Crayfish parties


Freshwater crayfish cooked the Swedish way

Crayfish parties are one of the highlights of the Swedish calendar. Every August Swedes go crazy putting on silly hats, hanging paper lanterns, eating lots of fresh water crayfish, drinking beer and snaps and singing increasingly silly songs.

A crayfish party, called a kräftfest or a kräftskiva (the plural is kräftskivor). It is an event enjoyed by people of all ages and virtually every Swedes attends at least one kräftskiva every year. It should be held outside, but often rain or pesky mosquitoes lead people to abandon the idyllic setting for indoor comfort.

Up until 1994 it was forbidden to fish for crayfish until the first Wednesday in August, whereupon Swedes would celebrate the "crayfish première" by throwing a party. Since these days most crayfish are imported, the law has been abolished, but many people still celebrate on this date although there are many Swedes who hold crayfish parties from the 1st August onwards, or even earlier.

The crayfish are cooked in dark beer flavoured with dill, salt and sugar. Most Swedes buy them already cooked and then frozen. (IKEA sell boxes of frozen cooked crayfish, hats and lanterns.) Swedes normally assume that a 1 kg box of frozen crayfish will feed two people, but I normally find that one box will be sufficient for about 3 people. Allow a couple of days for the boxes to defrost in the fridge. (If they are defrosted faster, at room temperature, they dont taste as good.)

There is not much eating even in a big dish of crayfish, so Swedes fill up with a cheese pie, potatoes, bread and a range of tasty salads and follow this up with fresh strawberries or a fruit pie with vanilla sauce. More

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John DuxburyThank you for visiting our site, set up to help English speakers around the world who would like to learn more about Swedish food.

All our recipes have been tried and tasted, include a clear summary, list ingredients in British and American units and include a photograph of the finished dish.

Happy cooking! John Duxbury

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Recipe sources

 A collection of Swedish recipe boooks

Most of the recipes on this site have been adapted from my collection of Swedish cookery books. Where a single source has been used that is acknowledged in the introduction, but in most cases I have fused together several recipes.

For all husmanskost recipes (traditional Swedish cuisine) I always start by consulting the Co-op's Vår Kokbok (Sweden's most popular cookery book) and Per Morberg's excellent Morberg lagar husmanskost.

I have a long list of traditional recipes that I want to add to the site once I have finished testing them. If there are any recipes that you would like me to prioritise please let me know!

Many of the modern Swedish recipes, especially the salads, have been adapted from Mat Magasinet (The Food Magazine) edited by Maud Onnermark. It is an excellent magazine that I look forward to reading each month. (You can read an online version if you click here.)


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Gooseberry tart


Gooseberry and almond tart

Gooseberries grow well in Sweden and have been cultivated there since at least the 1500s. Although they did fall out of fashion, gooseberries are now making a bit of a come-back, justifiably so because they can be used to create delicious desserts.

The case for this tart uses rolled (porridge) oats to create a slightly rustic texture, which contrasts well with the gooseberry compote filling. The tart is then finished off with some gorgeous sweet (ideally red) gooseberries and a few flakes (slivers) of almonds. Serve warm with fläderblomsglass (elderflower ice cream) or cold with whipped cream. More…

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Cardamom Cake


A Swedish style cardamom cake with a cup of coffee for fika

Kardemummakaka  (cardamom cake) is moist and aromatic and is best enjoyed simply with a cup of good coffee and the company of friends. In other words, it is perfect for fika! I like to bake it in a fancy Bundt pan, but it can also be baked in a round tin or a loaf tin if you prefer. More…

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Cherry compote


Homemade cherry compote with vanilla

At this time of year I normally make over 10 kg of körbärskompott (cherry compote), often lightly spiced with vanilla. It tastes so much fruitier than most shop-bought versions and it tastes really good when stirred into porridge or yoghurt or used with some whipped cream as a topping for våfflor (waffles) or pannkakor (pancakes). More…

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Cheese pie


Swedish cheese pie

Västerbottensostpaj (cheese pie) is an essential accompaniment to crayfish. It really should be made with Västerbottensost, obtainable from specialist shops, online (try or some branches of Waitrose in the UK. (Västerbottensost contains sodium nitrate and is therefore banned from sale in the USA, so try Scandic Priest Cheese XO instead as it is widely available.) If you can't get Västerbottensost or Scandic Priest use another hard Swedish cheese or a mature (sharp) cheddar instead. (Often the pie has chanterelle (girolle) mushrooms or cherry tomatoes added.) More…

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Pickled beetroot

Inlagda rödbetor

A jar of homemade pickled beetroot

With a very harsh climate Swedes had to learn to preserve foods to see them through their long hard winters. Although this is no longer necessary, the Swedes have developed a great affection for the old fashioned ways of preserving, including pickling. Beetroots are particularly sweet and benefit from being paired with something acidic, which is why Swedes have a long tradition of pickling them. More…

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Potato pancakes with prawns in a creamy dill sauce

Rårakor med krämig räkröra

Pot pancakes topped with prawns in a creamy dill sauce

This is combines two of my Swedish dishes: rårakor and räkröra! Rårakor are thin lacy potato pancakes and here they are topped with räkröra (prawns in a creamy dill sauce).

Räkröra, also called skagenröra, is made by adding prawns (shrimps) and dill to a mayonnaise and gräddfil (a bit like soured cream) mixture, but here I've used crème fraîche in place of the mayonnaise and gräddfil. It makes a lovely starter to serve six people or a nice lunch for two.

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Rice à la Malta

Ris à la Malta

Rice à la Malta, a popular pudding served at Christmas in Sweden

Rice à la Malta is a popular pudding normally served at Christmas in Sweden, but I believe it is so good it deserves more than a once-a-year outing! It is a creamy cinnamon-flavoured pudding which is served cold, topped with candied orange peel and surrounded by a lukewarm raspberry sauce. It is easy to make, although the orange rind needs soaking for 3 or 4 days, so you need to plan ahead! More…


Cloudberry ice cream


Cloudberry ice cream in a tub

Cloudberry is probably my favourite ice cream flavour! Fortunately it is easy to make and uses hjortronsylt (cloudberry jam) which is available from IKEA, specialist shops and online. More… 

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Thin rye crispbread

Tunt knäckebröd

Swedish style thin rye crispbread

Knäckebröd (crispbread) is served always served with a meal in Sweden, so every Swedish supermarket has a wide selection of different types of knäckebröd. Most are made using rye flour and spices, but the thickness varies a lot.

Although you can buy very good knäckebröd outside of Sweden it is worth making the effort to bake some yourself as they always taste a bit special when homemade, especially tunt knäckebrödMore…


Top 20 Recipes

Top 20 Recept

Top 20 recipes from during 2017

Köttbullar (meat balls) was our most recipe during 2017, taking the top spot back from kanelbullar (cinammon buns). Cholkladbollar (chocolate balls) remains in third place. Surdegskultur (sourdough starter), lussekatter (Lucia saffron buns) and a klassik rödbetssallad (classic beetroot salad) get into the Top 20 for the first time. For details of all our Top 20 Recipes click here

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2018 Calendar

2018 Almanacka

Calendar 2017 574

For a calendar of the main festivals and food events in Sweden to look forward to during 2018 click here.


Distinctive features of Swedish food

Swedish food has seven key distinctive features

Swedish food has a growing reputation across the world. For instance, Jamie Oliver described Swedish food as "Big, bold, brave and definitely up there with the best in the world". But what makes Swedish food distinctive? Check-out our guide…

A collage of our Top 50 classic SSwedish recipes

We have compiled a list of what we consider to be our Top 50 Classic Recipes. No two people are likely to agree completely on what should be included, but we hope you will approve of most of our choices!

Cover for Swedishfoodpedia page

I am are gradually producing a Swedishfoodpedia. Essentially this is a series of articles about food related events in Sweden and Swedish ingredients, especially those that might not be familiar to most readers. I have already assembled articles on many topics including:

cloudberries (wonderful golden berries that grow in the north of Sweden),
fika (a "proper" Swedish coffee break),
• lingon (lingonberries, an essential accompaniment to many Swedish dishes),
surströmming (stinky fermented herring),
Västerbottensost (the king of Swedish cheeses),

Many other articles are in the pipeline, but if there is anything you would like to know more about please let me know. To read existing articles click here.

Sweden's news in English

Logo for the Local in conjunction with Swedish Food dot com

For Sweden's news in English visit The site is updated 24/7 and has more than 4 million readers worldwide. If you hit the 'Register' button on their website they will send you a weekly newsletter summarising the week's Swedish news as well as links to various features. Take me to

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Editor and Founder