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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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Swedish Cakes and Cookies

Released: 2008-06-17
Hardcover (192 pages)

Swedish Cakes and Cookies
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Product Description:
Swedish Cakes and Cookies has become a modern classic since it was first published in 1945. Modernized and improved over the years, today's full-color edition, with beautiful photographs of each recipe, contains nearly 300 recipes. Some, such as Berry Muffins, Coconut Macaroons, Linzer Torte, and Jelly Doughnuts, may be familiar, while others, such as German Lemon Cake, Almond Meringues, Truffle Tarts, and Toffee Crunch Torte, are deliciously unique. Gluten-free, egg-free, and sugar-free recipes ensure that this book is accessible to all dessert lovers. Beginners and experts will be reminded that baking is both easy and enjoyable when they read the practical advice and step-by-step instructions in each section. Swedish Cakes and Cookies is an essential resource for any home baker, and for anyone who loves to meet with friends for coffee and cake.

Bread on the Table: Recipes for Making and Enjoying Europe's Most Beloved Breads [A Baking Book]

By David Norman

Ten Speed Press
Released: 2019-10-22
Hardcover (256 pages)

Bread on the Table: Recipes for Making and Enjoying Europe s Most Beloved Breads [A Baking Book]
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Product Description:
The debut cookbook from cult favorite Austin bakery and beer garden Easy Tiger, featuring recipes from author David Norman's time spent exploring bread traditions throughout Europe and North America, plus menu ideas for incorporating homemade bread into everyday meals.


In this highly anticipated cookbook, culinary instructor and baker David Norman explores the European breadmaking traditions that inspire him most--from the rye breads of France to the saltless ciabattas of Italy to the traditional Christmas loaves of Scandinavia. Norman also offers recipes for traditional foods to accompany these regional specialties, so home bakers can showcase their freshly made breads alongside a traditional Swedish breakfast spread, oysters with mignonette, or country pâté, to name a few examples. With rigorous, detailed instructions plus showstopping photography, this book will surprise and delight bakers of all stripes.

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.

The New Nordic: Recipes from a Scandinavian Kitchen

By Simon Bajada

Hardie Grant
Released: 2015-05-05
Hardcover (264 pages)

The New Nordic: Recipes from a Scandinavian Kitchen
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Product Description:
Filled with dishes that typify the food of this vast geographical region, this book takes its influence from the traditional ingredients that can be found from Sweden to Finland, Denmark to Norway, and transforms them into modern everyday recipes that are hugely popular throughout Nordic homes. Split into nine chapters, The New Nordic is based on different food groups including ingredients found ‘from the forest,’ ‘from the sea,’ ‘from the land,’ and ‘in the larder,’ along with a ‘basics’ chapter that demystifies classic Scandinavian cooking techniques such as pickling and smoking food. Discover the flavours of true Scandinavian cuisine with the delicious beetroot carpaccio with goat’s cheese and minted pea relish; move on to grander feasts such as flaked salmon burgers with mayonnaise, pickled cucumber and fresh horseradish or beef with spiced wine sauce, kale and turnip; not forgetting the classics such as Swedish meatballs, Danish smorrebrod, pickled herrings and gooey cinnamon buns. The New Nordic comes complete with a glossary and listing of typical seasonal Nordic ingredients. Matched with stunning location photography, this gorgeous cookbook is a feast for all the senses.

Swedish Recipes

Brand: G n R Publishing
Spiral-bound (158 pages)

Swedish Recipes
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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!

Superbly Swedish: Recipes and Traditions

By Martha Wiberg-Thompson

Brand: Penfield Pr
Paperback (88 pages)

Superbly Swedish: Recipes and Traditions
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Highlights of Swedish-American culture, including recipes from Swedish-American cooks and information about cultural traditions and history.


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