Tyler Florence Swedish Meatballs

Tyler Florence’s Swedish Meatballs

I’ve been up and down my family tree and like many Americans, I’m a crazy mix up of genes, but one thing I don’t have is a drop of Swedish blood. I do, however, live in Minnesota, you betcha, home of a large Swedish population and home of the American Swedish Institute. And I can attest that Swedish Meatballs are very popular in the Twin Cities, especially during the Holidays.


You’ll find Swedish Meatballs served for Christmas Eve dinner and maybe at New Years as a traditional meal. You’ll find Swedish Meatballs at parties, too. Served out of a slow cooker, or if it’s a fancy party, a chafing dish. Now and then you’ll see plates or platters of Swedish Meatballs, skewered with toothpicks, ready for the taking. No matter how they’re served, though, Swedish Meatballs are just a good dose of comfort.

About Tyler Florence’s Swedish Meatballs:

Most of my friends, even those with families originally from the Land of Midnight Sun, use a package of frozen meatballs for their Swedish Meatballs, and usually, they’ll make up a creamy and delish sauce with a lot of Sour Cream. That’s how I first learned to love Swedish Meatballs. But when I saw Tyler Florence make “Lena’s Swedish Meatballs” I knew I’d been missing out!

Tyler’s Swedish Meatballs have a darker sauce, which I’ve heard is traditional in Sweden, with just a touch of cream to round it out and make it silky. And while that silky brown sauce is so good I swear you’ll want to lick your plate, the meatballs are fantastic, too. They’re just tender little balls of love, all browned on the outside with just such a beautiful texture and flavor throughout. They’re a little labor-intensive (a scoop helps so much for portioning and an electric skillet, for browning if you have one) but so worth it.

So, friends and family, the secret’s out, now, on “my” Swedish Meatballs with that traditional brown sauce. I hope ya love them as much as we do! Serve the meatballs and sauce over egg noodles and if you want to be traditional, serve a little lingonberry jam on the side; if it’s hard to find or super pricey, cranberry sauce is an excellent substitute. The biggest secret to this recipe? Toss in a few “uffdahs” and a “doncha know” or two and nobody will know/guess you’re not Swedish.

Making Tyler Florence’s Swedish Meatballs:

Over the years I’ve tried other recipes for Swedish Meatballs. Like lots of recipes. Recipes passed from friends, from books and magazines. I’ve tried the copycat Ikea Swedish Meatballs and of course, Alton Brown’s & Serious Eats’ recipes, too. This recipe for Lena’s Swedish Meatballs has replaced them all. It’s that good!

There was a problem in Tyler Florence’s original recipe, though, the measurements were off. Tyler said the recipe would make 50 small 1″ meatballs but it was more like a hundred. And in his recipe, he browned them off and then baked them to cook them through. I found that the 1″ meatballs are perfectly done once they’re browned and there is no need to bake. My guess is that he must have made much larger meatballs.

In the recipe below, I cut the meatball portion of the recipe down so there are only 50 or so 1″ meatballs but kept the sauce the same. The small meatballs with the amount of sauce is just perfect. We love love love that sauce. If you want to make the recipe as Tyler did, just double the meatball portion – you’ll be sad though if there’s not enough sauce!

I also used a little bit less of the butter and just a pinch of white pepper. When I make the meatballs, I use just ground beef, or sometimes just ground beef and pork, because veal isn’t readily available here. I think they’re fantastic either way though it would be nice to try it sometime with the veal.

When I make these meatballs, I pull out my electric fry pan. It makes it so much easier. I don’t use if often anymore coz it’s a little old school but I pull it out and have never given it away because it’s so useful for this recipe!

Saving Money on Tyler Florence’s Swedish Meatballs:

Ground Beef by many, is considered to be”cheap” meat, but that’s really not the case any longer; sometimes a cheaper chuck roast is less than ground beef. Shop for groud beef carefully, buy on sale and freeze for when you need it. For the most flavorful and unctuous meatballs, don’t use super lean ground beef, especially if you’re not using pork and/or veal.

Ground Pork isn’t always available at our stores up here in the Twin Cities and is surprisingly pricey when it is, especially considering it is usually ground from the shoulder, one of the cheapest cuts there is. If you can’t get, don’t want to pay so much or want the freshest ground pork, just buy shoulder, chunk it up and pulse in your food processor. Portion the rest out (they’re usually large) for other recipes.

I’ll buy cream at Aldi (it’s around the same price at Costco but at Costco it’s in a much larger container) or at the store during holiday sales. Cream keeps very well due to its high-fat content, usually several weeks or a month or two past the “sell by” date depending if it’s pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized. The sale price is generally about half that of the regular price so it’s a good practice to pick up a couple cartons on sale if you use cream regularly.

Tyler Florence Swedish Meatballs

Tyler Florence Swedish Meatballs


Swedish Meatballs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter or oil
  • 1/2 pound each ground beef, pork, and veal (may be all beef)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • a good pinch of white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 pieces sturdy white bread, crust removed, torn and soaked in milk or cream
  • a little additional milk if needed, see instructions

Add the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Remove the onion to a plate and cool. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meats, egg yolks, and onion. Add salt, white pepper, and allspice. Squeeze excess milk from the bread and add the bread to the bowl. Measure the milk or cream left behind, add 1/8th of a cup to the meat mixture. If there isn’t that much, add more milk or cream to measure the 1/8th cup. Mix gently with your hands or wooden spoon until everything is fully incorporated.

With a bowl of cold water standing by, form meatballs about 1-inch across. Dip your fingers in cold water, from time to time, to keep the meat from sticking to your hands.

Melt the additional two tablespoons butter in pan. Add meatballs, working in batches if needed. (An electric frying pan works well here, too.) Do not overcrowd the pan. Brown all of the meatballs, turning often, until done. If working in batches, pan may need to be wiped out between them.


  • The meatball portion of this recipe is half the size of the original recipe but does make about 50 meatballs, around an inch across. Tyler’s original recipe was “off” in the measurements, and the larger meatballs required browning and baking. These 1″ meatballs are perfectly done when browned on all sides.
  • For forming the meatballs, a small scoop works very well, especially one with a lever that allows you to sweep the contents of the scoop out. Refrigerating the meatballs before cooking helps them to keep a round shape.


  • 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons of fat from drippings
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken or beef stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons black currant jelly or jam
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves for garnish

To make the sauce: Pour off all but two tablespoons of the fat from the skillet and return it to the heat, or pour it all off and add 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl it around to coat the pan. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk to dissolve the flour into the fat.

Slowly pour in the chicken stock, and stir to loosen the bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer, stirring now and then, until the liquid is reduced and the mixture starts to thicken to a sauce. This will take several minutes. Season with salt and peppers, to taste. Lower the heat and stir in the cream and the black currant jam. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

May be made partially ahead:

If desired, meatballs may be made and cooked a day or two ahead. Add a little water to the grease and drippings in the skillet, pour into a cup and refrigerate. When ready to make the sauce, remove the fat (use two tablespoons of it for the sauce) and set aside the drippings to add in with the stock. The drippings may worked through a small strainer for an absolutely smooth sauce. Warm the meatballs through in the simmering sauce.

Nutrition: Based on 6 servings using Ground Beef (without noodles): calories 340, tot fat 18g; sat fat 9g; chol 127mg; sod 783mg; pot 199mg; tot carb 19g; fiber 1g; sug 4g; prot 25g; vit a 12%; vit c 8%; calc 5%; iron 19%

slightly adapted from Tyler Florence

This recipe for Tyler Florence's Swedish Meatballs is going to make you want to lick your plate clean - and toss every other recipe you've ever used! #SwedishMeatballs #TylerFlorenceSwedishMeatballs


24 thoughts on “Tyler Florence’s Swedish Meatballs

  1. A few days ago, I scrolled to this lovely inviting recipe & you know what?

    I never ate nor made Swish meatballs so I made your delectable combined dish & serve it with spelt penne! The sauce went into the penne tubes & it was all so divine! xxx

    • I don’t make meatballs a lot, but I do know that some people “brown” them in the oven – I still have never tried this!!

      These have the allspice and clove in them (no cinnamon) so the flavor should be quite a bit like the Tourtiere! 🙂

      • Alison Libby

        I always cook my meatballs on a foil lined large cookies sheet in the oven. Perfectly done and no mess. They may no get as brown as in a pan but so much less work. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 min.

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Ji again Allison! Thanks for taking the time to comment. That works perfectly for these meatballs, too. Since this one has the brown gravy I prefer frying for this one even though it’s fussy and messy, just because it gives a deeper color! That might be a great air fryer recipe; probably have to be done in batches?

    • I’m afraid I’m getting a bit bored with it! *g*

      When I got back in to town after Christmas I stopped at the store on the way back from the airport with no plan, no coupons, no menu and picked up random food with only a vague idea of what I would make and without checking my cupboard first – I think I paid about 2x what I normally would, then had to go back later to fill in items for meals.

      When the checker said $95.00 and I had three bags of food, I about died. That helped renew my commitment~

    • By the way, so glad you stopped by and commented – I hadn’t visited you for awhile on your blog. I love reading about what you dredge up from the past even when it touches on some particular horror I was subjected to as a child…Notice, if you will, the parsley on these meatballs! 🙂

  2. What a great heirloom! 😉 I love homemade meatballs – until I moved to the UK it never occurred to me that you could buy them ready-made …

    • I “discovered” them while at a friends house – we were over for spaghetti and meatballs and he opened up the fridge, opened the package and dumped them in the sauce. I was a bit floored! I think my jaw dropped to the floor!

      Easy, but you miss all the opportunity to add in flavorings, herbs, special touches and they’re reasonable but still a bit pricier!

      The little scoops with the “sweeps” make home-made meatballs so much easier!

      • I’ll have to make them soon – my son earmarked them for his bi-monthly dinner event, when he cooks up a meal for all of us (with me as the sous-chef :-()

        • What a fun idea! I hope you guys love it!

          My son has become more interested in learning to cook now that he’s out of the house, so when he’s over for dinner, we cook something together, then print the recipe. If there’s something odd or expensive or something that he doesn’t have on hand I make sure to buy an extra bottle or jar for him, or give him some of what ever he needs from my pantry.

          I do need to learn to step back and do the prep work and not step in and take over! 🙂 Reminder to self: Be the Sous Chef! 🙂 not the “butt in” Mom!

          • Well, that’s easier said than done. The young man decided to make ravioli as his first dish last week. Needless to say he kind of lost interest after the first batch (which we ate straightaway anyway, the recipe was far too generous), leaving me to finish off the rest on my own. And clean the kitchen.
            But then, he’s only starting out with the training (having turned officially a teenager)!
            You’ll love my next post though!!

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