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Swedish Meatballs (A Family Recipe!) 🇸🇪 gluten free & keto

These gluten free and keto Swedish meatballs are a terrific spinoff of a family recipe. Think juicy and incredibly flavorful meatballs, bathed in a creamy and luscious gravy!

Traditional gluten free & keto Swedish meatballs in a cast iron pan
Gluten Free & Keto Swedish Meatballs

Gluten Free & Keto Swedish Meatballs

A Family Recipe!

This is a keto spinoff of a traditional family recipe for Swedish meatballs (not my family, we’re Dutch/Mexican!… but a friend’s grandmothers recipe). And let me tell you that it’s as legit as they come.

Always a plus is that they’re easy-peasy to whip up and they make epic leftovers.  Oh, and our (actually good!) mashed cauliflower comes highly suggested for these guys!

And yup, these are essentially ‘IKEA meatballs‘! But, perhaps unsurprisingly, they’re much (much!) better when homemade.

Gluten free & keto Swedish meatballs with almond flour
Gluten Free & Keto Swedish Meatballs

‘The Breadcrumbs’

As you know, meatballs traditionally employ breadcrumbs for best texture… so to keto-fy these Swedish meatballs you’ve got a few options:

  • actual keto breadcrumbs via our soft ‘n fluffy sandwich bread. Works great… though obviously not too practical, and you may not want to transform your hard work into crumbs…!
  • crushed pork rinds! these work surprisingly well in lie of bread crumbs… as in very little discernible difference (i.e. no after taste and they’re my top choice!!)! A lot of you ask me for brands, and I’ve loved the new baked variety from Epic (which have 40% less calories btw!). Because they’re not fried in lard, they’re drier and resemble panko crumbs so very much.
  • or simply throw in some almond flour if keeping things kosher! I’ve done it plenty and it works the charm. I found the almond flour to add a lovely depth of flavor, but they were quite a bit more fragile than with pork rinds (but tbh I didn’t find it to be a biggie at all!).

Keto Swedish meatballs over a bed of mashed cauliflower
Gluten Free & Keto Swedish Meatballs
Keto Swedish meatballs in a skillet
Gluten Free & Keto Swedish Meatballs

Traditional keto Swedish meatballs

Gluten Free & Keto Swedish Meatballs

Course: Main
Cuisine: European
Keyword: gluten free swedish meatballs, keto swedish meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 399 kcal

These gluten free and keto Swedish meatballs are a terrific spinoff of a traditional family recipe.  Think juicy and incredibly flavorful meatballs, bathed in a creamy and luscious gravy!  

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Ingredients

Serving suggestions

Instructions

  1. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and sauté until it just begins to caramelize (6-8 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 

  2. Add the ground meat, almond flour (or pork rind 'panko'), salt, spices, cooked onion, egg and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to a large bowl. Mix everything thoroughly together using your hands and form into rounds (either 20 small-is ones or 14 large). 

  3. Heat up a touch of olive oil in your skillet over medium heat and cook the meatballs until brown all over and cooked through. You'll want to turn them around a few times so they cook evenly. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil while you make the sauce. 

  4. Add the remaining butter to the skillet and cook until it begins to brown (don't clean the meatball remnants as they add the flavor to the sauce!). Add in the broth, remaining heavy cream and mustard to deglaze the pan. Allow to simmer for a couple minutes and make a slurry out of your thickener of choice (i.e. mix it with a couple tablespoons of cold water prior to adding it to avoid clumping). Continue to simmer until the sauce just begins to thicken and taste for seasoning. 

  5. Add the meatballs back into the skillet, simmer for a couple more minutes and serve right away (think over a bed of mashed cauliflower!). 

Recipe Notes

* Or feel free to do half ground chuck half ground pork (my absolute favorite!)! 

**A few of you have had issues with reducing the sauce (i.e. cooking it down so it doesn't end up too thin). So start with 1 cup and add to taste! 

'The Breadcrumbs'

As you know, meatballs traditionally employ breadcrumbs for best texture... so to keto-fy these Swedish meatballs you've got a few options:

  • actual keto breadcrumbs via our soft 'n fluffy sandwich bread. Works great... though obviously not too practical, and you may not want to transform your hard work into crumbs...!
  • crushed pork rinds! these work surprisingly well in lie of bread crumbs... as in very little discernible difference (i.e. no after taste and they're my top choice!!)! A lot of you ask me for brands, and I’ve loved the new baked variety from Epic (which have 40% less calories btw!). Because they’re not fried in lard, they’re drier and resemble panko crumbs so very much.
  • or simply throw in some almond flour if keeping things kosher! I've done it plenty and it works the charm. I found the almond flour to add a lovely depth of flavor, but they were quite a bit more fragile than with pork rinds (but tbh I didn't find it to be a biggie at all!).
Nutrition Facts
Gluten Free & Keto Swedish Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 399 Calories from Fat 306
% Daily Value*
Fat 34g52%
Saturated Fat 16g80%
Cholesterol 133mg44%
Sodium 642mg27%
Potassium 319mg9%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 0.25g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 565IU11%
Vitamin C 1.3mg2%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

54 comments

  1. Dawn Lawson says:

    Made a double batch of these for dinner tonight and they were so delicious! Even my very picky boyfriend loved them and the mashed cauliflower too (he hates cauliflower in any form, but with this gravy he loved it and had seconds!)

    Had not had any Swedish meatballs in such a long time these were certainly worth the effort and time! I am glad I doubled the recipe! Now I have lunch tomorrow too!

    Thanks for such a great recipe!

  2. GayeBaxter says:

    Tonight I made a chicken dish with gravey. I used two egg yolks whisked into hot chicken broth then heated again til boiling. It thickened nicely.

  3. Anne says:

    These are AMAZING! I have Swedish relatives and they are better than the ones they cook!

    I haven’t been brave enough to cook them for them as I don’t want them to feel bad..lol

  4. Celine says:

    I love all your recipes! I can’t wait to try this one since I have all the ingredients.
    General question about all of your recipes. When you say “butter,” do you usually mean unsalted or salted?

    Thanks again. Your blog is a life saver.

  5. Donelle says:

    I will make these tomorrow. I suggest making 18 meat balls so 3 is a serving. I always think about serving size to keep things easy and the carbs right. Thanks for the recipe I
    know it will be great !

  6. Nance says:

    Yum, I absolutely love this recipe. I doubled the sauce and it was heavenly! Thank you for all of your fabulous recipes!

  7. Erin says:

    Another great recipe! I had some ground lamb in the freezer so decided to use that. The flavors were phenomenal! Swedish meatballs have been on my cooking bucket list for some time. Glad i found your recipe.

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Hi Brandi! Arrowroot is def keto in small amounts, but it’s also explained in the post that a carb free sub is konjac. No need to feel deceived… next time just do some reading 😉 xo!

      • Tapioca is another one… but its higher starch like arrowroot (I keep these two around though, because in small quantities divided by a large number of servings its fine for me personally).

        Xanthan gum is another thickener, I just don’t love it for sauces as it has a tendency to get slimy real quick xo!

  8. Adrienne says:

    I made this tonight subbing ground turkey, tapioca powder and half and half. It was super good!! Whole family, including teens, loved it. Thank you!!

  9. Alicia says:

    These were absolutely amazing! I used xanthan gum as my thickener. I just used about a tsp and whisked it in rather than making the slurry. I used two cups of broth and it reduced perfectly! Didn’t drain the grease either, it made the sauce wonderful. Will absolutely make again, couldn’t even tell these were keto.

  10. Kathie says:

    Delicious! I used vegetable flavoured bouillon cubes and thickened the broth with glucomannan. I also served it over spaghetti squash sprinkled with a bit of Parmesan, so it thickened up OK. Maybe not “authentic” Swedish additions, but it tasted good! I also love the combination of allspice and nutmeg. Yummm! Thank you!

  11. I made these tonight and they were delicious! The meatballs were spot on! I only used 1/2 an onion to reduce the carbs a bit. I also( I see other had the same struggle) getting the sauce to thicken. Wondering if I should have let the the liquid reduce more on the stove? I didn’t have arrowroot, so I used glucomannan, and really didn’t do anything for thickening. Instead of adding more I added a few pinches of xanthan gum only sprinkling it and whisking lots to prevent clumping ( I’ve done this in gravy before!). Worked great! I also added a smidge of Worcestire sauce to the sauce. And it turned out really delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Catherine says:

    Hello I’m new to keto and your recipes look amazing can you tell me please are your recipes suitable for freezing as I would like to freeze them in single servings would the breads freeze well too thank u kind regards

  13. Amy says:

    This dish is so delicious. My sauce never thickened even though I kept adding arrowroot so I plan to halve the broth next time. Really good over mashed cauliflower. I squeezed the water out of the cauliflower after cooking it which made for a great texture.

  14. Dee says:

    I made these today for lunch, using almond flour, and serving over buttered cooked cabbage. They were fabulous with the sauce. I made them into 16 meatballs.
    Thank you for another delicious recipe.

  15. Cat says:

    Yum-O! Doubled the recipe. Made them with half beef and half pork (1 pound of each), served over mashed/whipped cauliflower (an immersion blender is great for that BTW) and everyone loved it (we were visiting my aunt and several cousins came over for dinner). I baked the meatballs in the oven @ 400 for 20 minutes because I had so many of them. This one is definitely a keeper! I even had enough left for a couple of brown bag lunches this week. 😊

  16. Tracy says:

    This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try. My only concern is the heavy cream. I live in Spain and it’s impossible to get decent proper fresh cream, you can only buy UHT cartons of runny stuff or thicker sour cream, at least where I live. Any suggestions or substitutions? I think for the sauce the runny stuff would work with a bit of extra thickener but for the meatballs do you think it’s better to leave it out in case it makes them too “loose”? <3

    • Paola says:

      Oh man I get you Tracy! I live in Mexico and we only get crema (sour cream) or a very diluted heavy cream too… so I actually made them while I was in LA :-S! You don’t want to use anything sour (I tried, results were horrible)… so I’m going to suggest to go for the runny cream, and like you said just add a little bit more thickener (maybe also add a bit less broth… though you can always cook it down). Un beso!

      • Tracy says:

        Hey Paola
        I made these the other night and they were a great success! I used the thickest pouring cream I could find and only added half into the meatball mix and they came out delicious. I added extra thickener to the sauce and half the cream too and the texture of the sauce was great but it was too mustardy in flavour so I will reduce that next time I try.
        Thanks so much for the recipe and your advice! I’m just getting into your site and starting to stock up my larder with “your” ingredients so I’ll be back!
        Un beso pa ti!

    • Gun Penhoat says:

      Don’t know how far down in Spain that you live but if in the north perhaps you can get creme fraiche? In France creme fraiche is routinely used for thickening sauces, never whipping cream.

  17. Christy says:

    This was delicious, even though for some reason I had a *really* hard time getting the sauce to thicken. I felt like I could’ve used 1/2 less of the broth. I simmered for like 20 minutes, adding little bits more arrowroot and finally a couple pinches of almond flour. Perfect for a chilly, gray day. My hubby went back for seconds somehow.

    • Gun Penhoat says:

      Glucomannan powder is good for thickening sauces. Just start with a small amount (1/2 tsp) diluted in cold water (it seizes immediately if mixed in warm liquid directly) and then add more if needed (still diluted first).

  18. Peggy says:

    This looks delicious! I have some calorie counters in my family. So before I make them would you clarify – are 3 small meatballs really 399 calories? Thank you so much for all the yummy recipes.

  19. Gun Penhoat says:

    I’m glad to see the allspice in the ingredients. This is a very important ingredient in Swedish meatballs to give you the authentic taste and many people don’t know this and therefore their ‘Swedish’ meatballs are always missing that little something. You’re right to suggest the option of 1/2 beef and half pork. Traditionally, classic Swedish meatballs are made from half of each. – And yes, I am Swedish and brought up on the true stuff :0)

  20. Lisa says:

    Now I know you are psychic Paola! For the past week I’ve been longing for the iconic meatballs at IKEA as I past by it each day on my commute to and from work. The pic looks just like them!!! Thank you!!! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Paola says:

      OMG 😂!! I’m honestly not sure if IKEA meatballs are as big in the US as in Europe… but when I was a student in the UK (and I lived with Swedes!) we always had them hanging out in the freezer 🙈

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