Simple Swedish Meatballs & Shells

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Everyone has their own versions of comfort food, but almost all of them seem to have a homemade sauce or gravy. And this recipe for Simple Swedish Meatball & Shells falls into that exact category as its all about the sauce. A delightful combination of broth, Worcestershire sauce, and cream. And it really is simple to bring to together for your weeknight dinner.

Simple Swedish Meatballs & Shells

For these meatballs, there are two secret ingredients that make them special. One is incorporating ground pork into the ground beef for the extra meaty flavor. Not quite a 50/50 mix though, as the ground pork tends to be more fatty than you want for making smaller meatballs. And two – nutmeg! I know it sounds strange but trust me, it is that one note that you need to get that perfect meatball.

Simple Swedish Meatballs & Shells

Then comes the sauce. The gravy for Swedish meatballs is very specific. Most everyone knows what they are supposed to taste like, so you have to make sure it’s right. You do not want to sub out vegetable for the beef broth – you need that beef flavor across the whole dish. You also want to keep the heavy cream in (as apposed to swapping out for a lower fat content milk). The heavy cream gives you the velvety flavor you want.

Simple Swedish Meatballs & Shells

You might be wondering why I didn’t use egg noodles, which are typically served with Swedish meatballs. I opted for the shells because I wanted them to have a better chance of holding the sauce so you get the full flavor of the dish in a single bite. You can certainly do a different short pasta type like elbows or penne or even egg noodles and it will still be yum!

Simple Swedish Meatballs & Shells

Now Let’s Get Cookin’!


Simple Swedish Meatballs & Shells

A sped up version of the classic combo of meatballs, pasta and creamy sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Swedish
Keyword cream sauce, meatballs, pasta dishes, sauces, swedish meatballs
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 lb Small Shell Pasta
  • Parsley for garnish

For the Meatballs

  • 2 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cup Milk
  • 1 tbsp Dried Minced Onion
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg

For the Sauce

  • 4 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 4 tbsp Flour
  • 1 qt Beef Broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream


  • Preheat oven to 350degF. Start water boiling for pasta.
  • Combine meatball ingredients in mixing bowl. Place a wire cooking rack on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Use a 1-inch scoop to make meatballs and line out on a baking sheet (should make roughly 60 meatballs). Put in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on the package. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.
  • In a sauce pan over medium high heat, add butter, garlic powder and onion powder. Once melted, whisk in flour and let cook for 3 minutes. Then whisk in beef broth and cook for 3 minutes. Next add Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and parsley. After another 2 minutes whisk in heavy cream. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until ready to serve.
  • Add a portion of pasta to a shallow bowl and 7-9 meatballs. Ladle portion of sauce over meatballs and pasta. Garnish with sprinkle of parsley.

Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:


Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:


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