19 September 2012

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Sometimes I make what I consider to be incredible meals. I don't follow any specific recipe, I use ingredients that I have available, and I'm more likely to experiment. That's how this dinner came to be. After making it a few times, I knew I needed to write it down so it would be forever preserved.

I've made Swedish meatballs a few times in the past (once after a trip to Ikea gave me a craving), recreating them from memory and enhancing the flavor of what can be a bland dish. I kept the spices in the meatballs because that's what makes Swedish meatballs unique, though instead of using three different types of ground meat I just used ground turkey. Then, I complicated matters by caramelizing onions. Doing so added an extra half hour to the recipe, and although it really enhances the flavor you could just saute them to shorten the recipe.

bag of onions

So, start with a lot of onions.

Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs

Just kidding, you don't need that many. Just a few cups of finely chopped onions. They'll reduce quite a bit as they caramelize so you need more than you would otherwise.

Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs

As the onions caramelize, I prepared the meatball mixture ahead of time so the spices could meld. I like using breadcrumbs in meatballs to create a spongier texture. I didn't have any when I first made them, so I used quick oats. It worked just fine! After softening the oats in a little milk, I mixed in the spices - freshly grated nutmeg and allspice, garlic, parsley, and an egg before gently folding in the ground turkey just to combine. A portion of the caramelized onions are added when they're ready.

Swedish Meatballs

Always sear your meatballs. I don't care if it's going in a sauce or you're eating them solo, sear them. It gives them a great texture and you'll get a nice fond for the pan sauce. I feel like the meatballs are less likely to crumble when seared, too.

Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs

The remainder of the recipe comes together quickly. Stir in flour, whisk in chicken broth and sour cream, then add the meatballs back in the skillet to finish cooking while you boil pasta. (I suggest egg pasta. If you live nearby an Aldi, see if you can find their spaetzle egg pasta.)

Swedish Meatballs

In about an hour, you'll have a dinner that will please everyone and hopefully something a little different than what you usually make.

Have you tried Swedish meatballs before?

Print this recipe

Swedish Meatballs
Recipe by Christina Provo

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients -

3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnishing
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground is preferable)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 pound ground turkey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
12 ounces dry egg noodles

Directions -
  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it foams and sizzles, add the onions. Cook for 30 minutes until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat if the onions are charring. Remove from pan, making sure to remove every bit of onion.
  2. While the onions cook, prepare the ground turkey. In a large bowl, add the oats, chopped parsley, and garlic. Stir in the egg, salt, spices, and pepper, then gently mix in the turkey, being careful not to overmix. Set aside; stir in 1/3 cup caramelized onions when they have finished cooking.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the same skillet the onions were cooked in, heat 2 tablespoons oil until hot. Working in two batches, form half the turkey mixture into balls a little smaller than a golf ball. Sear meatballs for 4 minutes on both sides. Remove to a platter. Repeat with remaining turkey mixture and oil.
  4. If skillet is dry, add another 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil. Otherwise, whisk flour into remaining oil and stir for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in chicken broth and whisk until smooth, followed by sour cream. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Add meatballs back to skillet; cover, reducing heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from sauce.
  5. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain. Add noodles to sauce and toss to coat. Divide between plates and serve with meatballs.



  1. Looks delicious and easy to make! :)

  2. Yum Ikea's swedish meatballs! :) Great idea to caramelize the onions!

  3. I love Swedish meatballs. I make them every Christmas Eve and my husband adores them!

  4. Never made swedish meatballs, but these look fantastic. caramelized onions and oats totally seal the deal :)

  5. I love Swedish meatballs and make them regularly in the colder months. Your recipe looks beautiful, and I will bet it was delicious! The caramelized onions must add a ton of flavor. Brilliant idea!

    My recipe is based on the one in Marcus Samuelsson's "Aquavit" cookbook, but like you, I add allspice and nutmeg, and also some ground ginger and mace. Love those Scandinavian flavors! :)

  6. I love that you caramelized the onions first! DEFINITELY worth the extra time.


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