Swedish Cocktail Meatballs

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

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

*This post was written 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 crudités you like for friends and family, but you and I both know that it’s the meaty tidbits that draw the biggest crowds. So why fight it, give your hungry hoard 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. If you love them like I do, check out my creative riff on the theme ~ Swedish Meatball Meatloaf!

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.

  • a mix of ground beef and pork for best flavor
  • mashed potato (!) for that melt-in-your-mouth texture
  • onion
  • breadcrumbs and egg for binding the meat together
  • butter
  • salt and white pepper
  • allspice ~ the secret ingredient!
  • oil for browning

Swanson Organic Beef Stock forms the backbone of this simple sour cream 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.)

Making Swedish Meatballs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

stand mixer method for making meatballs

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

prep ahead tips

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.

Browning meatballs for Swedish Cocktail Meatballs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

oven or stovetop cooking method?

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.

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

make a meal out of these meatballs!

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

more meatballs

Cooking with Swanson Broth! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com
3.47 from 58 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
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 36 meatballs
Calories 66kcal
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.

Cook’s notes

  • 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.


Calories: 66kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Jackie Veloz
    October 25, 2021 at 7:20 am

    I want to try your recipe next time I make meatballs. It says in the description to use a combination of white pepper, allspice, and nutmeg for spices but I don’t see nutmeg listed in the recipe. How much should I add to the meatballs?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      October 25, 2021 at 8:05 am

      I didn’t add it to the meat mixture, just the gravy, but you certainly could. I’d add 1/4 teaspoon, or more if you love the flavor.

  • 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 🙂

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