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What to Serve with Swedish Meatballs

  • 7 min read

Swedish meatballs, or ‘köttbullar’, are a beloved staple of Swedish cuisine and have gained international popularity, thanks largely to the global furniture retailer IKEA. These bite-sized meatballs, seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices and traditionally served with a creamy gravy, have a unique flavor profile that sets them apart from other global meatball variations. But what to pair with these delicious meatballs to create a well-rounded meal? Read on as we unveil some tempting side dishes that complement Swedish meatballs perfectly.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are arguably the classic side for Swedish meatballs. The creamy, buttery texture of the potatoes pairs wonderfully with the meatballs and their rich gravy, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. For a more indulgent twist, try adding a bit of cream cheese or sour cream to your mash for a velvety finish that truly sings with the meatballs.

Lingonberry Sauce

One cannot mention Swedish meatballs without their traditional accompaniment: lingonberry sauce. This vibrant, tart sauce cuts through the richness of the meatballs and gravy, providing a delightful contrast. The result is a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors that keeps you reaching for more.

Pickled Cucumbers

Another popular side dish in Swedish cuisine is pickled cucumbers. The vinegar-based brine introduces a tangy element to your meal, adding a nice crunch and a refreshing contrast to the warm, rich meatballs.

Swedish Brown Beans

Swedish brown beans, or ‘bruna bönor’, offer a unique flavor profile that pairs well with meatballs. They’re traditionally simmered with syrup, vinegar, and spices, resulting in a sweet, tangy, and slightly smoky dish that complements the savory meatballs perfectly.

Sautéed Vegetables

A medley of sautéed vegetables can add color, texture, and nutritional balance to your Swedish meatball meal. Consider seasonal vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and zucchini, lightly sautéed with some garlic and herbs. The freshness of the vegetables pairs well with the robust flavor of the meatballs and gravy.

Egg Noodles

Egg noodles, tossed in a little butter or olive oil, are another fantastic accompaniment to Swedish meatballs. The noodles soak up the creamy gravy, and their mild flavor lets the meatballs shine. To add some color and additional flavor, consider adding some finely chopped parsley on top.

Green Salad

A simple green salad, dressed lightly with a vinaigrette, can add a fresh, crisp dimension to your meal. The lightness of the salad provides a refreshing counterbalance to the hearty meatballs and creamy gravy.


To complete the meal, serve your Swedish meatballs with some traditional Swedish beverages. Consider a glass of ‘svagdricka’, a malty, low-alcohol beer common in Sweden. If you prefer non-alcoholic options, lingonberry juice is a great choice, with its sweet-tart flavor complementing the flavors of the meal.

In conclusion, the key to a perfect Swedish meatball meal lies in striking the right balance of flavors. By pairing these savory, rich meatballs with the right sides, you can create a delightful, satisfying meal that pays homage to Swedish culinary tradition. Whether you stick with the classics like mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce, or venture into trying new sides like sautéed vegetables or Swedish brown beans, the possibilities are as endless as they are delicious. Happy eating!

What do they serve with meatballs at IKEA?

here are some of the side dishes that IKEA serves with their Swedish meatballs:

  • Buttered mashed potatoes: These are creamy and delicious, and they perfectly soak up the juices from the meatballs.
  • Roasted baby potatoes: These are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and they add a nice contrast of texture to the meal.
  • Vegetable medley: This is a mix of roasted vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, and zucchini. It’s a healthy and flavorful side dish that goes well with the meatballs.
  • Lingonberry jam: This is a sweet and tart sauce that is a traditional accompaniment to Swedish meatballs. It helps to balance out the richness of the meatballs and adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Crispbread: This is a type of flatbread that is made from rye flour. It’s a good way to soak up the juices from the meatballs and add a bit of crunch to the meal.

IKEA also offers a variety of other side dishes, such as salads, soups, and desserts. So, you can customize your meal to your liking.

Do IKEA Swedish meatballs have horse meat?

No, IKEA Swedish meatballs do not have horse meat. In 2013, there was a scandal where horse meat was found in IKEA meatballs in several European countries. However, IKEA has since taken steps to ensure that their meatballs are free of horse meat. They now use a third-party company to test their meatballs for horse meat, and they have also changed their suppliers.

In 2020, IKEA released a statement saying that they have not found any horse meat in their meatballs since 2013. They also said that they are committed to providing their customers with safe and high-quality food.

If you are concerned about horse meat in your food, you can always check the ingredients list on the packaging. IKEA’s meatballs are made with beef, pork, onion, breadcrumbs, water, egg, spices, and salt. They do not contain any horse meat.

What jam is served with IKEA meatballs?

IKEA serves lingonberry jam with their Swedish meatballs. Lingonberry is a small, tart berry that is native to Scandinavia. It has a sweet and sour flavor that pairs well with the savory meatballs.

Lingonberry jam

Lingonberry jam is also a traditional accompaniment to Swedish meatballs. It is thought to have originated in the 16th century, when it was served with meatballs as a way to preserve the berries during the winter months.

Lingonberry jam is available in most grocery stores, and it can also be made at home. If you are making it at home, you will need lingonberries, sugar, and water. Simply combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the jam has thickened.

Lingonberry jam is a delicious and versatile condiment. It can be served with Swedish meatballs, pancakes, waffles, or toast. It can also be used as a topping for ice cream or yogurt.

What can I use instead of lingonberry jam?

Here are some alternatives to lingonberry jam that you can use with Swedish meatballs:

  • Cranberry sauce: Cranberry sauce is a tart and sweet sauce that is also native to North America. It is a good substitute for lingonberry jam because it has a similar flavor profile.
  • Raspberry jam: Raspberry jam is a sweet and tart jam that is also a good substitute for lingonberry jam. It has a slightly different flavor profile, but it still pairs well with Swedish meatballs.
  • Cassis jam: Cassis jam is a blackcurrant jam that is popular in France. It is a sweet and tart jam that has a slightly more complex flavor than lingonberry jam.
  • Nordic berry jam: Nordic berry jam is a blend of lingonberries, cloudberries, and other berries that are native to Scandinavia. It is a delicious and versatile jam that can be used as a substitute for lingonberry jam.
  • Sour cream and horseradish: Sour cream and horseradish is a classic Swedish condiment that is often served with meatballs. It is a creamy and tangy sauce that adds a bit of heat to the meatballs.

If you are unable to find lingonberry jam, you can use any of these substitutes. They will all add a delicious and flavorful touch to your Swedish meatballs.