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    Swedish Köttbullar

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    Swedish Köttbullar

    The Swedish Christmas Eve smorgasbord is a magnificent affair, awash with herrings and fish dishes. But just as essential is a plate of the finest meatballs. Tender and lightly spiced, köttbullar are just that. They are usually made of at least two different meats – pork and beef – but are even more delicious when you add an equal quantity of veal to the mix. The wonderful sweet glaze in this recipe is based on one found in Christmas Memories with Recipes (published in the USA by Random House/Gramercy), in the chapter by Beatrice Ojakangas.

    • Preparation time: 15–20 minutes, plus 10 minutes soaking
    • Cooking time: 20 minutes
    • Total time: 45 minutes to 50 minutes 50 minutes

    Serves: 6


    • 75g stale breadcrumbs
    • 100ml single cream
    • 200g minced pork
    • 200g minced beef
    • 200g minced veal
    • 1 small onion, peeled and grated
    • ½ tsp ground allspice
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves
    • A pinch ground nutmeg
    • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
    • To cook and glaze
    • 20g butter
    • 2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
    • 150ml beef stock


    1. Mix the breadcrumbs with the cream and leave for 10 minutes or so to soften. Add all the remaining meatball ingredients and mix well with your hands (dampen them first). Form the mixture into rugby-ball-shaped meatballs, about 2.5cm thick.
    2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add half the meatballs and fry until browned. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Fry the rest of the meatballs. Meanwhile, mix the sugar and beef stock. When the second batch is done, return the first cluster of meatballs to the pan, then pour over the sugar and stock. Season with a little salt. Raise the heat and boil vigorously for a few minutes, turning the meatballs every now and then, until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze and the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with a salad of little gems or a bowl of boiled potatoes.

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    Drinks recommendation

    A light, fruity red would be a perfect match for a savoury dish such as this.


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