Swedish hash


Pytt i panna (A kind of Swedish hash)

Pyttipanna (Swedish hash) is one of my guilty pleasures: it is the kind of dish I cook when my wife is away and clear up carefully before she gets home. Any kind of fried dish is a bit taboo, but when it is topped with fried eggs it is doubly naughty. Naughty but nice!

Hash is a dish of chopped meat, potatoes and spices that are mixed together and cooked with onions. The name comes from the French verb hacher, to chop. Traditionally it was a way of using up leftovers, but now it has become rather trendy and is served in expensive restaurants.

The Swedish version is called pyttipanna. Although these days it is usually written as one word, originally it was written as three separate words: pytt i panna.  If translated literally pytt i panna means teeny pieces in a pan.

Of course, there are countless versions of it, but all except the vegetarian versions use smoked meat, diced potatoes and onion. Such is the popularity of pyttipanna that nearly every supermarket in Sweden has bags of frozen pyttipanna of different types for quick lazy meals.

A jar of pickled beetroot

Pyttipanna is usually served with inlagda rödbetor (pickled beetroot) and a fried egg or a raw egg yolk sitting in its shell in the middle of the dish. It is the addition of egg and pickled beetroot that really elevates this to something special! John Duxbury


Recipe summary for pyttipanna


• Traditionally the dish is made with leftover cooked potatoes. If you are using uncooked potatoes, increase the cooking time by 10-15 minutes or boil them with their skins on for 15 minutes and then slip their skins off when they are cold.
• It is delicious with diced reindeer salami and smoked chicken.
• Cook in the oven if you are cooking too much for your frying pans. Cook the onions and potatoes in a hot oven for about 20 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients and cooking for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
• In Skåne, in southern Sweden, they often stir in 240 ml (1 cup) whipping cream and a pinch of chopped marjoram just before serving.
• One reader recommends grating some parmesan over the pyttipanna just before serving.


900 g (2 lb) cooked potatoes, peeled
150 g (5 oz) smoked bacon
150 g (5 oz) leftover meat or smoked ham
150 g (5 oz) smoked sausage, such as frankfurters
2   onions
1 tbsp   oil
1 tbsp   butter
1 tsp   fresh thyme, chopped
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp   fresh herbs such as parsley, to garnish
4   eggs


1. Roughly dice the peeled potatoes, bacon, meat and sausage into 1 cm (½”) cubes. Finely chop the onion.

Pototes frying for pyttipanna

2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan or wok on a medium heat. Add the oil and butter and when foaming add the potatoes and onions and fry until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Bacon pieces being fried for pyttipanna

3. Meanwhile, heat a separate pan and when hot add the diced bacon. When the bacon fat starts to run add the meat, smoked sausage and fresh thyme. Fry until everything is golden brown, giving it an occasional stir and adjusting the heat if it looks as if it might burn.

4. When the meat is cooked, add to the potatoes and mix thoroughly. Taste and add seasoning. It will probably need a good pinch of pepper, but may not require any salt as the bacon is fairly salty.

5. Keep warm whilst you fry the eggs or you prepare the egg yolks in their shells.

6. Serve on to hot plates, top with an egg, a side serving of inlagda rödbetor (pickled beetroot) and garnish with fresh herbs.


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John Duxbury
Editor and Founder