Classic Swedish Meatballs and Lingonberry Sauce Recipe

Perhaps Sweden has IKEA to thank for the worldwide fame surrounding its most famous dish? One thing we are sure of is that after several years of living here and many recipe attempts, we have settled on this being our favourite homemade meatball recipe. It is simple to make and the best news of all is that the ingredients for the meatballs can be sourced worldwide so wherever you find yourself, you can be sure to enjoy a taste of Sweden.

And if you do find yourself in Stockholm and you don’t feel like cooking, you can always head to Meatballs For The People for a great value Swedish meal.

For the meatballs:

While using a mixture pork and beef is common in Swedish meatballs, we used pork and chicken mince, which made the meatballs slightly lighter whilst still maintaining that classic meatball texture – if you want to be truly authentic, you may want to use pork and beef. We use this as a base recipe and then add in other flavours, depending on how we feel/ what time of year it is. Below you’ll find some of our suggestions but you can definitely just be creative and create your own version.

Base Ingredients:

600g (approx 1.3 lbs) mix of minced pork and chicken (or pork & beef)
50g (1 cup) breadcrumbs
1 egg
1tsp ground allspice (kryddpeppar in Swedish)
salt & pepper
2 tbsp of chopped fresh herbs (we used parsley and chives)

Seasonal Flavour Combinations (choose one of these):

Classic:  Add 1tsp garlic powder and 1 additional tsp ground allspice
Spring & Summer Lemon & Dill: Add 2 tbsp chopped dill & zest of 1 lemon.
Autumn Tarragon: Add 1tsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp dried tarragon
Winter Spice: Add 1 additional tsp ground allspice, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 2cm piece fresh ginger, grated.

For the creamy sauce:

  •  275ml beef stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp soy sauce, to taste
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 1tbsp water
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  • Mix together the mince, herbs, allspice, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk the egg and add to the mixture – this makes the mixture easier to shape into meatballs.
  • Decide on any additional ingredients you want to add and add your seasonal ingredients to the mix.
  • Cover the mixture with cling film and leave it in the fridge for 1-2 hours, allowing the flavours to infuse.
  • When you are ready to cook the meatballs, take the mixture out of the fridge and form into small meatballs, place them on a baking sheet and cook at 180°C (in a fan assisted oven) for around 30 minutes, until they are golden-brown.
  • Meanwhile, heat the beef stock in a pan and add the cream. When it is gently simmering, add the flour mixed with the water and stir until the sauce thickens.  Season to taste.
  • When the meatballs are cooked through, serve them together with the creamy sauce, potatoes and Lingonsylt (see below) for a truly authentic Swedish dish.

Lingonsylt (Lingonberry Sauce)


Lingonberries (sometimes called mountain cranberries) are a great berry to forage for in late summer/ early Autumn, when they can also be found in abundance in supermarkets and market stalls across Sweden.  During the rest of the year, you can find frozen lingonberries in good supermarkets – and don’t worry if you can’t get hold of lingonberries, cranberries make a good substitute.

The other great thing about this recipe is that once you have made a batch, it will keep for ages.  Preserving fruit is an age old tradition in Sweden, when it provided people with all the nutritional goodness of fruit during the long winter months. And now, well… it’s definitely more fun (and tasty) to make your own than just buying it.

Ingredients:

1kg fresh or frozen lingonberries
300-600g sugar (to taste)
A squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  • First, you’ll need to sterilise your jars.
  • Meanwhile, over a gentle heat, slowly start to cook the lingonberries together with the sugar.  We used around 350g but the quantity is up to you. 300g will give you a more tart finish and 600g will obviously be sweeter and last longer as a preserve. (It doesn’t last long in our house so we opt to add less sugar and make new batches more often.)
  • When the sugar has dissolved, add a squeeze of lemon juice and cook for a further 10 minutes, removing any foam or scum that forms on the surface as you go.
  • Carefully remove the jars from the oven, pour the mixture into them and seal.
  • As this lingonberry sauce contains much less sugar than a traditional jam recipe, keep the jars in the fridge to ensure maximum shelf-life.


So there you have it – our favourite Swedish Meatballs, creamy sauce and lingonsylt. Do you have a favourite Swedish meatball recipe? What other Swedish dishes do you love? Do let us know by leaving a comment below – we always love to hear from you!

All photos © 2017 Anita Tatlow

21st February 2017

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