swedish meatball sides

13 Classic Swedish Meatball Sides

Appearance-wise, Swedish meatballs hardly differ from others. They are plain, spherical, and brown, albeit tasty, but these meaty treats stand out for their fragrant and nutty spices. Moreover, they only get better once the creamy sauce is poured, which is worlds away from the usual tomato-based sauces.

Swedish meatballs and their sauce are usually served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, and pressed cucumber. This article will provide some excellent Swedish meatball sides, and some close and equally tasty alternatives. This way, you can preserve as much of the experience as possible.

1. Perfect White Rice

If you want to keep your meal simple, eat Swedish meatballs with perfectly-cooked white rice. The light and fluffy grains deeply absorb the rich, creamy sauce, so the flavors are well-dispersed in every bite. Rice takes less than 30 minutes to cook and hardly needs anything besides water and a little bit of salt. Serve it warm!

2. Buttered Egg Noodles

Buttered egg noodles are a more traditional partner to Swedish meatballs than rice. However, both are great for sopping up the gravy. Ingredients for this recipe are also minimal – just some egg noodles, butter, salt, and pepper. If you don’t have egg noodles, you can use any pasta, like pappardelle. Serve the Swedish meatballs and sauce on top so the flavors drip and spread readily into the noodles or pasta.

3. The Best Dinner Rolls

Bread is another carb-heavy option that absorbs the Swedish meatballs’ creamy sauce. You can use many kinds of bread, like artisan or even sandwich slices, but if you want something homey, simple, and easy, make dinner rolls. They’re impeccably fluffy and have the most beautiful golden brown shade. The subtly sweet and buttery taste also complements the meatballs.

4. Mashed Potatoes

Among all the carb-based side dishes, mashed potatoes are the most classic with Swedish meatballs. Amazingly creamy, smooth, buttery mashed potatoes are perfect with nearly everything. But achieving such great qualities isn’t as complicated as it seems; indeed, with this recipe, it takes only 20 minutes! You’ll only need potatoes, garlic, butter, cream or milk, salt, and pepper.

5. Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

If you find mashed potatoes too dense for you, that’s understandable – the combination of starch and butter is too heavy for many people. But here’s a healthier, lighter alternative: creamy mashed cauliflower. It tastes good, maybe even better than mashed potatoes, and has fewer carbs! But here’s a disclosure: this particular recipe still has butter, along with garlic, parmesan, kosher salt, and pepper.

6. Lingonberry Jam

Lingonberry jam is one of the most interesting yet traditional pairings to Swedish meatballs. Lingonberries are tart, red-colored fruits usually found in Nordic countries like Sweden and Finland. They’re picked and made into jam by combining fresh berries with water and white sugar, and it takes only 25 minutes to prepare and bottle. Besides meatballs, they’re also good with fried herring, elk, and reindeer steaks.

7. Fresh Cranberry Sauce

If you can’t find lingonberries, cranberries are a close alternative. You can use them to make this bright red, fresh cranberry sauce, which also features sweet and tart flavors, like lingonberry jam. To make this sauce, you’ll need 15 minutes, a pan, and these ingredients: water, fresh orange juice, sugar, cranberries, orange zest, and salt. Orange provides a distinct tang in this condiment.

8. Red Currant Jelly

Red currant jelly is also a recommended alternative to lingonberry jam. It is especially perfect for the summer because of its bright, refreshing, and sweet flavors. This jelly is often served with savory meats, like meatballs, and requires only two ingredients: red currants and sugar. You can use the extra jelly to fill scones, enjoy with turkey, and consume in many other ways besides eating Swedish meatballs.

9. Raspberry Jam

Another bright red alternative to lingonberry jam is this raspberry jam, which is as sweet as the original and has a heavenly aroma. It’s easy to make, especially as this recipe doesn’t call for pectin – only raspberries, lemon juice, and white sugar. Keep in sterilized jars, and you can get some for your Swedish meatballs, toast, scones, cakes, and other treats.

10. Homemade Applesauce

If you’re not particular about color, you can use apples to make an alternative side sauce for your meatballs. They’re much easier to find than the other berries. Homemade applesauce is also sweet, although the specific taste profile depends on what kind of apples you use. Besides the fruits, you’ll need water, sugar, and cinnamon, which provides a unique taste and an amazingly fragrant aroma.

11. Apple Compote

The flavors and aromas of apple compote are similar to applesauce, as you’ll also use brown sugar and cinnamon. However, this recipe has lemon and nutmeg, so you’ll encounter a subtle tang and nuttiness in the mixture. The most significant difference between apple compote and sauce is that compote is chunkier and less moist than applesauce because the apples aren’t pureed or mashed.

12. Pressgurka (Swedish Pressed Cucumber Salad)

A lesser-known yet traditional pairing to Swedish meatballs is cucumber salad, specifically pressgurka. This side dish brings bright acidic flavors to the meal, as the cucumber slices are pickled with water, vinegar, and sugar. It’s also called pressed cucumbers because they are pressed or squeezed to remove moisture before pickling, so they feel and taste much crisper.

13. Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad is much like pressgurka, using thinly-sliced cucumbers, sugar, kosher salt, and vinegar. However, this recipe is much quicker as you don’t have to squeeze the cucumber slices. Instead, you combine everything in a bowl and refrigerate for a bit. This salad also has red onions and uses red wine vinegar.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.