Swedish meatballs


You can’t talk about Swedish cooking without mentioning meatballs.
It doesn’t get any more Swedish than this.


Swedish meatballs are a beloved traditional dish in Sweden and have won hearts all over the world with their unique flavor and charm.

The history of Swedish meatballs dates back to the 18th century, when they were first mentioned in Cajsa Warg’s 1754 cookbook. Since then, they have become one of the most iconic dishes from Sweden and have spread all over the world. Today, you can find Swedish meatballs on menus in restaurants around the world.

Swedish meatballs

Meatballs are one of the most famous dishes in Sweden and are part of the Swedish national diet. Meatballs are a culinary tradition that dates back to the mid-19th century, when meat grinders and wood stoves became more common in Swedish homes.

Before meatballs became popular, they were called frikadeller, which in modern parlance refers to meatballs cooked in soup or broth. There are many theories about how meatballs became such an important part of Swedish food culture, but no one knows for sure where they originated.

One theory is that meatballs originally come from Turkey, where they are called köfte.
(Köfte is more reminiscent of Swedish Wolverines)
Turkish meatballs are made from lamb or beef and seasoned with cumin and coriander. When Turkish traders came to Sweden in the 17th century, they may have introduced meatballs to the Swedes.

Another theory is that meatballs come from Germany, where they are called frikadeller. Meatballs are made from minced pork and are traditionally served with mashed potatoes and red cabbage. German immigrants may have brought the recipe to Sweden in the 19th century.

Whatever their origin, meatballs are one of the most beloved dishes in Sweden and are a must on many Swedish dinner tables. Meatballs are usually served with mashed potatoes, brown sauce and lingonberry jam. But there are also many other ways to serve meatballs, such as in a sandwich or as part of a buffet.

International influence and popularity

As well as being a symbol of Swedish food culture and a dish that is found in all sorts of contexts and on different holidays.

This is how Swedish meatballs have gained international popularity. Restaurants around the world have included them on their menus, and many people in other countries have discovered and fallen in love with this Swedish delicacy. Swedish meatballs have become a global sensation and have helped put Swedish food culture on the world map.

Ingredients in Swedish Meatballs

When it comes to Swedish meatballs, it is important to use the right ingredients to get the perfect taste and texture. Here are the three main ingredients you need to make Swedish meatballs: meat, spices and binder.


Traditionally, minced beef or a mixture of beef and pork is used to make Swedish meatballs. It is important that the meat is fresh and of high quality to get the best flavor. You can choose to grind the meat yourself or buy it pre-ground. If you grind it yourself, make sure you use a meat grinder with fine cutters to get a nice texture to the minced meat.


Meatballs are known for their seasoning, which gives them their characteristic taste. The most common spices used in Swedish meatballs are salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Other spices that can be used include white pepper, ginger, cardamom and allspice. It is important to use the right amount of spices to get the perfect balance of flavors.


Binders are used to hold the meatballs together and give them the right consistency. The most common binder is breadcrumbs soaked in milk. Other binders that can be used include potato flour, wheat flour or eggs. It is important not to use too much binder, as this can make the meatballs dry and tasteless.

In conclusion, it is important to use the right ingredients when making Swedish meatballs to get the best taste and texture. Use fresh and high quality meat, choose the right spices and use binders in moderation.

About the recipe

This is a recipe for classic Swedish meatballs, originating from Leif Mannerström himself.
There are of course a lot of other ways to make meatballs, more on these variations in other recipes.


Swedish meatballs

Traditional Swedish meatballs
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 portions
Calories 579 kcal


Frying pan


  • 400 gram Minced beef
  • 400 gram Minced meat
  • 1 dl Creamed milk (50/50)
  • 1 dl Breadcrumbs (can also be replaced by soaked baguette for more flavor)
  • 1 st Eggs
  • 0,5 dl Water
  • 2 st Potatoes (medium-sized boiled potatoes)
  • 2 st Yellow onion (small onions)
  • 1 msk brown sugar
  • 3 msk Anchovy spade
  • 2 msk Concentrated veal stock
  • 2 msk Chinese soya
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper (to taste)
  • butter for frying


  • Mix the cream milk, breadcrumbs, eggs and water into a loose batter. Leave to soak for about 10 minutes.
    1 dl Creamed milk, 1 st Eggs, 0,5 dl Water, 1 dl Breadcrumbs
  • Peel the onions, grate one of the onions on a grater, finely chop and fry the other golden brown.
    2 st Yellow onion
  • Mash the cooked potatoes with a fork.
    2 st Potatoes
  • Mix all the ingredients together into a smooth batter, season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
    400 gram Minced beef, 400 gram Minced meat, 1 msk brown sugar, 3 msk Anchovy spade, 2 msk Concentrated veal stock, salt and freshly ground white pepper, 2 msk Chinese soya
  • Form small round meatballs of about 25 g each and fry in butter until golden brown.


As a rule, traditional meatballs are served:
  • Potatoes or mashed potatoes
  • Brown sauce or cream sauce
  • Raw lingonberries
  • Salted cucumber
We like to drink a cold beer and a schnapps with this.


Calories: 579kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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