This month, in honor of the holidays, we’ve asked our Culinary Arts and Pastry & Baking Arts instructors to share their favorite festive recipes. We’ve already tested out Chef Kathryn Gordon’s Australian mince tartelettes, traveled to a French Christmas market with Chef Ted Siegel‘s Alsatian tarte flambée and celebrated American nostalgia with Chef Scott McMillen’s snickerdoodles. sabrinaheadshotToday, we celebrate Chef Sabrina Sexton’s family favorite: Swedish meatballs.

My mother’s family is Scandinavian so the holidays – especially Christmas – have always meant lots of Nordic fare. Every year, on Christmas Eve, my mom prepares a big julbord, a traditional Christmas buffet with pickled herring, gravlax, ham and saffransbrod, a saffron bread filled with raisins.

My favorite traditional food has always been the Swedish meatballs. Served alongside mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce and pickled cucumber salad, they always remind me of my childhood. The recipe I make is a hybrid of my mom’s and Marcus Sammuelson’s. He likes to put a splash of pickle juice from the cucumbers into the sauce, which is a great way to cut the sweetness of the lingonberries and the richness of the crème fraiche in the sauce.

meatballSwedish Meatballs


  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup lingonberry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice or 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar


  1. Combine the bread crumbs with the milk in a bowl. Stir until the bread crumbs are moistened. Set aside.
  2. Heat  2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the onion and cook until the onions are limp and translucent, about 5 minutes. Cool.
  3. Combine the onions with the ground pork, ground beef, honey and egg in a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper and mix by hand until blended. Add the breadcrumb-milk mixture and mix well. Shape the mixture into golf ball size meatballs.
  4. Add the remaining canola oil to the sauté pan. Add the meatballs is batches and cook, turning frequently until brown on all sides and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and prepare the sauce.
  5. Add the stock to the pan and simmer until reduced by half. Add the crème fraiche and continue to reduce until the sauce is a “nappe” consistency.
  6. Return the meatballs to the pan and warm.
  7. Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes, more lingonberry preserves and cucumber salad.


  1. Thanks for posting this, as a Swede it was a very interesting read! I like how you seem to have made the dish authentic, often when you read about Swedish meatballs in American magazines, they feature all kinds of strange ingredients. I’ll make sure to check out Marcus Samuelssons recipe, he’s one of the premier Swedish chefs in my opinion.

  2. Thanks Marcus! Glad to hear your liked the recipe.

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