Swedish Meatball Soup

This Meatball Soup is the most satisfying soup you will slurp all season!

Meatball Soup is only as good as the meatballs, and these Swedish meatballs are the best!  This Meatball Soup is made with tender, juicy meatballs, hearty egg noodles, carrots, mushrooms and celery all swimming in luscious creamy brown gravy broth swirled with sour cream.  It is hearty, satisfying and with one bite, it will be a beautifully delicious day!

top view of hearty meatballs soup in a green bowl

Meatball Soup

Cloudy with a chance of Meatball Soup.  If we could be so lucky.
Growing up, my mom made three kinds of meatballs:  Waikiki meatballs, porcupine meatballs and Swedish meatballs.   I begged her to make them all – even more so after reading Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs in the second grade.  The oversized meatballs crashing into houses just made me wish they would crash into my mouth.
Since my youthful Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs days, I’ve made several new favorite meatball recipes such as Italian Meatballs, Cranberry Meatballs, Buffalo Meatballs, Korean Meatballs and Parmesan Meatballs – all delectable, but I don’t think it gets any more comforting than Swedish meatballs- so why not turn them into Meatball Soup?
This Meatball Soup is everything you love about Swedish meatballs.  Juicy meatballs and egg noodles cradled in luscious, rich broth. Meatballs and noodles.  Two food staples that always fill me with sunshine.  Your family will love this new comforting, creamy Meatball Soup tradition!

Ingredients for Meatball Soup

The Meatballs:

Meatball Soup starts with stellar meatballs.   I stayed true to the traditional Swedish meatballs characterized by its combination of beef and pork and bread crumbs soaked in cream, then spiced them with a harmonious blend of nutty, slightly sweet nutmeg and allspice to create a mega tender, flavorful meatball.

The Broth:

Swedish meatballs are traditionally served in a rich brown gravy enlivened with sour cream over noodles, so for this Meatball Soup, I transformed the gravy into a creamy beefy broth which allows the meatballs to swim in and soak up its velvety paprika, parsley spiced deliciousness.
The broth begins with a roux of flour and butter to add body and then whisked with beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings.  Sour cream is later added to create a luscious, rich, creamy, tangy broth. 

The Noodles:

This Meatball Noodle Soup is further elevated with egg noodles.  Their fluffy, silky texture cooks up perfectly every time and is a delectable companion to the moist, tender meatballs. These noodles are ideal for soups, noodle bakes and your favorite meats and sauces because they hold their form and texture and don’t become soggy when smothered.   You can use different noodles, if you prefer, and the soup will still be delicious – just less Swedish and more Meatball Soup.

The Veggies:

This Meatball Soup begins with a mirepoix (pronounced “meer-pwah”), which is essentially a fancy French term for carrots, onions and celery sautéed in butter/olive oil.   Every chef will tell you that every great soup or stew should begin with a mirepoix – and I agree.   It adds richness and depth of flavor that can’t be achieved any other way.    I also add mushrooms to this Meatball Soup, but they are optional if you are not a fan.

The Seasonings:

This Meatball Soup would just be meatballs and broth if it wasn’t for the seasonings.  The meatballs are seasoned with garlic powder, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, salt and pepper. The broth is seasoned with dried parsley, paprika, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.  If you aren’t sure how much red pepper flakes to add, then start with less because you can easily add heat, but it is hard to take away! side view of a bowl of meatball soup with juicy meatballs, pasta, carrots, celery, mushrooms

What Size Meatballs are best?

I find 1 tablespoon meatballs to be the best size for Meatball Soup.  They are large enough that they remain juicy and don’t overcook and you are rewarded with a satisfying meaty bite. That being said, you are welcome to make mini meatballs if you prefer.   They will require less cooking time when browning, so adjust time accordingly.

Can I use Store Bought Meatballs?

If you are short on time, you can definitely use store bought meatballs for this Meatball Soup recipe.  Ground beef, turkey and even chicken meatballs will work great.   The meatballs won’t have the Swedish seasoning or characteristic tenderness,  but the broth will still boast the delicious flavor.  But next time, I HIGHLY encourage you to use these homemade meatballs – they are to live for!

Can I Use Frozen Meatballs?

Absolutely!  You can either use store bought frozen meatballs or you can freeze your own meatballs (preferred).  There is no need to defrost pre-cooked frozen meatballs before adding to Meatball Soup – simply drop them into the soup and let them do their thing. If you want this Meatball Soup to come together super quickly, you can make the meatballs in advance and freeze them.  To do this:
  1. Cook meatballs according to directions (Steps 1-4).
  2. Let meatballs cool to room temperature.
  3. Line meatballs on a baking sheet so they aren’t touching.
  4. Place tray in the freezer and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours.
  5.  Transfer meatballs to a freezer safe bag or container.
  6. Label meatballs and store meatballs in the freezer for up to 3 months.
up close of a spoon picking up easy meatball soup

What CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?

This Meatball Soup is very simple but it does require chopping the veggies and making the meatballs.  Fortunately, you can do both in advance!
  • Meatballs:  You can completely assemble and cook the meatballs according to directions.  To store, line meatballs on a paper towel lined plate and tightly wrap with foil or plastic wrap or line on a paper-towel lined airtight container.   Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Veggies: You can also save time beforehand by chopping your onions, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms.  Store pre-cut veggies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Mushrooms don’t last very long once sliced, so be sure to use them within 24 hours.

How to make Meatball Soup

These Meatball Soup is super easy to make!  Here’s how:
  •  After cooking your skillet meatballs, simply sauté your carrots, celery and mushrooms for a few minutes.
showing how to make meatball soup by cooking carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil in a white soup pot
  • Sprinkle in flour, cook for a few more minutes then stir in beef broth and a little cream along with parsley and paprika and other spices to create luscious, creamy beef broth.  Add your meatballs, and simmer a few minutes.
showing how to make meatball soup by adding meatballs to simmer in the soup
  • Stir in your smooth, firm and delicious egg noodles followed by a little sour cream and eat!
showing how to make meatball soup by adding pasta to the soup

How Long do you Cook Meatballs In Soup?

Freshly made meatballs require about 20 minutes simmering time to cook in a soup.  In this Meatball Soup recipe, however, we are skipping that step by browning our meatballs first on the stove.  These meatballs are are SO tender, they will fall apart if you try and add them directly to the soup without cooking first.  Browning meatballs first also seals in the moisture and enhances the flavor. Since the meatballs are already cooked, they only need to be warmed through in the soup, about 5 minutes.  They will require more time if you are using frozen meatballs.

Tips for Meatball Soup

Cook Pasta Separately:  Cook the pasta just until al dente (meaning it has a little bite) separate from the soup.  Rinse with cold water so it doesn’t keep cooking.  Cooking the pasta separately cooks the pasta more evenly and saves you from babysitting the soup and ruining an entire pot of Meatball Soup with mushy pasta. Customize Veggies: This Meatball Soup Recipe has celery, carrots and mushrooms but feel free to customize the veggies with your favorites or whatever you have on hand.  Potatoes, zucchini, green beans, spinach, etc. would all be delicious. Scale Down:  This Meatball Soup recipe makes a lot of servings so I would recommend scaling down if you don’t have a large family and don’t want leftovers.  If you do love leftovers (the are SO good!), then you will love leftover Meatball  Soup for an easy lunch or dinner! Rice for Pasta: I am a HUGE wild rice fan, so I will sometimes use wild rice instead of pasta in soups  If you choose to use rice, I recommend cooking it separately to ensure proper cooking of the rice and not overcooking of the veggies. Consistency: The “chunkiness” of this  Meatball Soup is totally personal preference.  For a less chunky soup, simply add additional broth or cream at the end of cooking.

HOW DO YOU THICKEN Meatball Soup?

This Meatball Soup should already be thick and creamy due to the flour, cornstarch, heavy cream and sour cream.  If you would still like a thicker soup, you can thicken using either of these methods:
  • Cornstarch: Remove some broth from the Meatball Soup and whisk in 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with a fork until smooth then whisk it back into the soup.  Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
  • Flour and butter: Mix equal parts flour and softened butter together with a fork so it becomes a thick paste and almost forms a ball.  You will want 2-4 tablespoons each, depending on how thick you want the soup. Add it to the soup, simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
side view of a big white pot of the best meatballs soup

What to Serve with Meatball Soup?

This Meatball Soup is a mean-in-itself packed with protein, carbs and veggies!  Still, I love serving it with big chunk of crusty bread, dinner rolls or breadsticks, along with big green salad, or wedge salad and fruit salad.  

HOW LONG IS MEATBALL SOUP GOOD FOR?

Meatball Soup should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator.  When properly stored, it is good for 3-5 days.

CAN I MAKE  MEATBALL SOUP AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes! The flavors of this Meatball Soup get better the next day so it makes amazing leftovers!   Take care to not overcook your pasta so it stays al-dente when stored and reheated.  The soup will thicken in the refrigerator so you may need to add some milk, broth or cream before heating.

HOW DO I REHEAT MEATBALL SOUP?

  • Stove: You can reheat large batches of Meatball Soup on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warm. Take care you don’t let the soup boil otherwise the sour cream will curdle.  You will need to add some additional broth or cream to the soup because some of the pasta will absorb it while sitting overnight.
  • Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, you can use the microwave.  Transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel.  Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.  Stir in additional broth, or cream to reach desired consistency.  You can even add additional sour cream for a richer soup.

Can I Freeze Meatball Soup?

I do not recommend freezing Meatball Soup because it contains dairy as well as pasta.   When dairy is frozen, the fat separates creating a funny, unappetizing texture and it will often curdle.  When pasta is frozen, it becomes unpleasantly mushy. Instead, you can freeze the meatballs (instructions above) OR  share it with a friend! up close of a bowl of creamy meatball soup Cloudy with a chance of Swedish Meatball Noodle Soup.  If we could be so lucky.

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Swedish Meatball Noodle Soup

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 oz. No Yolks® Broad Egg Noodles cooked al dente according to package directions
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sour cream (more or less to taste)

Swedish Meatballs

  • 2 slices bread, toasted and torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 large onion, minced
  • 2/3 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 pound ground pork (may sub ground beef)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, ground nutmeg, ground allspice

Soup

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 7 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch**
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH paprika pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • To make the meatballs, place the bread into a small bowl and mix in ½ cup cream. Allow to stand until bread absorbs the cream, about 15 minutes, then add bread to food processor and pulse until completely broken up (it will look like mushy bread). Add pulverized cream bread to a large bowl.
  • While the bread is soaking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add onions and sauté until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add to large bowl with bread.
  • To the onions and bread, add remaining meatball ingredients and mix. Form meat into 1 tablespoon meatballs, approximately 40 meatballs.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add half of the meatballs and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. Remove meatballs to paper towel lined baking sheet. Add remaining meatballs to skillet and repeat.
  • Melt 5 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven/large soup pot over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
  • Turn heat to low and gradually stir in beef broth followed by heavy cream. Add Worcestershire sauce, parsley, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, stirring frequently until thickened to desired consistency, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add meatballs and lower the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in sour cream until smooth, followed by noodles. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, red pepper flakes if desired.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve.

Notes

*For a lighter version, you may substitute milk but only use ¼ cup and add more as needed to meatball mixture.
**You may substitute milk or half and half, but keep in mind the higher the fat content, the creamier the soup. You can add more sour cream at the end of cooking to help creamify.
***For a less "chunky" soup, add more beef broth and/or heavy cream/milk.

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12 Comments

  1. Natalie says

    This recipe looks amazing, my family would enjoy this very much. Our favorite egg noodle recipe is Turkey Noodle Casserole or beef stroganoff. But we will have to try the swedish meatball soup!!

  2. CarrieL says

    No Yolks noodles are so yummy for beef stroganoff! No other brand will do, and I am not usually all that particular about brand name foodstuff. No Yolk noodles never get gummy or soggy when mixed with a dish that has a gravy or sauce.
    But my honest, personal, guilty pleasure way of eating No Yolk noodles is with copious amounts of butter and garlic.

  3. Christie says

    I have been dying for a good Swedish meatball. I’ve been searching for a recipe that I think is close. Yeah! You solved my problem. Love the mix of meats and the spices. I cannot wait to try them.

  4. Rachael says

    This sounds amazing! especially with how cold it is outside, it’s the perfect dinner!

  5. Dona Hope East says

    My Lucky Day!! I can’t believe I had such good fortune to stumble onto your food site. I don’t even remember anymore what I was looking up. I just know when I came across your photos and your adorable face it was all love at first sight! Everything looked so yummy and you and your husby and doggy look so adorbs on the water together I had to stop traveling around on the page and just look at you 3. Then I started looking at food pics and recipes and I just knew I had to find something to make, I just didn’t know what. Everything looks so yummy! It was difficult to decide which recipe to try first, but I settled on the Swedish Meatballs Noodle Soup. I chose that cause I already had all the ingredients on hand. Yes, even the No Yolks Noodles. I’m a big NYN fan from many years back. I don’t know how long they been making NYN, but I know I’ve been using them for probably close to 50 years. They’ve never let me down. I’m a big one for cooking from scratch, but there’s something to be said about noodles. One time they’re a hit, the next you’ve hit bottom. I just could never consistently make a good noodle every time. So I always use NYN and they save every recipe from being a disaster. Now that’s using the ol’ noodle!! Your Swedish Meatballs Noodle Soup turned out just perfecto (smack your lips together here and throw a kiss)! I’m not sure what I will cook next, but I’m thinking it just might have some NYN in it. Have a great day and don’t mind me if I’m a tad jealous you’re in California with all that sunshine and I’m freezing here in Indiana where it’s cloudy with meatballs.

    • Jen says

      Oh my goodness Dona, you are such a sweetheart! I a loved every word of your comment and can feel your upbeat, generous spirit just bouncing through the screen. I am so happy you stumbled upon my blog and my recipes! I am thrilled you enjoyed the Swedish Meatball Soup and am excited for you to try more recipes! I laughed out loud at your last line, and wish I could serve you up some sunshine! All the best and so nice to meet you!! Hugs!

  6. pamela says

    would I be able to make this recipe in the crock pot

    • Jen says

      Hi Pamela! With the ingredients as written it is best as a stovetop meal. You could certainly prepare it then add it to the slow cooker to keep warm. Sorry I can’t be of more help without experimenting first!

  7. Alissa says

    This was so good, but the following day was no longer a soup but more of a stroganoff. I was disappointed because it was awesome as a soup.

    • Jen says

      I’m so happy you loved it! It is definitely best the first day so if you don’t want leftovers then you can half the recipe or add broth to your soup the next day.

  8. Ekta says

    OMG this is soooo delicious. I had to use frozen turkey meatballs because I had no ground beef or pork at home. I added the meatball spices to the broth and increased the amount of paprika and Worcestershire sauce because the family loves heat and Worcestershire sauce.
    I love each and every recipe on your blog Jennifer and I have tried so many of them, but this tops everything.

    Oh and did I mention how absolutely mind blowing was this soup? 🙂

    Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes.
    Love ya!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for your awesome comment Ekta! This recipe is an oldie but goodie so I especially LOVE hearing how much you enjoyed it!!!