When I told my colleague — via Zoom, of course — that I was going to tackle making Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs, her eyes lit up. “I LOVE them,” she exclaimed.

She’s not alone.

The eight-ingredient meatballs paired with a savory cream sauce, which have long been a hit with shoppers at the popular Swedish furniture store, became an Internet sensation this week when the business released the recipe via Twitter.

As another colleague joked: “That’s the main reason people go to Ikea.”

Since the novel coronavirus arrived, many of us have had to do without favorite restaurant dishes, including this one. Ikea has temporarily shuttered its in-store shopping because of the pandemic.

Before sharing the recipe, we decided to test it to see if it tasted just right. The results: It’s pretty darn close. And, even if it isn’t exactly the same, eaten as is or spooned over mashed potatoes, the meatballs are an ideal comfort food during an uncomfortable time.

The company tweeted the recipe with a line drawing reminiscent of the instructions enclosed in the assemble-it-yourself furniture it sells. The good news is that the meatballs are much easier to put together than that Ikea chest of drawers you bought.

Lorena Lourido, country food manager of Ikea U.K., said in a statement: “We know that some people might be missing our meatballs, which is why we’ve released an at-home alternative which, using easily accessible ingredients, will help those looking for some inspiration in the kitchen.”

Based on the reception the recipe has received, Ikea was right.

And Ikea is not alone in handing out “secret” recipes. Since the pandemic has forced businesses and travel destinations to temporarily shut their doors or limit access, a steady stream of companies has started releasing popular recipes so that people can make them at home, including Doubletree’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and Disney’s churro recipe.

We haven’t tested those recipes … yet.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups beef broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Step 1

Shape the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the beef and pork, mixing with your fingers to break up any lumps. Add the onion, garlic, bread crumbs and egg, and gently mix to combine. Add the milk, salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Shape the mixture into 2-inch balls. Place on a clean platter, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 45 minutes.

Step 2

Make the sauce: Just before you begin frying the meatballs, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir it into the butter until a roux forms, continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the broth, stirring until just combined.

Add the cream, soy sauce and mustard and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and let the sauce thicken, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.

Step 3

Cook the meatballs: When ready to cook the meatballs, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

In an ovenproof large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the meatballs and cook until browned on the outside, about 8 minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Return the meatballs to the skillet and pour the sauce over. Cover the skillet with a lid or foil, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve the meatballs as they are or with boiled or mashed potatoes.

Recipe from Ikea.

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.

More meatball recipes from Voraciously


Calories: 451; Total Fat: 51 g; Saturated Fat: 24 g; Cholesterol: 182 mg; Sodium: 879 mg; Carbohydrates: 15 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 23 g.