Gluten-free Swedish Meatballs

Ricotta takes the place of breadcrumbs in these gluten-free Swedish meatballs and they’re just as delicious as the more traditional kind!

Gluten-free Swedish Meatballs - just as delicious as the more traditional, breadcrumb filled version! |

I was in Sweden for a long weekend and I returned last night. I love everything about that place, but most of all – the people and the culture. I have an extremely soft spot in my heart for Sweden and Swedes and if I could live anywhere I wanted, I’d live in a small Swedish village in a cute red house overlooking a lake. But alas – there are high taxes to pay, jobs to be had, etc. But I have hope for the future. :)

I love Sweden so much that I chose to be an exchange student there in both high school and college. The first time, I was 16 and lived with a crazy family who happened to be vegetarian. It wasn’t a happy situation food-wise. When I knew they’d be gone, I’d go and buy a bag of frozen meatballs, prepare them really quickly and run away to my room and just devour them. It was great fun.

Then the second time I was in Sweden (which is where I met Mr. T, by the way) I decided I didn’t like Swedish meatballs and didn’t eat any of them. I’m weird like that. At least with food. Only recently was my passion for Swedish meatballs reignited and luckily, I no longer have to hide my meat eating.

Gluten-free Swedish Meatballs - just as delicious as a regular version with breadcrumbs! |

These are super easy to make and relatively quick, too. Just mix everything together, bake the meatballs in the oven, and then pan fry a little so that they’re nice and crunchy. If you want, you can just bake them, but they won’t have that crust which I think is totally necessary for Swedish meatballs. Or you can just fry them in the pan without baking them first, but this will take a long time and you’ll need to stand over the meatballs to turn them every so often. The meatballs are spiced with both allspice and nutmeg so that they actually taste like something, which is something I’ve missed in other recipes.

This recipe was born out of a need to get rid of some ricotta. And it worked! The ricotta took the place of breadcrumbs and they unintentionally became gluten-free.

Another bonus with these meatballs – they’re not made from horsemeat! Yeah! :D

I know that Swedish meatball recipes usually have gravy recipes included, but I have never seen sauce served with meatballs in Sweden. It could just be who I’m hanging around with or have lived with, but I’ve always been served meatballs alongside mashed potatoes or buttered macaroni.

And not only that, but I don’t like sauce and therefore can’t judge what’s good. ;) So here you are – just the meatballs!

Prefer to use ground turkey? Try these gluten-free meatballs. And for dairy-free Italian meatballs, try these Gluten-free Dairy-free Meatballs!

Gluten-free Swedish Meatballs

Rated 5.0 by 1 reader
Gluten-free Swedish Meatballs
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup (1.2dl) onion, minced
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is gluten-free!)
  • 1 pound (455 grams) ground pork and beef mix (mine was about 60% pork and 40% beef)
  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) Ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Get out a 9" x 13" baking dish or another pan large enough for the meatballs.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the first seven ingredients (onion through Worcestershire sauce). Then add in the meat and mix together, just until combined. Add in the Ricotta. You can add more or less if you like.
  3. Form into tablespoon sized balls, place in the baking dish, and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. The last two minutes of baking, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Then fry the meatballs in the butter until nicely browned, about 5 - 10 minutes, and serve.

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77 comments on “Gluten-free Swedish Meatballs” — Add one!

  • Alex says
    September 27, 2018 @ 9:26 am

    This recipe was AMAZING. I just recently found out I am Coeliac and these meatballs are incredible! Had them with veges and scalloped potatoes and impressed my new boyfriend. Will definitely be making these again and again!

    • Erin replies to Alex
      October 2, 2018 @ 8:06 pm

      With scalloped potatoes! Yum. :) I’m so happy that you enjoyed them! Thanks a bunch for your feedback.

  • Mrs. P says
    December 16, 2017 @ 1:48 pm

    Tried these last night and we all found them to be rather bland. They went together easy, but we were disappointed.

    • Erin replies to Mrs. P
      December 16, 2017 @ 7:06 pm

      Sorry that you were disappointed!

  • Theresa says
    October 31, 2017 @ 2:35 am

    I just made these for a pot luck lunch in the office tomorrow and they turned out amazing!!! The ricotta gives the meatball an extra lightness, and the prep time and instructions are perfect. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m sure they will be a big hit tomorrow!

    • Erin replies to Theresa
      October 31, 2017 @ 2:33 pm

      I’m so happy that you enjoyed them! Thanks a bunch for your comment and I hope that the others will like them just as much. :)

  • Connie
    January 5, 2015 @ 3:18 am

    I think i’m one of the few people that actually made these, lol! Well they turned out amazing! Love the idea of no bread crumbs but they were a little harder to roll into balls being they were so sticky. I added about 1/4 cup flax seed and about 1/4 cup rolled oats (oatmeal) to help the consistency. More flax seed could be used in place of the oatmeal to keep it lower carb. Great flavor and thanks so much for the recipe!!!

    • Erin replies to Connie
      January 5, 2015 @ 9:36 pm

      Haha. You’re right. I’m so happy that someone finally made these and that you liked them! Flax seed sounds like a great, healthy addition. I’ll have to try that! Thanks so much for your feedback. :)

  • Katarina Johansson says
    November 9, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

    I am swedish…and I rarely eat meatballs! :P I think gravy/brown sauce is most common when you eat the meatballs along with boiled potatoes. Never had meatballs with Worcestershire sauce either…but I guess one can put in whatvere one fancy in meatballs anwyay! :) Oh, one more thing! If served with boiled potatoes and gravy we also use Lingonberry jam along with it! ;)

    • Erin replies to Katarina Johansson
      November 9, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

      Mmm! Jag saknar Sverige :) How could I have forgotten the lingonberry sauce?! And yeah, I know this isn’t the most authentic recipe but it tastes just like I remember! :D

  • Signa says
    November 9, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

    This is awesome! I’m of Swedish decent, and we had Swedish Meatballs at every special occasion growing up. But now that I’m gluten-free, I forgo the pleasure. I’ll be giving this recipe a try TONIGHT! :)

    • Erin replies to Signa
      November 9, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

      That’s awesome! So happy that you’ll be able to enjoy Swedish meatballs again. I hope you’ll like them! :)

  • Heather says
    June 8, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

    Looks great to try–never thought of ricotta instead of bread crumbs. Haven’t found GF worcestershire sauce–we use A-1 Steak Sauce as a substitute. It has a similar flavor, but GF.

  • NURUNNAHAR amily says
    April 2, 2013 @ 6:25 am

    I LOVE IT.Thanks for your post.I will review it again.Recipes

  • Cake Duchess says
    April 2, 2013 @ 4:27 am

    One day I will visit Sweden. How cool that you got to live there. Did you learn the language? LOVE these fabulous meatballs and of course, the ricotta makes me want them more!

  • Anonymous says
    March 29, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

    Be careful with your brands of worcestershire sauce… some of the cheaper brands will contain wheat flour. The one I bought recently without checking the label first did, anyway. Had to get rid of it :(

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
    March 27, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    I love meatballs, I will be making these for sure!

  • amy @ fearless homemaker says
    March 25, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

    I looooove meatballs in all forms, and yours look fantastic. I'm impressed at what a pretty pic you got of them, too – meatballs aren't easy to photograph! =) Yum!

    • Erin replies to amy @ fearless homemaker
      March 26, 2013 @ 10:44 am

      Oh wow, thank you for the compliment! I have to admit that I was laughing like a maniac when I got those pictures. "HAHAHA! I did it! Meat is so ugly!" Normally I look at my pictures and want to cry a little. Not here. :) So yay!

  • says
    March 25, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    Wow never heard of ricotta, all spice and nutmeg on meatballs? They must have tasted awesome!! I know my kids and husband would love these. Keeping the recipe :-)

  • says
    March 25, 2013 @ 6:49 am

    Love Swedish meatballs but I've never seen them without gravy or sauce, and that is interesting that you haven't seen them in Sweden with the sauce, maybe just an American thing. I like the idea of using your ricotta cheese in them, I'm sure they were extra good and moist. Too funny that you had to make meat while your host family was gone.

    • Erin replies to
      March 26, 2013 @ 10:42 am

      I had such a lack of energy without my meat! It had to be done. ;) A Swedish girl posted a comment here saying that sauce with meatballs does exist in Sweden, it just depends what you serve it with. So it turns out it's not an American thing!

  • Lemons and Anchovies says
    March 25, 2013 @ 2:18 am

    I've yet to visit Sweden but I love Swedish meatballs! Great use of ricotta here. :)

  • Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } says
    March 25, 2013 @ 12:13 am

    These look and sound divine! I am half sweedish and it is on my bucket list to visit there. Sounds like you had a grand time there. Lovely photos!

    • Erin replies to Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet }
      March 26, 2013 @ 10:36 am

      Thanks! And you have to visit. Go see your relatives (if you have any over there!) and let them show you Sweden. It's a great place. :)

  • The Café Sucré Farine says
    March 24, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

    These look and sound delicious! I spent a summer working in Sweden years ago and these bring back wonderful memories!

    • Erin replies to The Café Sucré Farine
      March 26, 2013 @ 10:36 am

      Oh really?! That sounds fun. I hope you write about it some time on your blog. I'd love to hear about it. :)

  • DessertForTwo says
    March 22, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    Hehe! I loved your story about hiding while eating meatballs! I felt like doing the same thing when I lived in Cali and had a strict vegetarian roommate.
    Love stories about your life :)

    • Erin replies to DessertForTwo
      March 22, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

      Which is so silly! It's like not I told them that they had to eat their vegetable eating from me. ;) And thanks, I'm sometimes worried about writing about my life because who would be interested? So at least there's one person – yay! :D

  • Patty says
    March 22, 2013 @ 2:27 am

    I would love to visit Sweden one day and for sure I would try the meatballs!!!
    Being a huge meatball fan I have to say these look delish and gluten free -all the better;-)

    • Erin replies to Patty
      March 22, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

      Thank you! And hehe, yes, go to Sweden and eat meatballs. Sounds like an awesome plan! :)

  • Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch says
    March 22, 2013 @ 12:32 am

    These look amazing and I love the addition of the ricotta to the meatballs! Mmmm…

  • Anna {Hidden Ponies} says
    March 21, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

    Horsemeat!! These look great, I always associate Swedish meatballs with Ikea since that's the only place I've seen them :)

    • Erin replies to Anna {Hidden Ponies}
      March 22, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

      Really?! They don't come in a bag at all grocery stores? Oy. At least I have a recipe for when I return to the US. :)

  • Jenny says
    March 21, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

    They look so yummy, thank you or the recipe! I had no idea about the horsemeat thing….

    • Erin replies to Jenny
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

      You're welcome, Jenny. :) And yeah, people in the US love to say, "In Europe they don't…!" with regards to food stuff. But then we have stuff like this. And it happens quite often.

    • Jenny replies to Jenny
      March 22, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

      I so believe that. I come from Europe and I've heard stuff like that many times unfortunately…
      By the way thank you for stopping by!!!

    • Erin replies to Jenny
      March 22, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

      And thanks to you for stopping by. :) And yes! It's like we can't get organic eggs for a few months, then no cucumber or tomatoes during the summer, then no chicken, no pork, then oh hey, you can't eat eggs again, etc. Crazy!

  • Loretta E. says
    March 21, 2013 @ 4:51 am

    I feel like you have lived and live such an exotic, exciting life compared to me! I'm totally jealous of your traveling to Sweden and I too want to live on a lake. I do know a few people in Sweden, so maybe someday I'll get the chance to visit them!

    Genius to use ricotta instead of breadcrumbs…

    • Erin replies to Loretta E.
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

      Hahaha. No. No no no. I currently live in a place I really dislike and have lived here for almost four years so really, it's nothing to be jealous about! But Sweden… Sweden was great, is great, and will always be my favorite place. I hope you get a chance to visit your Swedish friends! I'm sure they'd show you a great time. :)

  • Carla Walker says
    March 20, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

    That's really cool that you met Mr T in Sweden! So fun :) Haha, and you and your food aversions make me laugh :D But I love it. These look awesome! I think I am going to make meatballs for dinner tonight now! I love that these are gluten free too. Definitely pinning for my GF friends :D

    • Erin replies to Carla Walker
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

      But these are yummy for non gluten-free people, too! The breadcrumbs don't add much, I think. But maybe that's just me. ;) And thanks for pinning!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog says
    March 20, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    I love the unintentional use of ricotta. Happy accidents are the best. These balls look delicious. Funny thing, I was just thinking about a trip to Sweden, and now I know who to contact for said trip.

    • Erin replies to Jennie @themessybakerblog
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

      Really?! Where to? And when? Summer is best! And I hope you have the chance to get together with some Swedes. It just wouldn't be the same without some mixing with the locals. :)

  • Monet says
    March 20, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

    Easy and delicious. These couldn't look better! And I love that they're gluten free. I have several friends who can no longer eat gluten. I'll be saving and sharing this recipe for sure!

    • Erin replies to Monet
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

      Thank you! I'm happy that you'll share this recipe with your gluten-free eating friends. :) I hope that they'll like them!

  • Ali | Gimme Some Oven says
    March 20, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

    I didn't know you two met in Sweden! So fun! I have always wanted to visit. :)

    These Swedish meatballs sound wonderful!

    • Erin replies to Ali | Gimme Some Oven
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

      Thanks, Ali! And yup… in Sweden. Fun times! I'm surprised that this blog hasn't turned into a Sweden love fest. I'm trying to resist. ;)

  • Sara says
    March 20, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

    We usually serve some kind of sauce to meatballs aye, but as you mentioned it slightly depends on what you chose to serve 'em with! I for one grew up with them being served with potatoes (boiled, fried etc), a sauce (literally called "cream sauce" in swedish, not quite sure what the english name for it is!) and lingonberries to it. Pure and utter love! Should try it out if you get a chance!

    /Random gal from Sweden

    • Erin replies to Sara
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

      Hi random Swedish girl! You mean gräddsås? I've never actually tried it or even had the opportunity to try it. I guess I'll have to try it myself! And oh hey, this weekend, I tried the supposedly classic kålpudding. That was… interesting. ;) Thanks for your Swedish input! I appreciate it.

    • Sara replies to Sara
      March 24, 2013 @ 7:36 am

      Indeed I do! It's quite easy to make so shouldn't be too much of a hassle :)
      Not too fond of kålpudding myself to be quite honest! Do try raggmunkar though, lovely together with fried pork and lingonberries (oh we do love our lingon!)

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
    March 20, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

    LOL not made of horsemeat… well that's great. Is it weird that I totally love making meatballs?

    • Erin replies to Rachel @ Baked by Rachel
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

      It's really impressive, right? I knew these non-horsemeat meatballs would take the world by storm. ;) And nothing weird about loving to make meatballs. You get such a nice product in the end so it totally makes sense!

  • sandydandy says
    March 20, 2013 @ 10:04 am

    LOL @ the horsemeat part! Btw, love all your healthy recipes. *thumbs up*

    • Erin replies to sandydandy
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

      Thank you, Sandy! :) And yes, non-horsemeat meatballs is very important. :D

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today says
    March 20, 2013 @ 6:12 am

    i like swedish meatballs as it reminds me of a polish mielone. I made it twice last week. Addition of ricotta surprises me but also makes me very curious :) I',, be back in Berlin in 2 weeks, hope to meet for gossips and some cooking soon :) Regards to Mr T.

    • Erin replies to Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

      Oh, already! YAY! I thought for some reason that you would be gone for three months so I guess I was confused. I'm happy about your return. We can definitely cook and gossip and stuff!

  • Rose says
    March 20, 2013 @ 3:42 am

    I haven't had meatballs since I left Germany!! These look delicious. I want to dab them in some mustard mmm :) Ricotta is a nice touch! I'm sure they make amazing leftovers, too!

    • Erin replies to Rose
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

      What?! When did you leave? You need meatballs in your life again! Unless you're vegan. I'm kind of confused about that. I think I need to reread your about page. ;)

  • Becca says
    March 20, 2013 @ 1:36 am

    I know a girl who is in the Up With People program and she's in Sweden right now. I usually see sauce with Swedish meatballs, which in my opinion looks a little slimy. I like how these don't have sauce with them. They look good!

    • Erin replies to Becca
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

      Yeah, sauce is gross! Bla. And I just googled the Up With People thing. Sounds fun! Are you going to do a year abroad? You really should. It's so fun! :)

  • Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations says
    March 20, 2013 @ 1:06 am

    I had to think the other day how you and your husband would have met. I guessed either in Texas or Germany (haha). But Sweden of all places, thats so cool. Horse meat free sounds awesome ;)

    • Erin replies to Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

      That would have been logical, wouldn't it? :) But no – I was in hunt of a Swedish boyfriend in Sweden and then this lovely German entered my life. ;)

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
    March 20, 2013 @ 12:20 am

    Love the ricotta here and the wonderful spices you added. I agree, the crust is a must!

  • Tracey Wilhelmsen says
    March 19, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

    These look amazing! My husband has been begging me to find a good Swedish meatball recipe for so long, can't wait to try yours :)

    • Erin replies to Tracey Wilhelmsen
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

      I hope you'll enjoy them, Tracey! :) Let me know how they turn out!

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day says
    March 19, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

    Pretty sure I could eat my weight in these. Love the flavors!

  • london bakes says
    March 19, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

    Love that these are gluten free – really like the idea of using ricotta in place of the breadcrumbs.

    • Erin replies to london bakes
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

      Thanks! I'm shocked it worked. Happy, but shocked!

  • Jen @ Jens Favorite Cookies says
    March 19, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

    I was scrolling through the page, and the first line I actually read was, "they're not made from horesemeat!" Should have started at the top, I guess! ;) I love Swedish meatballs, but I'm usually too lazy to make my own. These look lovely!

    • Erin replies to Jen @ Jens Favorite Cookies
      March 21, 2013 @ 7:28 pm

      Hahaha. Glad I got your attention. :) And what?! They're not that difficult! But you're right, the frozen kind are so easy… it's hard to resist. But quite easy when you live over here with the horsemeat meatballs. ;)


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