A Scandanavian dish for cozy nights
Swedish Meatballs are a traditional Scandanavian dish comprised of lightly peppery + sweet spiced meatballs bathed in a sherry cream sauce. This gluten-free and low-carb dish is perfect for cold fall and winter nights when windows get frosty, houses get cozy with crackling fires, and comfort food is deemed essential.
Can I serve these as an appetizer or are they strictly a dinner dish?
Though I love serving these Swedish Meatballs for dinner as a main course, they also work really nicely as a hearty appetizer for holiday parties. Simply cook as directed, then transfer both meatballs and sauce to a slow-cooker and set to it's lowest warm setting.
What should I serve these Swedish Meatballs with?
I prefer to serve these on top of or alongside a neutral base so I can take advantage of all the creamy sauce and let the flavor of the meatballs take center stage. If your diet allows for a little sugar, I also love to serve them with a spoonful of lingonberry preserves. These are some of my favorite pairing options:
Low-carb / keto:
- Mashed cauliflower
- Roasted asparagus or broccoli
- Sauteed spinach or kale
- Spiralized zucchini (zoodles)
- Mashed potatoes (both traditional white potatoes and sweet potatoes are lovely)
- Roasted smashed potatoes
- Roasted carrots, asparagus, or broccoli
- Sauteed spinach or kale
- Spiralized vegetables such as sweet potatoes or zoodles
- Gluten-free egg noodles or pasta
- Gluten-free rolls
Meet Your New Favorite Binder
In addition to eggs, these Swedish Meatballs use low-carb ground pork rinds to bind the meat together so that it stays in a secure ball form.
You may be familiar with pork rinds as a popular gas station snack, but these days there are much better options available. I personally like these Epic Oven Baked Pork Rinds with Pink Himalayan + Sea Salt that I’ve found on Amazon and at Whole Foods. We originally bought them as a low-carb snack to substitute for chips when making Keto dips and spreads, but I quickly realized that they would make an awesome swap for panko bread crumbs when crumbled. Let’s just say that my low-carb meatballs, meatloaf, and “breadings” have been getting a serious structural upgrade ever since.
My preferred way to prepare the pork rinds is to just blitz them in my food processor for a few seconds and keep the granules in an airtight container to use just like you would traditional bread crumbs. *If carbs aren't an issue for you, you can, of course, swap the pork rinds in this recipe for Panko (which also comes in a gluten-free version if needed).
What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- A cutting board
- A chefs knife
- A large mixing bowl
- A large prep bowl (for reserving cooked meatballs)
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
- 2 wooden spoons or spatulas
- A whisk
- A large cast-iron pan or oven-safe saute pan
- A meat thermometer
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Storage and Freezing
When stored properly in airtight containers in the refrigerator, these Swedish Meatballs should keep for up to 4 days.
This recipe also freezes well for up to three months in airtight freezer-safe containers. To reheat, simply allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in a pan on the stove or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave.
A note for special diets
This recipe for Swedish Meatballs is grain-free, gluten-free, low-carb, and friendly for Keto diets.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 27 minutes
- Total Time: 37 minutes
- Yield: 36 meatballs 1x
- Category: Mains
- Method: Stovetop, Oven
- Cuisine: Swedish
- Diet: Gluten Free
Swedish Meatballs are a traditional Scandanavian dish comprised of lightly peppery + sweet spiced meatballs bathed in a sherry cream sauce. This recipe is gluten-free and low-carb.
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground sausage
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ cup pork rinds, crushed or blended until fine and granular (may sub gluten-free panko)
- ½ cup green onions, chopped finely
- ¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped finely
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground allspice
For the sauce:
- 6 tbsp sherry
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
Optional: I love to serve these with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower*
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (205 C). Place your cast-iron pan in the oven while it preheats to warm it. A cast iron pan that has been pre-heated will yield more even cooking.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs with a wooden spoon or spatula, until evenly combined.
- Remove the cast iron pan from the oven carefully and place on a heat-safe surface. Roll the meat mixture into meatballs and place each one in the cast iron pan in one even layer. I prefer to make mine a bit smaller than a golf ball, and usually end up with around 36 meatballs. You can make yours larger if you'd like, but this will affect the cooking time.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 C) when tested with a meat thermometer.
- Carefully remove the cast iron pan from the oven and transfer it to your stovetop. Transfer each meatball from the pan to a clean prep bowl or dish with a spoon. The meatballs should have rendered some residual fat in the pan and around each meatball. I like to quickly scrape the remaining fat from the pan and discard it, but I don't worry about scraping it off each meatball; The little bit of rendered fat will melt into the sauce making it rich and flavorful.
- Set the empty pan to heat on the stovetop over medium. Add the sherry and allow the alcohol to come to a simmer. When reduced by about half, add the heavy cream, sea salt, black pepper, and nutmeg and whisk together. Allow the sauce to maintain a low simmer for around 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon, add the reserved meatballs back to the pan, turning to coat each one.
- These Swedish Meatballs are delicious served on their own, but I prefer to serve them on top of or alongside a neutral base like mashed potatoes or low-carb mashed cauliflower so I can take advantage of all the creamy sauce. If your diet allows for a little sugar, I love to serve them with a spoonful of lingonberry preserves as well. For more serving options, see the section titled "What Should I Serve these Swedish Meatballs With?" above.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
*See "What should I serve these Swedish Meatballs with?" section in the above post for more serving ideas
- Serving Size: 6 meatballs with sauce
- Calories: 659
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 1233 mg
- Fat: 53 g
- Saturated Fat: 25 g
- Carbohydrates: 6
- Fiber: 0
- Protein: 33
- Cholesterol: 265 mg
Keywords: meatballs, swedish
Jacqui DeBono says
We had Swedish meatballs this week and they were so good! We had spiced red cabbage with ours!
These look wonderful and easy to make. I love meatballs but have yet to try making them at home. This seems like a great recipe to try as a first-time meatball-making attempt. Can't wait to try.
I love all the spices that you used in this recipe. Sounds easy and flavorful:)
I just have to say that using pork rinds as the binder in these meatballs is genius! I absolutely love that idea. Why aren't we using pork rinds in all our meatballs, haha! I'm such a fan of Swedish meatballs that I could probably eat them one a week forever and never get sick of them! I will definitely have to give this recipe a try - the flavours sound amazing and that sauce looks incredible.
Jennifer Banz says
I love using pork rinds as a binder. The last time I used almond flour but I really think the pork rinds were better.
Definitely a great cold weather food! The lingonberry preserves are nice touch, really makes underscores the authenticity of your recipe. I was trying to find lingonberry for something awhile back without luck...need to get back on that!
My family loves Swedish meatballs. I love that you used sausage and cherry here for the sauce. I love the sound of this. I must make this and give it a try. Looks and sounds really fantastic!
I always wondered how the Swedish version is different from others. Thanks for your recipe and I am sure I will save this for my meat loving friend.
Loreto and Nicoletta Nardelli says
These Swedish meatballs are cozy and comforting, and also very pretty to present to the table.
Such and easy recipe and these photos make the recipe look so cozy!
Bernice Hill says
Swedish meatballs are the bomb and your version looks just perfect. I could use a bowl right now.
Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer says
We love Swedish meatballs in our house. It's such a homey, comforting meal that is perfect on a cold winter's night for dinner. Your sauce looks positively divine!
Cheryl Malik says
Yummy, we are definitely having this recipe for dinner this upcoming week!
What kind if sausage is used? Is it Italian sausage, breakfast or some other kind?Thank you for a gluten free & Leto recipe. I'm looking forward to making these.
Whip & Wander says
Flora, I generally use an unseasoned bulk pork sausage, but you can certainly use a seasoned one as well. A ground breakfast sausage is lovely in this, but you'll want to make sure they haven't added any sugar to the mix (they often do) in order to keep it keto. In a pinch, an Italian ground sausage works as well. Happy cooking!
Any ideas for a dairy free sauce?
Thank you!!! This sounds amazing.
Whip & Wander says
Kiersten, If you're strictly dairy-free, I would be tempted to try some coconut milk in place of the half & half. This can be thickened with a slurry of arrowroot flour (cold water + arrowroot) if needed. If you're just lactose-free but can tolerate dairy, Organic Valley makes a great lactose-free half & half. Happy cooking!
Thank you. I'll give it a try!!!!
I am so making these, and I am so picking up a jar of lingonberry preserves because it just all looks so good. Thanks for the inspo!
So hearty, comforting and delicious!
Raia Todd says
I love the tarragon and spices in these! Such a delicious meatball!
Such a great, easy recipe to add to the dinner rotation- plus, I bet this makes great leftovers!!
Jean Choi says
Love Swedish meatballs, and this is so creamy and fantastic! Definitely have to make it again and again.