The Umgås Guide To Swedish Meatballs

Susanne Walström/

Food & Drink

The Umgås Guide To Swedish Meatballs

Who would have thought a one-inch-in-diameter ball of meat would seemingly become a universal symbol for an entire country? But here we are, in a world where meatballs are synonymous with Sweden, and IKEA perpetuates the love by selling 2 million meatballs each day.

This year, on Aug. 23, Sweden celebrates National Meatball Day. Even though there was a nasty news article that made the rounds about Swedish meatballs hailing from Turkey, we choose to believe that meatballs are rightfully Swedish.

As you can imagine, we like to consider ourselves connoisseurs of meatballs. We’ve talked to chefs and compiled recipes to bring you the ultimate guide to Swedish Meatballs.

What defines a Swedish Meatball?

We love this Chowhound article about the major differences between a Swedish Meatball and an Italian one. The author quickly reminds readers that a meatball recipe can be very personal and family-specific, but in short, Swedish Meatballs are 50/50 pork and beef, smaller and served with a roux-based sauce.

Fun reads

Here’s a good Q&A with the author of “The Swedish Meatball Bible.” And here is a Q&A with the owner of Meatballs for the People, a restaurant in Stockholm. We also found this article on Medium to be a great big-picture overview of meatballs (with photos step-by-step how to make them).


It’s safe to say that almost every Swedish-American restaurant we’ve written about serves Swedish Meatballs on the menu. Who dishes up your favorite meatball? Let us know at

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