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Tasty Swedish Meatballs and Gravy

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Cooking time

Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 1 hour

Skill level

More effort


Serves 4

Learn how to make mouthwatering meatballs with lashings of gorgeous gravy just like the Swedes do. An inspired Swedish meatball recipe by What Dad Cooked.

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For the meatballs

  • 400g mince beef
  • 400g mince pork
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 75g fresh white bread crumbs
  • 200ml single cream
  • 1tbs butter – 1 tbs light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the gravy

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 large sticks celery
  • 1000ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 large tablespoon Lingonberry jam/sauce (from IKEA of course – or redcurrant jelly)
  • 2 tbs butter – 4 tablespoons light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon

Optional flavourings

  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 10g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1tsp aged balsamic vinegar


  1. Start with the gravy. Chop the vegetables finely. Fry in a pan with light olive oil and butter. Add a pinch of salt and cook on a low heat for about half an hour – we’re looking for the sweet caramel flavours that emerge from a slow sauté of onion. Add the allspice and stir, then add the stock and cook on a rolling simmer for 20minutes, let it reduce by a third. Add the lingonberry or redcurrant and stir. Decide whether to keep the vegetables in the sauce or to strain. Then finish the gravy, add the cream, stir and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt to taste, add plenty of pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

  2. Optional flavourings. Add the thyme, mushrooms, vinegar and wine to the vegetables when they have cooked. Keep the heat high and reduce until almost evaporated. Then add the stock as above.

  3. Make the meatballs. Chop an onion as fine as possible. Add to a pan with the butter and oil. Sweat gently for about 10-15 minutes until soft and transparent.

  4. Combine the cream with the breadcrumbs to form a consistency like stiff porridge. Add the meat to a large bowl, whisk an egg and add it with the breadcrumbs to the meat. Season with allspice and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and form into walnut size balls. Put on a plate. Ideally these should rest in the fridge. (Meat patty mixtures are more complicated than imagined – getting the consistency right is tricky. In particular mixtures that are too wet and loose can be a nightmare. Breadcrumbs can be added to help absorb moisture. Resting in the fridge will also help firm up the meatballs.)

  5. Coat each meatball in flour. Heat a large frying pan, add butter and light oil and fry the meatballs in batches. Aim for a good all round colouring. If the pan is getting too clogged with burning flour, clean the pan between batches. Use fresh butter and oil if necessary.

  6. When the meatballs have cooked add to a clean pan with the sauce and heat gently for 10 minutes, allowing the flavours to blend and the sauce to thicken (from the flour on the meatballs).

  7. Serve with boiled potatoes – and lingonberries! Some chopped parsley provides a final flourish. You can serve with pasta or rice instead of potatoes.

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