See how to make gluten-free Swedish meatballs in just 30 minutes! These tasty low carb meatballs in gravy are a quick family meal idea. It’s the perfect homemade Keto meatball recipe that tastes just like Ikea Swedish meatballs but without gluten and less carbs.
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Keto Low-Carb Gluten-Free Swedish Meatballs Recipe
The only reason my husband tolerates me dragging him to Ikea on a busy Saturday afternoon to buy things I don’t really need is: Swedish meatballs. While I browse through the aisle, he usually retreats to the cafeteria to order kottbular (seriously, how cute is that name), which are tasty meatballs in gravy.
But since he started the ketogenic diet, he only eats low-carb meatballs. Imagine his disappointment when he found out that Ikea Swedish meatballs are no longer on his menu. He loves his low carb comfort food though – so high time for Ikea copycat Swedish meatballs aka gluten-free meatballs: all of the delicious flavour, none of the carbs.
My gluten-free meatballs are very flavourful but without all of the carbs often found in traditional meatball recipes. And the best part is that these low carb Keto meatballs recipe is ready in 30 minutes. Easy, keto, low carb Swedish meatballs… you and your kids will love this keto ground beef recipe!
What makes a meatball Swedish?
Swedish meatballs are made of ground meat, usually a 50:50 pork and beef ratio, and served in a creamy gravy. Swedish meatballs are often smaller in size than Italian meatballs and use other seasonings. By the way, if you need gluten and dairy-free meatballs, try my Italian slow cooker meatball recipe.
There are probably as many traditional Swedish meatballs as there are Swedish grandmas. While I have Swedish ancestors, I don’t claim this to be an authentic Swedish meatballs recipe. But I do know that these low carb Swedish meatballs are absolutely delicious!
Ingredients for low carb Swedish meatballs recipe
These are basically keto copycat Ikea meatballs and here are the ingredients in these easy gluten-free Swedish meatballs You can find the exact measurements in the recipe box below.
- ground meet – You can use all beef (chuck is best), a mix of beef and pork/turkey/chicken.
- almond flour
- egg – The egg helps to hold the mixture together.
- onion – Finely mince or grate the onion.
- cream cheese – Many traditional Swedish meatball recipes use cream. But since these are flourless meatballs, there is no flour to absorb the liquid, so I use cream cheese. If you need a dairy-free meatballs recipe, simply omit the cream cheese.
- spices and herbs – I seasoned this keto meatball recipe with salt, ground black pepper, a dash of nutmeg and parsley.
- fat for frying – You can use butter, olive oil or canola oil. For the best taste, use a combination of butter and olive oil.
If desired, you can also add 1 minced garlic clove or 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Swedish meatball sauce
The ingredients in Keto Swedish meatball sauce are:
- heavy cream – For a lighter recipe, use cream with less fat.
- unsalted broth – You can use beef, chicken or vegetable broth but make sure it’s unsalted.
- Dijon mustard – Dijon mustard adds depth of flavour and tang that contrasts nicely with the cream.
- salt and pepper
There is an optional ingredient that you can use for how to thicken Swedish meatball sauce: unflavoured gelatin powder. Gelatin is perfectly fine to consume on a keto diet and will help to thicken liquids such as keto gravy.
I didn’t use it in this easy meatball recipe as I liked the consistency, but if you prefer a thicker low carb gluten-free gravy, you have that option.
How to make keto gluten-free Swedish meatballs
It’s finally time to cook low carb and healthy Swedish meatballs! In this healthy meatball recipe, I show how to make meatballs on the stovetop in a pan. But this isn’t the only method for cooking meatballs. You can also bake them in the oven or make slow cooker meatballs. If you want to know how to make meatballs in a crockpot, take a look at this recipe.
Here is the step-by-step for how to make Swedish meatballs:
Make the meatball mixture
- Start by heating 1 tablespoon of each butter and olive oil in a large pan or skillet. Add the minced onion and cook until translucent. Stir constantly. Set aside.
- Crumble the ground meat into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, almond flour, cream cheese, onion from step 1, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Mix with clean hands until combined.
Tip: Just mix until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can make the meatballs tough.
Form keto meatballs recipe
- Use a cookie scoop to portion the meatballs. The cookie coop helps to create evenly-sized meatballs, but you can make the meatballs without it, too.
- Roll each meatball between the palms of your hands until round.
- Repeat until the meatball mixture is used up.
Tips for fluffy meatballs: Don’t press the meatball mixture into the cookie scoop and just lightly roll into a ball. A smaller size is better because the meatballs won’t dry out and cook through quicker.
Cook keto low-carb meatballs
- Heat the rest of the butter and olive oil in the pan on medium-high heat.
- Fry the meatballs in batches until all sides are browned, for 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t crowd the pan and keep the meatballs approximately 1 inch/2.5 cm apart.
- Transfer to a warm plate lined with a paper towel and cover with foil.
How do I know when the meatballs are done?
The meatballs are done when the outside is browned all around, and the inside is cooked through, meaning the meat isn’t pink. If the meatballs are still pink inside, fry for another 1 to 2 minutes
How to make gluten-free low carb Swedish meatballs sauce
Tasty, thick low carb gravy is a must for Swedish meatballs! Thankfully, this Keto gravy recipe is quick and easy, and you can make it in the same pan as the meatballs – that’s one less dish to wash!
Let’s go over the steps for how to make keto gravy for meatballs:
- After the meatballs are done cooking, remove them from the pan and keep warm until serving.
- There should still be oil and meatball drippings in the pan. We need those to cook our gluten-free Swedish meatball sauce.
- Add the broth, heavy cream and Dijon mustard to the pan.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the volume is reduced by half, for about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir constantly and lower the heat if the sauce boils too much.
- You’re done cooking when the sauce looks thick and stays on the back of a spoon.
- Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
How to thicken Keto Swedish meatball sauce
As I mentioned, it’s possible to thicken the meatball gravy. But instead of starch or flour, we use a keto-friendly thickener, namely gelatin. To do this follow these steps:
- Add cold water into a small mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top.
- Set aside to bloom for a few minutes.
- Stir the gelatin into the gravy and whisk until dissolved.
- Take the pan off the heat. The sauce will thicken as the gravy cools.
- If the gravy is too thick simply rewarm and whisk to your desired consistency.
How do you serve gluten-free meatballs with keto gravy?
What do you serve with Swedish meatballs? Once the meatballs and sauce are done, put the meatballs back into the pan and swirl around to cover with sauce. Optionally, sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
Keto side dishes for gluten-free Swedish meatballs are zucchini noodles, cauliflower mash, or cauliflower rice. Low carb meatballs with gravy also taste scrumptious served with roasted veggies.
How to store low carb Swedish meatballs with sauce
You can store gluten-free Swedish meatballs in an airtight food container in the fridge for up two days.
Can you reheat gluten-free meatballs?
Yes, Keto meatballs can be reheated with one of three ways:
- pan: Add the meatballs and sauce to a pan or skillet. Warm over medium heat until hot but avoid cooking on high heat.
- oven: To reheat low-carb meatballs in the oven, place the recipe into an oven-safe dish and warm in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- microwave: You can also warm keto meatballs in the microwave. Simply put the easy Swedish meatballs into a microwave-safe container and warm for 2 to 4 minutes.
Can you freeze keto gluten-free Swedish meatballs with creamy gravy?
My low carb Swedish meatball recipe is very freezer friendly. You can freeze these Keto meatballs with gravy in an airtight, freezer-safe food container for a month. I usually freeze meatballs when I have leftovers or for meal prep.
To serve, let the meatballs defrost in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Then reheat as described above.
Can you make gluten-free Swedish meatballs ahead of time?
Yes, you can make low carb Swedish meatballs ahead of time. Store the Keto meatball recipe refrigerated or frozen and gently re-heat when you’re ready to serve.
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