Main Dishes

Swedish Meatballs – Updated Tradition

December 27, 2015

Swedish Meatballs

My Great-Grandpa was 100% Swedish.  His parents emigrated here in 1892. He passed away shortly after I was born, however several Swedish recipes and traditions have held strong over the years.  One is making Scandinavian cookies, like Krumkake, Sandbakelse (my favorite) and Goros, the other is Swedish Meatballs.  Every Christmas Eve, my mom would make up a big batch and we would eat them for days.

After moving to Colorado, I more or less gave up the tradition, as Christmas Eve has been spent with friends.  This year, I suggested to the family making meatballs Christmas Day instead of ham. Now, my husband was less than thrilled.  Swedish Meatballs are not his favorite.  He finds them to be bland and flavorless.  Not wanting him to be disappointed in Christmas day dinner, I needed to infuse flavor in the meatballs and gravy, while still staying true to my Swedish heritage.


I started with  3 lbs of ground beef and 1 lb of hot and spicy sausage.  I didn’t want it too spicy, just a little extra flavor.  Next, I caramelized the onions before mixing with the meat and used Panko bread crumbs.  I fried the meatballs in the same pan I cooked the onions in, again adding a little extra flavor.

For the gravy, I used sour cream vs half and half and based them in the oven for about 50 min.

Very pleased with this version. Thumbs up from the family….and everyone will eat the leftovers!

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs - Updated Tradition
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
This is a great update to my family's traditional meatball recipe. This version made about 80 meatballs and can easily be cut in half. Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb ground hot sausage
  • 1 c. Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 3 eggs - beaten
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Gravy
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c)
  • ⅔ c flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • ½ c sour cream
  • Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Saute onions in fry pan with olive oil until brown -set aside to cool.
  2. Mix ground beef, ground sausage, eggs, bread crumbs
  3. Add caramelized onions - mix all together (I used my hands, agh!)
  4. Form 1-2" balls from meat. Place on a cookie sheet.
  5. In the same pan as the onions - fry the meatballs so they are brown on all sides. I shook the pan frequently to avoid on side getting flat (3-5 min).
  6. Place meatballs in a dutch oven - set aside.
  7. Gravy
  8. In the same pan used with meatballs, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook until lightly brown (1-2 min). Whisk in chicken broth and beef bouillon cube. Continue whisking until thickened (5-8 min). Stir in sour cream. Sauce should be thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste,
  9. Pour over meatballs and place in preheated oven. Cook approx 40-50 minutes until cooked through.
  10. Top with fresh parsley. (I also added grated Asiago cheese).
  11. Serve immediately.



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