Swedish meatball meatloaf is juicy and delicious, complete with gravy and lingonberry jam. This cozy family meal is also perfect for the holidays!
Swedish meatball meatloaf elevates an old standby
Meatloaf has a reputation for being bland and boring, but it’s really the perfect canvas for all sorts of exciting variations. Depending on what you mix into it, and what you slather on top of it, meatloaf can be not only cozy and comforting, but a super cool, unexpected meal (have you tried my bourbon glazed meatloaf??)
This recipe is fabulous, and takes no more effort than the same old loaf you’ve been making for years. It’s basically a giant Swedish meatball, complete with all the trimmings. Swedish meatballs are made with a combination of beef and pork, spiced with white pepper and allspice. The meatballs are always served swimming in a nutmeg scented creamy gravy that makes the dish so special. If you’ve ever been to Ikea you know them well.
what you’ll need
for the meatloaf
- ground beef and ground pork ~ the combination makes an extra juicy meatloaf.
- onion ~ finely minced so it blends in for a fine texture.
- eggs ~ add moisture and bind the meat together.
- bread crumbs ~ use what you like, but avoid Panko, which are too crunchy for this use.
- mashed potatoes ~ a traditional ingredient that I love. Instant mashed potatoes work fine if you aren’t up for homemade. Why put mashed potatoes in your meatloaf? They help keep it moist and tender!
- white pepper ~ I love the gentle heat that this pepper gives this dish.
- allspice ~ probably the most unusual ingredient in this recipe, and distinguishes this meatloaf from any you’ve had before.
for the gravy (arguably the best part)
- butter and flour ~ you’ll make a simple roux in a saucepan.
- beef stock or broth
- Worcestershire sauce
- soy sauce
- white pepper ~ again, love that gentle heat.
- nutmeg (freshly ground, if possible!)
- sour cream ~ the secret to the light creamy consistency of this gravy, it’s so silky.
- fresh parsley ~ the only color in this pale meatloaf, so don’t skip it.
my best meatloaf making tip
Meatloaf is fairly straightforward and is pretty hard to mess up, but there is one tip that I swear by. It makes the whole process so quick and effortless! I use my stand mixer to blend up the meat mixture. Since this recipe calls for 3 pounds of ground meat, plus other ingredients, it’s quite a bit to blend. The mixer does the perfect gentle but thorough job, who knew?
what to serve with Swedish meatball meatloaf
To start off I’d suggest mashed potatoes, and, full disclosure, I use the dehydrated flakes from a box for convenience with this meal. No shame there. Along with potatoes I’d suggest a veg to round out the meal…
- Favorite Green Bean Casserole from scratch!
- Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Gratin ~ Updated!
- Maple Candied Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Creamed Brussels Sprouts
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole (the ultimate make ahead recipe)
don’t forget the lingonberry jam!
Swedish meatballs are always served with a tart lingonberry jam, which is somewhat similar to American cranberry sauce. Look for it in larger supermarkets in the jam aisle, or find it online. The flavor is wonderful and really makes this meal extra special. Use any leftovers to make my lingonberry jam tart!
- baking sheet
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups beef stock or broth
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt Note: add more or less to taste, this will depend on how salty your broth is, and whether you used salted butter)
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or more to taste (freshly ground, if possible!)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Put all the meatloaf ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl if doing by hand.) Note: I like to break apart the meat as I add it to the bowl, and intersperse the other ingredients to get a head start on mixing. Over mixing can result in a tough meatloaf.
- Blend the mixture until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil and form the meat mixture into a oval loaf, about 6×10 and approximately 3 inches high. You want it to be more or less evenly thick and wide so it cooks at the same rate throughout. So basically a squat oval shape. Note: If you are making your loaf ahead of time, just wrap the loaf in plastic and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake let the meatloaf sit on the counter for an hour to come up to temperature before baking.
- Slide the meatloaf into your preheated oven and bake for about an hour and 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 155F (it will continue to rise as it sits to reach the safe temp of 165F.) Let sit, loosely covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- While the meatloaf is cooking, prepare the gravy. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Note: Swedish gravy is supposed to be pale, so I don't let this take on any color, but if you love a deeper color in your gravy you can let this roux get nice and brown.
- Slowly whisk or stir in the broth, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until it comes to a boil and has thickened a bit.
- Take off the heat and let sit for a minute or two to cool down, then stir in the sour cream. If you need to reheat the gravy, be sure to do it gently, and don't bring it to a full boil again, or the sour cream can split.
- Serve the meatloaf with the gravy and sprinkle the parlsey on top. Serve extra gravy tableside. Don't forget the Lingonberry jam!