Caramelized Onion Meatballs in Sauce are juicy and tender little things that are also known as Swedish Meatballs. They are deliciously homemade meatballs bathing in the amazingly flavorful creamy meatball sauce.
Meatballs are traditionally made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef, pork and veal, breadcrumbs soaked in milk, caramelized onions, broth and cream. You can also use only ground beef for your meatballs in sauce, but a mix of ground pork and beef (and veal) will definitely produce a very tender version of them.
How to make meatballs in sauce
Saute the onions. To make these Swedish meatballs in sauce, I sauteed onions before adding the to the meatballs and let me tell you – the sweetness of the caramelized onions is mouthwatering!
Adding sauteed onions should be a requirement for all meatballs, not just Swedish meatballs! It is also this yellowish sauce/gravy that makes them so tasty. It’s creamy and flavorful and really easy to make.
Worcestershire sauce. I used Worcestershire sauce in these meatballs in sauce recipe. It’s a sauce that comes in a dark bottle with a beige label and wrapped in a nice paper. And in Denmark, this sauce bears a different name – it’s commonly known as Engelsk Sauce. Love the sauce, but can’t pronounce it. Anyone else out there having same trouble?
Onions and garlic. I know I mentioned the magic of sauteed onions. But I can’t skip garlic here – I added 3 cloves of minced garlic, even though I could’ve gone as far as adding 5, cooked them only for a minute and it just boosted the flavor even more.
Garlic burns easily so you need to watch carefully, but I’ve found smell to be the best indicator that it’s done–as soon as you smell that strong garlic scent it’s ready. I usually let it cook for a few seconds longer until it’s slightly brown. Can’t wait to make pasta with these Ikea Meatballs in Sauce or even better, mashed potatoes!
Can you freeze them?
To make these Swedish meatballs ahead, you will need to prepare them for the freezer. First of all, make sure to use a baking sheet. Next, make sure there is enough space in your freezer to accommodate it – I usually fit it on top of other items in the freezer – so it ends up being closer to the ceiling of the freezer.
Finally, you want to freeze the Swedish meatballs individually so they don’t stick together. After 30 minutes, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe container. Now these köttbullar are ready for you any time you need them.
To make them gluten free
Substitute regular flour for rice flour and bread crumbs for gluten-free bread crumbs in same proportions. Rice flour will create a beautifully smooth sauce for these meatballs – I highly recommend it for a gluten-free Swedish meatball version.
Good side dishes to go with meatballs
You can also enjoy a tasty salad with them, such as: Italian Salad (Olive Garden Copycat) or Brussels Sprout Cranberry Salad in Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
IKEA Meatballs in Sauce (Swedish Meatballs)
TO MAKE MEATBALLS:
- Combine ½ cup panko bread crumbs and milk and allow bread crumbs to soak up milk.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large pan (I used cast iron one) on medium high. Add chopped onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and sauté for another minute. Turn off heat.
- In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, soaked bread crumbs and sautéed onion/garlic/oregano mixture. Mix in with salt and pepper. Add 1 egg and combine using a wooden spoon until the entire egg is mixed in.
- Using a tablespoon for measuring and your hands for rolling, start making those meatballs. I just rolled them between my palms and got 18 average size meatballs.
- On medium high heat, brown meat balls on all sides, carefully turning so they don’t break apart. Cook them for about 10 minutes, making sure they are not raw inside. Remove meatballs and put them on a large plate.
TO MAKE SAUCE:
- Reduce heat to low and add 4 tablespoons butter to hot pan. Once butter is melted, whisk in 3 tablespoons flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
- Add in 2 cups beef broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Next add in 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Simmer until sauce thickens just a bit. Taste it and add salt and pepper if necessary (depends on whether your broth is sodium free or not).
COMBINING MEATBALLS WITH SAUCE:
- Add meatballs into sauce, cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. This information comes from online calculators. Although whatsinthepan.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.