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Party Appetizer: Swedish Meatballs

Just as you’re sweeping up pine needles and recycling gift boxes galore, talks of resolutions and New Year’s celebrations begin. For many, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to end the year with a bang. It’s the time to top off weeks of Holiday cookies with champagne and decadent party apps before resolutions begin. Whether you’re hosting this year or traveling to a friend’s to ring in 2014, there are a few rules when picking the perfect party appetizer; keep it bite sized, make sure it’s easily portable and last but certainly not least, it needs to be delicious.

One of our go-to party recipes is the popular meatball. It can be made with different varieties of beef, pork, turkey and even exotic meats. Paired with different sauces, the meatball can be made and adapted to feed any group. One of our favorite party options is the versatile Swedish meatball. Known for its small size and rich creamy sauce, the Swedish meatball can be used as an app or spooned over egg noodles for the ultimate comfort food. As its namesake would suggest, these meatballs were invented in Sweden and are traditionally paired with potatoes and lingonberry jam.

Popularized by furniture giant Ikea®, the Swedish meatball is even more popular stateside than ever. Our version kicks up the recipe by combining beef and veal, to create a rich and moist meatball.

Beef & Veal Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs


  • ½ lb ground chuck (15 percent fat content)
  • ½ lb ground veal
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 slice white bread, torn into 4 pieces
  • 1 large egg


  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened – about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, place bread in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and add milk. Let sit until the bread has absorbed the milk, about 5 minutes. Add the cooled onion, ground beef and veal, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light in color and appears sticky, about 5 minutes. If you don’t own a stand mixer, a large bowl can be used and the mixture can be blended together by hand.
  3. Fill a separate medium bowl with water. Form the meat mixture into 1-inch balls, wetting your hands in the bowl of water as necessary to keep the mixture from sticking, and place meatballs on a baking sheet.
  4. Wipe the frying pan clean with a paper towel. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add half of the meatballs and pan fry, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean serving dish; set aside. Repeat with remaining meatballs, using the existing melted butter.
  5. Sprinkle flour over the drippings in the pan and whisk, scraping up any browned bits, until the flour’s no longer raw tasting, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in beef broth, whisking as to smooth out any lumps. Cook until the mixture starts to boil and thicken, about 3 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer into a medium heatproof bowl and discard the solids. Transfer the strained sauce back to the pan.
  6. Reduce heat to low and whisk in sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return meatballs to the pan until heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs and sauce to the serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

If traveling with the dish, transfer meatballs to a small crockpot or shallow baking dish. The size of the meatballs and sauce allow them to retain heat nicely, so only minimal reheating will be necessary. If you’re adventurous, consider serving with jam dipping sauce as a nod to the Swedish tradition and add a little color to the appetizer. With the New Year almost here, we say try something new and resolve to make 2014 a year of great food! (That’s one resolution we can definitely help with!)

Recipe adapted from:

One comment on “Party Appetizer: Swedish Meatballs

  1. Barbara Obrien
    January 3, 2014

    Great and easy recipe to use. Also perfect for dinner served over egg noodles.

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