Oh-So-Retro Swedish Meatballs

Oh-So-Retro Swedish Meatballs
Oh-So-Retro Swedish Meatballs
This image courtesy of Colin Ericcson

Editor's Note: The next time you throw a party to celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary, add a throwback feel to the festivities with these retro appetizers. The original recipe for Swedish meatballs may have been first created years ago, but they will still be the hit of any party — and it's likely you won't have any leftovers! The busy host or hostess will also appreciate the ease in which these appetizers are prepared, as the meatballs are cooked in a slow cooker for up to six hours. Make sure you use a slotted spoon when removing these meatballs from the slow cooker, and to keep a box of picks on hand to make it easier for guests to eat the meatballs.

These were a cocktail party standard way back when. Serve them in a shallow serving dish or a deep platter, speared with cocktail toothpicks. They will disappear in a flash. Make sure your guests have napkins or a plate to catch any drips.

Cooking MethodSlow Cooking



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Buffet Meal, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Family Get Together, Game Day

Recipe CourseAppetizer, Hors D'oeuvre

EquipmentCrock Pot

MealDinner, Snack

Taste and TextureCreamy, Meaty, Rich, Savory


  • Small to medium (2 to 3½ quart) slow cooker
  • 1 pound (500 g) lean ground beef, preferably sirloin
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2 mL) allspice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tesapoon (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 cups (500 mL) beef broth, heated to the boiling point
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream
  • ½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped dill fronds


  1. In a bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, lemon zest and juice, salt, allspice, and pepper to taste. Mix well. Using your hands, shape into balls about ½ inch (1 cm) in diameter.

  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs in batches and cook, stirring, until nicely browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware as completed. Add flour to pan and cook, stirring, until frothy but not browning, about 2 minutes. Stir in peppercorns. Add beef broth and cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes (see Tip below). Pour over meatballs.

  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until meatballs are cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Add sour cream and dill to stoneware and stir well. Pour over meatballs and serve.


You may want to use a whisk while combining the flour mixture and hot stock, to minimize the possibility of lumps.


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I have to questions... before I try this recipe... 1) does any one know home many "meat balls or servings" this recipe yields and 2) while I am sure they do very nicely when served with pasta or rice, However, has anyone ever served them over zoodles (veggie noodles)??

This is a delicious recipe! I have to say that it is not a traditional one... As Swedish meatballs are not covered with sour cream, they are browned in real butter and the do not have or need dill. The Swedish only use Heavy Cream to make the sauce. This is very yummy and a wonderful recipe! I will keep it and hope to use it with my wife as a change up. P.S. the meat should be ground twice with 2 grated onions in it and the meatballs should be the same size and smaller that American meatballs too!

I have not made these meatballs but I will give it a try. One suggestion,would be nice if one could share the recipes to FB and TWITTER. Thank You.

Hi Grafra102! Thank you for reaching out. You can share the recipes via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus via the buttons located below the recipe's copyright information.

Whenever we shop at IKEA (not often enough for us tastes since the closest is almost three hours away), I make a beeline for the restaurant area and get an order of their meatballs. I'm really happy to find this recipe so I can make a good from-scratch version. These are really good as an appetizer or snack, and I also love them over some noodles or rice.


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