Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings

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These Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs are perfect for busy weeknights or an elegant holiday dinner! Made with homemade meatballs, beef broth, cream and perfectly seasoned, the slow cooker does all the work!

easy swedish meatballs overhead on grey plate with mashed potatoes and asparagus

November is here and we are officially well into comfort food season (if we weren’t already a month or two ago!).

Meatballs are one of my favorite comfort foods, and I love how many ways there are to do them up! We’ve been loving these Sweet and Sour Crockpot Meatballs and Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs for a long time now.

These Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs are one of my favorite new recipes for a few reasons:

  • The slow cooker makes weeknight dinners manageable during this crazy season! And Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners make clean up pretty much non-existent — done in 8 seconds or less!
  • They’re saucy — like my toddler, I’m all about the sauces, the dips and the garnishes. I like my meat smothered in something creamy and delicious, and this Swedish meatball sauce definitely does the trick!
  • They’ll do double duty: need an easy meal to throw in on a busy night? Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs! Need a potluck offering for a holiday dinner? Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs! Need something elegant to serve guests that won’t make you lose your mind? Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs!
crockpot swedish meatballs overhead with slow cooker liner on white background

So go grab your slow cooker, your Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liner, and let’s get this party started 😉

How to make Swedish Meatballs:

  1. We’re making our meatballs from scratch, but they come together quickly with just a few ingredients. I like to use a combination of lean ground beef and pork (and I do this often when I make burgers as well!), but you can use all beef or even chicken or turkey if you like. When I make meatballs, I love to make a big batch, bake them off, and freeze so they’re ready to just throw in the slow cooker.
  2. Stir together the sauce — and you can do this in about 3 seconds 😉
  3. Throw both together in the slow cooker lined with a Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liner, and let the magic happen — clean your house, put up your feet, or sip a glass of something bubbly before your guests arrive.
  4. Scoop and serve! There’s nothing to do before serving, which makes it easy to get your side dishes in order.
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What’s in Swedish Meatball Sauce?

There are a couple of different ways to make Swedish meatball gravy, and I’m a little opinionated on the matter for one reason: I don’t like sour cream.

It’s a weird preference I have: no sour cream, no mayo, no dressings. But once I figured out how delicious Swedish meatball sauce is made with cream and no sour cream, I feel head over heels in love.

My Swedish meatball sauce is made with beef broth, cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and parsley. It is so easy and so flavorful!

Many people swap the cream for sour cream, and you can absolutely do that if you prefer.

swedish meatballs in gravy on mashed potatoes on grey plate with white background

Can I use frozen meatballs for these Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs?


If you know me, you know I’m all about taking advantage of smart shortcuts when you need them.

You can swap the homemade meatballs for frozen, store bought in these Crockpot Swedish Meatballs and no one will know, which makes this recipe even more weeknight-friendly.

Can I skip the baking and just throw the meatballs right in?

I recently tested this recipe with the raw meatballs added to the slow cooker with the sauce and cooked.

It worked fine, but the meatballs will release more of the meat juices into the sauce as they cook. This can lead to the sauce looking “fatty” or being thinner than expected.

The meatballs themselves were great and the sauce was still delicious.

Can I sear the meatballs on the stove top instead of baking?

You can absolutely sear the meatballs before adding to the slow cooker rather than bake them.

I usually bake my meatballs because, with 3 kids running around, it is easier and requires less of my attention.

To sear, simply heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil.

Add the meatballs in a single layer, leaving a little room in between each. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and brown the other side.

You do not want them to cook completely, as they will finish cooking in the slow cooker. Our goal is just to keep the juices inside the meatballs.

What should I serve with easy Swedish Meatballs?

I like to keep my sides simple as a blank slate to soak up all of that gravy — these Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes are the perfect complement, but plain boiled egg noodles work just as well!

Add something green — a salad, some steamed broccoli, green beans or asparagus — and you’re good to go!

slow cooker swedish meatballs plated with bowl of meatballs and reynolds slow cooker liners

More slow cooker meals you’ll love:

*This post has been generously sponsored by Reynolds Kitchens and I was compensated for my time in creating this recipe. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Recipe Rebel!

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Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

4.71 from 44 votes
These Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs are perfect for busy weeknights! Made with homemade meatballs, beef broth, cream and perfectly seasoned, the slow cooker does all the work!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 55 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 8 servings
Calories 401cal



  • 2 slices soft bread (white or brown)
  • 3 tablespoons milk (or water)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • ½ onion (grated or finely chopped)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

  • 1 ¼ cups low sodium beef broth
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg


Baked Meatballs

  • Tear bread into small pieces and place in a food processor or blender. Process until the bread is in fine crumbs and combine with milk. Stir and let sit for a few minutes (*If you don't have a food processor, you can soak the bread chunks and then mash into fine crumbs)
  • Stir together soaked bread, beef, pork, onion, eggs, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large bowl just until combined — don't overmix.
  • Shape meat into 1-1.5" balls and place 1" apart on baking sheet. (I get about 30-35 1.5" meatballs)
  • Bake at 425 degrees Ffor 10 minutes, or sear in a hot skillet with a drizzle of oil, just until browned on the outside. This keeps the meatballs from falling apart in the slow cooker, and keeps the sauce from getting too fatty!
  • Place in a 3-4 quart slow cooker (*At this point, once cooled, you can freeze up to 3 months for a variety of uses).

Swedish Meatball Sauce

  • Stir together broth, heavy cream, corn starch, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, parsley, salt, thyme, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over meatballs in slow cooker.
  • Cook on low until cooked through and sauce has thickened — about 3-4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.
  • Serve with sauce over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.


Ingredients and Substitutions:
  • Fresh bread crumbs: you can substitute for ½ cup dried bread crumbs if need be. Increase the milk to ¼ cup. 
  • Ground beef and pork: you can use lean ground meat for less fatty meatballs, or go higher fat for more flavor (keep in mind this will make your sauce more fatty as well).
  • Cream: for a lighter sauce, swap the heavy cream for evaporated milk.
Can I add the meatballs to the slow cooker without browning?
You can, but I prefer not to because the sauce becomes very fatty as the meat releases its juices, and you risk the meatballs falling apart as they cook.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 142grams | Calories: 401cal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 482mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 304IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords crockpot swedish meatballs, slow cooker swedish meatballs

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Paul says

    What would you recommend for making this a day in advance? Cool the meatballs after baking and store in fridge, then cook in the crockpot with the sauce the next day?

  2. Catherine says

    Cream is way too unhealthy. I substituted half-fat creme fraiche (or you could substitute with low-fat Greek yogurt). Add nearer the end so that it doesn’t separate. Great recipe, especially as I froze the excess, so I’ve got some tasty basic meatballs for a quick meal or to add to left over sauces.

  3. Danielle says

    Hello, looks great! How many meatballs does this make? Can you double the recipe in a 7 qt. slow cooker for a large gathering?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Danielle! I get about 35 1.5″ meatballs. You probably could if using a larger slow cooker. Enjoy!

  4. Jamie says

    This recipe was outstanding!!! I used frozen meatballs in my crockpot. Ended up using a cornstarch slurry to get to the desired thickness. My son and I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Robyn says

    I’m sorry, we really didn’t like this. I needed a lot of doctoring and I think the thyme didn’t pair well with this recipe. I had a hard time thicken it even after adding a slurry. I ended up thickening it with potato flakes. I’m sorry, I really wanted to like this recipe but look forward to trying your other ones!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the recipe, Robyn. We all have different taste, so I understand that it can be a hit for some and not others. It’s hard to know what went wrong without being in the kitchen with you. Myself and others have enjoyed it, so it wished it would of been a hit!

  6. Emily Nardozzi says

    Mine didn’t seem to thicken up! I’m not sure what went wrong. I used half and half and corn starch and cooked on low for 4 hours at this point…

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Emily! I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with this recipe. It’s hard to know what went wrong without being in the kitchen with you. Myself and others have enjoyed it, so it wished it would of been a hit!

  7. Tiffany Leonard says

    Very good meal. Cooking is easy & very affordable. We cooked our on high for 2 hours & it turned out great. Most ingredients we already had on hand. Will definitely be making again. Highly recommend.

  8. Sharon says

    This is a staple in our house. When I first made the recipe we all felt that their wasn’t enough sauce. So, I have been doubling the recipe and now there is plenty!

  9. Steph says

    Any tips on converting to instapot? I work all day and can’t do slow cooker meals that have shorter cook times
    But this looks so good I want to try

  10. James Grossman says

    I came across your recipe, and I was absolutely thrilled as I’m a huge Swedish meatball fan! Today I made up the meatballs with a mix of ground Chuck and turkey, and am storing in the fridge for a day. I’ll have more time tomorrow to complete the project. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Erika Martinez says

    This one is a keeper. I used frozen chicken meatballs and doubled the sauce, cooking it over low heat on the stove top. My son said he wants this for dinner every Friday night.

  12. Erika Close says

    The sauce was so good! I decided to save some time and used frozen meatballs (2 lbs.). I found that there wasn’t nearly enough sauce, so I tripled the ingredients to have more. Probably will quadruple it next time, so the ratio of meatballs to sauce is even better when served over egg noodles. 🙂 Used onion powder instead of onion, and heavy cream instead of half and half. Thank you for sharing! Will definitely make it again!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I’m sorry to hear that Lisa! Lower temperatures are better for dairy, so if your slow cooker is quite hot I would be sure to always cook it on low. I would also be sure your dairy is fresh.

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