These Crockpot Swedish Meatballs are made lighter using half the heavy cream and extra-lean ground beef meatballs made from scratch.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter – swap out for a butter substitute of your choice.
- Packaged mushrooms – use any kind of mushrooms of your choice.
- Beef broth – a beef bouillon cube dissolved into boiling water will also work.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Worcestershire sauce – use a combination of soy sauce, ketchup and white wine vinegar for a similar flavour.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Cornstarch – potato starch or arrow root would also help thicken the sauce.
- Heavy cream – half and half or sour cream would work instead.
- Fresh parsley – leave this off if you don’t have any on hand.
- Egg noodles – feel free to serve with another noodle of your choice or even serve them over mashed potatoes or rice.
- Broccoli – cauliflower would also be good or you can leave the veggies out altogether.
- Extra-lean ground beef – you can try using another kind of ground meat like ground chicken, turkey or pork.
- Breadcrumbs – crushed-up crackers would also help bind the meatballs.
- Egg – you can use a flax egg or buttermilk instead, but it will change the flavour.
- Yellow onion – white onion or shallots would also work.
- Garlic powder – swap out for garlic salt and omit the rest of the salt from the meatballs.
- Salt – to taste.
- Nutmeg – cinnamon will provide a similar flavour or you can leave this out.
How to make Swedish meatballs in a crockpot
- Make the meatballs.
- Brown the meatballs.
- Cook in the crockpot.
- Mix together the cornstarch slurry.
- Make the egg noodles.
- Add in the broccoli.
- Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cream.
- Serve and enjoy!
Making them on the stovetop
One of the best things about making these meatballs in the slow cooker is you can basically just dump everything in and let the crockpot do it’s thing. That being said, if you don’t have a crockpot handy, you can also make these Swedish meatballs on the stovetop! It will just take a few more pots.
Here are the instructions for making Swedish meatballs on the stovetop:
- Cook the meatballs in a pan or on a baking sheet in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the meatballs cook, use a saucepan to sauté the mushrooms and garlic with butter.
- Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to the pan and boil for ten minutes.
- Add the cornstarch slurry and cream to the sauce.
- Toss the baked meatballs in the sauce and enjoy!
It is also possible to cook raw meatballs right in the sauce. However, browning them produces the dark colour people expect of meatballs, and it helps them keep their perfectly round shape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Swedish meatballs are a delicious dish cooked in a gravy made of broth and cream. They are smaller than your typical beef meatballs and are intended to be the perfect appetizer size. They are usually made from a 50/50 mix of ground beef and pork. My recipe uses ground beef only for simplicity and to keep the overall cost down.
The sauce for these Swedish meatballs is made of butter, mushrooms, beef broth, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, cornstarch slurry and heavy cream.
I love serving these Swedish meatballs over a bed of egg noodles with some broccoli, but they’d also be good with rice, steamed vegetables, boiled or mashed potatoes, Lingonberry jam or sweet and sour cabbage.
Since you’re browning the meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker, they’ll maintain their shape while they cook in the crockpot and won’t fall apart. I also suggest letting them chill for a few hours in the fridge after forming them to help them maintain their shape while they cook.
Storing and reheating
This recipe is great for leftovers. You can pack up the meatballs in glass containers and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to enjoy this dish, sprinkle 1 tbsp. water over top, add a little bit of extra salt and pepper, then reheat for 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave, stirring halfway through.
Freezing this recipe
Swedish meatballs can be made ahead of time and frozen for 3 to 4 months. Take them out of the freezer 24 hours prior to serving them so they can defrost in the fridge. Then, reheat them in a pan on the stovetop by simmering them in in the sauce, or reheat them in the slow cooker for 2 hours on low.
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Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on refrigerating the leftovers.
- I get all my grass-fed beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Grab some slow cooker liners to reduce clean up.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
Lighter Crockpot Swedish Meatballs
- Cooking spray
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 (254g) package mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup beef broth
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- 1 (354g) package egg noodles
- 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
- 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 yellow onion, grated
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Mix together ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl, then roll into 2-inch balls. Spray a very large skillet with cooking spray then heat on med-high. Cook meatballs for 3-4 minutes per side (they should all be lightly browned but not cooked through – you may need to do them in batches depending on the size skillet you have).
- Grease slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray (or just extra butter), then add butter, mushrooms, beef broth, garlic, Worcestershire and salt & pepper. Add meatballs and drippings, then cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 6 hours.
- Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and water together in a small bowl to create a slurry. Boil egg noodles for 3-4 minutes, adding broccoli florets in during the last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain and set aside.
- Once meatballs are done, add cornstarch slurry and heavy cream, tossing meatballs gently to combine sauce. Serve over egg noodles and broccoli, garnishing with fresh parsley if desired. Enjoy!
- NOTE: These Swedish Meatballs are also great to serve at a party! Leave out the egg noodles and broccoli and just serve out of the crockpot with toothpicks.