Monday, October 6, 2008

Swedish Meatballs “Köttbullar”

Image by Susanne Wrestling


The Swedish meatball in Swedish Köttbulle [pronounced cheutbulle] is very different from the German or known Italian meatball here in the US. Swedish meatballs which are a smaller size then the Italian ones are severed with cooked potatoes, creamy brown gravy and lingonberry.  Some history that I found on the Internet:  

– In northern Scandinavian countries beef was considered a luxury item, which meant meatballs were highly prized.  

– Meatballs are traditionally in served at Swedish smörgåsbord and other festive occasions.  

– Swedish meatballs were brought to the USA by Scandinavian immigrants; many of whom settled in America’s northern mid-west states. Other Northern European countries also have meatball/gravy recipes. Regional variations are often a reflection of taste and ingredient availability.  

– In the US, Swedish meatballs were very popular in the beginning of the 20th century, and again in the 1950s-1960s.   

Here is a recipe for my Swedish meatballs, again there are many variations to this, some don’t add the heavy cream, some add ground veal as well, some only have ground beef, some add carrots etc.  But this is my version of them and this is how I like them.   

Swedish Meatballs

Yield: About 24 meatballs, serving 6 

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes 

½  cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
½ lbs of ground pork
½ lbs of ground beef
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp of soy sauce  

Take the ground beef and mix them together.  Chop the onion very fine and put it into the mixture then add the egg, heavy cream and breadcrumbs and mix well.  Then add all the remaining ingredients salt, white pepper, and allspice and soy sauce and mix well.  I usually use a fork for that and then at the end use my hands.  

Once you have it mixed it is time to roll them meatballs.  Again, Swedish meatballs are small and should be about 1 inch in diameter.  Fry on a frying pan with butter until brown on the outside.  You can also make them in the oven as well.  

Serve with Lingonberries (lingonsylt) which you can find in many local stores and in IKEA but this is a must item.  The potatoes I usually like are the smaller red potatoes because they don’t flake when you boil them.  And I will boil them with their skin on them.  You can also do other flavors of potatoes like potato au gratin  or roasted poratoes as well. 

  Pin It

10 Responses to “Swedish Meatballs “Köttbullar””

  1. 1

    Cured Salmon “Gravlax” and Mustard Sauce “Hovmästarsås” — Delishhh — June 7, 2010 @ 5:09 am

    […] is a piece of Swedish food history, except for Swedish Meatballs, I think gravlax is the most famous culinary Swedish dish in the world.  You can get gravlax […]

  2. 2

    Crayfish Party “Kräftskiva“ — Delishhh — September 3, 2010 @ 5:15 am

    […] different kinds of Quiches, usually Cheese Quiche or Quiche Lorraine.  Some will add Herring, Potatoes and Meatballs too. Most folks will do some kind of a sauce for the crayfish like Aioli, Rouille or […]

  3. 3

    Cranberry Orange Molds (Indian Trail Cranberry Orange Mold) — Delishhh — November 22, 2010 @ 5:05 am

    […] up with Lingonberries which are very similar to Cranberries. In Sweden you have lingonberries with meatballs and some folks make dessert with lingonberries, there is also lingonberry “saft” which is a […]

  4. 4

    Extremely Chocolaty Chip Cookies and Giveaway — Delishhh — December 6, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    […] smörgåsbord as well.  Swedish Christmas smörgåsbord are filled with gravlax, herrings, ham, meatballs, red cabbage and all kinds of good stuff.  This will be first time I will be featuring this with […]

  5. 5

    Delishhh » Chicken Wings for 4th of July BBQ — February 10, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

    […] Course: Turkey Burger with Yogurt Sauce (instead of hamburgers) Meatballs  using the meatball Grill Basket from Father’s Day Gift […]

  6. 6

    Delishhh » Roasted Beet Salad » Delishhh — February 20, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

    […] Red Beets Swedish Meatballs Red Cabbage Cured […]

  7. 7

    Delishhh » Swedish Meatballs » Delishhh — March 25, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    […] recipe is a reprint from my early days of blogging – but it is so good and such a huge hit that I have to repost it […]

  8. 8

    Agie — May 24, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    Traditionally the allspice is only used for the christmas meatballs and we do not necessarilly use white pepper. Black pepper is more common in meatballs and white pepper with fish :). Soy sauce isn’t in traditional swedish meatballs but now a days people are putting it in everything ;). Otherwise this recipe is right. I’m glad to see there is no cardamom in this recipe! We never use that in meatballs but I have seen so many recipes for ‘swedish meatballs’ with cardamom! 😛

    • Delishhh replied: — June 2nd, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

      Hej Agneta,

      Tack för ditt meddelande. När jag växte upp i Sverige så hade vi alltid vitpeppar och kryddpeppar på min köttbullar. Soya kom lite senare men det blev soya till köttbullar och spaghetti såsen också.

  9. 9

    Mike Benayoun — June 11, 2015 @ 5:27 pm

    Hey Ewa, thanks for the recipe. I made a couple tweaks and just posted it on our blog. Prepared it yesterday and served it with lingonberry jam, pressgurka (pressed cucumbers) and potatismos (mashed potatoes). So, ready to celebrate Midsommar next week? 😉

Leave a Comment