Mom’s Swedish Meatballs and a Party for 12


For the Meatballs

  • 1 large yellow onion – peeled and finely grated (I use a food processor )
  • 2 TBPS Butter
  • 2/3 Cup of Milk
  • 4 to 5 slices of white bread, crust cut off and cut or crumbed into pieces
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1½ lbs ground beef
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper

Gravy Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 TBSP butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 cup chicken bouillon (I like Wyler’s)
  • ½ to ¾ cup sour cream
  • Salt & pepper as desired

**  ¼ cup Johnny’s French Dip Au Jus concentrate for extra flavor as needed – commercial beef stock and/or broth can be a little bland – use carefully to taste.


  • Sauté onion until soft and translucent – 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Mix bread pieces with milk and let set about 15 minutes to soften. If still chunky, smooth out in your food processor.
  • Add cooled onions to bread/milk mixture; stir.
  • Add remaining ingredients for the meatballs.
  • Gentle mix together with your clean hands.
  • Use a spoon to measure and form meatballs. I use a teaspoon because I like mine a little smaller.
  • Set each aside on a tray(s)

Formed Swedish MeatballsThere are several methods for cooking your meatballs. My mom dropped them into boiling water – just enough to cover for about 10 minutes to help keep the balls together and have a nice shape. She then put them in the oven to brown – and of course with no temperature indicated.  So I do bake mine at 375 degrees until golden brown for about 30 minutes.  I also put just enough beef stock on the baking sheet to keep them moist during the baking.


Another method I use is to brown them in a frying pan. It’s a little trickier to keep them nicely shaped, but it does provide some incredible brown bits in the pan for making gravy. When I’m making a lot of meatballs – like I made 250 last weekend for our library’s Christmas Open House – I brown about ½ of them on the stove and do the rest in the oven.  I always do at least one batch on the stove for the gravy making.

Making the Gravy

Gravy terrifies a lot of people, but be brave – you can do this!  In the pan you browned meatballs, drain off all of the extra fat but leave the yummy brown bits.

Prepare your beef stock by warming it in another pan.  Add one cup of prepared chicken bouillon to your stock. Keep warm.

In your frying pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter (6 if you start in a dry clean pan). Slowly stir or whisk in the flour. You will be making a classic roux by letting the flour/butter mixture cook on medium heat until it browns to a golden brown.  It will be thick but keep stirring.

Start adding your warmed stock to the roux. Keep stirring and adding stock slowly. It will be very thick, but will thin out as you add your stock. Once all of your stock is added, put your meatballs into the sauce. Then turn on low and cook for about 10 minutes.

Your gravy should be silky and thick, and your meatballs should be cooked completely.  Taste for salt and pepper.  This is when I might add a little Gravy Brown or Johnny’s French Dip Au Jus to give it a deep, luscious flavor.

If you like your gravy thicker, a trick I learned from my mother was to put a couple of tablespoons of flour into a pint mason jar, add COLD water, a little salt and pepper, cover and shake until completely mixed.  You can now add a little at a time to your gravy until it reaches your desired thickness.

Move to a serving dish; add sour cream and mix well.  Traditionally this is served with Lingonberry jelly. Since we didn’t have IKEA growing up, it was never included on our menu.

Enjoy and keep it simple!