How To Make Swedish Meatballs In Crock Pot [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Swedish meatballs are a classic comfort food that are both flavorful and satisfying. By using a crock pot, you can create tender, juicy meatballs with minimal effort. This guide will walk you through the selection, preparation, cooking times, and troubleshooting techniques to make perfect Swedish meatballs in a crock pot.

Using a crock pot to make Swedish meatballs is a convenient way to cook this delicious dish without having to spend hours in the kitchen. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and the meatballs to become incredibly tender. This method is perfect for busy days or when you want to have a warm and hearty meal waiting for you at the end of the day.

Quick Answer: How Long To Make Swedish Meatballs In Crock Pot

The total cooking time for Swedish meatballs in a crock pot typically ranges from 3 to 4 hours on high heat, or 6 to 8 hours on low heat.



When making Swedish meatballs, the selection of meat is crucial. A combination of ground beef and ground pork is traditional, but you can also use ground turkey for a leaner option. The ratio of beef to pork is typically 1:1, but you can adjust this based on your personal preference.

Bread Crumbs

Bread crumbs are an essential ingredient that holds the meat mixture together and adds texture. You can use either store-bought bread crumbs or make your own by pulsing stale bread in a food processor.


Traditional Swedish meatballs are seasoned with a blend of warm spices such as nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper. Additionally, salt and a hint of onion and garlic powder are commonly included to enhance the flavor profile.


Meatball Mixture

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, finely chopped onion, spices, and beaten egg.

  2. Use your hands to gently mix the ingredients until everything is well combined. Be careful not to overwork the mixture, as this can result in tough meatballs.

  3. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, use your hands to form the meat mixture into evenly-sized meatballs. A common size for Swedish meatballs is about 1 inch in diameter.

Browning The Meatballs

Before adding the meatballs to the crock pot, it’s recommended to brown them in a skillet or in the oven. This step helps to develop a rich flavor and maintain the meatballs’ shape during the slow cooking process.

To brown the meatballs:

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

  2. Cook the meatballs for a few minutes on each side until they develop a golden-brown crust. This step is about searing the outside of the meatballs rather than fully cooking them through.

  3. Once browned, transfer the meatballs to a plate and set them aside for later.

Alternatively, if you prefer a hands-off approach, you can also arrange the meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 15 minutes, or until browned.

Crock Pot Cooking Times For Swedish Meatballs

High Heat

If you’re short on time, cooking the Swedish meatballs on high heat is the way to go. This method typically takes 3 to 4 hours.

Low Heat

For a more hands-off approach and to achieve incredibly tender meatballs, opt for cooking the meatballs on low heat. This method usually takes 6 to 8 hours.

It’s important to note that cooking times can vary depending on the specific crock pot model and the size of the meatballs. It’s always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 160°F (71°C) for safe consumption.

How To Make Swedish Meatballs In Crock Pot

  1. Preheat the Crock Pot – Before adding the meatballs, preheat the crock pot to the desired cooking temperature.

  2. Prepare the Sauce – In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Swedish meatball sauce. This typically includes beef broth, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, and a pinch of salt and pepper for seasoning.

  3. Add the Meatballs and Sauce – Once the crock pot is preheated, carefully place the browned meatballs in an even layer at the bottom of the crock pot. Then, pour the sauce over the meatballs, ensuring that they are evenly coated.

  4. Cook the Meatballs – Cover the crock pot with the lid and let the meatballs cook according to your chosen heat setting, either high or low.

  5. Stir Occasionally – If possible, gently stir the meatballs and sauce once or twice during the cooking process. This can help ensure even cooking and distribution of flavors.

  6. Check for Doneness – As the end of the cooking time approaches, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatballs. Once they reach 160°F (71°C), they are ready to be served.

  7. Serve and Enjoy – Once the meatballs are cooked through, you can serve them immediately, either on their own or with a side of mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, or creamy gravy.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Dry Meatballs

If your meatballs turn out dry, it could be due to overcooking or using a leaner meat mixture. To prevent this, consider reducing the cooking time or adjusting the ratio of lean to fatty meats in the mixture to add moisture.

Sauce Separation

If the sauce appears to separate or curdle during the cooking process, it may be a result of overheating the cream or not stirring the sauce thoroughly. To mitigate this issue, gently stir the sauce and use lower heat settings to prevent the cream from curdling.

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Soggy Meatballs

If your meatballs turn out soggy, it could be due to excess moisture in the meat mixture. To remedy this, ensure that excess liquid is drained from the meatball mixture before shaping them, and consider using a higher heat setting to evaporate any excess moisture during cooking.

Swedish meatballs made in a crock pot are a flavorful and comforting dish that is perfect for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. By carefully selecting the ingredients, preparing the meatball mixture, and utilizing the appropriate cooking times, you can create tender and juicy Swedish meatballs that are sure to impress. With this comprehensive guide, you have all the tools and knowledge to confidently make delicious Swedish meatballs in your crock pot.

Achieving Perfect Texture

Swedish meatballs are a classic and beloved dish that originated in Sweden but has gained popularity around the world. These tasty meatballs are typically made with a mixture of ground beef and pork, along with breadcrumbs, eggs, and a blend of spices. They are then cooked in a rich and creamy sauce, which is what gives them their distinct flavor.

Traditionally, Swedish meatballs are cooked in a skillet or oven. However, using a crock pot to make Swedish meatballs offers a convenient and hands-off cooking method. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to develop and the meatballs to become tender and juicy.

One of the key factors in making delicious Swedish meatballs is achieving the perfect texture. The meatballs should be tender and moist, without being too dense or falling apart. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the perfect texture when making Swedish meatballs in a crock pot:

  1. Meat Mixture: The combination of ground beef and pork is crucial to achieving the right texture. The pork adds juiciness and flavor to the meatballs. Aim for a 50/50 ratio of beef and pork, using fresh ground meat for the best results.

  2. Breadcrumbs: The addition of breadcrumbs helps to bind the meat mixture together and create a tender texture. Use fresh breadcrumbs or make your own by processing a few slices of bread in a food processor.

  3. Soaking the Breadcrumbs: To ensure the meatballs stay moist, soak the breadcrumbs in milk or cream before adding them to the meat mixture. This technique adds moisture and helps prevent the meatballs from becoming dry.

  4. Mixing the Meat: When combining the meat mixture, avoid overmixing, as this can result in tough meatballs. Use your hands to gently mix the ingredients until they are just combined.

  5. Test Cook: Before forming all the meatballs, it’s a good idea to test cook a small portion to check for proper seasoning and texture. This way, you can adjust the seasoning or add more breadcrumbs if needed.

By following these tips, you can achieve tender, moist, and perfectly textured Swedish meatballs in your crock pot.

Flavor Infusion

The key to achieving authentic Swedish meatball flavor lies in the spices and seasonings used. The combination of flavors should be well-balanced and delicious. Here are some essential ingredients for flavor infusion when making Swedish meatballs in a crock pot:

  1. Allspice: Allspice is a key spice in Swedish meatballs. It has a warm and slightly sweet flavor that adds depth to the dish. Use ground allspice or freshly ground whole allspice berries for an enhanced flavor.

  2. Nutmeg: Another important spice, nutmeg, adds a subtle warmth and sweetness to the meatballs. Use freshly grated nutmeg for the best flavor.

  3. Onion: Finely minced onion adds flavor and moisture to the meatballs. It helps to keep the meatballs juicy and contributes to the overall taste of the dish.

  4. Garlic: Garlic is often used in Swedish meatballs to give them a savory and aromatic flavor. Use fresh garlic cloves and finely mince or grate them for maximum flavor.

  5. Salt and Pepper: Don’t forget to season the meatballs with salt and pepper to enhance the overall taste. Add it to the meat mixture as well as the sauce for a well-balanced flavor.

By incorporating these flavorful ingredients, you can infuse the classic Swedish meatball taste into your crock pot version.


The aroma of Swedish meatballs is an essential component of the overall dining experience. It should create an irresistible aroma that wafts through your kitchen and entices your taste buds. Here are some important factors to consider for achieving a delightful aroma when making Swedish meatballs in your crock pot:

  1. Onions and Garlic: As mentioned earlier, onions and garlic play a crucial role in flavoring the meatballs. When sautéed or cooked, they release fragrant aromas that permeate the entire dish.

  2. Spices: The combination of allspice and nutmeg adds a warm and aromatic element to the meatballs. The spices infuse the meat mixture, releasing their delightful aromas as the meatballs cook.

  3. Sauce Ingredients: The sauce used for cooking the Swedish meatballs also contributes to the overall aroma. The combination of beef broth, cream, and aromatic spices like Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard creates a rich and fragrant sauce that complements the meatballs.

  4. Slow Cooking: The slow cooking method used in a crock pot allows the flavors to meld together and develop a delightful aroma. As the meatballs and sauce simmer gently, the enticing smell of the dish fills your kitchen, creating anticipation for the delicious meal to come.

By paying attention to these factors, you can ensure that the aroma of your crock pot Swedish meatballs is truly enticing and irresistible.

Cooking Techniques

Cooking Swedish meatballs in a crock pot requires a slightly different approach from the traditional stovetop or oven methods. Here are some important cooking techniques to keep in mind:

  1. Brown the Meatballs: To achieve a delicious caramelized exterior on the meatballs, it’s important to quickly brown them before adding them to the crock pot. Do this by heating a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cooking the meatballs until they are nicely browned on all sides. This step adds flavor and helps to hold the shape of the meatballs during the slow cooking process.

  2. Deglaze the Skillet: After browning the meatballs, deglaze the skillet with some broth or water. This step loosens and incorporates any flavorful bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Add this liquid to the crock pot as it will enhance the overall flavor of the dish.

  3. Use Low Heat Setting: Swedish meatballs benefit from the gentle and slow cooking provided by the low heat setting on the crock pot. This allows the flavors to develop fully and the meatballs to become tender. Set your crock pot to low heat to achieve the best results.

  4. Time and Temperature: The cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your specific crock pot. On average, Swedish meatballs cooked in a crock pot should be cooked on low heat for 4-6 hours. However, it’s essential to periodically check the internal temperature of the meatballs to ensure they reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for ground meat.

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By following these cooking techniques, you can ensure that your crock pot Swedish meatballs are perfectly cooked and full of flavor.

Crock Pot Tips For Swedish Meatballs

Here are some additional tips for making Swedish meatballs in a crock pot:

  1. Preheat the crock pot: Preheating the crock pot before adding the meatballs and sauce can help speed up the cooking process. It ensures that the cooking temperature is reached more quickly, reducing the overall cooking time.

  2. Use a digital thermometer: To ensure that the meatballs are fully cooked and safe to eat, use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature. Ground meats should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential bacteria.

  3. Don’t overcrowd the crock pot: Avoid overcrowding the crock pot with too many meatballs. This can lead to uneven cooking and may result in some meatballs not reaching the desired temperature.

  4. Adjust the seasoning: Taste the sauce after it has simmered for a while and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more salt, pepper, or other spices to suit your preferences.

  5. Add fresh herbs: For an extra pop of freshness and flavor, garnish your Swedish meatballs with fresh herbs like parsley or dill before serving. The vibrant color and aroma of the herbs will elevate the dish.

By following these tips, you can make the process of cooking Swedish meatballs in a crock pot easier and more enjoyable.

Creative Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs Recipes

While the classic Swedish meatball recipe is delicious on its own, there are plenty of ways to get creative and add your own twist. Here are a few recipe ideas to inspire you:

  1. Italian-Swedish Fusion: Add a twist to your Swedish meatballs by infusing them with Italian flavors. Instead of the traditional spice blend, use Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve the meatballs over pasta or creamy polenta and top with marinara sauce for a unique fusion dish.

  2. Asian-Inspired: Incorporate Asian flavors into your Swedish meatballs by adding ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the meat mixture. Cook the meatballs in a sauce made from a combination of beef broth, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch for a deliciously tangy and savory twist.

  3. BBQ Meatballs: For those who love smoky and sweet flavors, make BBQ Swedish meatballs by replacing the traditional sauce with your favorite BBQ sauce. Add a touch of liquid smoke for that irresistible smokiness. Serve the meatballs as an appetizer or over mashed potatoes for a hearty meal.

  4. Mushroom Gravy: Elevate your Swedish meatballs by serving them with a creamy mushroom gravy. Sauté mushrooms and onions in butter until they are golden brown, then add them to the crock pot along with the meatballs. Cook in a rich beef broth and cream sauce for a deliciously comforting dish.

Feel free to experiment with different flavors and ingredients to create your own unique version of crock pot Swedish meatballs.


Making Swedish meatballs in a crock pot is a convenient and foolproof way to enjoy this classic dish. By following the tips and techniques mentioned in this article, you can achieve the perfect texture, flavor, and aroma for your Swedish meatballs. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or get creative with different flavor combinations, your crock pot Swedish meatballs are sure to be a hit at your next meal. So fire up your crock pot and get ready to enjoy a comforting and flavorful dish that will transport you to the streets of Stockholm.


What Ingredients Do I Need To Make Swedish Meatballs In A Crock Pot?

To make Swedish meatballs in a crock pot, you will need ground beef, ground pork, diced onion, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, beef broth, cornstarch, and sour cream.

Can I Freeze Swedish Meatballs Made In A Crock Pot?

Yes, you can freeze Swedish meatballs made in a crock pot. Once the meatballs have cooled, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in a saucepan or microwave.

How Long Should I Cook Swedish Meatballs In A Crock Pot?

Cook the Swedish meatballs on high for about 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Can I Substitute Ground Turkey For The Ground Beef In The Swedish Meatballs Crock Pot Recipe?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for the ground beef in the Swedish meatballs crock pot recipe. However, keep in mind that the meatballs may be less flavorful and moist compared to those made with beef.

What Is The Best Way To Serve Swedish Meatballs Made In A Crock Pot?

Swedish meatballs made in a crock pot are traditionally served over a bed of egg noodles or mashed potatoes. You can also serve them with lingonberry sauce or cranberry sauce on the side. Garnish with fresh parsley or chopped chives before serving.