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Swedish Meatballs {IKEA Style}

by Shirley
Published: Last Updated on
Swedish meatball with mashed potatoes

These Swedish meatballs are seriously delicious and healthy. Perfect to pair them with the homemade mashed potatoes. It is for those who love IKEA meatballs. I am one of you, LOL. I used to go to IKEA just to eat their meatballs or bring back home a bag of frozen meatballs.

The good news is now you can make these super tasty Swedish meatballs at home easily. The better news? They are extremely healthy too.

Instead of frying or baking the meatballs, I use the blanching plus braising method to cook the meatballs. It is the same method to cook Huai Yang classic Red Braised Lion’s Head (pork meatballs).

blanching meatballs
braised meatballs

Brown sweet rice is a secret ingredient added to the meatball. Brown sweet rice has a subtly sweet, nutty, and chewy taste. They are nutritious and gluten-free. Such a wonderful filler to make the meatballs juicy.

brown sweet rice

For easier cooking, make sure you ground the brown sweet rice into coarse particles using a spice grinder and then soak them in cold water overnight in advance.

Swedish Meatballs Tips & Tricks:

Other than the two I have already mentioned above, blanching plus braising the meatballs and using brown sweet rice, I’d like to highlight a few additional things below:

1. Use a combination of ground beef and pork

For every pound of ground beef, use half a pound of ground pork. Home ground pork is ideal because of the meaty juiciness.

Swedish meatballs ingredients

2. Chop parsley green leaves into a smooth mixture and add to the meat

If you are using home-grown parsley, you can use the entire parsley. Homegrown parsley typically has tender stems. However, the stems of store-bought parsley are usually tough and fibery. I therefore use only the green leaves part of the parsley.

Snip the green leaves off the stems and then chop the green leaves into a paste mixture using a compact food processor. It is a handy tool to chop and/or mince spices.

chopped parsley leaves
chopped red onions

3. Saute red onion first

This is the step people often overlook. Sauteed onions are softer with fragrant, it makes the meatball taste better with a smoother texture too.

sauteed red onions

4. Dijon Mustard is one of the key secret ingredients

Dijon Mustard

It is behind the signature flavor. It also gives the meatballs and gravy the yellowish-looking hue.

5. Soy Sauce plays an instrument role

Soy sauce truly makes everything tastes better. Plus, the regular soy sauce helps darken the color of the gravy with just the right amount of brown-looking.

Swedish meatballs

Swedish Meatballs Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take to make Swedish Meatballs?

Let’s see, about 15 minutes to blanch the meatballs, and then 20 minutes to braise them. Gravy takes about 5 minutes to make. Therefore, about 40 minutes of active cooking time.

How Many meatballs does this recipe produce?

14 average-sized meatballs. I can tell you that for a family of four foodies, it is not enough for 4 servings since they are so amazingly delicious.

How do you serve Swedish Meatballs?

A great satisfying way to enjoy these meatballs is over a bed of home freshly made creamy mashed potatoes. The gravy complements mashed potatoes exceptionally well. Read here for a detailed recipe and step-by-step tutorial.

mashed potatoes Swedish meatballs with gravy

Can I double the recipe?

Absolutely. It is precisely what I do every time now. Simply double everything listed in the recipe.

Can I make this in advance and freeze it?

Bingo, sure thing. In that case, you only need to finish braising the meatballs. Make the fresh gravy on the day when you serve the meatballs. Remember to remove frozen meatballs from the freezer overnight to let them de-thaw.

Another thought, you can double the meat, store half of the braised meatballs in the freezer, and serve half today. Here, you double the recipe for Marinating and Braising the Meatball. However, since you only serve 14 meatballs today, you can keep the same ingredients listed under “Making Gravy”.

Like ground beef? Make sure you check out this deliciously juicy burger patty recipe!

Swedish meatballs

Swedish Meatballs Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

These Swedish meatballs are seriously delicious and healthy. It doesn't involve frying or baking and uses sweet brown rice instead of bread crumbs.


For Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup sweet brown rice, chopped and soaked overnight
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork, preferably home ground pork, see notes
  • 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 large cage-free egg
  • 3/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 average sized red onion
  • 1/4 tsp canola oil
  • 10 stems of parsley, green leaves only
  • 3 Qt. water (0.75 gallons)

For Braising:

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp regular soy sauce

For Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup broth from boiling the meatballs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp regular soy sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 stems of parsley, green leaves only


Prepping and Marinating the Meat:

  1. Use a spice grinder to chop the brown sweet rice coarsely and then soak over-night, rinse and change the water a couple of times
  2. Wash and rinse parsley. Snip the green leaf part off the parsley. Add about 10 stems worth of green leaves into a mini food processor and turn them into a smooth mixture. Chop the 2 stems worth of green leaves and set them aside for garnishing the gravy and meatball later.
  3. Peel garlic, add them into a mini food processor and turn into a finely minced mixture
  4. Drain the brown sweet rice and set it aside
  5. Peel off the outer layer of red onion, chop it into small pieces
  6. Turn the heat to high, heat a 12-inch hard-anodized fry-pan for 2 minutes. Add the 1/4 tsp canola oil and chopped red onion, sautee for 1 minute or until they are wilt and fragrant. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.
  7. Rinse ground beef and ground pork under the cold water, drain the water, and add to a large mixing bowl
  8. Add egg, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, Allspice, Himalayan pink salt, freshly ground black pepper, and white pepper, minced garlic, parsley mixture, and sauteed red onion,
  9. Use a bamboo spatula to press and break down the beef and fold them into the seasoning in the mixing bowl. Continue to fold until evenly mixed.
  10. While planting the bamboo spatula inside the meat mixture, swiftly turn the bamboo spatula in one direction, either clockwise or counter-clockwise, for 30 seconds at one setting to bond the meat together. Do it a few times until the meat is fully bonded.
  11. Now move on to the next steps of forming the meatballs.

Forming the Meatballs:

  1. Fill a 4 Qt. stockpot with about 75% water (about 3 Qt. or 0.75 Gallons), turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil
  2. Once it reaches boiling, turn the heat to low, scoop out about a little less than 1/4 cup ground meat mixture and place it into the left hand. Use two hands to gently press to form a meatball shape, toss between palms to make the ball smoother.
  3. Gently add the meatballs into the water in the stockpot. Since the water is hot in temperature, the meatball shall solidify into a ball. Use a spider skimmer to gently fetch the meatball from the bottom to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Repeat and continue to add more meatballs into the pot. When there are about 5 meatballs, start to remove the meatballs from the pot and place them into the Wok. Try to remove in a first-in-first-out order.
  5. Repeat until you are done with all the meat mixture and have solidified all meatballs.
  6. Now move on to the next step of braising the meatballs.

Braising the Meatballs:

  1. Add 4 1/4 cups of the broth from the stockpot, or until it barely covers all the meatballs in the Wok
  2. Add 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 2 tsp regular soy sauce. Gently mix well using a basting spoon.
  3. Turn the heat to high, cook for 18 minutes
  4. Turn the heat to medium and cook for another 2 minutes. Gently turn the meatballs and check the liquid level in the Wok. The liquid in the Wok should be disappearing.
  5. Remove the cooked meatballs from the Wok and place them onto a plate.
  6. Now move on to make the gravy.

Making the Gravy:

  1. Add 2 1/4 cups of broth from the stockpot into the wok, also add 1 cup of organic heavy cream, 2 tsp regular soy sauce, 2 tsp light soy sauce, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard.
  2. Sift in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour using a flour sifter Mix everything together using a mini whisk.
  3. Turn the heat to high, bring it to a boil while stirring using a bamboo spatula. About 2-3 minutes
  4. Turn the heat to medium, cook another 5 minutes while mixing & stirring. Use a rubber spatula to remove the gravy stuck to the walls of the wok and add it into the Wok and mix well.
  5. All done, go ahead serve the unbelievably delicious Swedish meatballs.

Serving the Swedish Meatballs:

  1. Add the cooked meatballs back into the Wok, gently add one by one. Drizzle with the remaining chopped parsley green leaves.
  2. To serve - Using a basting spoon to scoop out meatballs along with gravy and add to a bed of mashed potatoes or rice.
  3. Enjoy!


  • This recipe makes about 14 meatballs.
  • I recommend using home ground pork for the best results. See here for an easy way to ground the perfect pork at home.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1019Total Fat: 68gSaturated Fat: 30gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 310mgSodium: 1564mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 9gSugar: 9gProtein: 68g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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