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).
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.
Skillet Swedish Meatballs
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (see note)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs (see note)
- 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
- 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
- For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except for the oil and mix until evenly combined.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over hot, cooked egg noodles, potatoes or rice.
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.
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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