Swedish meatballs are a classic, meaty comfort food dish that are perfect for an appetizer or the main course. Read on to find 21 delicious ideas for what to serve with Swedish meatballs!
Are you the kind of person who thinks about going to Ikea just for the meatballs? There is no denying there is just something so delicious about a meatball covered in smooth, creamy white sauce.
It’s a great dish to enjoy in the fall and throughout the winter (really any time of year). It’s a great option for enjoying a cozy meal by yourself or to serve as an appetizer at a big family gathering.
Whatever your plan is, if you’re struggling with what to serve as the perfect side dish with those creamy, delicious tender meatballs, I’ve got a few ideas in mind.
Some form of meatball is popular in just about every type of cuisine. In America, we see homemade meatballs most often on top of Italian dishes or a Swedish meatball dish. There are several differences between the two. The most obvious is the sauce they are served in and the warm spices used in the meat to compliment the sauce.
Swedish meatballs are served in a creamy sauce, usually made with beef broth, heavy cream and sour cream. The Swedish meatball sauce is the best part (I made something similar in this Danish Frikadeller recipe). The other difference is Swedish meatballs are often slightly smaller than Italian meatballs, which is what makes them a great option for an appetizer.
Meatballs are called by different names in Sweden (Köttbullar), Danish (Frikadeller), or Norwegian (Kjøttboller) but the recipes are all very similar.
Meatballs are a very popular dish in Denmark and Sweden. They are often served as a main course for dinner, as an appetizer before a meal, or on a toasted piece of rye bread for lunch.
Köttbullar are traditionally served with a thick brown gravy, pickled cucumbers, creamy mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. Lingonberries are popular in Northern European cuisine but you could substitute cranberries or cranberry sauce.
If your meatballs are falling apart during the cooking process, you likely have an imbalance of ingredients.
Meatballs are made with bread crumbs and an egg. You don’t want to add too many bread crumbs or egg yolks to your meatball mixture as it will cause it to fall apart.
Some recipes call for worcestershire sauce or other liquids. If the recipe you are using calls for these, be careful with the measurements.
You could also try coating your meatballs lightly in flour before you add them to your frying pan. This helps hold them together during cooking and helps soak up a little extra liquid from your mixture.
My final tip is to give your meatballs room in your pan to move slightly while cooking and roll them often to help them keep their shape.
If you decide to cook your meatballs in the slow cooker or the oven, I recommend taking the time to brown them slightly on the stove top and then move them to the oven to finish. It makes a big difference in the flavor and can help them stay together as well.
My Favorite Swedish Meatball Recipes
- This Swedish meatball recipe is a classic, and so delicious.
- If you are looking for a dairy free option, try this one from The Urben Life
- Swedish meatballs go great with pasta! Try this pasta bake from Tina’s Chic Corner.
- Meatballs are a great slow cooker meal. Try this version from The Magical Slow Cooker
- When you are making meatballs, make sure you don’t over mix your meat. Use your hands to massage the ground meat mixture just a few times but don’t mix too much or your meat will turn out tough. You could also use a stand mixer, but again, be careful!
- It’s important to use a combination of beef and ground pork in your Swedish meatball recipe. Using ground beef alone will change the texture and the flavor.
- You can cook meatballs on the stove top, oven or in the slow cooker but any way you cook them, browning them on the stove top for a few minutes over medium-high heat will really contribute to the flavor of the meatballs and take it to the next level.
- If your meatballs are taking too long to cook on the stove top, you can finish cooking them in the microwave. The texture may not be exactly the same but it’s a good option to keep in mind.
- If your gravy is turning out too thin, try adding very small amounts of flour, just a teaspoon at a time (make sure to mix it with a small amount of water first!). Sometimes good gravy just takes time, so be patient with it!
- If you really enjoy these Swedish dishes, be sure to check out my Swedish Christmas Dishes recommendations – really enjoy these holiday classics!
What to Serve with Swedish Meatballs
- Carbs: Mashed potatoes, noodles, basmati rice, boiled potatoes, rolls, garlic butter noodles, roasted red potatoes, egg noodles, rice pilaf
- Vegetables: roasted sweet potatoes, roasted or steamed broccoli, corn on the cob, asparagus, brussels sprouts, green beans, red cabbage, cauliflower, creamed kale, ratatouille
- Other sides: green salad, cranberry sauce, lingonberry sauce
Best Recipes to Serve with
Pressgurka (from Caroline’s Cooking) are a quick-pickled cucumber side that are a classic accompaniment to many dishes, from seafood to roasted meats and particularly Swedish meatballs. Whenever you have them, they are easy to make and have a delicious sweet-sour flavor.
Air Fryer Baby Potatoes
These Air Fryer Baby Potatoes (from Nums the Word) are soft and fluffy on the inside, golden and crispy on the outside, quick to make, and absolutely irresistible. They are the perfect side dish for breakfast lunch or dinner. With just a few ingredients, and a little bit of time, you’ve got the perfect dish for your family today.
How To Cook Long Grain White Rice in the Instant Pot
This quick and easy homemade french baguette recipe (from Simply Scrumptious) is simple to make and the hands on time is fast! It’s beautiful and delicious, crusty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.
Mashed Potates in the Instant Pot
Air Fryer Asparagus
Air Fryer Asparagus (from Simply Scrumptious) is so incredibly delicious. A drizzle of oil, some yummy spices and parmesan, slightly crispy and cooked to perfection. Cooked in a fraction of the time without having to heat up the oven, and producing the perfect texture, you’ll never cook it any other way!
Dinner Rolls from Scratch
Homemade bread is always better and these Easy Dinner Rolls From Scratch (from Served from Scratch) are so simple to make that you’ll never want to go back to store-bought again!
Fried Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon
A healthy and easy tenderstem broccoli side dish (from Somebody Feed Seb) is all you need to elevate your meal to another level! Gently boiled, and then pan-fried broccolini is the best quick way to cook this wonderful vegetable! A versatile recipe that goes with a range of meat, poultry and fish dishes, this is our go-to side dish when we’re looking for a flavoursome and nutritious sidekick that is ready in 10 minutes!
Roasted Mashed Cauliflower
This Roasted Mashed Cauliflower (from The Dizzy Cook) with ricotta cheese and garlic is one of my favorite creamy, low carb side dishes. Perfect with grilled chicken or seafood as a flavorful accompaniment.
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks from (from iFoodReal) are topped with a simple cheese herb mixture and ready in 30 minutes. This simple snack or side dish is big on flavor, low calorie, and ready to be enjoyed plain or with your favorite dip!
Kale Salad with Cranberries
Kale Salad with Cranberries (from A Cedar Spoon) is an easy salad to put together for lunches or a holiday party. This salad features kale, sweet apples, dried cranberries, pecans, goat cheese and a light dressing.
Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts
Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts (from A Cedar Spoon) is a quick and easy salad that is peppery, sweet and satisfying. Arugula is tossed with cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese and finished off with a lemony, olive oil dressing.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
This roasted butternut squash salad (from Simple Side Dishes) is full of fresh ingredients, is simple to make, and has the most delicious flavors and bright colors.
Sweet Potato Mash
This Irish colcannon inspired sweet potato mash (from Cooked and Loved) comes with sauteed kale, cabbage and garlic, which give it plenty of flavour and lovely crunchy textures. This is a healthy and nutritious sweet potato dish that can be served as a side with pretty much anything. It’s paleo, gluten-free and Whole30-friendly.
Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Oven-roasted Brussel sprouts (from Longbourn Farm) are an easy way to make a sweetened, caramelized and crunchy green vegetable come to life.
How To Cook Quinoa
Quinoa (from Jack Slobodian) is delicious and healthy. I mean there is a reason people say super food and quinoa in the same sentence, right? Quinoa’s a whole-grain, whole protein (meaning it contains all 9 amino acids) seed thats gluten free and high in fibre.
Buttered Egg Noodles
Whether you’re making beef stroganoff and need something for under all that tasty sauce, or you’re just making a quick side dish, buttered noodles (from The Cookful) are a great go to.
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Braised Red Cabbage
This braised red cabbage (from Jack Slobodian) is rich and spiced, perfect for winter. Red Cabbage is a common accompaniment for British Christmas dinner, Sunday Roasts and game birds like duck.
Easy Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice
Homemade Lingonberry Jam (from Masala Herb) prepared with 2 ingredients.My preserve recipe is without artificial pectin and it’s all natural!