Swedish Meatballs (Ikea Copycat)

When IKEA released their recipe for Swedish meatballs during the pandemic’s peak, people all around the world found solace in making them at home. I loved them with mountains of mashed potatoes, too, as an IKEA aficionado. And as time went on, I made the recipe better by eliminating two steps and adding a crucial component.

They were gone in a matter of seconds after I prepared my version in our test kitchen, and my colleagues remarked that the meatballs were better than those from IKEA.

These Swedish meatballs, a knockoff of IKEA, are incredibly tasty and soft. The gravy is rich and creamy in the most wonderful way. Serve them with a dollop of lingonberry spread and these immaculate mashed potatoes.

2 Tricks To Making My Copycat IKEA Swedish Meatballs

Make a Better Sauce: IKEA Swedish meatballs are a little different from classic Swedish meatballs because they do not call for nutmeg and include soy sauce in the gravy, which gives them a little warmth and flavor.

However, the sauce is too rich and tastes like it is missing something. This recipe includes Worcestershire sauce and a splash of pickle juice in the sauce for a bit of acidity to help cut through the richness.

A Quicker and Easier Recipe: IKEA’s recipe calls for chilling the formed meatballs to help hold their shape while they cook. Then the meatballs are browned on a skillet and popped in the oven to finish cooking through. I did not find these steps necessary.

There is no need to chill the meatballs. As long as you don’t disturb them as they brown—2 to 3 minutes per side—they won’t get stuck to the skillet or fall apart. Be patient and lower the heat as needed if they start to burn. The goal is to give the meatballs some color, not to cook them through.

You don’t have to finish cooking the meatballs in the oven either. After making the sauce, pop the meatballs into it and simmer until cooked through. This will save you time and from having to turn the oven on.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 pound ground pork (See Recipe Note)
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
  • garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dill pickle juice

Method

  1. Make the meatballs:

    Combine the ground beef, ground pork, onion, garlic, milk, egg, panko breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix with your hands until just combined.

    Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each), and place them on a large plate.

    Swedish Meatballs
    Swedish Meatballs
     

    Copycat Ikea Swedish meatballs mixture in a bowl, all mixed together
     

    Plateful of Copycat Ikea meatball mixture after formed into meatballs
     

  2. Brown the meatballs:

    Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook, turning them occasionally with tongs, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. They will not be cooked all the way through.

    MEATBALL FALLING APART?

    The meatballs will release from the skillet when they are browned enough. Don’t force them or they will fall apart. Give them 2 to 3 minutes per side without moving, adjusting the heat as needed so that they don’t burn.

    Transfer the browned meatballs back to the plate, and cook the remaining meatballs. Do not wipe the skillet out—all those brown bits will add flavor to the sauce.

    Copycat Ikea meatballs browned on a cast iron skillet
     

  3. Make the sauce:

    Melt the butter in the same skillet set over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and continuously whisk until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

    As you continue whisking, slowly add the beef stock and cream.

    Increase the heat to medium-high, and continue whisking and cooking the sauce until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then, whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and pickle juice. Season to taste with more salt, if needed.

    Butter melting in a cast iron skillet for copycat Swedish meatballs recipe
     

    Flour whisked into the melted butter in the cast iron skillet for copycat Ikea meatballs recipe
    Sauce whisked together in the cast iron skillet for copycat Ikea Swedish meatballs recipe
     

  4. Add meatballs to sauce:

    Reduce heat to medium. Return the browned meatballs to the skillet. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce thickens—it will coat the back of your spoon. Serve warm.

    Cast iron skillet with copycat Ikea Swedish meatballs in gravy, and in the surroundings, a stack of plates with utensils, a small plate with minced herbs, and a sage table napkin

FAQ

What are Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat)?

Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat) are homemade meatballs inspired by the iconic dish served at IKEA’s food court and restaurants worldwide. These meatballs are typically made from a mixture of ground beef and pork seasoned with spices such as allspice and nutmeg, then served with a creamy gravy sauce and lingonberry jam on the side.

How do I make Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat)?

To make Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat), start by combining ground beef and ground pork in a bowl along with breadcrumbs, egg, finely chopped onion, garlic, and spices such as allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients until well combined, then roll the mixture into small meatballs. Brown the meatballs in a skillet until golden brown on all sides, then remove them from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, make a roux by melting butter and whisking in flour until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in beef broth and heavy cream until smooth and thickened to create the gravy sauce. Return the meatballs to the skillet and simmer in the sauce until cooked through. Serve the Swedish Meatballs with lingonberry jam on the side and garnish with chopped parsley.

What ingredients are needed to make Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat)?

The main ingredients for Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat) include:

    • Ground beef
    • Ground pork
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Egg
    • Onion
    • Garlic
    • Spices (such as allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper)
    • Butter
    • Flour
    • Beef broth
    • Heavy cream Optional ingredients include lingonberry jam for serving and chopped parsley for garnish.

Can I make Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat) ahead of time?

Yes, Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat) can be prepared ahead of time and reheated when ready to serve. After cooking the meatballs and making the gravy sauce, allow them to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. Store the meatballs and gravy in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. When ready to eat, reheat the meatballs and gravy in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat until warmed through, adding a splash of beef broth or water if needed to thin out the sauce.

What can I serve with Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat)?

Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat) are traditionally served with lingonberry jam, which adds a sweet and tangy flavor that complements the savory meatballs and gravy. Additionally, you can serve them with mashed potatoes, boiled or roasted potatoes, or egg noodles for a classic Swedish meal. For a complete Scandinavian-inspired feast, consider serving them with pickled cucumbers, steamed vegetables, and a side salad.

 

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