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10 Secrets You Didn’t Know About IKEA Meatballs


10 Secrets You Didn’t Know About IKEA Meatballs

Many people think of IKEA as a Swedish furniture store that sells inexpensive home furnishings to college students and other young people. But there are other people who think of IKEA of a place where they can get good Swedish meatballs for dinner. Get ready to learn the secrets of IKEA’s famous meatballs.

10. Green “Meat”

When you think of IKEA’s famous Swedish meatballs you likely think of them as a tasty beef and pork dish. The recipe also includes some bread crumbs, egg, onion and potato, but the exact recipe is still a guarded secret. However, all this might be about to change for loyal customers as the furniture store’s recipes are in the process of undergoing some changes. The company wants to do its part to be more environmentally conscious so using less real meat from animals in its recipes is a way to do this. Instead of staying with traditional meat products, IKEA has experts working on meatless alternatives using sustainable plant sources such as green algae. Meatballs made from plants and other ingredients would help to cut down on the… gaseous “emissions” from cattle that some people have argued contributes to global warming. While cow gas may seem like a joke some people seem to take it seriously and point to the industrial production of beef and other meat as a serious problem. IKEA meatballs are known as a Kottbullar, but this name could very well come under review as the ingredients and the recipes are being experimented with to produce new kinds of meatless meatballs. This ongoing work reflects shifting tastes around the world and other restaurants, and perhaps furniture stores are bound to follow. 

9. Furniture Store To Restaurant

As many as 30 percent of IKEA customers visit the store primarily for the food and not to shop for dining room and bedroom sets. According to the furniture giant they sell up to one billion dollars worth of their meatballs every year or about one million meatballs a day – that’s a lot of meatballs! With these facts in mind the Swedish furniture company is getting into the restaurant business so even more customers can taste their famous meatballs. Now you won’t have to pretend you want to go furniture shopping to eat dinner at an IKEA. In 2017 IKEA announced plans to open a stand alone restaurant in Live Oak, Texas that is scheduled to open in 2019. These traditional brick and mortar locations come on the heels of IKEAS pop-up restaurant locations inside existing furniture store locations. Customers will be able to use the self-serve kitchens to whip up their own recipes for Swedish meatballs and other IKEA favorites. As part of a dining club, customers can attend courses and workshops to learn how to make better meatballs with a variety of ingredients. In addition to the famous meatball recipes so many want to try, amateur cooks of all skill levels can learn some new breakfast and lunch recipes as well. The meatballs would probably go good with pancakes. You’d have to be quick to take advantage of one of these pop-up restaurants because they only stay up and running for a couple of weeks at a time. 

8. Meatballs For Everyone

A lot of people love IKEAS famous Swedish meatballs. many people go to one of the popular furniture store locations just to get the tasty meatballs, but now you don’t have to leave your house to have these meatballs for dinner. The recipes call for equal amounts of beef and pork as well as a generous helping of potatoes. An egg, onion and cream are also called for as well as a number of spices depending on how flavorful you prefer your Swedish meatballs. Unlike Italian meatballs that use a lot of parmesan and garlic, Swedish meatballs call for things like allspice and nutmeg in the traditional recipes. The potatoes not used to make the meatballs are put aside and mashed for a hardy side dish that goes perfectly with the main dish. The gravy is integral to making the recipe work of course and it is made in the pan after the meatballs are browned. To make the creamy gravy you add some butter and flour to the drippings that are left behind in the pan. You stir this mixture over heat for a couple of minutes adding some water slowly if necessary. You can serve the meatballs as they are, but many people like to serve them over rich egg noodles or rice to complete the dish. The tender meatballs with a rich, creamy gravy make for a popular dish that both adults and kids a like will enjoy whether they are shopping for furniture or not. 

7. Science Project

As if the idea of replacing beef and pork with green algae isn’t alarming enough IKEA has experts experimenting with a number of meat alternatives. Some of them sound decidedly unappetizing, but meatless meat seems to be the wave of the future. However, plant based options such as algae are apparently not the only alternatives being considered and some of them are not strictly speaking – meatless. How do mealworm meatballs sound to you? If they don’t sound very appetizing you’re probably not alone, but this hasn’t stopped IKEA from exploring the idea of using them as a substitute for beef and pork. Even now food scientists are busy concocting who knows how many recipes of questionable composition in a laboratory somewhere. If or when IKEA tries to market worm balls will the name matter? Is “crispy bug balls” supposed to make them sound better? This sounds like a not so funny joke or at a best a misguided publicity campaign to sell even more real Swedish meatballs. IKEA spokes people have repeatedly said that this decision was made to help “save the planet,” which is of course a worthy goal, but will the composition of a furniture store’s meatball recipe really make the difference? Hopefully Swedes and all of those IKEA customers who love the traditional meat – meatballs will make their voices and their appetites heard.

6. Fresh Or Frozen?

Most people who eat IKEA’s Swedish meatballs eat them at the stores’ dining facilities, but this doesn’t have to be the only way you eat their delicious meatballs. Plenty of online sites offer IKEA meatballs in their frozen form including its own site, but also on So not only can you order your furniture from Amazon you can get the meatballs as well. These convenient bags allow you to easily portion out the meatballs for family dinners or just a late night snack. The meatballs can be heated up in the oven, toaster oven or in the microwave for the quickest results. But perhaps for the best results you can take a little more time and cook up the meatballs in a pan on the stove and let them simmer in a creamy gravy until the meatballs are completely heated through. IKEA’s site recommends you serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes, cream sauce and Sweden’s number one dish – lingonberry jam. For customers looking for a meatless alternative for their meatballs, IKEA’s web site offers a vegetarian frozen meatball made from things like chick peas, green peas and carrots. The vegetarian alternative will probably go just as good with the mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

5. Beyond Meat

It seems like more people than ever, especially millennial diners, are looking for alternatives beyond traditional meat and IKEA is doing what it can to help its customers get beyond it. Recently, IKEA teamed up with a food company called Beyond Meat that makes a vegan alternative to meat that many people say is close in texture and taste to real beef. The beyond Meat CEO is on record saying that he wants to make real meat “obsolete” and replace all meat products. he insists that Beyond Meat’s plant-based products will lead the way in this endeavor. His furniture company partner has had a meatless alternative to its famous Swedish meatballs available for several years, but both companies hope that this new partnership will take the meatless meatballs to the next level. In other meatless meat news, IKEA has also recently rolled out a vegan hot dog made from kale and red lentils as well as strawberry dairy-free soft-serve ice cream. These new products were initially available only at European locations. Apparently they were both relatively successful and there are plans to offer these products at many of IKEA’s international locations. The company seems fully committed to improving their meatless meatballs for the masses as well as expanding on their meatless alternatives for customers, including desserts.

4. Turkey Meatballs

The Swedish people are rightly very proud of their meatballs. Because of this you probably were under the impression that IKEA’s famous meatballs were invented in the Scandinavian country, but apparently you’d be wrong. Official government sources in Sweden have had to reluctantly admit that one of their country’s most delicious cultural treasures actually originated in a country far away from Scandinavia. The recipe for what would become known as “Swedish meatballs” was brought back to Northern Europe by a King named Charles XII more than 300 years ago when he returned to his homeland from a five year exile he spent as a guest of the Ottoman Empire (the modern-day nation of Turkey.) Although King Charles XII was an unsuccessful ruler who lost his Empire, he was successful at enriching his fellow Swedes’ culinary choices. In addition to the meatball recipe, he also brought back other coveted delicacies like coffee and stuffed cabbage. Swedes shouldn’t be too disheartened by this historical development because after-all, borrowing customs, ideas and of course food from other cultures has, for thousands of years, been one of the primary ways people have spread good things around the world. IKEA offers its traditional beef and pork, vegan and chicken varieties, but ironically does not offer a meatball actually made from turkey meat.

3. Don’t Look A Gift Horse In The Meat

Back in 2013 IKEA blamed its horse meat scandal on a “complex supply chain.” The story first broke when a  factory in Ireland reported that its quality control measures had discovered traces of horse meat in the meat mixture used for hamburger patties. IKEA’s Swedish meatballs came under fire a little later when meat inspectors in the Czech Republic found traces of horse meat in packages of frozen meatballs set for shipment to IKEA stores in Europe. Representatives for the furniture chain indicated that the frozen meatballs had been shipped to several countries spread across Europe including Portugal, France, Hungary, Ireland and Greece. The spokespeople also made it clear that the tainted meatballs had been quickly recalled and removed from store freezers. It’s unclear whether any people complained about eating some of the meatballs and if anyone had it’s doubtful if they would have noticed any difference. According to reports, meatballs bound for the United States were not impacted by the scandal so those batches were not recalled. IKEA and government employees tracking the origins of the horse meat were confronted with other cases such as the incorrect meat being found on pizzas in Denmark. There were also reports of a couple of other food manufacturers having to recall some of their meat products for similar reasons. The exact cause of these mix ups was difficult to unravel, but some officials blamed it on a simple labeling error. Whatever the cause let’s hope they have tightened up their quality control efforts.

2. Blame Canada?

We love our Canadian neighbors to the North, but leave it to them to make Salmon meatballs a popular dish at their IKEA stores. The Salmon industry in Canada was happy to hear that IKEA locations in the country would be serving the savory fish balls in addition to the traditional beef and pork meatballs. The recipe for the Salmonballs includes sea weed and lemon grass to season them. Frozen packages of these Salmonballs wills also be available for purchase at Canadian markets.  American customers will be happy to hear that if they so choose they also can order the healthier fish option instead of the traditional meatballs at IKEA locations in the United States. IKEA chefs recommend a tomato spinach ragout as a tasty side dish for the Salmonballs, but there is little doubt many people prefer the classic mashed potatoes. You can’t go wrong with mashed potatoes, right? The mashed potatoes are also the preferred pairing with the traditional Swedish meatballs. IKEA is emphasizing the idea that using the parts of the Salmon for the balls that are left after the fillets are made makes for a more sustainable food chain. The furniture giant claims that the fish balls have a carbon footprint that is seven times smaller than the carbon footprint left by traditional beef and pork meatballs. So you can choose to eat the Salmonballs because they are healthier for you or because they’re healthier for the planet.

1. Mystery Meatballs

There are a lot of web sites and cookbooks that claim to know how to make meatballs just like those that IKEA famously sells at its furniture stores. Why shouldn’t IKEA work to keep its famous meatballs under wraps? Restaurants from Burger King to The Cheesecake Factory take a lot of pride in their unique recipes and work to keep them their own. Cloning popular commercial recipes is a pastime for some people because they get to say they are revealing secret information, but are they really? Of course the basic ingredients are well known and include things like: beef, pork, potatoes, onions, bread crumbs and other seasonings. Most of the recipes provide information on how to make the gravy as well. Some even include a recipe for mashed potatoes – the go to side dish for IKEA meatballs. But not all of the copycat and secret recipes call for the exact same proportions of all the ingredients called for so who’s to say which one is actually the definitive recipe? It’s certainly possible that none of the recipes being offered on the Internet are the same as the real one. You can make your own versions of them at home and they’ll probably make for a really fine meal. However, you will know you’ll be getting the genuine IKEA Swedish meatballs only if you go to one of the stores or restaurants that serve them. This way you can do some shopping while you’re there.

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