Skillet Swedish Meatballs

Because Swedish meatballs are delectable. Because a skillet, no-oven version is even more exciting. Because everyone needs a weeknight lifesaver recipe delicious enough to also feed unannounced company when they show up at the door. Because meatballs can make the grumpiest person annoyingly happy.

For all of these reasons and more, this recipe is dedicated to me and to you (not that you or I would ever be grumpy or anything like that, of course).

Skillet Swedish Meatballs

Flavorful and satisfying, this skillet version of much-loved Swedish meatballs is simple and quick and really, really yummy.

Since I’ve never been to Sweden and eaten the real thing (not even at IKEA, I know, a shame), don’t hold me to the 100% authenticity here. I changed up traditional ground beef and pork for leaner ground turkey and played around to get a tender, lightly spiced meatball without being bowled over by a meatball that tastes like pumpkin pie. Because that should never be a thing (and incidentally has been a little bit of a problem with a few variations of Swedish meatballs I’ve made in the past).

Eat them over egg noodles, mashed potatoes (yum), or even rice or quinoa. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about how you decide to eat your Swedish meatballs. Just look them in the eye and enjoy every single bite.

What To ServeSkillet Green Beans (if you have two skillets) or just a roasted or steamed vegetable like peas or broccoli
Crusty No-Knead Bread with Garlic & Herb Butter Spread
Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad

One Year Ago: Perfected Yellow Cake
Two Years Ago: Hawaiian Fried Rice
Three Years Ago: Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

Skillet Swedish Meatballs

Yield: Serves 6

Skillet Swedish Meatballs

I prefer using lean ground turkey for this recipe which doesn't necessarily make it an authentic Swedish meatball (which generally calls for ground pork and beef); you can change up the type of ground meat used if you prefer but the lightness of the ground turkey is delicious.

Also, you can use any variety of bread crumbs here: panko, classic storebought, homemade. If you want the sauce slightly thicker, increase the flour by another tablespoon. Both beef or chicken broth can be used (I've used half and half of each when I've made these) - obviously the sauce will be lighter in flavor and color if using all chicken broth and a bit heartier with beef broth.


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (see note above)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced or grated onion (on the small holes of a box grater)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil for cooking
  • Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth (or a combination)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Cooked egg noodles or potatoes or rice for serving


  1. For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except for the oil and mix until evenly combined.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil (you can use the other tablespoon for the second batch, if needed) in a 12-inch, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Scoop the meatball mixture into balls, about 1-2 inches in diameter, and add them in a single layer to the hot oil - you may need to do a second batch to cook all the meatballs. Brown on all sides, no need to cook all the way through yet as they'll finish cooking later, and remove to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible, and repeat with remaining meatballs, adding a bit more oil to the skillet if needed.
  3. Once all the meatballs have been removed from the skillet, return the skillet to medium heat and add the 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil for the sauce, cooking until melted. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to brown the flour mixture and cook out the flour taste. The mixture will be a bit crumbly.
  4. Slowly add the broth, just 1/2 cup at a time, whisking quickly to remove any lumps. Let each addition of broth cook until thick and smooth before adding the next bit. Once you've added about 2 cups, go ahead and pour in the rest and whisk until combined.
  5. Stir in the brown sugar and bring the sauce to a low simmer. Add the meatballs back to the skillet (cram them into a single layer) and cook for 10 or so minutes until the meatballs are cooked through, turning them once or twice to coat with sauce.
  6. Off the heat, stir in the sour cream, whisking it in as best you can around the meatballs (adding it during the simmering time can curdle the sauce). Sometimes, I ladle out a bit of the warm sauce into a liquid measuring cup and whisk the sour cream in before adding it all back in to the skillet - it blends in a bit easier.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over hot, cooked egg noodles, potatoes or rice.

Recipe Source: inspired by a couple recipes online (Cook’s Illustrated and Damn Delicious) with lots of my own changes both with ingredients and method to simplify the process and also cut down on butter/oil for the sauce

54 Responses to Skillet Swedish Meatballs

  1. Sheila says:

    Once again, starting my day with laughter after reading Mels/’ post. “. . . .being bowled over by a meatball that tastes like pumpkin pie.” is exactly why I have never liked Swedish meatballs. You are such a good friend — giving laughter, creativity, encouragement, great ideas, and deliciousness into lives of people you will probably never, ever meet. Looking at your almost 89,000 likes on Facebook speaks of your widespread influence. Your blog “commenters” often speak of supper table talk centered around “Mel”. Thanks to you I am going to re-think Swedish meatballs and introduce into our menu rotation. You rock, Mel!

  2. They turned out gorgeous Mel! I haven’t had swedish meatballs in so long. These definitely need to go on the menu!

  3. Teresa R. says:

    Another great recipe! I haven’t thought of Swedish meatballs in forever, and now I’ll be making them soon. Thanks!

  4. Sheree L says:

    Would love to try this soon! Can I sub plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream? Thanks!

  5. Laurel says:

    I have never had these before. The mixture just seems so strange. But if you say it’s good than I believe you. After all, I would never have tried curry if it wasn’t for you; Now it’s our favorite. On the menu it goes. I can try your fresh egg noodles too. Yay!!!

  6. I love Swedish Meatballs but I cheat and buy the frozen ones from IKEA. It is just one of those easy meals and the ingredients are not bad.

    I’m sure I will try your recipe some day but I may wait a while ( certainly until after kidding season) since it will probably be better and then I won’t want to buy the easy frozen ones anymore.

  7. Sherry says:

    I love Swedish Meatballs I will be making this, but how many meatballs did the recipe make? So I have some idea. Sometimes a recipe says it serves 6 and really only serves 3 when my husbands involved. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      It really depends on what size you make the meatballs; it might be better to go off the total amount of meat (1 1/2 pounds for this recipe). For us, I made somewhere around 16-18 smallish meatballs.

  8. These look so fantastic! I’ve never made Swedish meatballs, but I’ve been wanting to try them. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  9. Amanda B says:

    I love swedish meatballs! seriously my favorite, can’t wait to try these!

  10. Jolie says:

    Hey Mel! I need to make this, especially with the ground turkey “encouragement”. I make mine with ground beef and they are just too heavy. I also appreciate your serving sizes. I have 4 kids, from 7-16 so between the 6 of us we need A LOT of food. Keep it coming. Best wishes with the running. I run 6 miles 3-4 times a week (cross train 2-3), but I’m funny that way. I won’t run more than 6 at a time. Part of it is not having time for more, part of it is I am just comfy running that 6 and being DONE! Hope your training continues to go well!! Your updates are fun!

    • Mel says:

      Six miles 3-4 times a week is a dream still for me, Jolie – that’s awesome! And I totally know what you mean about just.being.done.

  11. Linda says:

    They look scrumptious. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Nancy says:

    brings back memories – haven’t made them in quite sometime, but will try yours. I used to get requests for mine for every party and I had to make 5 lbs. They were gone in no time.

  13. Ruth says:

    Mel, these look good. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Now, a question: What should I look for when buying ground turkey? I love ground beef and have just shyed away from ground turkey b/c I don’t know what to buy. Thank you for your help.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ruth – I usually buy the extra lean ground turkey (93/7) and have liked the Jennie-O or Butterball brands. The kind I absolutely stay away from is the stuff packaged in the tubes (like sausage but it’s just plain ground turkey). I almost went vegetarian completely after using that kind a few years back. Super ick. Go for the stuff in the styrofoam trays or plastic, see-through packaging.

  14. Kim in MD says:

    I have never had Swedish meatballs. They look delicious!

  15. Amy Marshall says:

    I made these last night and really loved them. I can’t wait to make again. I have one question – I followed the recipe pretty much exactly (although I didn’t have quite 1 1/2 lb turkey), but my meatballs were a little mushy, and flattened out when I tried rolling them into balls. Is there a trick to making them a little firmer? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Amy – it could be the lower amount of meat, but it also might depend on the brand of ground turkey. You might try only adding a tablespoon or so of milk. That should help. Ground turkey is a bit softer than ground beef – you can see from my pictures my meatballs aren’t perfectly round also.

  16. Jenn says:

    Made these tonight for dinner…. Total hit with all three boys and husband too (this never happens). Thanks for another great recipe!

  17. Heidi says:

    We had this tonight. Another winner!!!

  18. Jana says:

    Swedish meatballs are my favorite, but I’ve never found an at home recipe that was that great… Until now! I was skeptical about the turkey, but holy moly these were amazing! So tender! And the sauce was perfection. My kids gobbled this up which is a rarity around here. This will be a regular for sure. Thank you!

  19. Sarah says:

    I made these last night for dinner. They were delicious! My entire family enjoyed this meal – even my picky eater. Thanks Mel! Your recipes are terrific.

  20. Wendi says:

    Thanks for the recipe. These turned out really well. I substituted heavy cream for the sour cream and since I didn’t have any lingonberry sauce (I don’t like it anyways) I mixed a lttle bit of butter and brown sugar with canned cranberries and heated it together on the stove. The berry sauce tasted great with the meatballs.

  21. Jessica says:

    I’m making these right now!! I have never had swedish meatballs before, but I had all the ingredients so thought I’d try it out. I’m a little nervous about meatballs that taste like pumpkin pie…but we’ll see!! Also, my meatballs look like hockey pucks! They didn’t stay round. 🙁

  22. Robyn says:

    I am very excited about trying these meatballs! I have only ever tried the Swedish meatballs from IKEA but have never loved them. Hopefully these will change my mind! Do you think these meatballs can be made in a large electric skillet? If so, what temperature would you recommend cooking them on?

    • Mel says:

      Sure, just try to moderate the temp where they are cooking but not burning. Every electric skillet is different but I think I usually keep mine at around 350 when making recipes like this.

  23. Stephanie says:

    I made these for my family last night and they were a hit! I had to sub in chopped dehydrated onions for the onion and heavy cream for the sour cream because I avoid going to the store with my boys at all costs LOL. Luckily they turned out just fine with the emergency subs. Thanks for another great recipe to put into the rotation Mel!

  24. fmandds says:

    I made these this week and I completely forgot the onion! Still turned out pretty great though. Luckily the gravy didn’t allow for the meatballs to dry out due to the lean turkey.

    I got 20 meatballs out of mine. Which including my brother only served 3 of us, but he has a love affair with ground turkey. My bother also isn’t a fan of nutmeg so I cut the amount in half. While he could still taste it he said he enjoyed the flavor it gave with the turkey and allspice.

    All in all, fantastic recipe and it will go into rotation with the jalapeno cheddar turkey burgers for our turkey meals.

  25. Jennifer says:

    Swedish meatballs are a favorite at my house, but my usual recipe calls for a mix of ground pork and beef and is a pretty heavy meal. I tried your recipe for tonight’s dinner, and am happy to report it was gobbled down happily by the whole family. I will definitely make them again. Thank you so much for sharing!

  26. Vicky says:

    Made this tonight and everyone loved it. Thanks!

  27. Kris says:

    These were so good! The whole family loved them. Everything that I have tried on your website is fantastic! I currently live in New Zealand and it is hard to get foods that we grew up on. This has been such a good site. If I am looking for something specific, I think, “I bet Mel has a recipe!” Thank you!!

  28. Brooke says:

    Mel – have you tried baking these instead of skillet? With a baby in arms, it’s easier to stick them in the oven they watch them in oil. Thanks for the great recipes and smiles!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t Brooke but I think it stands a great chance of working – will you brown them first or just pop them in the oven start to finish?

  29. Michelle says:

    Do you think I could use oats instead of bread crumbs?

    • Mel says:

      Definitely worth a try – you might want to grind the oats a bit for a finer texture before using or let them soak for a minute to soften up.

  30. Amanda says:

    I made this tonight with 1 pound ground beef and half a pound ground pork, and veggie stock because I couldn’t decide between chicken and beef stock and figured why not add some vegetables. 🙂
    It’s wonderful! The only other change I made was to sprinkle a bit of kosher salt over my already garnished plate. I feel it needed that. I’ll add it to the gravy next time. It was probably the low sodium veggie stock that didn’t give it the salt it needed for that flavor punch though.

    Thanks for the great recipe! Seriously, where have these meatballs been all my life?

  31. Karina says:

    These look delicious, I’d love to try it out soon. Do you think that the cream could be replaced by yoghurt? Thankyou so much for all your great recipes!

  32. Matt Loehrer says:

    Hi Mel! I made these for the family last night and my 11 year-old daughter couldn’t get enough of them! I did use the turkey-in-a-tube you rightly call gross—it’s what I had—and I ended up adding about another 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs to give them some coherence. Also, next time I’d make the individual meatballs about half the size (I ended up with 16 big ones), I was worried they weren’t cooked through well enough. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe and it was fantastic—thanks for another family favorite, you are my go-to gal.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for reporting back, Matt! Glad these were a hit (your comment came on a day when my 11-year old was gagging on the dinner I made so I was especially happy you had a win!). 🙂

  33. Sarah says:

    I’ve made this recipe for my family several times and we love it. We’re having people over this week and I’d like to double it and make it a little in advance, if possible. What do you think about making it in the late afternoon and then putting the meatballs and sauce in a crock pot for an hour or two? Do you think I should change anything about how I make the recipe if I do that? Thanks for your help. We love your recipes!

    • Mel says:

      As long as your crockpot has a pretty good low setting (meaning it won’t overcook the meatballs and/or curdle the gravy) I think it should work just fine. If it were me, I’d wait to stir in the sour cream until right before serving.

  34. Yogicfoodie says:

    Hello Mel,
    I’m a frequent visitor, and first time commenter.

    I am super excited about your version of this recipe. I tried both Cook’s illustrated version and Damn Delicious version in last couple months.

    I will keep you posted on the result!

  35. Haley says:

    We loved this one!

  36. Tiffany says:

    I am so excited to try this recipe! I haven’t had Swedish Meatballs in years. Your recipes are pretty much no-fail. I will bake them in the oven without browning them first, though. They always turn out wonderful that way. About 30 min at 350.

  37. Candela says:

    I made these last night! HEAVEN!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe 🙂

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