When I told my colleague — via Zoom, of course — that I was going to tackle making Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs, her eyes lit up.

“I LOVE them,” she exclaimed.

She’s not alone.

The 8-ingredient meatballs paired with a savory cream sauce, which have long been a hit with shoppers at the popular Swedish furniture store, became an internet sensation this week when the business released the recipe via Twitter.

As another colleague joked, “That’s the main reason people go to Ikea.”

Since the novel coronavirus arrived, many of us have had to do without favorite restaurant dishes, including this one. Ikea has temporarily shuttered its in-store shopping because of the pandemic.

Before sharing the recipe, we decided to test it to see if it tasted just right. The results: It’s pretty darn close. And, even if it isn’t exactly the same, eaten as is or spooned over mashed potatoes, the meatballs are ideal comfort food during an uncomfortable time.

The company tweeted the recipe with a line drawing reminiscent of the instructions enclosed in the assemble-it-yourself furniture it sells. The good news is that the meatballs are much easier to put together than that Ikea chest of drawers you bought.

Lorena Lourido, country food manager of Ikea U.K., said in a statement: “We know that some people might be missing our meatballs, which is why we’ve released an at-home alternative which, using easily accessible ingredients, will help those looking for some inspiration in the kitchen.”

Based on the reception the recipe has received, Ikea was right.

And Ikea is not alone in handing out “secret” recipes. Since the pandemic has forced businesses and travel destinations to temporarily shut their doors or limit access, a steady stream of companies has started releasing popular recipes so that people can make them at home, including Doubletree’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and Disney’s churro recipe.

We haven’t tested these recipes . . . yet.

Ikea Swedish Meatballs with Cream Sauce

Active: 40 minutes | Total: 1 hour 40 mins

6 servings; makes 36 meatballs

There’s a reason these Swedish meatballs are so popular with regulars at Ikea. The oniony spheres are delicious on their own, but they are luscious when draped in the store’s thick, savory cream sauce. The business revealed its “secret” recipe during the coronavirus pandemic, so those who could not come in to the stores could still enjoy the signature treat.

“We know that some people might be missing our meatballs, which is why we’ve released an at-home alternative which, using easily accessible ingredients, will help those looking for some inspiration in the kitchen,” Lorena Lourido, country food manager of Ikea U.K., said in a statement.

Notes: If you want to serve the meatballs without the sauce, fry them another 5 to 8 minutes, until cooked through.

The meatballs are excellent with creamy mashed and/or boiled potatoes, according to Ikea.

The recipe calls for chilling the uncooked meatballs before frying to help them keep their shape when frying. The original recipe said to chill the meatballs for 2 hours, but we found that chilling them for just 30 to 45 minutes was enough.

The original recipe calls for double cream, which is a thick English cream, but we used whipping cream instead.

Make Ahead: Meatballs can be formed, covered and stored in the refrigerator overnight.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Ingredients

Meatballs

1 pound ground beef

8 ounces ground pork

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed or minced

½ cup plain bread crumbs

1 large egg, lightly whisked

⅓ cup whole milk

1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cream Sauce

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

1¼ cups beef broth

¾ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Steps

Shape the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the beef and pork, mixing with your fingers to break up any lumps. Add the onion, garlic, bread crumbs and egg, and gently mix to combine. Add the milk, salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Shape the mixture into 2-inch balls. Place on a clean platter, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 45 minutes.

Make the sauce: Just before you begin frying the meatballs, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir it into the butter until a roux forms, continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the broth, stirring until just combined.

Add the cream, soy sauce and mustard and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and let the sauce thicken, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.

Cook the meatballs: When ready to cook the meatballs, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

In an ovenproof large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the meatballs and cook until browned on the outside, about 8 minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Return the meatballs to the skillet and pour the sauce over. Cover the skillet with a lid or foil, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve the meatballs as they are or with boiled or mashed potatoes.

Nutrition | Calories: 451; Total Fat: 51 g; Saturated Fat: 24 g; Cholesterol: 182 mg; Sodium: 879 mg; Carbohydrates: 15 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 23 g.

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