Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs The Whole Family Will Love

With apologies to the fact that they're a furniture store first, a restaurant and food retailer second, the best thing about IKEA may well be the Swedish meatballs. They're savory, sweet, moist, and they don't require hours of painstaking assembly using instruction manuals without any written instructions. If you prefer your succulent Swedish meatballs without the DIY desk, bed frame, or shelving sets, then go ahead and make them yourself using your trusty slow cooker and this reliable recipe. Sure, this slow cooker Swedish meatballs recipe requires hours of time, but most of that is just hands-off slow cooking. 

The hands on-time here? About ten or 15 minutes. You've got that much time to make the centerpiece of a delectable dinner, no?

Go ahead and double things to save yourself time during another meal prep session, says chef and food writer Melissa Olivieri of The Olive Blogger. "I actually love these as a leftover meal because it gives the flavors even more time to come together," she says, adding that they will keep well in the fridge for up to three days. As for how to serve these meatballs, Olivieri says: "We serve ours over basmati rice, but you can easily use egg noodles or mashed potatoes as well." You can even serve them on their own as a crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Gather your ingredients for these slow cooker Swedish meatballs

"Like so many great recipes, this one for slow cooker Swedish meatballs is absolutely versatile [and] fits with many different tastes," says Olivieri. "You can substitute gluten-free, dairy-free, and similar ingredients, and could even try a vegetarian take, subbing out the meat with Beyond Meat or another meat alternative." For a classic take on the dish, however, here is your ingredient rundown.

You'll need: a ground beef/ground pork mix (or one pound of each if you can't find the pre-packaged blend), one large egg, breadcrumbs, two cloves of garlic, minced, diced yellow onion, chopped fresh parsley, kosher salt and ground black pepper, oil, vegetable broth, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, ground or grated nutmeg, flour, sour cream, and cranberry sauce. Make sure you reserve some of that parsley for serving, too.

Mix everything together and make your slow cooker Swedish meatballs

In this step, you'll first mix everything together for your slow cooker Swedish meatballs. Yes, with the exception of a bit of reserved parsley and cranberry sauce, you'll use everything. Place all of the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and mix well with your hands, really getting in there by squeezing and kneading. (You can use a spatula or spoon if that's too visceral for you, but hands-on is best.)

Once everything is well mixed, it's time to make the meatballs. Taking about two tablespoons of the mixture at a time, roll it into medium sized balls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet spaced out so they don't stick.

Brown the slow cooker Swedish meatballs in the oil

Once all your slow cooker Swedish meatballs are prepared, add oil to a large pan and start heating it up over medium. Once the oil is hot, carefully place a handful of meatballs into the pan. Don't overcrowd things — you will need to do this in batches.

This pan cooking is for browning the meatballs, and it's not about cooking them through. That will be taken care of in the slow cooker. Here, you need to move the spheres around enough to get a nice browning on all surfaces, then you can pull them out. Repeat with all remaining meatballs.

Get the slow cooker Swedish meatballs into the slow cooker

Once all of your slow cooker Swedish meatballs are browned, add them to the slow cooker. Pour the broth over meatballs and add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and nutmeg, stirring gently so you don't disturb the meat but get the liquids circulated a few times.

Now, cover the slow cooker and let the meatballs cook on low heat for three hours or at the high heat setting for one hour. Once meatballs are finished, remove them from the liquid using a slotted spoon so you can reserve the liquid for mixing the sauce.

Make the sauce, then serve your slow cooker Swedish meatballs

Once all of the slow cooker Swedish meatballs are removed, set the slow cooker to high (if it wasn't already) and whisk in the flour until it's fully dissolved. Now, let things cook for two minutes, then add in sour cream and stir to incorporate — the sauce will begin to get creamy. You can quickly thereafter add in cranberry sauce and stir well to mix everything fully.

Now, in a large bowl, gently toss your meatballs with half the sauce you just made. Serve the meatballs over noodles, rice, with potatoes, beside veggies, or however you want, but for best taste, serve them drenched with the remainder of the sauce and some chopped parsley.

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs The Whole Family Will Love
4.9 from 21 ratings
If you prefer your Swedish meatballs without the DIY desk, bed frame, or shelving sets, then go ahead and make them yourself using your trusty slow cooker.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
3.25
hours
Servings
36
meatballs
slow cooker Swedish meatballs being eaten
Total time: 3.5 hours
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground beef/pork mix (or 1 pound each if you can't find the pre-packaged mix)
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil (for browning meat)
  • 1-½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground/grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cranberry sauce (canned or fresh), plus more for serving
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
Directions
  1. Place all ingredients (meat, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper) for meatballs into a large bowl and mix well with either a wooden spoon or your hands.
  2. Taking about 2 tablespoons at a time, roll the mixture into medium-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Once all your meatballs are prepared, heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add in your oil.
  4. Place meatballs in pan (don't overcrowd — you will do this in batches), and cook on each side until just browned. They will not be cooked through, and that's okay, as they are going into the slow cooker!
  5. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.
  6. Once all of your meatballs are browned, add them to the slow cooker. Pour the broth over meatballs and add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and nutmeg.
  7. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours or high for 1 hour.
  8. Once meatballs are finished, remove them from the liquid using a slotted spoon so you can mix the sauce.
  9. Set the slow cooker to high and whisk in the flour until fully dissolved. Cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Add in sour cream and stir to incorporate. The sauce will begin to get creamy.
  11. Add in cranberry sauce and mix fully.
  12. In a large bowl, gently toss your meatballs with half of your sauce.
  13. Serve over prepared rice (noodles or potatoes) and finish with remainder of the sauce and chopped parsley.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 87
Total Fat 6.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 24.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Total Sugars 1.0 g
Sodium 86.5 mg
Protein 4.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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