IKEA Meatballs: Cook Sweden’s Favorite Comfort Food at Home

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Dear sweet moms and parents! April here helping you relax into motherhood from my tropical island home at Marinduque!

Today we’re tracing the unlikely rise to fame of an everyday dish – Swedish  Ikea meatballs. But first, a more likely story, I was craving again for something that I cannot eat on the islands so I have to cook it myself. And today, Ikea Meatballs it is!

IKEA’s simple yet savory meatballs – made from minced pork and beef, breadcrumbs, egg, and spices – according to stories were initially meant as a staff meal. The owners were also said to have thought that buyers would be hungry after browsing their furniture store and hence the IKEA restaurant was born.  But word spread, and soon customers were lining up not just for the famous IKEA furniture but also for a bowl of Swedish comfort food served with cream sauce, lingonberries, and mashed potatoes. In the Philippines, moms of all ages and families of all sizes now plan mall trips that include Ikea just for the meatballs.

So why meatballs?

Swedish meatballs, or “köttbullar” as they are known in Sweden, have a rich history that dates back several centuries. Originally considered a luxury dish, meatballs were often served at royal banquets in the 18th century. Over time, they became a staple of Swedish cuisine, enjoyed in homes and restaurants alike.

Ikea’s rapid global expansion spread its meatballs to new markets worldwide, including the Philippines where IKEA opened its first store in 2021. When IKEA opened its doors in the Philippines, it caused a frenzy among furniture enthusiasts and food lovers alike. Alongside the stylish furniture displays and Swedish design, IKEA introduced its food section, featuring their signature Swedish meatballs. The combination of affordability, quality, and unique flavors quickly made IKEA’s Swedish meatballs a must-try for Filipinos, and they were soon flocking to the store not just for furniture, but also for the gastronomic experience.

As Ikea became synonymous with stylish yet functional living, its famed meatballs became pop culture icons – referenced everywhere from The Simpsons to Saturday Night Live. For Filipinos, Ikea’s affordable comfort food appealed to our competitive pandemic foodie culture while providing a taste of familiar Scandinavian nostalgia.

And though I’ll probably never set foot in a real Swedish home,”Ikea meatballs” stir something universal in me – an innate longing for simplicity, nourishment, and home.

Swedish Ikea Meatballs

Building the Ikea Meatballs Ingredients

You’ve probably seen countless Swedish Meatball recipes out there, but let’s cut to the chase and see the star ingredients for a knockout dish:

Ground Meat Selection

For authentic flavor, I recommend a combination of ground beef and ground pork. The beef adds depth, while the pork lends richness to your meatballs.

Aromatic Onions

Chopped onions sautéed to a golden brown create a sweet, caramelized base for your sauce.

Breadcrumbs and Cream

This dynamic duo is the secret to the tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It’s where the magic happens.

Spices and Seasonings

Ground allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper are the flavor enhancers you didn’t know you needed. They take your meatballs to the next level.

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let’s dive into crafting the perfect meatball mix. The secret to making IKEA-worthy meatballs at home?

Mix minced pork and beef with finely chopped onion, garlic, and breadcrumbs. Add egg, salt, and nutmeg, then roll into balls and fry in oil. Top with a cream sauce of milk, flour, and seasoning to perfection.

  1. Combine Ground Meat: Mix your ground beef and pork together, ensuring a perfect marriage of flavors.
  2. Add Aromatic Onions: Those beautifully caramelized onions go right into the meat mix, infusing every bite with their sweet aroma.
  3. Introduce Breadcrumbs and Cream: A key player, this mixture adds moisture and ensures your meatballs stay tender.
  4. Season to Perfection: Don’t hold back on the allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. These spices are the heart and soul of your Swedish Meatballs.

You can serve it up on a sandwich, with mashed potatoes, with rice, or ala poutine French Fries! It’s traditionally served with something called lingonberry jam but unfortunately don’t have that here. 

Here’s the recipe!

Tips for cooking Ikea Meatballs:

Now that you’re eager to whip up your own batch of Swedish meatballs, here are a few tips to ensure they turn out moist, tender and bursting with flavor.

  • First, make sure to use a mixture of ground beef and pork for a well-balanced taste. About 20 fats will be needed for good adherence.
  • Secondly, be generous with the spices like nutmeg and allspice to give your meatballs that distinctive Swedish flavor.
  • Third, chill the Ikea meatballs on the ref for 30 minutes to an hour so it retains its shape when frying. 
  • Lastly, remember to brown them evenly on all sides before simmering them in a flavorful gravy to maximize the taste.

And just like that,Ikea-inspired cheer invades your kitchen too! I hope this simple yet comforting global sensation comes with laughter and good memories for your family, mama. Let me know if you’d like the complete recipe emailed to you.

Keep smiling!

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