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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   Sweden   >   Recipes


Swedish Recipes

Many Swedish recipes are based around fish and seafood, especially herring, which is unsurprising given the country's long coastline and maritime tradition. Crayfish are also popular in Sweden, and are especially eaten in August, when the Swedes hold crayfish parties known as "kräftskivor".

Swedish crayfish party (kräftskiva)

On the other hand, Swedish recipes often contain relatively few vegetables - because historically there was limited choice of vegetables available during the long winters. That said, Swedish dishes do make use of potato, rutabaga (known in the United Kindom as "swede"), turnip, and cabbage preserved as sauerkraut. Additionally, a jam made from lingonberry, which is a small flowering plant that grows wild in Scandinavia, is a popular condiment with many dishes.

It probably would be fair to say that although some herbs are used in cooking, most Swedish traditional dishes are fairly plain, and the Swedes do not make use of spices to anything like the extent of some other countries. However, that does not mean that Swedish food is not tasty or satisfying.

Some of the most popular Swedish dishes include:
  • Knäckebröd - Knäckebröd is a crispy cracker-like bread made using rye. For breakfast (Swedish: frukost), the Swedes often eat in the form of open sandwiches, which are topped with topped with cold cuts, hard cheese, messmör (cheese spread) or even caviar.


  • Smörgåsbord - Smörgåsbord is not so much a meal, as a style of eating. Many small dishes are prepared and laid out in a buffet to which guests and family members can help themselves. Smörgåsbord is especially popular during holiday periods, and is known at Christmas as "Julbord".

  • Ärtsoppa - Pea soup.

  • Gravad lax - A popular appetizer, gravad lax is cured salmon with vinegar, salt, sugar and dill. It is normally eaten with a dill and mustard sace, and served with bread or potatoes.

  • Inlagd sill - Pickled herring.

  • Surströmming - Fermented Baltic herring in brine.

  • Lutfisk - This is a very unusual dish made using stockfish (air-dried white fish). The fish - usually cod, but sometimes ling - is prepared using a multi-step process involving soaking in water, the in a mix of water soda lye (a caustic soda solution), and finally in water again. As a result the fish swells up and attains a jelly-like consistency. The fish is then cooked (usually by steaming), and served, most often with a white sauce containing pepper and other spices.

    Lutfisk (on the left) with various accompaniments

  • Blodpudding - This is a blood sausage (like the British "black pudding").

  • Kåldolmar - Kåldolmar are cabbage rolls filled with rice and pork. They are served with boiled potatoes and gravy, and lingonberry jam.

  • Janssons frestelse - This dish is potato, onion, and cream with with pickled sprat (Swedish: ansjovis), oven-baked. Because of the Swedish word "ansjovis", many people think this dish includes anchovies - it does not - anchovies are known in Sweden as "sardeller".

  • Köttbullar - Köttbullar is meatballs made from ground (minced) meat (usually beef, but sometimes beef and pork mixed), with breadcrumbs, chopped onions, seasoning ans spices. The meatballs are traditionally served with boiled potatoes and gravy, and usually with picked cucumber and lingonberry jam as well.
  • Kroppkaka - Potato dumplings, filled with pork and onions, and normally served with butter or cream, and lingonberry jam.

  • Pyttipanna - Potatoes, onions, and sausage or ham, chopped and then fried together in a pan.

  • Raggmunk - Pancakes made from potatoes.

  • Köttsoppa - This is a meat (beef normally but sometimes reindeer or elk), and root vegetable soup. It is often eaten with plain simple dumplings (Swedish: Klimp) made from wheat flour, milk and egg.
  • Smörgåstårta - This is a savory "cake" made out of layers of buttered bread with creamy fillings (egg and mayonnaise usually) between the layers, and topped as well. Many different fillings and toppings may be used, but common ones include caviar, liver paté, olives, prawns and smoked salmon. The dish is served cold, and cut into slices before eating.

  • Ostkaka - This is a cheesecake, but not like American/British cheesecakes. It is prepared by baking a cake made from milk curd (or nowadays cottage cheese). Normally ostaka is served with jam and whipped cream, or fruit and ice cream.


  • Saltlakrits - Salty liquorice.

  • Kanelbulle - Cinnamon Roll.


  • Spettekaka - This dessert from southern Sweden is made using eggs, potato flour and sugar. The mixture is put on a skewer and cooked over an open fire until it becomes very dry and crispy (after cooking precautions are taken to retain this dryness). The cakes can be very small or even several feet (over a meter) in length - the large cakes needing to be cut with a hacksaw as they shatter if you attempt to cut them with a knife. Spettekaka is normally served with vanilla ice cream, dark roast coffee and port wine.

  • Knäck - Knäck is a traditional Swedish sticky toffee which is eaten at Christmas.
Here are some recipe books and cookbooks for Swedish food:

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Books about Swedish Cooking and Recipes

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Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast: 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations

By Melissa Bahen

Released: 2016-09-27
Hardcover (256 pages)

Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast: 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations
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  • Sasquatch Books
Product Description:
Relax with family and friends the Nordic way with this whimsical collection of Scandinavian-inspired recipes, crafts, and entertaining ideas

Scandinavian Gatherings is your hygge handbook (pronounced HOO-guh) for turning your home into a cozy retreat! The creator of the popular Lulu the Baker blog shows you how to create simple pleasures throughout the year with 10 seasonal, family-friendly gatherings filled with the flavors and traditions of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland (a region regularly reported as the happiest place on earth!). 
The book boasts 30 simple craft projects for entertaining and decorating, as well as 40 sweet and savory recipes that put a modern twist on well-loved, traditional Scandinavian treats. You’ll soon be warming your home with the comforting smells of Mom’s Maple Pecan Rings, Swedish Meat Pies, Lucia Buns, Hot Chocolate with Homemade Cardamom Marshmallows, and more.
With ideas for year-round gatherings such as Nordic Brunch, Woodland Tea Party, Afternoon Fika, Lucia Day, and Christmas Cookie Exchange, you’ll turn your home into a stress-free hygge oasis.

Swedish Cookbook: Traditional Swedish Recipes Made Easy

By Grizzly Publishing

Independently published
Paperback (195 pages)

Swedish Cookbook: Traditional Swedish Recipes Made Easy
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Product Description:

Despite its rich history, and unbelievable flavor combinations, Swedish cuisine is arguably some of least known on the planet.

Which is massive shame, because it is also unquestionably some of the tastiest.Combining local produce with rich northern meats, traditional Swedish dishes are renowned for their contrast of unique flavors and colors, creating simple, yet healthy dishes that are a sensation to the taste buds.
And in this manner, we have got your covered.

This cookbook provides you with a simple and easy to follow traditional Swedish recipes dishes from the comfort of your own kitchen. In this book, you will learn how to cook:

• Simple and healthy Swedish breakfasts
• Delicious Swedish appetizers
• Rich Swedish dinners
• Amazing Swedish desserts

Swedish cuisine is very quickly becoming some of the most internationally recognized in the world – and now it’s right in front of you.

So, what are you waiting for? Open the first few pages and start cooking!

Smorgasbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats [A Cookbook]

By Johanna Kindvall

Ten Speed Press
Released: 2017-09-26
Hardcover (176 pages)

Smorgasbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats [A Cookbook]
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Product Description:
A savory spin on Swedish baking, pantry, and party cuisine from the coauthor of Fika.

An illustrated cookbook on the classic breads and savory foods of a Swedish smörgåsbord that can be enjoyed for parties and holidays as well as for snacking and small meals. Includes traditional and contemporary Swedish recipes for dishes such as Rye Bread, Chicken Liver Pate, Elderflower Cured Trout, Fresh Cheese, Swedish Deviled Eggs, Buttery Red Cabbage, and infused aquavit liqueurs.

Traditional Swedish Cooking

By Caroline Hofberg

Released: 2014-10-14
Paperback (192 pages)

Traditional Swedish Cooking
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Product Description:
Featuring the flavors and foods native to Sweden, such as fresh dill, venison, lingonberries, caviar, and aged cheeses, Caroline Hofberg presents a mouthwatering collection of modern and classic Swedish dishes. From apple pancakes to baby potato salad with asparagus, from cod with horseradish aioli to lingonberry chutney, every recipe offers a fresh interpretation of Swedish favorites.

Traditional Swedish Cooking includes recipes for:
Dill and chive bread
Barley risotto with crispy bacon
Creamy salmon potato salad
Strawberry elderflower parfait
Root vegetables au gratin
Gingerbread muffins with lingonberries
And so much more
Pulling inspiration from the sea, woods, lakes, and farms, Hofberg shows her true passion for Sweden and Swedish cooking through the simple and entertaining way she prepares new and old classics. Beautiful, full-color photographs will inspire any cook.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Good Books and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of cookbooks, including books on juicing, grilling, baking, frying, home brewing and winemaking, slow cookers, and cast iron cooking. We’ve been successful with books on gluten-free cooking, vegetarian and vegan cooking, paleo, raw foods, and more. Our list includes French cooking, Swedish cooking, Austrian and German cooking, Cajun cooking, as well as books on jerky, canning and preserving, peanut butter, meatballs, oil and vinegar, bone broth, and more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Swedish Cooking

By Sylvia Winnewisser

Hardcover (159 pages)

Swedish Cooking
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Product Description:
Sweden: with its vast tracts of forest, mountains, and jagged rocky coast-line bordering clear blue waters, it is surely among the most beautiful countries on Earth. And as varied, clear and natural as the landscape is also its cuisine.


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