Keto Swedish Meatballs

Briana

Briana

These Keto Swedish Meatballs are a spinoff of recipes from my Scandinavian family members, made keto, gluten free and with a few extra touches. Think of the IKEA favorite, but with less carbs, and homemade! These Swedish meatballs are a family favorite. Incredibly flavorful and spiced, made with both pork and beef, and served in a flavorful, creamy sauce.


keto swedish meatballs on a spoon with parsley

Here’s What You Need For These Keto Swedish Meatballs:​

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:
For the sauce:
  • 2 tbsp butter (in addition to pan drippings)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard*
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce*
  • 2 tsp sweetener of choice, or to taste*
  • 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp xanthan gum* (added slowly, see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste, see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Parsley for garnish

    Serve with: Creamy mashed turnips, and traditionally, lingonberry jam or low carb cranberry sauce, since lingonberries are so hard to find in the US!

    *Optional, or notes to explain see notes and instructions below.
swedish meatballs with gravy on a bed of mashed turnips

Recipe Notes:

Bri’s heritage is mostly Swedish and Finnish, and she spent some time in Norway as an exchange student in high school. You could say her love of Scandinavian food runs deep, and she takes great pride in reviving old family recipes, and reinventing her favorite Scandinavian dishes with a low carb and gluten free twist!

This particular recipe is based off of recipes from Bri’s grandmothers and family members, that have been passed thru the family for years. She had been craving these meatballs fiercely lately, so she got to work on remaking the recipe. This version has some added special touches, and has a few substitutions that make these meatballs gluten free and keto friendly.

caramelized onion and garlic in a cast iron skillet

Seasonings: Allspice and nutmeg are the essential spices in these meatballs, aside from salt and pepper of course. Allspice and nutmeg add that traditional “warmth” of spice that you will find in many Scandinavian dishes. Scandinavian food is certainly not spicy, but relies on simple, subtle and often warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. The cloves are optional in the recipe, and they are something that Bri added. She loves the extra layer it brings to these comforting meatballs.

The Worcestershire sauce is an ingredient used in my family recipes, but it is optional. You could also substitute soy sauce. With both the dijon mustard and the Worcestershire sauce/soy sauce, add to taste. We like a really flavorful sauce with a lot of zing, but you might not prefer it as much as we do.

When it comes to the onions, you don’t have to caramelize them, this is an optional step. For the garlic, you could also substitute 1 tsp garlic powder for fresh garlic. Garlic is also not a traditional ingredient in Swedish meatballs, but many modern recipes call for it, and we think it’s such a wonderful addition.

Proteins: Bri’s family recipes call for pork and beef, but if you don’t like pork/don’t eat it, you could use beef only. We just think the pork and beef combo makes these meatballs so incredibly flavorful and juicy. The fat rendered from them makes a very flavorful sauce.

swedish meatballs in a creamy sauce

Breadcrumbs or Breadcrumb substitutes: Breadcrumbs are generally known as essential to any meatball recipe to make them moist and juicy. You could of course make your own keto breadcrumbs, but that seems like a lot of work, especially when there are good substitutes! We used pork rind crumbs and they worked beautifully. Almond flour also works quite well, and you can sub them for each other in a 1:1 ratio.

Chilling the meatballs: This step is very important, so that your meatballs hold their shape. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but up to overnight. You could do this right after forming the meatballs, or even before, to let the ingredients come together in the fridge.

Cooking methods: Depending on the size of your meatballs, you will likely need to cook these in the oven after browning for 20-30 minutes to get them all the way cooked thru. We made ours on the larger side, we made 24 meatballs, so this was definitely necessary. If they are smaller, you could probably get away with simmering the meatballs in the cream sauce for 20-30 minutes to make sure they are cooked thru.

Cream sauce: For the cream sauce, go easy on the salt until your meatballs and drippings are added in to simmer, because they will add a lot of flavor and salt into the dish. We don’t want you to end up with your cream sauce being too spicy!

Serve With: Traditionally this dish is served with boiled or mashed potatoes, so we came up with this absolutely DELICIOUS creamy mashed turnips recipe, that’s low carb. Also very traditional with many Scandinavian meatballs recipes, is to serve them alongside lingonberry jam. It adds a tartness and sweetness to this dish. You must try it! Alternatively, you could serve with low carb cranberry sauce, as it’s probably the closest thing you can find to lingonberry sauce.

Show Us Yours!: We also love when you guys try our recipes and share them with us! If you make this recipe, be sure to tag us on Instagram @afullliving so we can see it and share it! 

Affiliate Partnerships: A Full Living is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate program, an affiliate advertising program designed to promote a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking products to amazon.com. We only share products we use and love. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to shop using our links, but we earn a small commission that helps us keep this site going! 


Tools:

swedish meatballs in a cast iron skilelt with parsley

Need supplies for this recipe? We’ve linked our favorites above and right here in our Amazon Store! You don’t pay anything extra if you shop using our link, but we get a small percentage of the sale. 

Let’s Make It! ​


To start, bring out your meat and eggs and set on the counter so they come to room temperature. This will make them easier to work with when mixing all of the ingredients. If you are going to caramelize your onions and garlic before adding them to the meatballs, preheat your cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Mince you garlic and dice your onion very well. Add your onions to the cast iron with 1 tbsp of butter and a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and translucent, even a bit browned and caramelized if you want. Then, add your garlic to the skillet, and cook until fragrant, stirring often, for about 30 seconds. Then immediately remove from heat, and allow the garlic and onions to cool off before adding to the meat mixture. You could also skip the caramelizing step for the garlic and onions, see notes above.

caramelized onion and garlic in a cast iron skillet

In a small bowl, gently whisk together your eggs. Add your pork, beef, eggs, heavy whipping cream, pork rind crumbs, and seasonings to a large bowl. Add in your onion and garlic once they have cooled off. You don’t want them to scramble the eggs if they are too warm. Combine very well until all ingredients are incorporated. We just used our hands, wishing we had gloves, but there are very few to be found right now out in the world!

Now, you can roll into balls and then chill in the fridge, or you can chill the meat mixture in the fridge before rolling into balls. We think it’s easier to chill the meat mixture before rolling into balls, we’ve tried it both ways. Either way, you will want to chill the meatballs or meatball mixture for at least 30 minutes so that the shape holds together when you cook them. We like to add them to a parchment lined baking sheet to rest.

We made our meatballs large, mostly because we are sort of lazy to roll them into tiny shapes. This mixture will make 24 large meatballs, or up to 48 smaller sized meatballs. The size of the meatball will certainly affect cooking time, see notes above.

Now, heat your cast iron up over medium heat, and preheat your oven to 350°F, if your meatballs are on the larger side like ours were. Add in the butter and oil to the skillet used to fry the meatballs, but maybe add it in batches, as you will brown the meatballs in batches too, to avoid overcrowding the pan. At this point you will want to brown the meatballs, to seal in moisture and flavor. Your meatballs shouldn’t be cooked thru at this point, no matter the size of the meatballs.

Set your meatballs back onto the parchment lined sheet until you have browned all of them. Then, at this point, you will put them in the oven and bake until they are cooked thru, for large meatballs, this would be 20-30 minutes. See notes above about baking times if your meatballs are smaller.

While your meatballs are baking, make your cream sauce. Do not drain the pan from frying the meatballs earlier, and instead, add in the remaining 2 tbsp of butter, cream, and beef broth, stirring often. Add your Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and sweetener to taste. Now, sprinkle in the xanthan gum extremely slowly, and whisking constantly to incorporate. Allow the sauce to simmer and watch the sauce thicken, stirring often. Be very careful not to add to much xanthan gum, as it can turn your sauce slimy.

We don’t recommend adding salt and pepper to the cream sauce until we add back in the meatballs with their drippings. This will infuse a lot of salt and flavor into the cream sauce. We don’t want you to accidentally make your cream sauce too salty. We will adjust the salt and pepper levels after the meatballs and drippings are added. Look how browned and luscious the sauce becomes once we add the meatballs to the sauce!

Now, simply allow the flavors to meld together while the meatballs simmer in the sauce for a few minutes. Adjust seasonings to your preference, and then eat! We recommend serving over a bed of creamy mashed turnips (a great low carb alternative to boiled or mashed potatoes that are traditionally eaten with this dish) along with some sugar free cranberry sauce (or sugar free lingonberry sauce, if you can find it!) Top the meatballs with parsley (optional) and enjoy this luscious dinner!

If you get a chance to try this recipe, let us know what you think, would ya?! Leave us a comment, or catch up with us on Facebook or Instagram, or pin to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

Looking for another delicious keto friendly meatball recipe? Try these amazing lamb meatballs with feta and lemon!

spoonful of lamb meatballs over a cast iron skillet

Until Next Time,
Briana & Chamere

Keto Swedish Meatballs
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Resting time (to chill in fridge)
30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs
 

These Keto Swedish Meatballs are a spinoff of recipes from my Scandinavian family members, made keto, gluten free and with a few extra touches. Think of the IKEA favorite, but with less carbs, and homemade! These Swedish meatballs are a family favorite. Incredibly flavorful and spiced, made with both pork and beef, and served in a flavorful, creamy sauce.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Scandinavian, Swedish, Swedish American
Keyword: dinner, family recipe, keto, meatballs, swedish meatballs
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 585 kcal
Author: Briana
Ingredients
For the Meatballs:
  • 1.34 lbs ground beef (you could use 1 to 1.5 lbs, we used 1.34 lbs, the macros will reflect this)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves* (or 1 pinch)
  • 1.5 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup pork rind crumbs* see notes
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic* (could sub garlic powder, see notes)
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 tbsp butter (to cook the garlic and onion, optional step, see notes)
  • 3 tbsp avocado or any frying oil (for frying the meatballs)
  • 2 tbsp butter (for frying the meatballs)
For the Cream Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp butter (in addition to pan drippings)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard*
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce*
  • 2 tsp sweetener of choice, or to taste*
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum* (added slowly, see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste, see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
  • parsley for garnish
Instructions
For the meatballs:
  1. To start, bring out your meat and eggs and set on the counter so they come to room temperature. This will make them easier to work with when mixing all of the ingredients. If you are going to caramelize your onions and garlic before adding them to the meatballs, preheat your cast iron skillet over medium heat.

  2. Mince you garlic and dice your onion very well. Add your onions to the cast iron with 1 tbsp of butter and a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and translucent, even a bit browned and caramelized if you want. Then, add your garlic to the skillet, and cook until fragrant, stirring often, for about 30 seconds. Then immediately remove from heat, and allow the garlic and onions to cool off before adding to the meat mixture. You could also skip the caramelizing step for the garlic and onions, see notes above.

  3. In a small bowl, gently whisk together your eggs. Add your pork, beef, eggs, heavy whipping cream, pork rind crumbs, and seasonings to a large bowl. Add in your onion and garlic once they have cooled off. You don’t want them to scramble the eggs if they are too warm. Combine very well until all ingredients are incorporated.

  4. Now, you can roll into balls and then chill in the fridge, or you can chill the meat mixture in the fridge before rolling into balls. We think it’s easier to chill the meat mixture before rolling into balls, we’ve tried it both ways. Either way, you will want to chill the meatballs or meatball mixture for at least 30 minutes so that the shape holds together when you cook them. We like to add them to a parchment lined baking sheet to rest. We made our meatballs large, mostly because we are sort of lazy to roll them into tiny shapes. This mixture will make 24 large meatballs, or up to 48 smaller sized meatballs. The size of the meatball will certainly affect cooking time, see notes above.

  5. Now, heat your cast iron up over medium heat, and preheat your oven to 350°F, if your meatballs are on the larger side like ours were. Add in the butter and oil to the skillet used to fry the meatballs, but maybe add it in batches, as you will brown the meatballs in batches too, to avoid overcrowding the pan. At this point you will want to brown the meatballs, to seal in moisture and flavor. Your meatballs shouldn’t be cooked thru at this point, no matter the size of the meatballs.

  6. Set your meatballs back onto the parchment lined sheet until you have browned all of them. Then, at this point, you will put them in the oven and bake until they are cooked thru, for large meatballs, this would be 20-30 minutes. See notes above about baking times if your meatballs are smaller.

For the cream sauce:
  1. While your meatballs are baking, make your cream sauce. Do not drain the pan from frying the meatballs earlier, and instead, add in the remaining 2 tbsp of butter, cream, and beef broth, stirring often. Add your Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and sweetener to taste. Now, sprinkle in the xanthan gum extremely slowly, and whisking constantly to incorporate. Allow the sauce to simmer and watch the sauce thicken, stirring often. Be very careful not to add to much xanthan gum, as it can turn your sauce slimy.

  2. We don’t recommend adding salt and pepper to the cream sauce until we add back in the meatballs with their drippings. This will infuse a lot of salt and flavor into the cream sauce. We don’t want you to accidentally make your cream sauce too salty. We will adjust the salt and pepper levels after the meatballs and drippings are added.

  3. Now, simply allow the flavors to meld together while the meatballs simmer in the sauce for a few minutes. Adjust seasonings to your preference, and then eat! We recommend serving over a bed of creamy mashed turnips (a great low carb alternative to boiled or mashed potatoes that are traditionally eaten with this dish) along with some sugar free cranberry sauce (or sugar free lingonberry sauce, if you can find it!) Top the meatballs with parsley (optional) and enjoy this luscious dinner!

Recipe Notes

Macros: We estimate our macros via MyFitnessPal, and cannot guarantee accuracy. They are provided as a courtesy. 

Makes 6 servings, 584 calories per serving, 41 grams of fat, 44 grams of protein, 6 total carbs, 1 gram fiber, making 5 net carbs

Share this on Pinterest!

Hungry For More? Get Recipes Right To Your Inbox.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Want amazing low carb recipes right to your inbox?