravy is easy to make from scratch, and it's one of the best comfort foods around.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


For Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/4 cup flour (or bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons avocado oil

For Gravy:

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Teaspoons of Better than Bouillon or 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together ground beef, flour, nutmeg, minced onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I like to use a pastry blender for this.
  2. Once incorporated, roll into 1-inch sized meatballs.
  3. Heat avocado oil in a deep frying pan and fry meatballs in oil until cooked through.
  4. Remove meatballs from pan and set aside.
  5. Add butter to frying pan and let it melt.
  6. Add flour to butter and whisk until smooth, cooking for 2-3 minutes until golden in color.
  7. In a large measuring cup, add the 2 teaspoons of Better than Buillon base and 2 cups of water and whisk together. (If using buillon cubes, heat water first so that cubes can dissolve.)
  8. Add water and beef base mixture to the frying pan and whisk with the flour mixture.
  9. Cook for 3-5 minutes until boiling, and mixture is smooth.
  10. Add heavy cream and whisk until incorporated and smooth.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Enjoy!

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Sweet and Tangy Crockpot Meatballs

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Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli soup

20 Quick and Simple Dinner Ideas

Top Comfort Food Meals

Vertical graphic with image of meatballs cooking in cream sauce, and image below of finished plated meatballs with rice and brocolli and text "Easy Meatballs with Rice and gravy"

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