The European horsemeat scandal got a little too close to home with the news that Swedish meatballs sold at IKEA stores in Europe were possibly tainted with some off-label, undeclared horsey meat. The stores on this side of the pond were quick to pipe up that their supplier is in the U.S., but with all the recent beef recalls, can it really be trusted?

So it’s back to making my own. Not that I ever really stopped. My late Grandma’s Swedish meatballs blow any processed products out of the water. She always made them for special occasions. Her meatballs are so good that when they were mentioned in her eulogy, the crowd murmured a collective “Yum!”

Recipes are also one of my favourite things to edit, so I am happy to share this special family one. I am lucky enough to have a supply of excellent beef from my uncle’s ranch, and I recommend that you seek out some locally raised and processed beef from your local farmers’ market or butcher for these. I don’t pretend my meatballs are anywhere near as good as Grandma’s, but family members who’ve eaten both say they’re pretty darn close.

Swedish meatballs

Jump for the recipe!

Grandma’s Famous Swedish Meatballs

Makes about 2 dozen.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp potato flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped very finely
  • 1 cup milk
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Mix ground beef and salt together in bowl, and stir or knead until very smooth, with your hands if necessary. Grandma was a strong lady, so put some muscle into this step.

Add ginger, nutmeg, flour, potato flour, pepper, and chopped onion, and again mix together really well. Add milk and mix again.

If desired, chill the mixture in the fridge for a 1/2 hour to 1 hour to firm up.

When ready to cook, heat a little vegetable oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. With a tablespoon or small scoop, drop approximately 1 1/2 inch balls of mixture into the frying pan. Work in batches and leave enough space between meatballs so you can turn them. Brown on all sides, until no pink areas are left, about 5 to 7 minutes. If they are getting too dark brown, reduce heat and adjust cooking time.

Remove meatballs to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess fat. Continue with a new batch until you have browned all of the meatballs.

Serve with lingonberry sauce (safely available from your local IKEA) and potatoes any way you like them, though Scandinavian rosti (lacy potato pancakes) go alongside mine.

If freezing for later, cool meatballs completely, then store in a freezer safe container or freezer bag. Reheat from frozen in an 300 F oven for 20 minutes, and enjoy.

Thank you, Grandma! We miss you.

grandma and grampa dahlo


  1. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails using the same comment. Is there any way it is easy to take away me from that service? Thanks!

    1. You left comment spam asking me how I can prevent an automated system from spamming you. Oh my goodness, I had to approve this spam comment on irony alone. Oh, and I noticed you left some links in your comment – something about jordans? – so I deleted them. You’re welcome.

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