Swedish Meatballs “Köttbullar” – Traditional Recipe from Sweden

Swedish Meatballs Recipe - Köttbullar from Sweden
Swedish Meatballs Recipe – Köttbullar from Sweden

Every Swede has eaten them at least once in their life. And not only when going to a local IKEA store. It's one of the most typical Swedish foods you can have on your plate: the delicious Swedish meat balls.

In Sweden they are called “köttbullar“, the Swedish word for meatballs.

You wonder how to make Swedish meat balls? Below you find an original Swedish recipe.

Meatballs at IKEA in Sweden

I took the picture above when I was at IKEA in Älmhult, a little town in Småland, South Sweden, where IKEA's founder, Ingvar Kamprad, started the company in 1943. Until today Älmhult remains the main seat of IKEA. Every time I go there for a visit, I make sure to stop by in the restaurant and get either fresh salmon or köttbullar.

Meatballs, favorit food of Swedes?

Not exactly. Actually meatballs aren't even in the top 10 of the most popular Swedish dishes. The most popular one in Sweden is spaghetti with meat sauce.

Original Swedish meatballs recipe

Preparing meatballs is easy. Just follow the steps below and voila, your original meatballs à la Svensson are ready in no time.


For 4–6 servings

  • some butter/oil for the pan
  • 75 g (¾ cup) white breadcrumbs
  • 500 g (18 oz) ground beef/pork mixture
  • 250 ml (1¼ cup) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ground allspice


  1. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk, for about 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime dice the onion and fry gently in a little butter/olive oil without browning.
  3. Blend the ground meat mixture with the onion, egg, milk/breadcrumb mixture and the spices.
  4. Add salt and pepper. Continue blending for about 5-10 minutes.
    Add a little water if the mixture feels too firm.
    Check the taste by test-frying one meatball.
  5. Then shape small meatballs with the aid of two spoons or with your hands – it's easier if you smear some butter in your hands to make the raw meatballs stick less. Place on clean plates.
  6. Brown a pat of butter in a frying pan, and as soon as it ‘goes quiet’ place the meatballs in the pan and let them brown on all sides.
  7. Shake the frying pan regularly.
  8. Fry until meatballs have the desired color.

Smaklig måltid!

What to serve with Swedish meatballs

Most Swedes serve kokt potatis boiled potatoes or potato purée. But you can also combine it with French fries, egg noodles or spaghetti. Also, don't forget to add some raw stirred lingonberries. This makes your plate look more colorful and inviting.

How to pronounce köttbullar

Astrid Lindgrens Köttbullar-song

Great song to play on repeat while cooking your meatballs. Or, actually, you will probably have to listen to the song only once, since it easily sticks in your head.

Now that you have prepared and eaten your homemade köttbullar, you can finally apply for a position as Swedish chef at IKEA. :) 

More about Swedish food and recipes

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