Swedish Meatballs

December 30, 2011 in Categories: by

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Swedish Meatballs-063 copyFirst off, I have to specially thank one of my twitter followers, @paleoanton, who originally sent me this authentic recipe for Swedish meatballs.

Meatballs are a kid (and grown-up) favorite, but often require grain-based fillers and binders.  Swedish meatballs are a minimally spiced version (my husband calls them boring, but I vehemently disagree), so you really get to just enjoy the flavor of good meat.   They are typically served in gravy, often with something like plain noodles on the side.  I like them with some braised cabbage and sautéed mushrooms.  I made these with grass-fed beef and they were delicious!  

A note about arrowroot powder:  Arrowroot powder is a great thickener (made from a tuber).  It doesn’t lump and doesn’t alter the flavor.  When you first add it, it will seem cloudy, but it will turn translucent as it cooks.   The resulting gravy is clearer than what you’re used to, but still thick and tastes great. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 3-4 (16 meatballs)

Ingredients (meatballs):

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add oil and onion and sauté until completely cooked, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients in a bowl (I find it easiest to use my hands).  Form 1 ½” meatballs by hand and place on prepared baking sheet (you should get approximately 16 meatballs).
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Ingredients (gravy):

  1. Place broth and butter in the skillet that the onions were cooked in.  Stir in the arrowroot powder.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir frequently until thick, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  3. Toss meatballs in gravy (including any juices from the baking sheet) and enjoy!


These are awesome! Thank you for this post!! I didn’t make enough. Next time-double batch! And, the sauce is perfect too! Even my 8.5-month-old son is enjoying these with the sauce!

Would these work with ground turkey as well? Today I went to my local farmer’s market and bought almost 2 pounds of nice dark meat ground turkey and need to find a simple recipe to use! ~Tanya

If you want to amp up the yum factor, try a ratio of 1/3 ground pork to 2/3 ground beef and toss in some caraway seeds if you can handle them. My Swedish grandma always made her meatballs with pork and beef and no one ever called them boring! 😉

Yep. My (100% Swedish) mom-mom did half and half, Beef/Pork. You can also get the beef pork veal meatloaf blend and it works nicely. I made some tonight of my family recipe with that tonight. I stopped by to see how different the Swedish meatball recipes were. My family came from southern Sweden so it would be fun to see the difference!

Nutmeg is not a common spine in meatballs and allspice is traditionally only used at christmas. As previously Said, it should be a mix of grund pork and beef. And they are usually fried in a frying pan, not the oäven, but bakning in a oven is useful when making large batches, but then they should be quickly fried in a fryingpan before serving to get the proper crust. Gravy is served with meatballs, not like this. This receipe is more like fricadells than meatballs.
/ grumpy Swede

I’m going to have to be a grumpy commentor too.. These just didn’t turn out. My 5 yr old hated the nutmeg taste I also thought it made them taste like soap.. Then I heard my husband spitting his out in the garbage. LOL

We loved, loved, loved these. I wanted to have leftovers, so we doubled the recipe. I have a few observations: I thought both the meat and the gravy were a bit under-seasoned for my taste, so I added a good deal of kosher salt. Additionally, the first batch of meatballs were so done, they were nearly dry after 20 minutes in the oven. I reduced the bake time of the second batch to 15 min and they were done, but I think I could have reduce the cook time even further. There was still an excellent amount of drippings after just 15 minutes.

That’s another thing. The amount of drippings these meatballs produced was mind-boggling! I was wondering how on earth I was going to make a gravy to satisy my poutine-loving husband, but the drippings were so generous. The gravy was absolutely delicious. It was a bit thin, though, so I’ll either cook some of the liquid off next time, or up the amount of arrowroot powder.

As an aside, we used ghee as our fat in both the meat and gravy. Worked out very well!

Thank you so much for sharing this delightful recipe. We’ll be pairing this with a cauliflower mash and maybe a fig reduction, and we’ll have ourselves a real feast!

Hello, I’m going to start to change our diet and follow the paleo lifestile, but I have one little problem. One of my kids is allergic to egg. And most all the paleo breakfast and some other dishes are made with egg what should I do to replace it? I feel bad because she wants to try now she is 2 years old and her twin can eat it but i don’t make them very often cause i’m scared of her trying to get his food. :S

I don’t have the info in front of me, but Google how to use chia seeds as an egg replacement in any recipe. Healthy alternative for someone in your situation.

These look delish…wondering what I could substitute for the Arrowroot? I have almond meal, almond flour,coconut flour, amaranth flour, brown rice flour, and cream of tarter. Would any of these work?.

Almond flour doesn’t thicken gravies very well. Coconut flour does, but has a strong coconut flavor. I’m not sure about amaranth or brown rice flour because I never use them. Cream of tartar isn’t usually used for thickening. My other favorite thickeners are tapioca starch and kuzu starch.

So yummy! Swedish meatball was one of my favorite meals my mom made me when I was a kid! This hit the spot! Next time I’ll have to triple as hubby went back for generous 2nds. 🙂 thank you!

I usually really enjoy your recipes, however I have to agree with what some others have already said here — it could REALLY use some more salt! Thanks!

Made this tonight!! Yum!! So good! And all of my kids ate at least one meatball! I call that a HUGE success!! I doubled the recipe as there are 7 of us. Upped the salt to 1/2 tsp as it said to taste, and we typically like things a little saltier. Perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

Since I am following AIP what can I replace the nutmeg with? This recipe looks delish. It’s what for dinner tonight:)

Just made this for dinner and it was so delicious. I took the advice of several commenters and increased the amount of salt and other seasonings and it was not boring! Even the gray made with the drippings was great. This is going into permanent rotation. Thank you.

[…] ThePaleoMom: Recipe: Swedish Meatballs – The Paleo Mom » The … – I have to make a special thank you here to one of my twitter followers, @paleoanton, who sent me his recipe for making Swedish meatballs a few weeks ago. … And most all the paleo breakfast and some other dishes are made with egg what should I do to replace it? […]

I make my meatballs with a green plantain processed in a blender instead of the eggs. It seems to bind the meat well, but I do find the meatballs to be quite dense, but delicious non the less.

A pound of meat with two eggs? This turned out very very wet and now I have meat shapes. I think next time I’ll either leave out the eggs or just use one.

These were incredible. I thought we would have extra, but my kids and their bears absolutely loved them. We used a mushroom sauce, since we do not eat arrowroot and I did not have any extra chicken broth. We will be making these again and again!

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