Swedish Köttbullar


IKEA made them famous around the world: Köttbullar, the national dish of Sweden. Surprisingly, in 2018, Sweden revealed Turkey as its origin. In the 18th century, King Charles XII fell in love with Turkish meatballs and introduced them to his home country. Today, Köttbullars are usually served with mashed potatoes, creamy brown sauce, and sour-sweet sides: cucumber salad and lingonberry jam.
Cuisine Swedish
Servings 3


Shopping list

  • 1 lb ground meat (half beef and pork or any to your liking)
  • 1 lb potatoes boiled, peeled
  • 1 English cucumber finely sliced
  • 1 jar berry jam*)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

You might have

  • 1/2 cup milk plus some for the potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup or honey or sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/8 cup vinegar
  • salt & pepper


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup broth


  • Fresh parsley or dill finely chopped

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Onions, white pepper, allspice, black pepper, yellow mustard, ginger


Pickled Salad

  • In a BOWL, mix 1/3 cup of water with the vinegar and salt to taste. Sweeten to taste. Mix well.
  • Add cucumber slices and mix well.
  • Optionally, add fresh parsley or dill.
  • Let it rest in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours.


  • In a BOWL, whisk the egg.
  • Add Köttbullar spices, milk, and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Let it soak for 10 minutes.
  • Add the meat and salt to taste (1 tsp recommended). Knead until everything is well combined. Don't overdo it.
  • Form little meatballs.
  • In a PAN, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.
  • Fry the meatballs until they are cooked through.
  • Shake the PAN occasionally to brown the balls all around.


  • In a small POT, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.
  • Add flour and gently whisk for about 3 minutes until it changes color.
  • Whisking continuously, add milk and broth and bring to boil over medium heat.
  • Turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Mashed potatoes

  • Mash the potatoes and reheat them with a little milk.
  • Add salt to taste.


  • Serve the meatballs with the salad, mashed potatoes, jam, and optional sauce. Enjoy!


*) Lingonberry is the best choice, available, for instance, at IKEA stores. Raspberry or blueberry jam works fine as well. Or, cook cranberries with some water and sugar into a thick sauce. Or, serve just with fresh raspberries or blueberries.
Substitute pickled cucumber salad with any other pickled vegetable that you prefer.
Substitute breadcrumbs with flour or ground nuts.