This article was updated on the 11th of August 2023 for clarity and to improve text readability.
If you’re wondering what to serve with your Swedish meatballs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 63 of the most popular side dishes for Swedish meatballs.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with Swedish meatballs are mashed potatoes, garlic butter noodles, Greek lemon rice, creamed kale, and Jansson’s temptation. Try to serve braised red cabbage, Danish cucumber salad, green bean almondine, and cauliflower-parsnip puree for healthier options.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Great flavor pairings for Swedish meatballs
Swedish meatballs are made with minced pork or beef and then smothered with a rich, creamy gravy. They have a meaty, savory flavor with a hint of warmth from the addition of spices like nutmeg and cardamom.
- Sweet flavors: Lingonberry jam is a staple condiment served with Swedish meatballs. It has a sweet-tart flavor that complements the meatballs, giving you a more balanced bite.
- Acidic flavors: fresh citrusy ingredients like lemon or tangy condiments like vinegar add an acidic bite that cuts through the richness of the meatballs and gravy.
- Spicy flavors: Adding heat with spices like chili powder and cumin brings a zesty twist to jazz up the meatballs.
Starchy sides are a must-have when it comes to saucy dishes like Swedish meatballs. IKEA serves them with mashed potatoes, but I love pairing them with a hearty serving of rice pilaf to switch things up.
A slice of crusty bread is also a great way to soak up all the savory goodness from the gravy.
Mashed potatoes and Swedish meatballs are an iconic food pairing. Imagine scooping little meatballs and a boatload of gravy over a bed of creamy mash — the thought of it makes my mouth water.
Although I usually like my mashed potatoes to be on the chunkier side, I prefer them smooth and velvety when paired with Swedish meatballs. That’s why I love Rasa Malaysia’s version, which calls for heavy cream to make it extra rich and creamy.
And don’t forget to add a knob of butter on top!
Pro-Tip: Complete your meal with a dollop of lingonberry jam.
Garlic butter noodles
What’s better than mashed potatoes and Swedish meatballs?
Swedish meatballs over a bed of garlicky butter noodles. The creaminess of the butter sauce pairs well with the warm, savory flavors of your gravy and meatballs.
You can use any variety of pasta you like, but I recommend going with egg noodles, like what Natasha does in her recipe. Their wide shape allows the butter sauce and the gravy to coat the noodles better.
Greek lemon rice
Try this Greek lemon rice if you want a more filling dish to go with your Swedish meatballs.
This recipe uses a blend of chicken broth, lemon juice, Mediterranean herbs, and seasoning to infuse the rice with a fresh, zesty flavor. It also calls for turmeric, which is responsible for this dish’s vibrant yellow color. But if you can’t find it, you can leave it out.
Pro-tip: this pilaf is made with chicken broth, but you can swap it with vegetable broth if you’re serving plant-based Swedish meatballs instead.
Keep it simple and serve your Swedish meatballs with a side of these dinner rolls.
You can use them to soak up every drop of gravy from your plate, or you can load them up with your meatballs for a fun and quick slider.
Dinner rolls are readily available in your local store or bakery, but you can also opt to bake them yourself (it’s really worth it).
They are one of the easiest types of bread to make for beginners. All you need is to stick with this tried-and-tested recipe from Grumpy’s Honeybunch for guaranteed success.
Add a pop of bright color to your Swedish meatball meal with a serving of these stuffed peppers. This dish involves roasted peppers that are stuffed with an Italian-spiced mixture of meat and rice before baking.
You can use any color of bell pepper for this recipe, but Little Sunny Kitchen recommends going with the red ones because they’re the sweetest. Alternatively, yellow or orange varieties are also good if you want a milder flavor. You can also use green peppers, but just a heads up — they’re a tad bitter.
Getting tired of the usual fries or roasted spuds? Switch things up and make these smashed potatoes to go with your Swedish meatballs instead.
They have ultra-crispy exteriors and soft, fluffy interiors that are so irresistible.
You can dip them in your meatballs’ gravy, or simply smother them completely — no judgments here.
Pro-tip: take a page out of Half Baked Harvest’s book and cook your potatoes in vinegar to get that tasty, lip-puckering tangy flavor.
Lemon orzo salad
This lemon orzo salad is a must-try if you want a light and healthy side dish for your Swedish meatballs that’ll still fill you up.
Aside from the orzo, this salad is packed with arugula and fresh asparagus, giving it lots of vitamins and nutrients. But what really makes this salad special is its lemon dressing which adds a bright, citrusy touch that ties everything together.
To make this orzo salad even tastier, allow it to sit in your fridge and let the flavors mingle for at least 30 minutes.
Lingonberry jam is the classic condiment for Swedish meatballs, but it’s not the only option. Anything sweet-but-tart at the same time will work to add a nice contrast to the meatballs’ richness.
Danish cucumber salad
This Danish cucumber salad is a fresh side dish you can whip up in a flash.
The cucumbers are sliced paper-thin, so they don’t need a long time to absorb the sharp tangy notes of your vinegar and sugar mixture. In 30 minutes, you’ll have lightly crisp “pickles” that help cut through the richness of your gravy-coated meatballs.
One recipe reviewer recommends boiling the vinegar and sugar mixture to speed up the “pickling” process, but you’ll be losing out on the cucumbers’ crunch if you try this.
Pro-Tip: Use a mandolin to get thin, delicate cucumber slices.
Spice up your Swedish meatballs with a serving of fresh kimchi. Unlike the traditional version, fresh kimchi lacks that funky smell and taste that puts some people off.
Instead, you get a light, crisp, and refreshing salad with a kick of heat to complement your Swedish meatballs.
There’s no cooking involved with fresh kimchi, but you’ll need to salt, rinse, and squeeze the chopped napa cabbage before mixing it with the kimchi paste. But no worries, everything should only take you about an hour and 15 minutes.
Swedish meatballs are pure morsels of protein, so you definitely need a veggie side to bring up the nutritional value. Steamed veggies are an easy addition, or you can make a low-carb version of mashed potato with cauliflower.
But for a fresh bite, go with a classic lemony arugula salad.
Braised red cabbage
This braised red cabbage dish is the perfect side for your Swedish meatballs when the weather is cold.
The key to this dish is simmering the shredded cabbage and apples in a mixture of apple cider and vinegar. This ensures the cabbage soaks up all the warm, tangy goodness from the vinegar mixture.
The recipe suggests cooking everything for 40-50 minutes or until you’ve reached your desired consistency. I like to let the cabbage go completely tender, but you can reduce the cooking time if you want to enjoy a bit more crunch.
Green bean almondine
Green bean almondine is a quick and delicious dish you can prepare to go with your Swedish meatballs.
The game-changer for this simple side dish is the butter. It’s cooked with almonds and green beans until it browns, giving you a rich, nutty flavor that elevates this humble dish. The only catch with this side? It’s best served as soon as it finishes cooking so you can enjoy its delectable flavor and satisfying crisp-tender bite.
Pro-tip: finish this dish with a spritz of lemon juice for a final refreshing touch.
Spicy bourbon-glazed carrots
These spicy bourbon-glazed carrots are a unique take on the traditional glazed carrot. Instead of using honey, The Chunky Chef uses bourbon, butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of cayenne to create a warm, flavorful glaze to jazz up your plain old veg.
It’s a simple combination that brings a warm note, pairing perfectly with the sweetness of the carrots.
Worried about cooking with alcohol? Don’t stress. Most of the alcohol content gets cooked off, leaving only trace amounts that you won’t even taste.
Mashed potatoes are always amazing with Swedish meatballs, but this puree is the way to go if you’re on a diet and still want a rich, creamy side dish for your meatballs.
It has all the goodness of mashed potatoes without the large amounts of calories, plus it’s dairy-free.
Skinny Ms cooks the cauliflower and parsnips in chicken broth and uses this liquid to replace butter or milk. This infuses the veggies with tons of rich flavors and also helps create a smooth, silky consistency that’ll remind you of mashed potatoes.
Curious? Give this cauliflower-parsnip puree a shot and see for yourself.
Cream of mushroom soup
Nothing screams comfort more than a piping hot bowl of cream of mushroom soup. It has everything you’d want – earthy, tender mushrooms and a thick, velvety broth. Yum.
And the best part? You won’t need to wait several hours for this soup to cook because all the prep work and cooking gets done in 40 minutes.
Cafe Delites uses a combination of fresh thyme and parsley to complement the earthiness of the mushrooms, but you can also try rosemary, oregano, tarragon, or chives.
Skip the plain steamed veg and serve your Swedish meatballs with a side of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears instead.
This dish is a fun and easy way to switch things up and keep your meal interesting. Not only do the prosciutto slices bring a lightly salty, meaty bite, but they also add a delightful crunch to the tender asparagus spears.
Take it up a notch and drizzle on some gravy from your Swedish meatballs to make them even more flavorful.
Want to feel healthy? Serve this cauliflower steak with your Swedish meatballs.
This dish involves thick slices of cauliflower that are heavily seasoned and then roasted.
The result? A tender cauliflower “steak” with a lightly crisp, golden-brown crust.
I usually keep the seasoning simple with salt, garlic powder, and pepper, especially when serving the cauliflower steaks with Swedish meatballs and luscious gravy. But you can also add other spices like red pepper flakes or cayenne if you want a bit of heat.
Or you can also follow Jessica Gavin’s lead and prepare a separate sauce like chimichurri for these cauliflower steaks.
Balsamic roasted veggies
Serve a plate of these balsamic roasted vegetables alongside your Swedish meatballs for a balanced and healthy meal.
They’re easy to prepare and cook, and they bring color and nutrients to the plate.
Roasted veggies are also great to prepare in advance, so you can always have a batch of roasted veggies to go with any meal.
This recipe uses a combination of bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, but you don’t have to stick with these choices. You can also try using carrots, potatoes, asparagus, zucchini, or cauliflower.
Smorgasbord is a Swedish buffet-style meal held during celebratory days featuring an array of dishes, including Swedish meatballs. Basically a free-for-all.
Pair them with a skillet of Jansson temptation and potato sausage for the ultimate feast.
This dish, also known as Jansson’s frestelse, is served alongside Swedish meatballs during Christmas dinner.
It’s a casserole made with julienned potatoes, onions, sprats (brined fish), and cream. Indulgently delicious.
Psst… if you’re not a fan of sprats, take a cue from Nigella and swap it for a sprinkle of parmesan. It’s not 100% authentic, but at least you’ll get to enjoy the dish.
Smoked sausage skillet
Smoked sausages are another dish that’s usually served on Christmas day.
They’re served together with Swedish meatballs in the hot course portion of the meal. But aside from sausages, this recipe also adds potatoes and bell peppers to make it more of a complete meal.
Psst… this mouthwatering smoked sausage and potato skillet comes together in one pot – less mess and more time for you to eat.
Creamed kale, also known as långkål, is a staple Christmas dish in Sweden. It’s usually served in the hot course portion of the meal, together with Swedish meatballs.
As the name suggests, this dish features blanched kale cooked in heavy cream. It’s a simple, decadent dish and an enjoyable way to add kale to your meal.
Psst… follow Spoonful of Flavor’s lead and grate some parmesan on top of your creamed kale for a nutty flavor boost.
Honey glazed ribs
Honey-glazed ribs are also traditionally served with Swedish meatballs during Christmas and New Year.
They’re a must-have dish for Swedes during the holidays, but you don’t have to wait for the holidays to enjoy them.
You can whip up these honey-glazed pork ribs anytime without any special equipment. All you need is your oven to get tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs with a sweet, sticky glaze.
What To Serve With Swedish Meatballs (63 Ideas)
- 1 portion mashed potatoess
- 1 portion balsamic roasted veggies
- 1 portion Jansson's temptation
- 1 portion garlic butter noodles
- 1 portion braised red cabbage
- 1 portion green bean almondine … and more
- Prepare your Swedish meatballs according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: mashed potatoes, garlic butter noodles, greek lemon rice, danish cucumber salad, braised red cabbage, Jansson’s temptation, green bean almondine, smoked sausage skillet, spicy bourbon-glazed carrots, dinner rolls, cauliflower-parsnip puree, Italian stuffed peppers, cream of mushroom soup, fresh kimchi, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, creamed kale, cauliflower steak, honey glazed ribs, smashed potatoes, lemon orzo salad, and balsamic roasted veggies.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!