The Key To Perfect Copycat IKEA Meatballs Is In The Sauce

As far as we're concerned, IKEA is pretty much just an oddly-themed restaurant. Walk through a maze of household items and furniture? Sure, anything for a plate of those tasty meatballs, which may be the best thing to come out of Sweden since Abba. Unfortunately, as restaurants go, IKEAs are a bit thin on the ground. As of the time of writing, there are just 51 of them in the United States, as compared to millions and millions of McDonald's. (Okay, maybe just thousands, but we're hyperbolizing to make a point here.) While IKEA does sell its meatballs to go, if you don't live anywhere near an outpost of the store, your cravings may be hard to satisfy unless you're willing to make them yourself.

While IKEA has released a recipe for its meatballs, Mashed developer Jake Vigliotti has a few doubts about it. He goes so far as to say "It's wrong" and claims that "If you follow that exactly it won't taste anything like an IKEA Swedish meatball." His copycat IKEA meatball recipe makes a few tweaks to the IKEA version including replacing the egg used to bind the meatballs with mashed potato and adding allspice. The most significant difference, however, comes with the gravy. IKEA's calls for butter, flour, bouillon, and cream flavored with soy sauce and Dijon mustard, but Vigliotti omits the butter and mustard and adds some white pepper. In his opinion, "the sauce presents as thicker and meatier and really rounds out the dish."

IKEA's meatballs deserve their signature sides

If you're eating meatballs at IKEA, they won't be served in a vacuum, and not just because this is one appliance that the chain does not sell. Should you order meatballs from the store's restaurant, they'll come on a plate with a scoop of mashed potatoes, a small pool of lingonberry jam for dipping, and a green vegetable such as peas. Even meatballs from the bistro are served up in "sundae" form with gravy, mashed potatoes, and lingonberry jam (though no peas).

If you want to replicate the IKEA meatball experience at home, pretty much any mashed potato recipe will do, although you'll probably want to omit any garlic, cheese, or other embellishments so the flavor of the cream gravy comes to the forefront. As for the lingonberry jam, this, too, can be purchased from IKEA, although if the whole point of making your own meatballs is that you have no IKEA access, this might not help too much. In place of this condiment, however, you can use cranberry sauce instead as there's not too much difference between the two berries, particularly when both have been cooked and sweetened. Whichever berry you pick, Vigliotti suggests stirring a little jam of the stuff into the gravy as he feels that the sweet/tart taste "pairs perfectly with the sauce."