Kottbullar (Köttbullar) are quick and easy to make! Juicy beef and pork tender meatballs smothered in a delicious sauce. Swedish meatballs made insanely popular as a version of them is sold at Ikea stores. Kottbullar meatballs will tick the taste, texture and so very delicious boxes. This Swedish meatball recipe allows for making comfort food from the joy of home so very achievable.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Homemade: yes, store bought foods and eating out have their time and place. But sometimes homemade is a million times better than eating out for a multitude of reasons. Be they sticking to a budget, wanting to know exactly what has gone into a recipe or simply to enjoy the joy of homemade food.
- Family friendly: everyone from little ones to adults will love these copy cat Ikea Swedish meatballs.
- Simple ingredients: you will be able to get your hands on everything you need to make the recipe at most local grocery stores. As much as it is a Swedish recipe, the ingredients, including ground meat are all commonly available.
- Taste and texture: there is the juicy meatballs, the thick, creamy, saucy gravy and the mashed potatoes and crisp green broccolini. It is a winning combination that will tick all of your taste and texture boxes.
- Quick and easy: we use a little elbow grease to bring the meatballs together. Yet when that is done, the rest are all simple steps that take minimal effort.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Salt and black pepper: we use a little of each of these to season the meatballs.
- Avocado oil: we use this to cook the meatballs in.
- Egg: this helps the meatball ingredients to stick together.
- Nutmeg: one of the 2 warm spices in the meatballs.
- All spice: the 2nd of the unique warm spices in the meatballs.
- Milk: this helps to soften the bread.
- White bread: this is traditionally used in Swedish meatballs, whereas breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs are not.
- Onion: we grate this to use it to add wetness to the bread.
- Beef mince and pork mince (ground beef and ground pork): this combination can often be found at the grocery store or you will be able to request it at your local butcher.
🍯 Ikea Gravy Ingredients
Then we also have the ingredients to make the Ikea gravy mix:
- Worcestershire sauce: this gives the sauce a little oomph to it. I also like to use it as it contains garlic powder and onion powder as ingredients which saves adding an additional 2 ingredients to the shopping list.
- Butter: unsalted is best. A soft French butter if you can find it. This style tends to be super soft and creamy and is excellent to use in cooking. As well as being reasonably inexpensive.
- Plain flour: this is regular all purpose flour. We don't need to sift it. However, you can take that step if you are worried about getting lumps in the sauce. You can also choose to not sift, but then whisk as a means to remove any lumps.
- Cream: this is cooking cream, also known as pouring cream, whipping cream or heavy cream. It has a thick consistency but not as thick as cream that you dollop.
- Beef broth: also known as beef stock. This gets combined with the other ingredients to help make the creamy saucy gravy.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by preparing the onion. You will need a grater and chopping board.
- Grate onion (Photo 1)
- Add bread pieces to bowl (Photo 2)
- Add wet onion to bread (Photo 3)
- Add milk (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Kottbullar (Köttbullar) Swedish Meatballs
We start to make the recipe by preparing the onion. We need to cut the tip off, peel the skin and then use a grater to grate it.
Then we add the white bread pieces to a large bowl, measure the grated onion, add that in as well as the milk.
Use a spoon to stir this together and then let it sit for 2 minutes. This time allows the onion and milk to soften the bread.
Once done, add the beef and pork mince, nutmeg, all spice, salt, pepper and egg to the bread mixture.
Use the back of a spoon to push the meat mixture down to form a well in the centre, then crack the egg and place it into the well.
Next use clean hands to consistently combine the meatball ingredients.
Once this is done, you can use a spoon, portion a little of the meatball mixture into your hands and then use your palms to roll it into balls. Once rolled, place the balls of meat onto a clean chopping board. Then repeat until all of the mixture has been used up.
For best results, we then want to pop the meatballs into the refrigerator for around 15 minutes. This will help to ensure that they don't fall apart when we come to cook them.
- Add the remaining meatball ingredients to bowl (Photo 5)
- Use clean hands to combine the consistently combine the mixture (Photo 6)
- Portion and roll into meatballs, place in fridge for 15 mins (Photo 7)
- Add avocado oil to pan and then add the meatballs and cook (Photo 8)
Place a large frying pan (or large skillet) on the stove, turn the heat to high and add the avocado oil. Then use kitchen tongs to place meatballs into the pan.
We want to cook the meatballs for around 10 minutes. You can use kitchen tongs and a wooden spoon during this time to move them around. We want the surface of the meatballs to be golden brown and that is all sides.
- Cook meatballs (Photo 9)
- Melt butter (Photo 10)
- Add flour and whisk (Photo 11)
- Pour in beef broth (Photo 12)
Once the meatballs are cooked, you can remove them to a paper towel lined bowl. Do this by tipping them into the bowl so that the excess oil is removed from the pan.
Next without rinsing or cleaning the pan (including not removing small pieces of leftover meatballs) start the sauce 👍👌.
Keep the heat on high and add the butter. Allow this to melt for 1 to 2 minutes.
Then add the plain flour and use a wooden spoon or whisk to vigorously combine.
The next step is to pour in the beef stock and don't worry if it looks like the sauce has separated a little as it will come back together with a little more cooking. Pour in the oomph, otherwise known as Worcestershire sauce and continue to stir.
Next pour in the cream. Keep stirring as you do this. If you notice any lumps whisk them out and lower the heat when bubbles form at the edges of the gravy.
- Add Worcestershire sauce (Photo 13)
- Then add the cream (Photo 14)
- Stir till combined (Photo 15)
- Add meatballs and heat through (Photo 16)
Once you are happy with the consistency of the gravy, transfer the cooked meatballs back to the pan.
Allow these to full heat through and then you are ready to call the eaters to grab a fork and dive on in!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
You won't need an appetizer for the recipe as it is a satisfying combination of all things yum with little room for anything else. I do, however, like to give you options!!
To make this recipe easy, mashed potatoes and steamed broccolini are easy sides. I use the Garlic Butter Potatoes and add a little more butter and milk to create my mash. Or you could try the more complex Horseradish mash.
The creamy sauce is enough sauce for the meatballs and then some. Heck, you could even use it to dunk fries into! A great white wine to pair with the kottbullar is a glass of Pinot Gris. Instead of saving room for dessert, maybe save room for a trusty Pinto Noir to follow 🤣.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the meatballs and gravy in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. Keep this separate from any mashed potato or other vegetables.
How to Reheat
You can reheat the dish in the microwave (quickest and easiet way). Ensure the plate or bowl is covered and heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Test to ensure it is fully heated through before serving.
How to Freeze
I do not recommend freezing the finished dish. This is because creamy sauces do not often thaw and reheat as well as they taste when freshly cooked.
For convenience, however, you can purchase the meat, freeze it, thaw it and then use for the meatballs. Or you can make the meatballs, freeze them and then thaw and make the gravy sauce from scratch. These freezer tips offer convenience and help to get the recipe sorted a bit quicker for those night's when you simply don't have time. I get you 😘😉👍.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- Olive oil or canola oil are alternatives for the avocado oil.
- You can use chicken stock (chicken broth) in place of the beef stock as an alternative.
- When garnishing the dish, finely chopped chives are an alternative to the finely chopped parsley.
- As much as it is not traditional you can use regular bread crumbs or panko breadcrumbs if you want. If choosing to do so, I recommend using ⅓ cup.
- You can use a small onion and finely dice it as opposed to grating it, however, it won't be as wet and soften the breadcrumbs. So if you want to do this, add 1 extra teaspoon of milk.
- If you cannot find beef and pork mince and don't want to buy extra of both, you can choose to use either ground beef or ground pork as an alternative to make the meatballs ie use the 1 protein, not the 2 combined.
- Dollop a spoonful of sour cream on top or a little lingonberry sauce.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- You can work in batches to cook the meatballs in you wish to.
- We do want to pour any remaining oil out of the fry pan after the meatballs are cooked so that this doesn't go back into the gravy. However, that being said, we don't rinse or clean the pan after the meatballs are removed as we do want a little bit of that crispy oily good stuff in the recipe to add a depth of flavour.
- The first time you make the gravy sauce you might panic if it doesn't thicken straight away. Keep breathing as this is normal. Then see the next point below.
- If the sauce is not as thick as you would like it to be, gradually add a little bit more flour and whisk consistently until the sauce thickens.
- Swedish meatballs are often smaller than Italian meatballs. If you wish to make small meatballs you can use a mini cookie scoop. Doing so will also increase the total number of meatballs that you make as well as making them a uniform size.
- Ikea usually sells 3 x of frozen meatballs. The 1st is called HUVUDROLL and is around $20 for 1kg. They also have a chicken HUVDROLLs version as well as a very modern HUVUDROLL Plant balls, which are, you guessed it, vegan! If you happen to find yourself in store and craving Ikea meatballs, grab a bag of your preference then come home and follow this recipe to make the Ikea meatball sauce (I won't hold it against you 😉🤣).
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What is the origin of köttbullar?
The origins of Köttbullar meatballs is the country of Turkey. From there they began being sold worldwide at Ikea stores and the rest is history.
What are traditional Swedish meatballs made of?
Traditional Swedish meatballs use a combination of ground beef, ground pork, bread, onion, nutmeg, all spice, salt, pepper and egg. Some recipes will also include a little brown sugar.
What is Swedish meatball sauce made of?
Swedish meatball sauce (for homemade Ikea meatballs) is made from a combination of melted butter, plain flour, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth and cream. Some recipes may also include soy sauce and dried rosemary.
What do you serve with Swedish meatballs?
Here are 17 great sides to pair with Swedish meatballs:
- Mashed potatoes
- Lingonberry jam
- Cranberry sauce
- Sliced cucumber
- Whole steamed potatoes
- Roast potatoes
- Garlic mushrooms
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Variety. It is the spice of life. We need it also for the main meal of the day, Dinner!! I like to give you plenty of options to turn to. Some quick and easy, some more time intensive and some weekend worthy seriously indulgent yum. Here are some recipes that I hope you will love:
- Braised Beef Ribs
- Meatballs and Polenta
- Red Wine Short Ribs
- Dutch Oven Pulled Pork
- Crumbed Lamb Cutlets
- Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb
- Macaroni Alfredo
- Slow Cooker Lamb Stew
- Mexican Ribs
- Crumbed Mushrooms
It's time to get our flat pack on my friends, only we are doing a 3 dimensional roll of it and making meatballs in a cream sauce! You can also find all of my dinner recipes in the one spot.
Kottbullar (Swedish Meatballs)
- 1 Large mixing bowl to combine the meatball mixture
- 1 Kitchen Tongs
- 1 Large fry pan
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 2 Paper towel
- 2 slices white bread crusts removed, cut into 9 small pieces per slice
- ½ cup grated onion skin peeled
- 2 teaspoon milk
- 500 grams/ 16 oz beef and pork mince Note 1
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg free range
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil
Creamy Swedish Gravy
- 50 grams butter unsalted, Note 2
- 5 tbs plain flour Note 3
- 2 cups/500 ml beef stock (beef broth) Note 4
- 1 tbsp/20ml Worcestershire sauce Note 5
- 1 cup/250 ml heavy cream Note 6
To serve (optional):
- mashed potato
- steamed broccolini
- parsley finely chopped
- Onion: cut the tip off the onion, then peel the skin and discard. Use a hand held grater to grate it. Then measure ½ cup of the grated onion. Discard the rest.
- Bread: add the sliced bread pieces to a medium bowl. Pour the grated onion over the top, then add the milk. Stir to combine then let sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Meatballs: add the beef mince, pork mince, nutmeg, all spice, salt, pepper and egg to the wet bread onion mixture. Use clean hands to combine. Then portion a small amount and roll into a meatball. Place the meatball onto a clean chopping board and then repeat until all of the mixture is rolled into balls. Then place them into the fridge for 15 minutes. Note 7
- Cook meatballs: place a large fry pan on the stove, turn the heat to high and add the avocado oil. Use tongs to transfer the meatballs into the pan. Work in batches if required. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes till the meatballs are golden brown and crispy on the outsides. Once cooked remove and place in a bowl lined with paper towel.
- Gravy: without rinsing or cleaning the pan add the butter and let it melt. Turn the heat to medium, then add the flour. Next pour in the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to consistently combine. Then pour in the cream.
- Combine: once the sauce is consistently mixed together (it will thicken over time) add the cooked meatballs back to the pan. Then allow them to heat through.
- Serve: spoon mashed potato into bowls, pop some steamed broccolini on the side and then dollop spoonful's of the Kottbullar and gravy on top. Season with black pepper and finely chopped parsley.
- Note 1 - Beef and pork mince: you will likely be able to get this from your local grocery store sold as a 500 gram, 16 oz, combination of ground beef and ground pork mince. The alternative if you cannot find it is to purchase the beef and pork mince separately and then combine.
- Note 2 - Butter: unsalted is best. A soft French butter if you can find it. This style tends to be super soft and creamy and is excellent to use in cooking. As well as being reasonably inexpensive.
- Note 3 - Plain flour: this is regular all purpose flour. We don't need to sift it. However, you can take that step if you are worried about getting lumps in the sauce. You can also choose to not sift, but then whisk as a means to remove any lumps.
- Note 4 - Beef broth: also known as beef stock. This gets combined with the other ingredients to help make the creamy saucy gravy.
- Note 5 - Worcestershire sauce: this gives the sauce a little oomph to it. I also like to use it as it contains garlic powder and onion powder as ingredients which saves adding an additional 2 ingredients to the shopping list.
- Note 6 - Cream: this is cooking cream, also known as pouring cream, whipping cream or heavy cream. It has a thick consistency but not as thick as cream that you dollop.
- Note 7 - Refrigerate the meatballs: the meatball mixture becomes slighter wetter than it would be if we were using regular or panko breadcrumbs. For this reason, we take the step of placing them into the fridge. This helps dry them out a tiny bit. We can also use this time to peel and cook our mashed potatoes. As well as preparing the broccolini (if choosing to serve with the meatballs).