Kid-friendly and crave-worthy, Swedish Meatball Soup combines the classic flavors of Swedish meatballs and their signature rich and creamy gravy into a one-pot recipe bursting with flavor. This easy soup recipe is a whole meal, packed with protein and vegetables and ready in under an hour – the perfect cozy comfort food.
Whether you have kids, or you’re craving a nostalgic feel-good meal that reminds you of your own childhood, mini meatballs are the way to go. I mean, was there ANY kid out there who didn’t prefer Spaghettios with meatballs to without?
Bite-sized Swedish meatballs swimming in a just-creamy-enough broth with tender egg noodles is an entire mood. It’s the foodie version of Throwback Thursdays, and we’re not only here for it, we kinda live for it. Just like our creamy chicken meatball soup, it’s chock full of healthy protein and veggies, so it’s comfort food that won’t make you uncomfortable.
What are Swedish Meatballs?
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of Swedish meatballs, I really want to suggest you give them a whirl before settling on more familiar flavors. Swedish meatballs are made with lean ground beef (and sometimes beef and pork) seasoned with both warming spices (nutmeg and allspice) and savory spices (onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley).
They’re traditionally smothered in a creamy pan gravy flavored with Worcestershire sauce and dijon mustard. The unique sweet and savory blend of spices and seasonings is terrific gateway blend for more skeptical palates, while hitting all the right grown-up comfort food notes for adults.
Why This Recipe Works (AKA, Why My Kids LOVE IT!)
- Mini meatballs stay moist and tender – plus they’re bite sized! Perfect for little mouths.
- By using garlic and onion powder in place of minced onion and garlic, I can easily avoid the dreaded “but there’s something IN THERE MOM!” These mini meatballs are still perfectly seasoned for an adult palette, with a texture to please even the pickiest kiddos. Win/win.
- I don’t know about your family (unless you tell me in the comments), but my kids will eat vegetables in a soup nine times out of ten over vegetables on a plate. Kid logic!
- There’s just enough cream to make the broth rich, but not so much that it competes with the rest of the ingredients and weighs down the broth.
How to Make Swedish Meatball Soup
This kid friendly soup combines the classic flavor of Swedish meatballs and their signature creamy gravy into a tidy, nutrient-packed one-pot recipe. Mini Swedish meatballs are browned for flavor, then simmered in a creamy broth with tender vegetables and fluffy egg noodles.
- Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix with your (clean) hands until the ingredients are well-combined.
- Form into 1” meatballs; we like to use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop for consistent, easy portions.
- Arrange the meatballs on parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.
- While the meatballs bake, start the soup base. Saute onions, carrots, and celery in butter until tender.
- Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, then toss and saute for 2 minutes to work into the vegetables and cook off the flour flavor.
- Pour ½ cup of broth into pot and gently stir into the flour and vegetable mixtures; the broth and flour will seize up (thicken significantly), forming a thick, paste-like consistency.
- Pour in the remaining broth, water, and heavy cream, then season the broth with Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Give everything a good stir, then bring the liquid to a simmer and add the egg noodles.
- Simmer until noodles are tender and the broth thickens. Add meatballs to the pot and simmer 2-3 minutes more, or until warmed through.
- Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with fresh parsley for a bright finish. Enjoy!
- Mini meatballs aren’t just cute – they’re easy to load onto a spoon, too! Keep the meatballs on the smaller side, about 1 tablespoon portions, or half an ounce.
- Cook the mirepoix/flour mixture for a full 2 minutes to work off the flour flavor.
- Be sure to brown the meatballs, but don’t cook them all the way through or they’ll dry out (remember, they’re tiny!).
- Finish cooking the meatballs in the simmering broth – 2-3 minutes should get the job done.
- Garnish baby! For a more traditional garnish, add a dollop each of sour cream and lingonberry jam. This really elevates the sweet-and-savory notes found throughout the meatballs and broth.
Can I Use Frozen Meatballs?
Yes, but with caveats. Be sure to purchase and use frozen SWEDISH meatballs, not just any ol’ ball o’ meat.
Swedish meatballs have a distinct flavor from the addition of warming spices, and those spices are what make this soup really unique and tasty. (Also be aware – a lot of Swedish meatball recipes use both ground beef and ground pork, so be mindful of your own dietary restrictions.)
Storing and Reheating Swedish Meatball Soup
You can store this creamy meatball soup in the fridge for up to 5 days, but be mindful that the noodles will absorb quite a bit of broth over time and will swell. We don’t necessarily mind the swelling, but if you’re meal prepping and want to maintain the right consistency, try this instead:
- Cook the noodles according to package directions in a separate pot.
- Drain, then toss the noodles with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil or melted butter to prevent them from sticking when they cool. Store the noodles in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Prepare the soup based as directed, but reduce the broth by 1 cup. (The noodles absorb some of the broth while they simmer, so you want to reduce the amount of liquid to avoid an overly thin soup.) Store the meatball soup in a sealed container in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to serve, add the cooked noodles to your bowl of soup, then heat.
For freezing, again prepare the soup without the noodles; freeze the soup base in an air tight container for up to 3 months. Defrost, then added cooked noodles to the defrosted soup base.
Reheat the soup and noodles together in the microwave in 30 second intervals, or on a pot on the stove over medium heat until the broth starts to simmer.
Did you make this Swedish meatball soup? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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For the Meatballs
For the Soup
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 4 c beef broth
- 2 c water
- ½ c heavy cream
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 8 oz egg noodles
- sour cream, to taste
- lingonberry jam, to taste
- Heat the oven to 400°F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl – ground beef, panko bread crumbs, dried parsley, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, pepper, egg, and egg yolk. Mix gently using your (clean) hands until the ingredients are evenly distributed, but be careful not to overmix.
- Form one-tablespoon portions of the mixture into mini meatballs, then arrange in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. You should be able to form approximately 30 meatballs. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until a solid crust has formed and the meatballs are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, prepare the soup base. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and toss to coat in the fat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, to work off the flour flavor.
- Pour in half cup of broth and work into the vegetable and flour mixture; continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and thickens significantly. Then, pour in the remaining broth and the water, then stir until the flour is completely absorbed and the mixture is smooth. Add the the heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, dijon, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Give everything a good stir, then add bring the liquid to a simmer.
- Once simmering, add the egg noodles. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions, less 2 minutes (they will finish cooking in the next step).
- Add the meatballs and 2-3 minutes more. At this stage, the egg noodles will be fully cooked, the meatballs will be warmed through, and the broth will be slightly thick. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley, sour cream, and/or lingonberry jam to taste. Enjoy!
- Make the meatballs small so they’re easy to eat – about 1 tablespoon portions, or half an ounce.
- Wait to season with salt until the end, as the broth, meatballs, and Worcestire shire will add plenty of salt.