Great-Gramma’s Swedish Meatballs

This wonderful original recipe for Swedish meatballs has been passed down in my family from generation to generation…it’s the real deal.  It belongs to my Grandmother, Gerta Olofson Löf, who immigrated to the United States, from Sweden, in the late 1920s with her husband and two young sons; one of whom was my dad. Growing up enjoying the deliciousness of Swedish meatballs, I would make a nest for them with my mashed potatoes.  I’d fill the nest with a few meatballs, drizzle gravy over the top and a dollop of Lingonberry preserves on the side.  That, with a scoop of corn was the most perfect dinner for me….still is.

There is a lot of history with this dish and even more memories.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



  • 2 Slices fresh white bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 Tbls butter, divided
  • 1/2 Cup onion, chopped fine
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Lb ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 Lb ground pork
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1/2 Tsp pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp allspice
  • 1/4 Tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 3 Cups beef stock (or click here to get my recipe for delicious Homemade Beef Stock)
  • 1/4 Cup heavy cream


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Tear the bread into small pieces and put in a small bowl with the milk to soak.
  • Sauté the onion in 1 Tbls butter over medium heat until soft, set aside.
  • Combine the bread/milk mixture, ground beef, ground pork, egg yolks, S&P, allspice, nutmeg and onions in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with clean hands. (Remember to remove your rings.)
  • Roll into meatballs, about the size of a golf ball, and place on a baking sheet.

⇒Place the baking sheet with the meatballs in the refrigerator for a while so they firm up a bit. By doing this, they won’t break apart when browning.

  • Place the meatballs in the skillet and sauté in the remaining butter until they are brown on all sides, about 7-10 minutes. Keep rolling them around to evenly brown.  You may need to add a bit more butter.
  • Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon to a Dutch oven, cover, and place in the warm oven.

My skillet holds about 6-7 meatballs so I do it all in stages. Keep making meatballs while some are browning and as they brown, transfer them to the oven to keep warm while the others are browning.  Keep them covered in the oven.

  • When all the meatballs are done and in the oven…on medium-low heat add the flour to the skillet with the meatball juices.
  • Stir until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Gradually add the beef broth and a little red wine.
  • Stir until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Add the cream and continue cooking until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven, pour the gravy over the top and return to the oven.
  • Increase the heat to 300 degrees and heat the meatballs until ready to serve.

flag-of-swedenSkål…and Jag älskar dig, Gramma


Memories of a simpler time…Every summer,  my family would pile into the station wagon and drive to Cape Cod to visit my grandparents.  My dad, a doctor, had a private practice with no one to cover for him so he’d stay for the weekend and make the trip back home alone. We’d enjoy a week or two on the Cape and then dad would come to pick us up.

We’d catch fiddler crabs, eat fresh fish and lobster, swim all day in the ocean and run around the beach at night with sparklers. Gramma would make her Swedish meatballs…and all was good. And even today, so many years later, when I savor one of these heavenly bites of deliciousness, it’s like a hug from Gramma.

Just this past fall we planned our daughter’s New England wedding.  The ceremony took take place in an 18th century little church around the corner of our historic village.  The reception was held in an historic 5 story barn across the road. With family and friends traveling all the way from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Australia, Canada and across the United States, our daughter requested her Great-Grandmother’s Swedish meatballs to be served along with other family New England favorites she grew up with…and so, I lovingly prepared enough to feed our 150 guests…and the band. Needless to say, there were no leftovers and the wonderful comments have been positively endless. 

I welcome your feedback and comments, below.  Have a question or specific recipe request? I’ll be happy to research and find an answer.  Note:  This is the first time I’ve ever given out my family’s recipe without intentionally leaving out one ingredient….(or did I)…enjoy!

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