35 Scandinavian Recipes That Would Make Our Grandmas Proud (2024)

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35 Scandinavian Recipes That Would Make Our Grandmas Proud (1)Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDNUpdated: Jan. 31, 2022

    Create memorable meals to pass down in your family or transport yourself to Europe with these old-world Scandinavian recipes from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.


    Finnish Meat Pie

    We enjoy this hearty, traditional meat pie year-round, but especially during hunting season. This is one recipe I'll be sure to pass on to our seven children.— Laurel Skoog, Frazee, Minnesota

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    Finnish Pinwheels

    When my sister was hosting an exchange student from Finland, she served these cookies I'd made to her guest. The young lady instantly recognized what they were. So I know they're still being made in our ancestors' country. —Ilona Barron, Ontonagon, Michigan

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    Swedish Meatballs

    Mom fixed this Swedish meatball recipe for all sorts of family dinners, potluck suppers and PTA meetings. The scent of browning meat is intoxicating. Add to that the sweet smell of onions caramelizing, and everyone’s mouth starts watering. —Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas

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    Danish Pancakes

    I came to North America from Denmark decades ago, and my mother used to make these pancakes for me and my siblings while growing up. Today, my children and grandchildren love these, so I often have to double the recipe.—Lise Thomson, Magrath, Alberta

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    Pan-Seared Salmon with Dill Sauce

    This is one of my husband's favorite recipes. Salmon is a go-to for busy nights because it cooks so quickly and goes with so many different flavors. The creamy dill sauce with cucumber tastes light and fresh. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida

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    Swedish Doughnuts

    One day, my father got a hankering for doughnuts and asked me to make him some. I ended up trying these. Dad—and everyone else—loved the results. They come out so golden and plump. —Lisa Bates, Dunham, Quebec

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    Norwegian Chocolate Chip Cookies

    My best friend, Amber, taught me how to make this classic Norwegian dessert. They are a great mash-up of a sugar and chocolate chip cookie. A pizza cutter is the best tool for cutting into slices after baking. —Bonnie Brien, Surprise, Arizona

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    Danish Crispies

    These crispy treats are like a bread, but more like a cookie! They're a tasty and delicious addition to a breakfast or bunch with coffee. —Martha Nelson, Zumbrota, Minnesota

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    Swedish Apple Pie

    This decadent Swedish apple pie serves up homemade flavor in every bite. This is a perfect snack with coffee or as an after-dinner treat. —Sarah Klier, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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    Scandinavian Pecan Cookies

    We enjoyed these rich, buttery cookies at a bed-and-breakfast in Galena, Illinois, and the hostess was kind enough to share her simple recipe. The pretty nut-topped treats are so special you could give a home-baked batch as a gift. —Laurie Knoke DeKalb, Illinois

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    Creamy Dill Sauce for Salmon

    There's nothing like fresh salmon, and my mom bakes it just right so it nearly melts in your mouth. Plus, the sour cream dill sauce is subtly seasoned with horseradish so that it doesn't overpower the delicate salmon flavor. —Susan Emery, Everett, Washington

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    Creamy Cucumber Salad

    This creamy cucumber salad, a Norwegian favorite, was a staple at all of our family holidays. —Patty LaNoue Stearns, Traverse City, Michigan

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    Swedish Rye Bread

    This recipe came from my mother, and it's long been a family favorite. You can make a meal of it with soup and a salad.

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    Almond Spritz Cookies

    This almond spritz cookies recipe can be left plain or decorated with colored sugar and frosting. In our house, it just wouldn't be Christmas without some cookie press recipes.—Tanya Hart, Muncie, Indiana

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    Swedish Rice Ring

    This recipe, which originated in Sweden, is famous at church suppers with our Minnesota neighbors. It's a delicious addition at family gatherings and parties, too. I usually make a double batch because it's so good! —Lori Jeane Schlecht, Wimbledon, North Dakota

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    Swedish Raspberry Almond Bars

    When I was a single mom with a young daughter and little money, my neighbor brought me a batch of these treats at Christmas. My daughter’s 36 now, and I still make these wonderful bars. —Marina Castle-Kelley, Canyon Country, California

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    Overnight Cherry Danish

    These rolls with their cherry-filled centers melt in your mouth and store well unfrosted in the freezer. —Leann Sauder, Tremont, Illinois

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    Taste of Home

    Danish Julekage

    Cardamom and lots of fruit enliven this unique holiday bread. The recipe was handed down from my grandmother, who came to the United States from Denmark when she was 16 years old.

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    Broiled Cod

    This is the easiest and tastiest fish you'll serve. Even finicky eaters who think they don't like fish will love it because it lacks a fishy taste and is beautiful and flakey. —Kim Russell, North Wales, Pennsylvania

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    Parmesan Baked Cod

    This is a goof-proof way to keep oven-baked cod moist and flavorful. My mom shared this recipe with me years ago and I've loved it ever since. —Mary Jo Hoppe, Pewaukee, Wisconsin

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    Swedish Gingerbread Cookies

    Making Swedish pepparkakor—or gingerbread cookies—is a holiday tradition in our family. I entered these at the Iowa State Fair and took home a blue ribbon.—Kathleen Olesen, Des Moines, IA

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    Creamy Radish Dip

    This Scandinavian dish is one of our favorite spring appetizers. We use homegrown onions and radishes. —Terri Chatfield, Hamilton, Ohio

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    Swedish Creme

    This thick and creamy dessert is my interpretation of my mother’s recipe for Swedish krem. It has just a hint of almond flavor and looks spectacular with bright red berries on top. Serve it in glasses to match the occasion. —Linda Nilsen, Anoka, Minnesota

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    Taste of Home

    Swedish Limpa Bread

    I've entered my bread in several fairs and it has won every time! Orange and anise give it a subtle but wonderful flavor. —Beryl Parrott, Franklin, Manitoba

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    Taste of Home

    Swedish Meatball Soup

    To me, this is a very comforting, filling, homey soup. I especially like cooking it during winter months and serving it with hot rolls, bread or muffins. —Deborah Taylor, Inkom, Idaho

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    Taste of Home

    Crispy Norwegian Bows

    I've been fixing these cookies for so long, I don't recall where the recipe came from. They're a "must" at our house.—Janie Norwood, Albany, Georgia

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    Taste of Home

    Our family took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Norway, where we got to eat incredible shrimp sandwiches like these. The crustier the bread, the better. —Monica Kolva, Millville, New Jersey

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    Taste of Home

    Creamy Seafood Bisque

    This deceptively simple bisque makes a special first course or even a casual meal with a salad or bread. I like to top bowlfuls with shredded Parmesan cheese and green onions. —Wanda Allende, Orlando, Florida

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    Taste of Home

    I love the classic combination of lemon and fish, and this salmon risotto is delicious and easy to throw together at the end of a long day. —Amanda Reed, Nashville, Tennessee

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    Luscious Almond Cheesecake

    I received this recipe along with a set of springform pans from a cousin at my wedding shower 11 years ago. It makes a heavenly cheesecake. My son Tommy has already told me he wants it again for his birthday cake this year. —Brenda Clifford, Overland Park, Kansas

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    Swedish Rose Spritz

    A spritz is a still or sparkling wine-based co*cktail served with a small amount of liqueur and a splash of seltzer or soda.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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    Danish Meatballs with Pan Gravy

    My great-grandmother made these meatballs, and I'm sure her mother must have taught her. Six generations have enjoyed them, and one of my daughters even served them at her wedding. —Kallee Krong-McCreery, Escondido, California

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    Originally Published: August 07, 2018

    35 Scandinavian Recipes That Would Make Our Grandmas Proud (34)

    Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDN

    Wendy Jo is a culinary-trained registered dietitian nutritionist and has published more than 10 books that walk readers through foundational topics like meal prep, using an air fryer, bread making and more. For Taste of Home, Wendy Jo brings her wealth of training to explain the science behind food and how to harness nutrition science for better health outcomes. As the author of the award-winning “Born to Eat: Whole, Healthy Foods from Baby’s First Bite,” Wendy Jo also occasionally covers parent-centric topics like toddler meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    35 Scandinavian Recipes That Would Make Our Grandmas Proud (2024)


    What food is Scandinavia famous for? ›

    Generally, though, this is a hearty cuisine based on fresh, local ingredients. While Scandinavian cuisine comes with plenty of traditional dishes that immediately spring to mind—gravlax, cinnamon buns, waffles, reindeer, and aquavit—there's a sophisticated food movement now in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

    What food did Scandinavians bring to America? ›

    The Scandinavian immigrants brought many food traditions to North Dakota. You might be familiar with foods such as lutefisk, lefse, Swedish meatballs, rømmegrøt, pickled herring, pickled beets, rye bread and a variety of baked goods.

    What is a typical Scandinavian dish? ›

    • Classic Swedish Meatballs (Köttbullar) ...
    • Danish Open-faced Sandwich (Smørrebrød) on Rye Bread. ...
    • Danish Breaded Pork Patties (Krebinetter) ...
    • Norwegian Fish Soup (Fiskesuppe) ...
    • Swedish Pickled Herring (Inlagd Sill) ...
    • Danish Pork Roast (Flæskesteg)

    What are traditional Scandinavian ingredients? ›

    Common varieties include salmon, herring, cod, mackerel, and shrimp. Root Vegetables: Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets are staples in Scandinavian cooking. They are often used in soups, stews, and side dishes.

    What food is unique to Sweden? ›

    Top 20 Traditional Swedish Dishes: Must-Try Flavors of Scandinavian
    • Prinsesstårta.
    • Kanelbullar.
    • Semla.
    • Chokladbollar.
    • Pepparkakor.
    • Lussekatter.
    • Kladdkaka.
    • Pannkakor.

    What is a typical Scandinavian breakfast? ›

    An open-faced sandwich is a very common Scandinavian breakfast. It can be as simple as a piece of rye bread with butter and a slice of cheese, or you can spruce it up a bit with toppings like cucumber, apples, sliced egg, or bell pepper. Chopped chives or dill are never a bad idea.

    What foods did Vikings eat? ›

    Vikings ate hearty meals with meat, dairy, grains, fruit and vegetables to maintain their energy, since their everyday activities included exploring unknown lands and sailing the open waters. In fact, during the Middle Ages, even a poor Viking had a diet that was considerably better than that of an English peasant.

    What did my Scandinavian ancestors eat? ›

    Aside from the vegetarian diet, Scandinavians took full advantage of the rivers, streams, and the sea. Fish from fresh and salt water as well as eels, squid, seals, walruses, and whales were eaten frequently. Seafood could be preserved through drying or fermenting in brine and remained fresh as a staple food.

    What meat do Scandinavians eat? ›

    In Sweden, a mixture of pork and beef is usually prepared, whereas Danes prefer pork and veal. In Norway, there's more regional variation, but beef is popular. In Sweden, meatballs are small – and in Norway, they're big.

    What fruits do Scandinavians eat? ›

    In the forests and plains grow blueberries, wild strawberries, cloudberries, lingonberries, rowanberries, elderberries and many more. Some are eaten fresh with milk or cream, other turned into homemade marmalade, jam or fruit syrup to be savoured during the cold season.

    What is the famous Scandinavian fish dish? ›

    Surströmming is a traditional dish from northern Sweden that arose during the 16th century when Sweden had a salt shortage. Today, the fish has become infamous due to its stinky smell, yet enthusiasts praise surströmming for its great taste.

    What vegetables do Scandinavians eat? ›

    Nordic vegetables are cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, roots and peas. Fish varieties include salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and dried salty cod. Fruits do not grow abundantly in the region; therefore, berries tend to be the primary source of fruit.

    What is the spice in Scandinavia? ›

    In Scandinavian culture, cardamom often represents comfort and home and family and holiday treats–similar to how we in the U.S. view cinnamon, perhaps. (Of course, cinnamon is also of South Asian origin!)

    What is the most popular Scandinavian food? ›

    Think of a smørrebrød as a sort of open sandwich that's one of the most famous and best Scandinavian dishes to try.

    What do Scandinavians drink? ›

    Here is a few to try out!
    • Skåne Akvavit – the Swedish favourite. Aquavit is by definition a very Scandinavian drink. ...
    • Jaloviina is Finnish cut brandy. The story of Jaloviina reflects Finland's contemporary history. ...
    • Salmiakki Koskenkorva. This is one of the most sold liqueurs in Finland.

    What is Scandinavia best known for? ›

    Notable are the Norwegian fjords, the Scandinavian Mountains covering much of Norway and parts of Sweden, the flat, low areas in Denmark and the archipelagos of Finland, Norway and Sweden. Finland and Sweden have many lakes and moraines, legacies of the ice age, which ended about ten millennia ago.

    What are the staple foods in the Scandinavian diet? ›

    The Nordic diet encourages you to eat a lot of whole foods, particularly sourced locally and in season, including:
    • Whole grains, particularly rye, barley and oats.
    • Fruits, especially berries.
    • Vegetables, especially root vegetables like beets, turnips and carrots.
    • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel.
    Nov 18, 2021

    Why is Scandinavian food so good? ›

    Scandinavian cuisine focuses on the food as it comes from the earth rather than doing too much to transform it. There's always plenty of fresh seafood from the waters of the North Atlantic, which becomes inspiration for culinary brilliance. Presentation is a huge focus in Scandinavian dining.


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