Lingonberries pickled cucumbers and meatballs

How to make Swedish meatballs the Vogue Scandinavia way

By Constance Loeper

Photo: Constance Loeper

Vogue Scandinavia's easy guide to the globally adored Swedish culinary classic

From fricadelli to kofta, at Vogue Scandinavia we believe that a meatball by any other name still tastes the best with Swedish condiments. There’s no doubt that the mighty meatball is one of country's most famous culinary contributions. The global success might be attributed to Ikea, but in Sweden we have been serving up the spherical deliciousness for centuries with the first ever known Swedish recipe published in 1755 by legendary cookbook author Cajsa Warg. But it wasn't until the mid-19th century when the inventions of the meat grinder and wood stove became more common in Swedish households that the delicacy became the staple in our local cuisine that it is today.


When making meatballs, there are some things to know before getting started. An indisputable fact is that there are as many meatball recipes as there are Swedish household, with many a variation depending on season (some love to add a hint of cinnamon during Christmas - We're looking at you Ernst Kirchsteiger) and preference. However, certain aspects always remain the same; Swedish meatballs should be light, delicate and a real treat – browned up for a crispy exterior while retaining a juicy and tender inside. Just don't forget the pickled cucumber and sweetened lingonberries for an authentic experience.

This is the Vogue Scandinavia way to make meatballs.

Swedish homemade meatballs with cream sauce

The traditional Swedish meatballs. Photo: Constance Loeper


Serves 6

For the Meatballs:

  • 800 g ground beef
  • 2 onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ dl cream
  • ½ dl milk
  • 1 dl bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tsp ground all spice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt, peppar

For the cream sauce:

  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 dl cream
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp beef stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp light syrup
  • 8 dried juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 dl finely chopped parsley
  • Salt, pepper

Photo: Constance Loeper


How to make the meatballs:

  1. Finely chop the onion and seer in a pan with butter until soft and translucent. Remove from the stove and let cool.
  1. Combine the eggs with cream, milk and mustard. Add the breadcrumbs and let soak for 5 min.
  1. In a bowl, pour the cream and breadcrumbs mixture over the ground beef. Add salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg and the cooled onions (don’t forget to add the fat that the onions were fried in as it will give the meatballs additional flavour).
  1. Mix the ground beef with the other ingredients by hand until barely combined. Let the batter rest in the fridge for approximately 10-15 min; this will make the rolling much more manageable. Next, shape into small meatballs by soaking your hands in cold water. This method prevents the batter from sticking to your palms. Finally, put the meatballs back in the fridge to settle.
  1. Heat a pan with butter and oil. Fry the meatballs in batches depending on their size and sear until golden and crispy.

How to make the cream sauce:

  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic and then fry gently in butter on medium-low heat with juniper berries. Pour in the beef stock, cream, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Let reduce until you reach a creamy consistency.
  1. Add the salt, pepper, syrup and vinegar, then mix the sauce smooth with a hand mixer. Gently fold in the finely chopped parsley before pouring the sauce over the meatballs directly in the frying pan – this way, you won't miss the flavour of the pan drippings after searing the meatballs.
  1. Serve your freshly fried meatballs and smooth cream sauce with potato puré, sweetened lingonberries and pickled cucumber.