Top Fifty Classic Swedish Recipes


Compiling a Top 50 Classic Recipes was fun, but difficult! No two people are likely to agree completely on what should be in the Top 50, but I hope you will approve of most of my choices!

Starters or light meals

There is a wonderful selection of Swedish starters here with an emphasis on fish, but including three Swedelicious (!) soups. When served with some good bread I think they all make tasty light lunches too.

A collage of classic Swedish starters

1. Gubbröra (Eggs with Swedish anchovies)
2. Gravad lax (Gravadlax)
3. Inlagd sill (Pickled herring)
4. Svampsoppa (Wild mushroom soup)
5. Nässelsoppa (Nettle soup)
6. Rårakor med löjrom (Potato cakes with roe)
7. Toast Skagen (Prawns on toast)
8. Västkustsallad (West coast salad)
9. Ärtsoppa (Yellow pea soup)

Fish dishes

A collage of classic Swedish fish dishes

10. Kräftor med dill (Crayfish with dill)
11. Torsk med pepparrot (Cod with horseradish)
12. Stekt strömming (Fried herring)
13. Janssons frestelse (Jansson's temptation)*
14. Stekt rödspätta (Fried plaice)
15. Kall inkokt lax (Cold poached salmon)
16. Laxpudding (Salmon pudding)
17. Västerbottensostpaj (Cheese flan)**

*Janssons frestelse is also often served as a side dish as part of a buffet
**Västerbottensostpaj is included here because it is often served with crayfish and it is an absolute classic that I just had to fit in somewhere!

Meat dishes

A collage of classic Swedish meat dishes

18. Biff à la Lindström (Beef burgers)
19. Sjömansbiff (Sailor's beef stew)
20. Kåldomar (Stuffed cabbage rolls)
21. Julskinka (Christmas ham)
22. Köttbullar (Meatballs)
23. Pyttipanna (Swedish hash)
24. Dillkött (Veal or lamb in dill sauce)
25. Hjorttkött med björnbär (Venison with blackberries)*
26. Wallenbergare (Wallenberg burger)

*Venison with bilberries or wild mushrooms is probably more typically Swedish, but I have included venison with blackberries instead as they are easier for most readers to obtain.

Vegetarian dishes

Unfortunately I didn't think I could include a vegetarian main course in the Top Fifty. Traditionally, Swedes have not eaten a lot of vegetarian food, although that is changing.

Swedish side dishes

Before I went to Sweden I had never had any of these dishes apart from red cabbage. I had never heard of pressed cucumber and never seen cucumber served with hot food! If you too have never tasted these, please give them a try: they are now some of my favourite side dishes!

A collage of classic side dishes

27. Inlagda rödbetor (Pickled beetroot)
28. Kokt rödkål (Red cabbage)
29. Pressgurka (Pressed cucumber)
30. Hasselbackspotatis (Hasselback potatoes)
31. Färskpotatis (New potatoes with dill)
32. Raggmunk (Potato pancakes)

Swedish desserts

Unlike Brits, Swedes are not really big on puddings. One of the first meals I had in a restaurant in Sweden ended with a dessert consisting of one, yes just one, small chocolate ball. It was a nice chocolate ball, but just one left me feeling cheated. Fortunately, since then I have enjoyed some lovely desserts. These are my six real favourites. Apple cake/pie and rhubarb crumble are similar to the British versions, but both are unmistakably different.

A collage of classic Swedish desserts

33. Äppelkaka (Apple cake)
34. Chokladbollar (Chocolate balls)
35. Hjortronparfait (Cloudberry parfait)
36. Rababerpaj (Rhubarb crumble)
37. Nyponsoppa (Rosehip soup)
38. Våfflor (Waffles)

Swedish cakes and biscuits

With fika (a really good coffee and cake break) playing such a major role in Swedish society there are thousands of fabulous recipes for cakes and biscuits to choose from, so I thought coming up with a short list was going to be difficult. In the end it turned out to be very easy because these six are incredibly popular all over Sweden and stood out head and shoulders above all the others.

A collage of some classic Swedish cakes and biscuits

39. Kanelbullar (Cinnamon buns)
40. Pepparkakor (Ginger snaps)
41. Semlor (Lenten buns)
42. Prinsesstårta (Princess cake)
43. Lussekatter (Saffron buns)
44. Jordgubbstårta (Strawberry cake)

Swedish bread

Swedes living in the UK often miss bread from Sweden more than anything else because of the much greater variation in flours used for bread making than in Sweden.

A small collage of 3 classic Swedish breads

45. Rågbröd (Rye bread)
46. Dinkelbröd (Spelt bread)
47. Knäckebröd (Rye crispbread)

Swedish drinks

Easy-peasy: three drinks stand out as being distinctively Swedish and easy to make at home. Homemade snaps is also much cheaper than imported snaps!

A collage of three classic Swedish drinks

48. Fläderblomssaft (Elderflower cordial)
49. Glögg (Mulled wine)
50. Snaps (Snaps)

I hope you enjoy my selection of the Swedish classics. Have fun trying them!

John Duxbury

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