When you’re in need of a classic party appetizer, you can’t go wrong with bite-sized, full-flavored meatballs braised in a savory, silky sauce. This is the kind of delicious that never goes out of style — decade after decade, it’s been Crockpot Swedish Meatballs for the win.
This rendition is made extra delicious thanks to a homemade approach that nixes the ultra-processed, condensed soups, yet still keeps the “easy” intact. You’ll find both the flavor and the texture of this made-from-scratch rendition is far superior to the processed route.
THE BEST SLOW COOKER SWEDISH MEATBALLS
When it comes to the meatballs for your Crockpot Swedish Meatballs, you have options. You can either use store-bought, pre-cooked frozen meatballs or you can make your own! Of course, we highly recommend you make your own.
After all, Swedish Meatballs aren’t just any meatballs. They come equipped with warming speckles of flavor thanks to allspice and nutmeg. Not to mention, these meatballs are extra tender, juicy perfection!
It may sound like an oxymoron, but while these meatballs come together entirely from scratch, we’re taking the easy way out, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how easy they come together. Instead of spending time, rolling and browning each and every meatball in a hot skillet of grease, they’ll be doing their browning simultaneously in the oven.
Another bonus? Because the meatballs bake in the oven, the extra fat renders off onto the sheet pan, and not into the crockpot; meaning no more greasy Swedish Meatball Sauce!
CAN I MAKE THIS WITH FROZEN MEATBALLS?
If you don’t have time to make meatballs from scratch, feel free to sub in frozen meatballs! You’ll need 1 (2-pound) bag of frozen meatballs. Then, make the sauce as directed.
Combine both the meatballs and the sauce in the crockpot and cook for 4-5 hours on low or 2 1/2 to 3 hours on high.
TRADITIONAL SWEDISH MEATBALL SAUCE
The sauce for Crockpot Swedish Meatballs comes together very similar to making a White Gravy. However, this sauce is far more savory.
Just like the meatballs, the sauce contains the signature ingredients nutmeg and allspice.
While the meatballs are baking, you can knock out the sauce entirely on the stovetop. The primary reason for making the sauce on the stovetop rather than in the crockpot is so we can nix the overly processed ingredients like condensed soup, and still ensure a perfectly creamy, velvety sauce.
Beginning the sauce with a flour-and-butter roux ensures the perfect consistency even throughout its duration in the crockpot.
HOW TO MAKE CROCKPOT SWEDISH MEATBALLS
Below you’ll find a quick overview of just how easy it is to make Swedish Meatballs in the crockpot entirely from scratch! Then, down further below, we’ll get into the details, answering any questions you may have!
- Make the Meat Mixture
- Roll the Meatballs
- Bake the Meatballs
- Make the Sauce
- Add To the Crockpot
1. MAKE THE MEAT MIXTURE
To make the meatballs you’ll start by combining the breadcrumbs, spices, milk, and egg. Use a fork to combine these ingredients and then add in the beef. It’s easiest to work the beef in with your hands, but if you’d like, you can use a fork for this task too.
Overmixing the meat can make for tough meatballs, so as soon as you can see the breadcrumb mix speckled evenly throughout, it’s time to roll!
2. ROLL THE MEATBALLS
Remember, if you’re making Crockpot Swedish Meatballs for a party appetizer, you’ll need to roll them on the smaller side. For uniformly sized meatballs, I like to use my small OXO cookie scoop. This scoop has the capacity to hold about a scant tablespoon, which is exactly what you want!
If you want your meatballs to be dinner-sized portions, you can scoop out as much as 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture.
TIP: If you find rolling the meatballs becomes a bit of a sticky situation for your hands, just dampen them a bit and that should smooth things out!
3. BAKE THE MEATBALLS
Technically, the meatballs are roasted and not baked. But wait — what’s the difference? When you’re roasting, you’re doing two things differently:
- You’re typically cooking at a high temperature. In this case, 450°F.
- Air should have room to circulate, which promotes even browning.
This is important as that browning of the exterior will lock in all that juicy goodness on the interior and keep grease from leaking into your sauce!
Once your meatballs are rolled, you’ll transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil. The foil will keep your meatballs from sticking to the pan, helping with quick and easy removal…not to mention clean up!
TIP: As you’re adding your meatballs to the pan, be sure you leave space in between each one so they can properly brown on all sides. If you need to pull out a second rimmed baking sheet to make them all fit, it’s best to do so!
Bake hor d’oeuvre-sized meatballs at 450°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Note, for larger, dinner-sized meatballs, you will need to add to the cook time. Larger meatballs should cook for anywhere from 25-30 minutes.
4. MAKE THE SAUCE
As mentioned above, the sauce for these Crockpot Swedish Meatballs comes together on the stovetop, not in the crockpot.
As mentioned above, this sauce begins with a roux, which is a simple mixture of butter and flour combined together on the stovetop. As the butter melts, you’ll whisk in the flour and that is your roux! Nothing scary or complicated about that.
This simple, two-ingredient mix will keep your sauce from breaking and ensure it stays perfectly smooth and velvety in texture!
Once the butter and flour are combined, you’ll whisk in chicken broth one big splash at a time.
TIP: Adding the broth in small doses also helps to ensure your sauce stays velvety smooth — no lumps!
Once all of the chicken broth has been incorporated, add the cream, followed by the seasoning, and the Worcestershire sauce.
5. ADD TO THE CROCKPOT
Now that your meatballs are baked and your sauce is made, it’s finally time to turn them into Crockpot Swedish Meatballs.
The point of adding the meatballs to the crockpot is not to further their cooking, but rather to give them time to braise in the sauce and for all of those delicious flavors to meld! Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on high or for 3 to 4 hours on low.
After the cook time is up, stir in the sour cream and serve!
CROCKPOT SWEDISH MEATBALLS AS A PARTY APPETIZER
If you are serving these Crockpot Swedish Meatballs as a party appetizer, turn the crockpot down to warm and allow guests to serve themselves throughout the duration of your party. Be sure to have a set of toothpicks or a large spoon off to the side, perfectly sized for scooping up a meatball (or three)!
5 MORE PARTY APPETIZERS YOU’LL LOVE
- Lemon Pepper Wings
- Puff Pastry Pinwheels
- Mini Pigs In a Blanket
- Southern Deviled Eggs
- Bacon-Wrapped Smokies
The best Crockpot Swedish Meatballs with the most flavor! Featuring juicy, tender roasted meatballs cloaked in a creamy, savory Swedish Meatball sauce made on the stovetop. It all comes together in the slow cooker and makes for one irresistible party appetizer.
- 2/3 cup dried, plain breadcrumbs
- 2 3/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, separated
- 1 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, separated
- 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, separated
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, separated
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, separated
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder, separated
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 450°F and have ready a rimmed baking lined with nonstick aluminum foil.
Add the breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, milk, and egg to a large mixing bowl and use a fork to combine. Add the beef and work in with your hands until the crumb mixture is evenly distributed throughout the meat.
Scoop out generous, tablespoon-sized portions of the mixture and roll into a ball with damp hands.
Place the meatballs on the baking sheet, leaving a 1" gap between them. Use two baking sheets if necessary not to overcrowd the meatballs. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the meatballs have browned and fully cooked through. Set aside while you make the sauce.
Add the butter to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the butter has melted, whisk in the flour.
Add the chicken broth in one big splash at a time, whisking well after each addition. Once all of the broth has been incorporated, stir in the cream, followed by 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and the Worcestershire sauce.
Transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker and pour the sauce on top. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or on low for 3 to 4 hours.
Gently stir in the sour cream just before serving. Serve and enjoy!