Swedish Cocktail Meatballs

Elegant and delicious Swedish Cocktail Meatballs is the ultimate holiday appetizer! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Swedish Cocktail Meatballs ~ tender ‘Mad Men’ era meatballs smothered in rich gravy ~ the ultimate holiday appetizer that you can whip up in under an hour!

*This post is in partnership with Swanson® ~ thank you for supporting me and the brands I work with, I promise to bring you only the very best!

Swedish Cocktail Meatballs ~ a satisfying retro inspired holiday appetizer that you can whip up in under an hour! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Put out all the fancy cheese platters and crudites you like during the holidays, but you and I both know that it’s the meaty tidbits that draw the biggest crowds. So why fight it, give your friends and family what they really want…meatballs! These Swedish cocktail meatballs are the more sophisticated, toothpick-able versions of the ones you get at Ikea ~ they’re delicate and tender, with that classic lightly spiced gravy that drives everybody mad.

There will be words spoken, civil, or not, over that last meatball, guaranteed!

Make Swedish Meatballs in a large pot and set out with toothpicks so everyone can help themselves ~ this is one popular holiday appetizer! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

A unique blend of white pepper, allspice, and nutmeg makes up the authentic trio of spices in Swedish meatballs.

If you’re not familiar with Swedish meatballs, you’re in for a treat. They’re the paler, Northern European cousins of your everyday Italian meatball, made from a combination of ground pork and ground beef. The pork gives them great flavor, and the extra fat makes them positively pillowy. And then there’s the gravy…it’s lusciously creamy and golden, made with Swanson Organic Beef Stock, sour cream, and a combination of spices that takes these meatballs to a whole new level of delicious.

Delicious Swedish Cocktail Meatballs made with Swanson Organic Beef Stock ~ theviewfromgreatuisland.com

When you’re dealing with a short time frame (these Swedish meatballs will be ready in an hour) and a short list of ingredients, every detail counts.

Swanson Organic Beef Stock forms the backbone of this simple gravy. I’ve used Swanson exclusively for as long as I can remember, and I’m super excited that they’ve come out with a new organic line of stocks (free-range too, for the chicken.)

Just check out the all-natural ingredient list ~ the beef stock is  flavored with real food like onions, carrots, celery…even a touch of molasses!

Making Swedish Meatballs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

The easiest and best way to make meatballs may surprise you…it’s in your stand mixer! Hear me out ~ the stand mixer does a better job of gently but thoroughly mixing all the ingredients than you can do with your hands ~ without the mess.

You need a gentle touch when it comes to mixing ground meats, over-working them will compact the meat and make it tough. But it’s also essential to get all of the ingredients evenly combined. The stand mixer does a great job of both.

Making Swedish Cocktail Meatballs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

I like to use a small 1 inch scoop to make uniformly sized meatballs. These can be formed ahead of time, and even frozen, to be used later. Just freeze the uncooked meatballs in a single layer on a tray until solid, and then put them in a sturdy zip lock freezer bag or container.

TIP: There are two ways to cook these meatballs. Browning meatballs in a skillet first before baking produces great flavor, but tends to create mis-shapen balls as the meat settles during the browning process. If you want perfectly ROUND meatballs ~ skip the skillet and place them directly on a baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil, and bake in a hot oven. Brush once again with oil during cooking.

After trying it both ways, I come down on the side of skillet browning…the flavor is superior.

Browning meatballs for Swedish Cocktail Meatballs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

The most important step in any recipe is the tasting! Taste often, especially towards the end of the cooking process, to see how you can adjust any of the ingredients to make the dish even better.

Delicious Swedish Cocktail Meatballs in under an hour! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

This recipe makes extra gravy so that you can turn these Swedish Cocktail Meatballs into a main course if you like…serve them on their own, or over noodles or mashed potatoes. Don’t expect leftovers…

Elegant and delicious Swedish Cocktail Meatballs is the ultimate holiday appetizer! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

3.44 from 57 votes

Swedish Cocktail Meatballs

Swedish Cocktail Meatballs ~ tender 'Mad Men' era meatballs smothered in rich gravy ~ the ultimate holiday appetizer that you can whip up in under an hour!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Swedish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Yield 36 meatballs
Author Sue Moran



  • 1/4 medium white onion finely minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mashed potato
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • olive oil for browning


  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups Swanson® Organic Beef Stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream you can substitute half and half
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup parsley finely minced


  • more minced parsley


  • Put all the meatball ingredients (everything except the olive oil) in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if doing by hand.) I like to break apart the meat as I add it to the bowl. Blend the mixture until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
  • Form small 1 inch balls, I like to use a 1 inch scoop to portion out the meat evenly. Gently roll them round with the palms of your hand.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil and heat on medium high until hot. Brown the meatballs on all sides, working in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Do this gently, the meatballs are delicate. Set the meatballs on a baking sheet.
  • Bake the meatballs for 12-15 minutes, until done through (the inner temperature should be 165F.)
  • While the meatballs are baking, make the gravy. Melt the butter in a clean skillet. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Do not allow it to brown.
  • Add the Swanson Organic Beef Stock while whisking or stirring constantly, and bring the mixture up to a simmer.
  • Turn down the heat and add the sour cream, soy sauce, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley. Taste to adjust any of the seasonings.
  • Add the meatballs into the sauce, and then serve hot, garnished with parsley.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • Instant mashed potatoes work just great in this recipe.
  • Serve these Swedish Cocktail Meatballs with toothpicks or tiny hors d’oeuvres forks
  • Once cooked, you could place these meatballs and gravy in a crock pot on the warm setting and serve right from there.

Cooking with Swanson Broth! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

don’t forget to pin it!

Swedish Cocktail Meatballs pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Christine Tom
    December 14, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Can I make the meatballs the night before and refrigerate over night and make the gravy the next day and warm it all up in the crock pot?

    • Reply
      December 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      That should work!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    I’m going to make the meatballs for a Thanksgiving appetizer. Will they stay decent if I make them ahead and crockpot to bring along?

    • Reply
      November 20, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      That should work fine Bee. Have a wonderful holiday.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    So I really want to make these!!! But I have to make mashed potatoes first? I just want to understand- I’m seriously a watch and learn girl.

    • Reply
      May 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      This recipe uses mashed potato to make the meatballs tender, DC, so you can use leftovers if you have them, or even make some from an instant mix, which is super quick and easy.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    I baked them first in order to maintain the shape. Once I got them out of the oven, I did a quick sear in the pan for a couple of minutes to get the crust on the outside.

    • Reply
      December 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Oh wow, I never thought to do it in that order…brilliant!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I made these with ground turkey and chicken broth and it was delicious! Thanks!

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes
    December 10, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    These look fantastic! Can’t wait to try these for our holiday party. And that gravy? The sour cream and soy sauce etc sounds dreamy- Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Dawn | Mama Harris' Kitchen
    December 10, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Wow these sound incredible. I’d probably hoard them all to myself!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

      I totally get that, Dawn!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    December 9, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    These are always such a crowdpleaser and I love your tip on getting them perfectly round!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    December 8, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I absolutely adore Swedish meatballs, so I am putting this one on my holiday cooking list! Perfect 🙂

  • Reply
    December 8, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Oh I remember when I tried them for the first time in Stockolm.
    I do love them, and yours look delicious!

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      I would love to have them in Stockholm!

  • Reply
    Lynne | 365 Days of Baking and More
    December 8, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I’ve found that browning the meatballs in the skillet is the best way to go, too! Can’t wait to taste these!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Yum! I love meatballs, and I love how simple this recipe is.

  • Reply
    Tara | Deliciously Declassified
    December 8, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Yum! I’ve embarrassingly never had a Swedish meatball. But I feel like I’ve heard all about them and should have tried them by now… your recipe will be my intro – they look delicious!

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 10:48 am

      I discovered them at Ikea, Tara, I used to go just for the meatballs!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I shouldn’t read food blog posts before breakfast – this made me so hungry! These are really yummy looking meatballs. I would never have thought to put mashed potatoes in meatballs, but I can see how that would make them moist and help them stick together.

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Are you kidding me, Ali, I eat this kind of breakfast all the time, it’s the true breakfast of champions 😉

  • Reply
    Jessy @ The Life Jolie
    December 8, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Ok, this is seriously Appetizer brilliant! The comfort of a Swedish Meatball in an adorable sinlge bite while I enjoy a cocktail. You’re a genius and I love this!

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 9:44 am

      I could eat these every night for a month!! Thanks for stopping by, Jessy 🙂

  • Reply
    December 8, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Wow! Nutmeg? Allspice? Soy sauce? Who’da thunk? These sound amazing. Gotta try them. Thanks – and happy holidays to you, Sue! I love TVFGI! Can’t wait to see what you cook up in 2017!

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I agree Guy, the spices really make these meatballs special.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    December 8, 2016 at 7:15 am

    I could make a meal out of these beauties! Or at least make two batches and share one with company 🙂 Love the flavors and that gravy looks fantastic. Pinning and sharing!

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Stay tuned, Tricia, I’ve got a Swedish Meatloaf coming up soon!

  • Reply
    [email protected]ie's Recipes
    December 8, 2016 at 3:47 am

    My husband loves meatballs, bet he would love these too.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    December 8, 2016 at 3:20 am

    What a PRETTY post! And on top of that, a DELICIOUS one. You’re right Sue, meatballs are a never fail crowd pleaser. Pinning and sharing!!

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