This Swedish Meatballs recipe is made in the Instant Pot for fast, easy, perfect results every time.
What’s the Difference between Swedish Meatballs and regular meatballs?
Swedish meatballs typically use a blend of ground beef and ground pork. Usually around 50 percent of each (we used less pork in ours).
They are also smaller in size than Italian meatballs; around 1 1/2-inches in diameter.
The spices used are different too. Nutmeg and allspice are classic spices for Swedish meatballs where more Italian spices would be used in other types of meatballs.
What’s so special about Swedish Meatballs?
A main difference is that they are cooked in a creamy sauce that’s rich with beefy flavor but not bold with spices like Italian meatballs.
Heavy cream or sour cream is usually used to give the sauce flavor and make it creamy.
Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs
Making them in the Instant Pot confines everything to one pot that does everything!
The meatballs are browned then pressure cooked with the broth mixture for a perfect texture and wonderful flavor.
The last step is making the creamy sauce which is done using the sauté function after the instant pot meatballs are done pressure cooking.
It’s a great one pot comfort food dinner recipe!
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Ground Beef and Ground Pork. The combination of ground meat gives great flavor to the Instant Pot meatballs.
Egg. Used to help bind the meatball mixture.
Breadcrumbs. Panko crumbs (regular or gluten-free) are recommended but regular breadcrumbs can also be substituted. Do not use flavored or Italian breadcrumbs for this recipe.
Seasonings. Garlic powder, salt, black pepper, dried minced onion, nutmeg, allspice.
Butter or oil. One tablespoon is used to brown the meatballs in the Instant Pot.
Beef Broth or Stock. The meatballs are pressure cooked in the beef stock. Low sodium beef stock is recommended. There is salt in the recipe and you can always add more if needed when serving.
Worcestershire sauce. Gives flavor to the cooking broth.
Minced garlic. Added to the cooking broth before pressure cooking for more flavor! Garlic paste or minced garlic (store bought) can be used as a time saver!
Cornstarch. Added with the heavy cream to allow the sauce to thicken and become super creamy.
Heavy cream. Added after pressure cooking to make the sauce traditionally creamy.
Chopped parsley. For garnish!
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Make the Instant Pot meatballs.
In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, dried minced onion, nutmeg and allspice (photo 1).
Mix to fully combine. NOTE: using clean hands is often the easiest way to do it!
Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch diameter meatballs (photo 2). It will make around 36 meatballs.
TIP: I use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the meat and then roll it between my palms. It goes faster.
STEP 2. Brown the meatballs.
Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE setting. Add the butter or oil to heat.
Once it’s heated add some of the meatballs to the Instant Pot. DO NOT CROWD THEM. Work in 2-3 batches (photo 3).
Allow the meatballs to brown on all sides, turning gently as they cook.
Remove from the Instant Pot and complete browning of all the meatballs.
STEP 3. Deglaze the Instant Pot.
With the SAUTE setting still one, pour a small amount of the beef stock into the Instant Pot. Using a pliable spatula scrape up any browned bits of food sticking to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
Turn off the Instant Pot.
NOTE: this step is important especially for newer models of the Instant Pot. If any food is sticking to the Instant Pot insert during the pressure cooking cycle a BURN warning can be triggered.
STEP 4. Cook the Swedish Meatballs.
Return the meatballs to the pressure cooker.
Add the remaining beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (photo 4).
Lock the lid and close the steam vent.
Cook on Manual HIGH PRESSURE for 6 minutes. Allow a NATURAL RELEASE for 5 minutes followed by a QUICK RELEASE to release any remaining steam.
STEP 5. Make the Sauce.
During the Natural Release, in a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and heavy cream.
When the pressure has been released remove the lid and stir the cornstarch mixture into the meatballs.
Set the Instant Pot on SAUTE and cook for 3 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
How to serve Swedish Meatballs
Serve the meatballs and some of the sauce over egg noodles, mashed potatoes or rice.
Regular or gluten-free noodles can be used.
I’ve experimented with making the egg noodles in the Instant Pot but ultimately feel they absorb more of the delicious sauce than is desireable.
Prepare the noodles on the stove top and either top with the meatballs and sauce OR stir the prepared noodles into the Instant Pot contents (see photo below).
Using Gluten-Free Egg Noodles
Egg noodles can be more difficult to find in gluten-free form. The brand I use and like is Jovial Egg Tagliatelle Gluten-Free pasta.
They are not wavy in shape as regular gluten egg noodles are. More like thick/wide fettuccini shaped.
But they cook well and is delicious with these Swedish meatballs.
Make the Meatballs Ahead
The meatballs can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.
Follow the instructions to make the meatballs and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until cooking the recipe.
The meatballs can also be made and frozen, without being cooked. Then they are ready anytime!
How to Freeze Swedish Meatballs & Cook them
Follow the recipe steps to make the meatballs. Do not brown them.
Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Place in the freezer until the meatballs freeze (1-2 hours).
Remove the baking sheet and place the individually frozen meatballs in a freezer bag or container.
This keeps them from all sticking together when frozen.
When ready to cook start the recipe at the step of adding the meatballs and broth mixture to the Instant Pot (skip the browning step).
The meatballs do not need to be thawed before cooking.
Increase the cooking time to 8 minutes and proceed with the recipe as written.
Recipes FAQs + Pro Tips
Don’t crowd the meatballs when browning. Perform the browning in batches for best results.
Deglaze the Instant Pot insert before pressure cooking. Stuck on food can trigger a BURN warning on newer model Instant Pots. It’s always important to remove any browned bits that are sticking before the pressure cooking cycle.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or stove top.
To Freeze the prepared Swedish Meatballs with sauce
Allow the meatballs to fully cool. Place in a freezer safe air tight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave in servings or on the stove top.
NOTE: cream based sauces can ‘break’ with freezing and thawing. Reheating the the thawed meatballs and sauce on the stove top over medium-low heat, stirring to combine the sauce should reintegrate the sauce.
More Meatballs Recipes You’ll Love!
Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs regular or gluten-free
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dry minced onion onion powder can be substituted
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil for browning the meatballs
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, dried minced onion (or onion powder), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, nutmeg and allspice. Mix until fully combined. Note: using your clean hands is often the easiest!until well mixed. Roll meat mixture into about 1 ½ inch balls and set the meatballs aside.
- Roll meat mixture into about 1 ½ inch diameter balls and set the meatballs aside. TIP: using a cookie scoop then rolling the meatballs speeds up the process.
- Place the butter or oil into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE feature.
- Once the butter has melted, add half to one third of the meatballs to the bottom of the pot to brown, cooking for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and repeat until all the meatballs are browned. DO NOT crowd the Instant Pot when browning the meatballs.
- While the meatballs are browning, mix together the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
- After all the meatballs have been browned, deglaze the Instant Pot insert. Pour a small amount of the beef stock mixture into the Instant Pot while still on the SAUTE setting. Using a spatula free any browned bits of food sticking to the bottom of the Instant Pot.Turn off the SAUTE setting.
- Return all browned meatballs to the Instant Pot. Add in the rest of the beef stock mixture to the pot and close the lid. Seal the steam valve and cook on manual HIGH PRESSURE for 6 minutes. Allow for a NATURAL RELEASE for 5 minutes, and then QUICK RELEASE any remaining steam by turning the steam valve open.
- While the Instant Pot is performing the natural release, whisk together the cream and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
- Remove the lid, and pour the cornstarch mixture into the Instant Pot. Stir and turn on the SAUTE function again.Allow the mixture to cook for approximately 3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Serve meatballs and sauce over egg noodles or mashed potatos. NOTE: prepared egg noodles can be stirred into the Instant Pot to blend with the sauce before serving if desired.Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.