Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

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Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs braised in a rich and flavorful cream sauce. A combination of ground beef, pork, and warm spices make for a comforting and satisfying dish. Serve as an easy appetizer or heartier meal paired with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

A bowl of slow cooker Swedish meatballs with garnish.

Hi there! It’s Jessica Gavin, Certified Culinary Scientist and I’m delighted to share this comforting slow cooker Swedish meatballs recipe with you. There are three key elements to tender and juicy meatballs. This includes selecting the right combination of meat, adding a panade, and simmering over a long period of time under controlled heat. I’ve tested out numerous batches so that you have just the right texture and flavor each time you make the dish.

Using an electric slow cooker is the perfect vessel for braising meat over a long period of time. Compared to a stove top, the heating is more consistent and never gets above the boiling point to prevent overcooking. The spiced meatballs simmer in a lightly thickened beef broth, then cream is added at the end of cooking to provide extra richness. Each fork-tender meatball bursts with a hint of nutmeg and allspice. It’s a satisfying meal that requires minimal preparation with virtually hands-off cooking.

Raw meatballs lined up on a sheet pan.

Key Ingredients for Swedish Meatballs

To create meatballs that could easily be cut with a spoon, but have a nice chew, equal amounts of lean ground beef and pork are used. The pork adds a rich sausage flavor and springy texture. Adding a panade, a starchy mixture of panko bread crumbs, eggs, and cream to the meat mixture helps to bind and lock the flavorful juices in each meatball. Grated onions add savory notes without the crunch you would experience from roughly chopped pieces.

What makes this version unique compared to traditional Italian meatballs is the addition of warm spices typically used in baking. The grated nutmeg and allspice complement the creamy sauce, so when you eat them together, the flavors meld and infuse to create a bechamel sauce taste. It’s an unexpectedly appetizing combination, highlighting the flavors of fall and winter.

Meatballs browning in a saute pan.

How to Make Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

  • Brown the meat first to develop a more sturdy texture, attractive color, and add flavor.
  • Make a stove top gravy to ensure that it’s properly thickened, then add to slow cooker.
  • Stir in cream at the end of cooking to prevent curdling of the sauce.

Swedish meatballs simmering in a slow cooker.

Gradually cooking the meatballs for about 2 hours on the high setting, or 4 to 5 hours on low, then its ready to devour! You can keep the meatballs in the pot on the warm setting until ready to serve. The slow cooker method of Swedish meatballs is super convenient for making it ahead of time for dinner or parties.

I like to serve this dish with homemade mashed potatoes or wide egg noodle pasta. Trust me, you’re going to want to pour the sauce over everything, and I’ve designed the recipe to make a generous amount. Once you make this once, it will be on the weekly dinner menu that will be a breeze to whip up!

Swedish meatballs cooking in a crock pot.


Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

4.75 from 16 votes
Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs braised in a rich and flavorful cream sauce. The meat is a combination of ground beef, pork, and warm spices.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Author Jessica Gavin
Servings: 4 Servings


  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 ounces lean ground pork
  • 1/4 cup grated yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef 85% percent lean ground beef recommended
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 3 cups unsalted beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together ¼ cup heavy cream and egg.
  • Add in breadcrumbs and stir to combine, set aside.
  • In a large bowl add pork, grated onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper.
  • Use your hand to mix and combine the mixture until consistent in appearance, 1 minute.
  • Add in the breadcrumb mixture (panade) and mix with hand to combine until smooth, 1 minute.
  • Add in ground beef and mix with hand until combined, 45 seconds.
  • Roll meatball mixture into 2 tablespoon-sized balls, about 17 total.
  • Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, once hot, add the meatball.
  • Brown the meatballs for about 4 to 6 minutes. Turn heat down to medium and flip over and cook 3 minutes.
  • Transfer meatballs to the slow cooker, do not discard pan.
  • Heat pan over medium-high heat, add butter and flour, whisk to combine, cook for 30 seconds.
  • Gradually whisk in the beef broth, scraping and breaking up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring broth to a boil, whisking until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
  • Turn off heat and whisk in 1 ½ teaspoons salt, add sauce to slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook meatballs for 2 hours on “High”, or “Low” for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Stir in ½ cup heavy cream and lemon juice.
  • Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Garnish Swedish meatballs with parsley, and serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.



Serves: 4

Calories541kcal (27%)Carbohydrates13g (4%)Protein29g (58%)Fat41g (63%)Saturated Fat22g (110%)Cholesterol201mg (67%)Sodium1726mg (72%)Potassium797mg (23%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar1g (1%)Vitamin A1062IU (21%)Vitamin C4mg (5%)Calcium64mg (6%)Iron3mg (17%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic


Jessica Gavin

Jessica is a Certified Food and Culinary Scientist. She’s also a culinary school graduate and a teacher at heart. Jessica loves nothing more than unraveling the science behind better, healthier cooking and sharing that know-how with her readers at

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  1. Hello! Do you think I could double this recipe (I’m making it for a potluck) without overcrowding the slow cooker? Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Looking forward to trying this. Sounds delicious! However, there is baking powder listed in the directions, but none in the recipe. Is this just omitted in the recipe?

  3. I’m rather new to your site. I’m so excited about your recipes!!! They are wonderful! I wanted to say “thank you” for the tested reliability of your recipes. I will remain a fan I’m sure. Keep them coming! My husband was so impressed with the homemade saucy pork chops, he just couldn’t stop raving about them. Meatballs are next! You are making my job easier and I like that.

  4. 4 stars
    I love Swedish Meatballs and want to try this recipe! Step 3 in the instructions states: “In a large bowl add pork, grated onion, garlic, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper”, yet the baking powder is not listed in the ingredients. How much baking powder should I use in this step? Thank you.

  5. Thank you for taking the effort to actually make the gravy/sauce from scratch. So many other recipes for Swedish meatballs use canned cream of mushroom soup. I don’t need to tell you how much better the end product will taste when made with fresh ingredients. I now feel confident that I can make this for my daughter’s birthday party this weekend using fresh and basic ingredients!

  6. Your recipe is lovely but you didn’t specify how much baking powder to use or if I’m wrong and just didn’t read it, forgive me, they were still very good. Thank you so much for sharing, Sincerely, Sandra Racine

  7. The recipe has a total of 2 tsp salt, but at separate times, calls for 1tsp and 1.5tsp to total 2.5 tsp. Just clarifying, as I don’t want it too salty.

  8. 5 stars
    SOOOO good! Have made these twice this month. I make the meatballs and gravy the night before. It’s nice to be able to pop the crockpot insert in and in a couple of hours have a delicious lunch!

    FYI others have mentioned the baking powder, it’s still in the instructions.

    In a medium-sized bowl whisk together ¼ cup heavy cream and egg.
    Add in breadcrumbs and stir to combine, set aside.
    In a large bowl add pork, grated onion, garlic, *******baking powder*****, 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper.

  9. Hello and Happy Holidays!! We are hosting for the first year and so excited to try this recipe. Salted or unsalted butter, though? I literally screwed up my favorite creamed corn recipy by doing the salted. Help!!!

  10. I like the Slow cooker Swedish meatball recipe above. Confused because on step 3 it says to add baking powder. I didn’t find baking powder or an amount in the ingredients list. Could you please advise.
    Many thanks,
    Laddie Toney

  11. 5 stars
    This was delicious! Everyone enjoyed it- including my picky toddler. I also love that it only took 4 hours on low in the slow cooker vs the usual 8 for most recipes. Thanks!

  12. Hi, I made your swedish meatballs recipe and it was delicious. I am making them again but this time for a bigger crowd. Can you tell me how many servings your recipe makes?

    1. This will make about 6 to 8 servings depending on how many each person has. That would be ab out 2 to 3 meatballs each. Hope that helps! Your friends will be thanking you for these ;)! Enjoy!

  13. 5 stars
    We really enjoyed this recipe. I didn’t add any baking powder but assumed you ment the flour so I added it in with the meat balls, came out ok though!

  14. I will be making these meatballs as an appetizer but wonder if the cream sauce will separate if left in the slow cooker?

    1. Yes, I like to freeze my meatballs by adding them to a sheet pan and freezing them for 2 to 3 hours. Once they are frozen I put them in a ziplock bag or airtight container to freeze for up to 1 month.

  15. If I’m preparing these ahead of time, would you fry the meatballs, refrigerate, then slow cook the next morning? or would you complete the whole recipe and then just reheat for the party?

  16. 5 stars
    Recipe great. Pop-up adds and looping commercial videos not so great, be nice not to share recipe and kitchen with Capital One.

  17. I made these for my family and doubled the recipe. Everything tasted great but the texture of the meatballs was off. Any advice? I slow cooked it on low for four hours and did everything else as described.

  18. This looks and sounds delicious; however, would it be possible to make them with beef and turkey instead of beef and pork for friends and family who do not consume pork?

  19. This recipe looks awesome! I need to make them the night before because they’re for a staff luncheon at work. Any tips on how I can make sure they still taste good tomorrow or on how to reheat? Can’t wait to make!

  20. Made these today & they were soooooo good! I had homemade beef stock which I think brought them up a notch, and I used plain yogurt instead of cream. I wi make these again for sure!
    The recipe still references baking powder in the method.

  21. 5 stars
    I’ve tried both Swedish meatball recipes on the site, and this is my favorite. I like the combination of pork and ground beef. This combination makes the meatballs taste not “gamey.” These meatballs are so delicious my 19 year old always has me double the recipe. Try them. They are a show stopper.

  22. 5 stars
    During this time of quarantine I wanted to recreate Ikea’s meatballs at home, and I knew that a slow cooker would work well with meatballs. Among the recipes I found I chose this one because it sounded like the best one. I am glad I did! The meatballs with the sauce are AMAZEBALLZ. I don’t give out compliments like this easily. I added 2 tsp soy sauce to the broth and a dash of mustard mimicking the Ikea recipe. But this one is much better! Don’t skip the lemon juice. From now on I will double the recipe.

  23. 4 stars
    I took some ingredients from your other swedish meatball recipe to make this. I bought almost two lbs of frozen swedish meatballs as I was short on time. I doubled the amounts of whole wheat flour, butter, and beef broth. Nixed the parsley and lemon juice but added 2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp of dijon mustard. I also sauted a can of mushrooms in butter with a dash of garlic powder separately. Mixed the sauce up, threw in the mushrooms and meatballs and cooked for 4.5 hrs on low slow cooker mode in my instant pot. I then took out the meatballs and added two cups of half and half at the end and threw in my egg noodles to cook in the sauce for 30 more minutes. Mixed the meatballs back in and served with crushed dill. Soooo perfect.

  24. Making these now. I have unsalted beef stock or regular beef broth. I know it called for unsalted broth. Which would you recommend? Thank you

  25. Made these for my adult son. They were absolutely delicious. 5 stars from each of us. Pure comfort food.

  26. 4 stars
    These were really delicious, I doubled the recipe 😋 I would make a few changes next time to adjust to personal taste, I’d double the garlic and pepper. Otherwise, great recipe! Very rich

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