Copycat Ikea Swedish Meatballs ~ light as a feather meatballs in a lightly spiced brown gravy that will quickly become a favorite family meal!

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love Ikea’s meatballs.  I mean, seriously, I go just to hang out in the cafeteria.  And did you know that Ikea sells a cookbook that includes a recipe for their famous meatballs?  I used it as a guide, but changed it up a bit after reading many reviews from people who’ve tried it and had problems.  It’s one of those strange cases where the official recipe doesn’t quite work.  Maybe something was lost in translation, I’m not sure, but I had to alter it quite a bit to get it right.

This recipe uses mashed potato which makes a very moist, light meatball.

The pale gravy flavored with allspice and nutmeg is so good, and so different from most gravies. It’s a delicately flavored dish, definitely in the comfort food category. I highly recommend the lingonberry jam, if you can find it.  I would substitute cranberry sauce, or another tart jam if you can’t.

The small food processor comes in really handy with this recipe.  I used it to grind fresh crumbs from some seeded rye bread, and also to finely mince the onion and the parsley.  The machine can chop much finer than you can by hand, and that’s important for the texture of these meatballs.  This machine is the biggest workhorse in my kitchen.  I love him it.

If you want a fancy/schmancy cocktail version of these, check out my Swedish Cocktail Meatball post ~ you’re friends are going to love you!

Copycat Ikea Swedish Meatballs

Copycat Ikea Swedish Meatballs


  • 4 tablespoons finely minced onion (I used the small processor to get a very fine mince)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup mashed potato
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs or 2/3 cup fresh (I ground fresh rye bread in the small processor and when they are fresh they are fluffier, thus the larger volume amount))
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
    cream sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup cream (you could substitute half and half, or even whole milk)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely minced parsley
  • freshly ground nutmeg


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Saute the onion in the butter for about 5 minutes.
  3. Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. I like to break up the meat first, just to avoid having to manipulate it too much during the mixing, and break up the mashed potato as well, to be sure that gets evenly distributed.
  4. Gently mix everything together with the tips of your fingers. Keep it light and airy, don't compact the meat.
  5. Form into small balls, I used a 1 1/2 inch scoop to get even amounts. Set aside. You can refrigerate the meatballs at this point and then brown and bake them just before dinner.
  6. Heat 2 Tbsp butter (you can also use olive oil, or a combination of the two) in a pan and brown the meatballs on all sides, in batches. Transfer to a baking sheet. The meatballs are very delicate, so I used two forks to flip them over during the browning and then to transfer them to the baking sheet.
  7. Bake the meatballs at 350 for about 10 minutes, you want the interior temperature to be about 170. If you made larger meatballs, they'll take a bit longer.
  8. To make the sauce: melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Cook for a minute, but don't let it brown.
  9. Add the stock and bring the sauce to a simmer while it thickens. Add the cream and heat through.
  10. Season with the soy sauce, salt and pepper.
  11. At the last minute add the parsley and some fresh nutmeg. Be sure to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  12. Ladle the sauce over the meatballs and serve hot.


  • If you want the authentic Ikea experience, serve them with boiled parsley potatoes and lingonberry jam.
  • The browning is an important step, make sure your butter is nice and hot and the meatballs sizzle on contact with the pan.  If they don’t, it’s not hot enough.
  • Next time I would use a 1″ scoop to make them more bite sized, for a better ratio between the crisp outside and the soft inside.
  • If you want to make these ahead, do everything but the browning and baking.  Ground meat just doesn’t reheat too well.

I’m know I have at least a few Swedish readers…chime in!  How do you make your meatballs?  I’d love to know how you would change this recipe.

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21 Responses to Copycat Ikea Swedish Meatballs

  1. Anonymous says:

    My recipe for the gravy calls for some coffee (I use decaf granules) and I missed that when I had Ikea meatballs.The gravy has a darker color and a rich flavor. I haven’t tried your recipe yet but I will try it.

  2. Mary says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. These absolutely rocked, Sue. I made them for dinner tonight and my family devoured them. Thank you so much for the awesome recipe!

  3. Hungry Dog says:

    These look very lovely indeed. Is that lingonberry jam? I’m actually half swedish but have only made swedish meatballs once. The mashed potato component is very interesting, never heard of that.

  4. Rose says:

    I mix some dill weed and/or parsley in the meat mix as well for more flavour. LOVE them!

  5. Magda says:

    I have no idea if meatballs are next cupcakes, but in Poland to get more moist meatball you add a stall bread roll, that first you soak in milk, than drain and add to the meat mixture.

  6. Quay Po Cooks says:

    I have all the ingredients called for. I am going to make this for dinner. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Mary says:

    These look awesome. I am not a huge fan of meatballs, but I do like the sweet/savory Ikea combination. I think yours look a whole lot better than the infamous ones I tried in their restaurant. I just saved this to try soon. Thanks!

  8. Denver FINally got an Ikea last Fall. I’ve been only a hand full of times and have never taken the time to try their meatballs. I’ll love comparing, so will try this recipe and then next time I’m in, buy some of theirs. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  9. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Not a great fan of swedish food – it always seems a bit bland – much prefer the italian varieties or those with a bit of spice, although the lingonberry jam would give it a little kick I am sure. Might have to try them anyway as your photos look so good.

  10. annie says:

    I want a few of these right now! Oh my gosh they look so good1 Way better than Ikea!! The Lingonberry jam is the best part of ikea. your photos never stop amazing me…seriously!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’ve made these Finnish meatballs ( and thought they were delicious, but I haven’t had the Ikea meatballs to compare. I think the cheese is definitely key in the NYT recipe. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  12. they look delicious! Is there anyone who doesn’t like meatballs?? The kids and I watched this documentary about “not” eating so much meat. I swear ever since, I am just craving a good bbq!

  13. Amy says:

    Love all these meatballs you’re posting–geesh I hope they become the new cupcake!

  14. When the Swedish meatballs look that delicious, maybe they are the new cupcake!

  15. Monica—thanks for commenting! I used cream in the first batch I made, but they were so soft I left it out the next time. Maybe I should leave out the potatoes and go for the cream…so glad to get an expert’s opinion!

  16. yum!! I love the addition of mashe potatoes and the lingonberry jam oh yes, perfect pair!!

  17. I’ve never made Swedish meatballs but want to try now. These look so good and not at all greasy. Who says cupcakes can’t be dinner? Just kidding, I’m not a big cake person, but adore desserts in general. I also like meatballs very much. Beautiful post and now I’m hungry!

  18. Monica says:

    Hello from Sweden. the recipe looks good even if I never have potatoes in the batter, by contrast, always half cup cream and I use dry bread crumbs to get firmer meatballs. let the breadcrumbs swell in the cream for about 10 minutes. Sorry for poor spelling and grammar :)

  19. I’ve had the meatballs at Ikea and they were delicious. I will have to give your recipe a try. Great photos.

  20. I’m a pretty big meatball fan…I have a great cookbook called I LOVE MEATBALLS! with tons of variations. These look awesome, and definitely yes on the lingonberry jam. I like the use of mashed potatoes. I can almost taste them!

  21. Penny says:

    I think they look perfect just as they are. I love meatballs in all of their ethnic persuasions.

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