Copycat Ikea Swedish Meatballs

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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
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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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  • Reply
    March 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    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.

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