You guys, I have a confession to make: IKEA's Swedish meatballs are one of my favorite foods on the planet. I used to work right across the street from IKEA (for like ten years, holy moly!) and those savory little meatballs would lure me in all the time pre-keto. Imagine my disappointment when I learned my go-to lunch was chalk full of carbs. Total devastation. When my friend Abbie of Appetite for Energy reached out to share her easy keto Swedish meatballs recipe, I was elated!
It's been years since I've had the pleasure of diving into these saucy meatballs and I cannot wait to dig in. Check out Abbie's recipe below and be sure to check out the other quick and easy meals on her site.
Can you get juicy Swedish meatballs, laden with delicious creamy sauce on the table in 30 minutes?
Of course, you can. And your family will devour them and worship you forever!
Simple, low carb 30-minute meals
We all want simple, easy weeknight meals and these easy Swedish meatballs are just that.
No one wants to start cooking a slow roast at 6 pm only to realize when you look at the recipe you googled that morning, that you need to marinate the chicken for 3 hours!
To avoid a dinnertime fiasco, I try to choose recipes that can be cooked in around half an hour. That way, I know even if it takes a little bit longer (because I’m multitasking and attempting to make school lunches at the same time), I’m going to be out of the kitchen quicker.
Easy Keto Swedish Meatballs are a recipe that you’ll return to again and again. It’s a classic family favorite along with pretty much any meatball recipe EVER.
For a classic Italian style keto meatball recipe, you’ll also love our 30 Minute Gluten-Free Meatball Recipe.
What are Swedish meatballs?
Sweden is famous for a couple of things namely Swedish meatballs and IKEA. They’re also famous for the Swedish meatballs from the IKEA restaurant - just what you need after a busy morning picking up throw rugs, magnetic spice racks and wall hooks for your dish towels.
Swedish meatballs are easy to make at home. They are known as Köttbullar and are basically meatballs in a creamy sauce. Sounds pretty good, right? You’re probably wondering whether they are keto-friendly or not.
Well, the authentic recipe uses breadcrumbs and milk which are no no’s on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. In this recipe, I’ve replaced the breadcrumbs with grated zucchini to provide the bulk (and sneak some veggies in).
What to serve with Keto Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs are typically served with pressed cucumber and lingonberry sauce. Since I have no idea what any of those things are (?), I serve this keto style, with cauliflower rice. It can easily be prepared while the meatballs are simmering, especially if you have some prepackaged or frozen cauliflower rice on hand.
For a decadent date-night meal, cauliflower mash will take these easy Swedish meatballs to the next level. Just allow some extra time to make the mash.
The importance of salt in meatballs and on the keto diet
To make the meatballs, start by crumbling the ground meat into a large bowl and then grate the zucchini. You’ll need about 1 cup of zucchini to add to the ground meat. Don’t dry the zucchini though, as the water helps to keep the meatballs moist and tender.
Add in an egg, along with the salt and pepper. Don’t skip the seasoning here. Firstly, because the salt, in particular, is critical to bringing out the flavors in the meatballs. I’ve cooked many a pan of meatballs and forgotten to add the salt and pepper during this stage. The result is a disappointingly bland dish.
The second reason is so to help keep sodium levels up. We’re probably all aware that sodium levels get depleted very quickly on a ketogenic diet. Adding salt to food is an easy way to boost sodium and keep electrolyte levels balanced.
If sodium levels get too low, we typically get a headache, feel tired and suffer from what’s known as the keto flu. Luckily, it’s quite easy to fix these problems with added salt and other simple tactics.
To learn more simple strategies like this for combating keto diet issues and blasting through weight-loss plateaus, check out:
Roll up some keto Swedish meatballs
Using wet hands, combine the mixture and roll the meat into roughly 18 equal sized balls. To help with this, try using an ice-cream scooper to measure out the mixture. This step also helps them to cook evenly.
Melt the butter over medium heat, then cook the meatballs for a few minutes until browned. Flip and cook the other side for 3-5 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, whisk together the broth, mustard, and cream. Pour it into the skillet, around the meatballs and increase the heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through, and the sauce has thickened up a little.
Prepare cauliflower rice the easy way
As the meatballs simmer, make some cauliflower rice. I try to get the pre-prepared cauliflower rice (or frozen) as it’s just so much easier. If you want to make it fresh, process cauliflower florets in a food processor briefly until it resembles rice.
For this recipe, the cauliflower rice only needs to be heated. I don’t think it’s necessary to pan-fry it in butter as the dish is already creamy enough. It will be delicious as it soaks up the cream sauce. I recommend microwaving the cauliflower rice, so it’s just cooked and voila - keto dinner perfection!
To learn more about the different ways to cook and store cauliflower rice, visit 10 minute cauliflower rice.
- Crumble ground meat into a large bowl
- Using a medium grater, shred zucchini until you have about 1 packed cup full (don’t dry or remove water)
- Add grated zucchini to the bowl along with egg, seasoning, and salt
- Mix with hands until just combined
- Melt butter in a large heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet
- Roll meat into 18 equal sized balls and place in skillet
- Cook for about 3-5 minutes then ﬂip and cook another 3-5 minutes until lightly browned
- Whisk together broth, mustard, and cream
- Pour into skillet with meatballs and bring to a hard simmer for 5-10 minutes until meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly
- Use an ice cream scooper to make measuring out equal sized meatballs easy and so that meatballs will cook evenly
- Only mix meat until everything is just combined. Overworking the meat will cause your meatballs to become tough
Hi, I'm Abbie from Appetite For Energy, where we share simple low-carb recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less. We love helping busy people start and maintain a low-carb diet, especially families where not everyone eats a low-carb diet! Come on over and visit us at appetiteforenergy.com.