Mamie's Swedish Meatballs

Dori Lawson


This recipe for Swedish Meatballs has been in our family for literally 100 years. I am not sure whether it came from my Swedish grandfather or my Pennsylvania Dutch Grandmother or a fine combination of the both, but I know there is never so much as a morsel left over when Mamie (my grandmother) made them, or when I now carry on that tradition. I am honored to share our family recipe for "real" Swedish Meatballs" with my just a pinch friends.. Dori

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6-8 depending how how hungry you are.


1 Hr


2 Hr


Stove Top


1 lb
mixed ground meat (1/2 beef, 1/4 veal, 1/4 pork)
1 c
fine bread crumbs- i have used both seasoned and unseasoned.. whatever you have in your cupbord.. if you are buying them, buy unseasoned.
1 large
egg- or as my daughter always called it.. a chicken egg (we lived on a farm, you has to be specific..)
1/2 c
cream, half and half or milk (i use half and half becaus i always have it in my refrigerator for my coffee)
2 Tbsp
grated onions- get a grater from the dollar store if you don't have one. they are invaluable.
1 tsp
1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp
fresh grated nutmeg- invest in one of those nutmeg mills in the spices aisle. it is worth it. if not, ground nutmet is ok.
2 tsp
fresh or dried cilantro or parsley- i prefer cilantro
2 Tbsp
reserved drippings or cooking oil
pot of steaming hot water
2-3 Tbsp
wondra flour- you can make a roux, but i wondra flour is the best to make a gravy.

Directions Step-By-Step

OK.. Aprons on.. Mamie Lawson's first step in cooking anything.. I still wear one every day.. Now I have one that says Mamie..
This recipe is very , very easily doubled or tripled.. But for now, lets just do a single version. And I can remember as a small child being taught how to make perfect tight compact meatballs that would not fall apart while being browned.. Great time to get the kids in the kitchen!
If you have a pre-mixed ground meat mix like a meatloaf mix put it in a bowl and break it up.. If you are mixing your own, put all your meats in a large bowl and squish them all around together until the textures begin to match. The pork will be very course, and the veal very lean, so you will have to work with them until they are uniform. I do like getting them separately, though. You are absolutely sure of your mixture.
Whem they are blended, add the bread crumbs and continue to mix with your hands. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, cilantro or parsley and mix well.. Whisk together the egg and the cream or milk. Drizzle that in to the mixture and mix again. Add extra bread crumbs to make the mixture just the right consistency to make in meatballs.
Form all the meatballs and place them on a baking sheet or other pan. In the meantime, begin heating a large heavy pan on the top of the stove. Here is the important step. Put just a drizzle of shortening or oil in it to keep the meatballs from sticking and then begin browning the meatballs. You must allow the meatballs to become brown on all sides without falling apart.
As the browning occurs, you also do not want too much excess to accumulate on the bottom of the pan as it changes the way the pan heats. As the meatballs brown to a dark crusty brown on all sides, remove them and return them to a rack to drain (see picture above). DARK CRUSTY BROWN is important for the next step!
Drain the excess drippings out of the pot into a strainer. Return 2 Tablespoons of strained drippings into the pot and the meatballs. Pour steaming hot water over the meatballs to cover them by 1" and bring them to a boil. The temperature of the water is very important, it MUST be steaming hot, but not boiling.
Bring the water to a gentle boil and then back the heat off to steaming again (low to medium) and cover for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. The broth will turn a dark, beautiful rich brown. After 30 minutes, take out about 1/2 cup and set it aside.
When the broth set aside is cool, add the Wondra flour while whisking quickly.. Increase the heat on the meatballs to medium, and drizzle the roux into the broth while stirring constantly. Decrease the heat back to low to medium and finish the cooking time.
At or around 60 minutes, the broth will be thicker.. Take the meatballs off the heat, and it will continue to thicken. Serve them over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, or with bread.. However you like them, they are authentic and delicious.. Oh, and even better the next day!
I hope you enjoy the recipe.. There was nothing more fun than making this with my Mamie 50 years ago.. and I still make it now for my brothers.. God Bless and have a wonderful holiday! Dori

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Other Main Dishes
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Scandinavian