Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs
Sayre Van Young


  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef or a combination of ¾ pound ground beef, ½ pound ground veal, and ¼ pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm nonfat, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup warm nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup warm heavy cream

Swedish meatballs can be served as a main course, traditionally with boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and cucumber salad. Although called "Swedish," meatballs having this same type of flavoring can be found throughout Scandinavia and other Northern European countries. They also make terrific finger food or cocktail hors d’oeuvre served on toothpicks. They reheat very well and, in fact, the flavor is even better after an overnight rest in the fridge.

Adapted from "A Reader's Cookbook" by Judith Choate.

Click here to see The Cookbook Club story with Judith Choate.


Combine the ground meat with the egg, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, knead the mixture together. Then form the meat into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes or just until the onion has softened slightly. Begin adding the meatballs, a few at a time, and fry, turning frequently, until nicely browned. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Do not try to remove any onion bits that stick to the meatballs. Continue frying until all of the meatballs are cooked and drained.

Lower the heat and stir the flour into the fat remaining in the pan. (If there is none, add another tablespoon of oil and butter.) When the flour has absorbed the fat, using a whisk, beat the beef and chicken broths into the flour. When combined, return the meatballs to the pan. Stir in the cream and season the gravy with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the gravy is thick and well-seasoned.

Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining parsley. Serve hot with the accompaniments mentioned above or with buttered noodles or rice.


Calories per serving:

632 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Low Carb Sugar Conscious, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free

Daily value:



  • Fat 287g 441%
  • Carbs 123g 41%
  • Saturated 127g 637%
  • Fiber 9g 36%
  • Trans 9g
  • Sugars 20g
  • Monounsaturated 112g
  • Polyunsaturated 17g
  • Protein 176g 351%
  • Cholesterol 1,107mg 369%
  • Sodium 2,028mg 85%
  • Calcium 618mg 62%
  • Magnesium 257mg 64%
  • Potassium 3,596mg 103%
  • Iron 24mg 134%
  • Zinc 35mg 233%
  • Phosphorus 1,923mg 275%
  • Vitamin A 1,249µg 139%
  • Vitamin C 31mg 51%
  • Thiamin (B1) 3mg 172%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 3mg 158%
  • Niacin (B3) 48mg 241%
  • Vitamin B6 3mg 162%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 296µg 74%
  • Vitamin B12 17µg 281%
  • Vitamin D 4µg 1%
  • Vitamin E 7mg 37%
  • Vitamin K 290µg 362%
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