When it comes to Sweden, everybody would think about simple and clean-lined furniture.
And when it comes to Swedish food, the first thing that comes to mind would probably be the famous Swedish meatballs or kottbullar doused in yummy lingonberry sauce.
But that’s not all.
The Swedes are also well known for their beautiful seafood, simple pea soup, and their smorgasbord spread. From their famous fish casserole, Janssons frestelse that’s eaten during Christmas celebration, to their crayfish party, even to their semi-palatable fermented or pickled herring called Surstromming.
In this list, we have prepared 73 top food and drinks that you must try. A comprehensive list where you get to know all the Swedish main courses, desserts, pastries, treats and beverages that you need to know.
So be it hosting a party and making Swedish snacks yourself with online recipes, going to a Swedish restaurant near you, or visiting Stockholm; you get to choose how to enjoy them.
It might be overwhelming looking at the wide varieties that Swedish cuisine has, but never fear because we’re here to guide you on which dish to pick.
Look through our list as you decide what you’re ordering (or making) tomorrow!
The Swedish dried pea soup is a warm, fulfilling soup that is traditionally made on Thursdays. It’s served with mustard and pancakes. This soup is often served to crowds during gatherings and events.
The classic dish is made with dried peas, salted pork belly, celery, onions, and spices. Quite simple to make, you’re recommended to try this one at home!
Using jams and fruits as companions for their dishes are common for Sweden as you see in their Swedish meatballs. Blabarspalt is dumplings with blueberries. This dish is sweet and savory, as the blueberry on the sides gives it a fresher taste.
Blodpalt is a traditional dish that’s still served in the northern part of Sweden. It’s mostly a blood cake made into dumplings. The blood is said to give it more nutritious content to the meal by providing iron.
Traditionally Blodpalt is made with reindeer blood and served just as dumplings or soup. It’s usually eaten with unsmoked bacon during the winter months.
Blodpuding is a dish made with pork blood, milk, rye, beer, syrup, onions, and spices. The batter is then poured into molds and cooked inside an oven or a water bath.
You may cringe at the thought of eating blood pudding, but it has high nutritious content and provides energy during winter months. So let’s grab that lingon juice and eat some blodpudding!
Blood sausage is, similar to blood pudding, made of beef or pork blood, flour, onion, and salt. The dish is famous in southern parts in Sweden, as well as Norway. In addition to the same ingredients as in Blodpudding, Blodkorv also has ice flakes and raisins in it.
6. Bruna bonor och flask
This dish is a classical Swedish dish, with brown beans stewed with pork. This dish is typically served on Shrove Tuesdays. Flavorful and filling, it’s also simple enough for you to try at home!
Falukorv is a Swedish sausage made from pork, beef or veal that’s combined with potato flour, onion, salt, and spices. This dish dated back to the 16th and 17th century when they would use leftover meat for sausages.
You can have Falukorv several ways, with potatoes, macaroni, brown beans, or even had it au gratin and baked with cheese and mustard. Another specialty is Korv Stroganoff, where they replaced beef with Falukorv in beef stroganoff.
Fiskbullar is fish balls in Sweden, similar to the ones you have in Asia. It is made with fish paste; they usually come in metal cans or plastic container in brine. Fiskbullar is commercially manufactured, so you can get some from the market and serve it with mashed potatoes or rice.
We already know that korv is sausage, and this one is a Swedish pork sausage. The sausage is made entirely out of pork and sold raw. Flaskkorv is often served during Christmas and eaten with mashed potatoes, carrots and rutabagas.
Flaskpannkaka or pork pancake is a phenomenal classic that’s popular in Sweden. The pancake is filled with salty pork or bacon which gives it an interesting texture when chewed. This dish is a perfect delicacy for a sumptuous breakfast.
11. Flygande Jakob
Flying Jacob is a Swedish casserole consists of chicken, cream, chili sauce, bananas, roasted peanuts, and bacon. The name itself comes from the inventor, Ove Jacobsson who worked in the air freight industry.
Although you might be confused with the ingredients, it’s a Swedish staple and is considered a favorite comfort food. It’s easy to make and has a long shelf life. You might be surprised with how quickly you finish your plate of Flying Jacob.
Gravlax is a Nordic dish, consists of raw salmon, cured in salt, sugar, and dill. It’s served as a companion to bread or boiled potatoes. Just like other fermented dishes, Gravlax was made to prolong the shelf life of salmon during winter months.
The curing process of the salmon takes about 12 hours to a few days, and the brine is sometimes used as part of the sauce. Nutritious and healthy, Gravlax is often eaten on rye bread.
Another one of semi-palatable Swedish snack, Gristoffer is boiled pig’s feet. Simmered for three hours with salt, bay leaves, and white peppercorns, Gristoffer is served with pickled beet and vinegar.
This could be another fun challenge you can surprise your friends at parties!
14. Inkokt lax
Inkokt lax is a refreshing light dish, served during summer days and perfect for picnics. It’s poached salmon with condiments such as lemon yogurt sauce and capered sour cream.
The recipe is quite easy, and the ingredients are readily available. You’re encouraged to try and make this dish at home. Not just tasty and fresh, this dish is healthy as well!
15. Inlagd sill
A traditional way of preserving herring, Inlagd sill is Swedish pickled herring cured using a two-step process. The first step is it’s cured with salt to extract the water, and then it’s dunked inside a brine with spices.
It remains a favorite food in the Scandinavian countries, as it’s become a staple during Christmas time. Pickled herring is also an excellent source of vitamins D3 and B12. Have it with sour cream, chives, potatoes, and eggs – just like the Swedes.
Isterband is a coarsely ground, lightly smoked sausage made from pork, barley, and potatoes. It has many different varieties, such as Smalanska Isterband from Smaland region, Syrliga Isterband with a sour taste and Lattisterband that has a lower calorie count. Served with creamed potatoes and pickled beetroot, Isterband is flavorful and filling.
17. Janssons frestelse
One of the most well-known dishes in Swedish cuisines, it’s a traditional casserole made of potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, crumbs, and cream. You can always see Janssons frestelse being served during Christmas and Easter.
Legend has it it was named after an opera singer called Pelle Janzon who was a gourmand. The unique flavor Janssons frestelse comes from the pickled sprats, which is a forage fish with high nutritional value. This dish is a unique experience, and a must-have when you visit Sweden.
Kaldolmar is a Swedish cabbage roll, filled with minced pork and rice. They’re usually eaten with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam. They’re also popular in Finland and Denmark.
Kaldolmar is considered as a variety of dolma, which is a cabbage roll dish from Eastern Mediterranean countries. It was initially made because people couldn’t afford vine leaves, so they used cabbage instead.
Very popular and well known, in Sweden, they even have “Kaldolmens Dag” or Cabbage Roll day on November 30th. Make sure you have a taste if you ever visit Sweden.
Kalops comes from the English word “collops” meaning slices of beef. It’s a well known and beloved dish that’s already 200 years old. Kalops is a traditional stew made with vegetable and spices with a distinct flavor.
It’s a simple dish with easy preparation and the perfect companion during cold winter months. The pickled beets give it a Scandinavian twist and a kick in the flavor.
If you’ve ever been to a Swedish restaurant, chances are you’ve already tasted this dish. Kottbullar is the classic Swedish meatball made with mixed minced meat, bread crumbs, and cream.
If made properly, the meatballs would be fluffy and soft – juicy on the inside. It’s effortless to prepare and can be made at home. Just make sure you have spare lingonberry jam in your cupboard.
21. Kottsoppa med klimp
This is a classic Swedish meat soup with vegetables and mushroom clams that are sometimes served with dumplings. It consists of several root vegetables like potatoes, carrot as well as a leek.
The meat soup is flavored with coarse ground and few libbsticka leaves or rosemary. It’s perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather.
Kraftskiva or Crayfish party, is a celebration in the summer months of Nordic countries. It was originally held in Sweden, and spreaded to Finland, Lithuania and Latvia.
It’s generally held in August, during the months of crayfish harvest. The crayfish are boiled in salt water and seasoned with fresh dill. If you’re planning to join the festivities, don’t forget to suck the juice of the crayfish first as it’s customary to do so!
Kroppkakor or Body-cake is a Swedish dumpling made with potatoes, onion, and bacon. It’s mainly eaten in southern Sweden and served with buttercream and lingonberry jam.
It can also be made with eels, herring and smoked goose breast. But the most common filling is bacon and onion. Spices are heavily used giving it a kick to your palate.
Leverpalt is a form of traditional Swedish dumplings made with frozen liver, potatoes and flour. The dumplings are boiled and served dry with lingonberry jam and butter with a side of fried bacon. Leverpalt is quite nutritious thanks to the iron in the frozen liver and is a staple during winter months.
Lutfisk is a traditional Nordic dish, also popular in Norway and Finland. It’s made from aged whitefish and lye, Lutfisk has a gelatinous texture and has a mild taste. The aging proMeant to use the preserved fish, it is often consumed during cold days.
Lutfisk is consumed with boiled potatoes, peas and white sauce. Although made from aged fish, the dish itself has a mild taste; which is why the white sauce is heavily spiced to give it more flavor.
If you live in the US, you probably can get lutfisk in your local supermarket as Americans consume more Lutfisk than people living in Scandinavian countries. Madison, Minnesota is even called the Lutfisk capital of the world!
Paltbrod or blood bread is a dish made of bread baked with blood and dries. It’s usually served with fried pork and white sauce. Initially from Vastergotland, and the white sauce was taken from the french recipe of bechamel sauce.
Paltbrod is baked as thick cakes or thin bread and then dried for longer shelf life. It’s originally made for service people; this explains the need to preserve it.
Pannkakor is a classic Scandinavian dish that’s served in schools on Thursdays with pea soup as dessert. The pancakes are thinner and similar to crepes, light and delicate. The difference is they add seltzer which gives it a bubbly surface.
You can try making this at home and add lingonberry jam with whipped cream!
Pitepalt in a traditional meal from the city of Pitea. Mostly made with potatoes and barley flour. Some recipes also call for onions and blood – which gives it a darker color. The dish is traditionally eaten with butter and lingonberry jam.
Another rendition of Swedish style pancake, Plattar is a breakfast favorite for locals. It takes longer to fry, making the exterior crispy and delicate. Plattar is made with regular pancake batter – eggs, milk, flour, butter, and sugar. But it’s thinner and crispier in texture. Eat it with lingonberry jam and whipped cream to get the Swedish effect.
Polsa is a traditional northern Swedish dish made out of liver, heart, onion, pot barley and minced meat. Usually served with potatoes, pickled beetroot or fried eggs. Although not for the faint-hearted, Polsa is said to be very nutritious and filling for the winter months.
Prinskorv’s direct translation is “prince sausage,” and it’s aptly named as it’s a smaller Swedish sausage sold in links. The dish is fried in a frying pan and served with a lot of mustard. During Christmas time you’ll see Prinskorv everywhere in the butcher shop because it’s one of the traditional holiday feast meal.
The sausage is made from spiced pork and veal stuffed in sheep casings. Aside from being a Christmas celebration meal, Prinskorv is also eaten during midsummer parties and is enjoyed with pickled herring, crackers, and salad.
Pyttipanna is actually “small pieces in a pan”; it’s a hodgepodge of food mixed. It’s also well known in Denmark, Norway, and Finland. This dish consists of potatoes, onions, minced meat, ham or meatballs; together with pickled vegetables and a fried egg.
Pyttipanna is usually made with leftover food from dinner, but you can also get it frozen from any supermarket. You can also try making it at home because the recipe is quite simple. It’s the perfect dish when you’re in a rush.
Raggmunk is a potato pancake served with fried pork and lingonberries. The pancakes are thinner and crispier compared to traditional pancake and can be easily made at home. Just be sure to use old potatoes that have the starch to get the right texture, and also that you have a stock of lingonberries at home.
34. Rotmos med flask
Another one of favorite Swedish home cooking, Rotmos med flask is root vegetables with pork chops. All you need is to boil and mash the potatoes and carrots then serve it with boneless pork chops. This dish is simple enough to prepare at home.
Sillsallad is a salad mixed with favorite Swedish fish – herring. It consists of salty fillets, pickled beets, potatoes, onion, mayonnaise, and whipped cream. They have a variant called Rosoll in Finland which is a vegetarian version without the herring.
Unique and aesthetically beautiful, Smorgastarta is a one of a kind delicious cake. It’s similar to a sandwich but with a hefty amount of filling and garnish just like a layered cream cake.
Smorgastarta is usually made up of several layers of bread, and the fillings vary from liver, olives, shrimp, ham, cold cuts, caviar, tomato, salmon, and cheese. It’s served cold and cut just like you would a birthday cake.
37. Stekt flask med loksas och potatis
This is one classic Swedish home cooking. The direct translation is roast pork with onion sauce and potatoes. Salty pork accompanied by creamy onion sauce and filling potatoes are a surprisingly good combo. Throw in some lingonberry jam, and you’ve got yourself a Swedish meal.
38. Stekt stromming
Herring is very commonly used in Sweden meals, and Stekt stromming or fried herring is just one of the ways they enjoy it. Herring helps the west coast Swedish population to survive as it’s plentiful and cheap.
The Swedes usually use Baltic herring which is smaller in size. Herring is caught just before they spawn, so it’s full and fat. You can try making this one at home only by marinating the fish, coat it with flour and then frying them.
This one is famously used as a challenge or dare that you give your friends. Surstomming is a sour herring – lightly salted and fermented. The herring that’s used for this dish are caught just before spawning.
The fermentation process takes at least six months, giving it a strong smell with acidic taste. A newly opened can of Surstromming was said to have the most putrid smell in the world.
Surstromming surely had strong reactions from the public – with several airlines banning it from their flight, and a German landlord even evicted someone for spilling Surstromming in their apartment.
Available in supermarkets for you to buy, you should at least give Surstromming a try just for the fun of it.
Sylta is a traditional Swedish meat jelly often served during Christmas. People usually have it with other meats like ham and sausages, topped with mustard.
The dish is made with finely chopped pork from boiled pig head and mixed with gelatin then chilled. Although you might find it weird at first, the meat is soft and easily pulled apart making it a pleasure to eat.
Wallenbergare is a veal burger, which according to legend was named after Wallenberg, who was the forefather of the largest industrial family in Sweden. The dish consists of ground veal, cream, egg yolks, and breadcrumbs.
Truly luxurious, you can try making this dish with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. You won’t be disappointed with its delicate and velvety texture!
Aggost comes from the Bohuslan province in the western coast of Sweden. Its literal translation is “egg cheese.” It’s traditionally served during weddings, funerals or christening. The texture is firm, and the taste is sweet, it can be served with jams, and garnished with sugar and cinnamon.
43. Gotlandsk saffranspannkaka
This dish is a saffron pancake that’s eaten lukewarm or cold. The cake is served with berries, and whipped cream originated from the island of Gotland.
With saffron and ginger nuts, these pancakes have a flavor that is slightly different compared to others. It’s very famous in Gotland and is considered a tourist attraction.
This dish is something you make when you are short on time or money — basically a porridge that is flavored with jam. You can easily make this at home with just water semolina and jam. Serve with milk, and there you have it, Klappgrot!
Ost in Swedish means cheese and Kaka means cake. You read that right; it’s cheesecake! But then, some say that cheesecake is more of a layered cake and thus different from Ostkaka.
The traditional Ostkaka is slightly firm and subtle, with a hint of almonds. It’s usually eaten with jams and fruits. Ostkaka is served lukewarm, so it reaches the ultimate consistency and flavor profile.
Ostkaka is so popular; they even have a National day of Ostkaka on November 14!
As the name suggests, it’s a Swedish version of a pancake. In Sweden, it’s traditionally eaten as dessert for pea soup on Thursdays. It’s served with jam and whipped cream.
It has several different varieties, such as thick oven pancake, pork cookie pancake, saffron pancake, or fermented pancakes. We recommend you to be more adventurous and try the saffron pancake, that’s made from luxurious saffron and chopped sweetbread.
Smordegspaj is a dessert lamb pie that is served with tomatoes. It uses a pastry dough that is baked before topped with lamb, creme fraiche and cheese. Filling and refreshing, it’s an excellent dish to enjoy on a summer’s day.
Smulpaj is similar to pies, except that it has no shell and the filling is added right to the pie after greasing it. It’s commonly made with apples, rhubarb, or bilberries and served with whipped or ice cream.
A local dessert from the southern part of Sweden, it‘s aptly named “cake on a spit.” With its exciting shapes, you can’t help but wonder how it tastes.
The cake itself is made out of eggs, potato flour and sugar. It’s often wrapped up in plastic to preserve the crispiness. The sizes can range from just several inches to a few feet. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the highest one stood at 3.6 m high.
Universally loved, Vafflor was said to date back into the 1600s. These Swedish waffles are served with jam, fruit, whipped cream or ice cream. They differ from Belgium waffles in that they’re a lot thinner and similar to pancakes.
You can have it soft (aggvafflor) or crispy (frasvafflor). So you can choose whether you like softer ones or lighter vafflor!
Arraksboll is an adult version of Chokladboll – which will be explained later if you keep reading. If Chokladboll has coffee in it, Arraksboll has Arrak. Arrak is a drink which has an alcohol content that can go up to about 40%.
They are made with oats, sugar, butter, salt, cocoa powder, and arrack. Very easy to make, but the challenge is to acquire the Arrak which can be substituted with Amaretto if you want. The taste is rich and sweet – very decadent.
Biskvi is a cookie with almond macaroon base, chocolate buttercream filling, and chocolate shell. Incredibly rich, it’s so good it tastes sinful. The key here is the use of almond paste to give the cookie a unique nutty flavor instead of just plain chocolate.
Budapestbakelse is a famous cake that is usually eaten as a companion to coffee. It’s a hazelnut meringue roulade filled with whipped cream and peeled clementine. Decadent and fluffy, the Budapest Cake is worth the diet cheat if you ever visit Stockholm.
As mentioned earlier, Chokladboll is the non-alcoholic version of Arraksboll. This one is even easier to make and kid-friendly. You can search for a recipe online and make this one with the little ones at home! It will be their favorite recipe soon.
Kanelbullar is twisted cinnamon rolls that’s beautiful and has an elaborated twisted knot. They’re infused with cardamom and are best consumed right after baked.
Tender and unusual, it’s comforting that you can make this yourself. The ingredients are easy to get and readily available for you anywhere. Be sure to up your pastry-handling skills to nail the intricate knots!
Kladdkaka is a sticky chocolate cake that’s awesome to have with coffee and whipped cream. It has a crispy and gooey crust, with a moist interior. Let it cool a bit so that it won’t be too runny.
Kringla is a pastry which is a variety of pretzel, can be made sweet or salty but all with the same trademark shape. It means a ring or circle, and can be found in Denmark, Norway, Germany, Finland, and Netherland aside from Sweden.
You can have it sweet, sprinkled with raisins or marzipan, or salty spiced with caraway seeds.
Also known as the thousand layer cake, this complicated pastry is one you should try when you visit Sweden. You can also find this cake in France, Italy, and Finland.
Very hard to assemble, it’s best to leave it to the expert to make this cake. It’s formed from many thin layers of pastry with cream and filling in between the layers. It’s said to have between 729 to 2048 thin layers in one cake alone!
This Swedish layer cake is fun and bright, very appropriate for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries! It’s a layered sponge cake, with jam and custard in between.
The crowning glory of this cake is the colorful marzipan that encloses the cake and gives it a royal look. Challenge yourself and try making it for your next dinner party!
Also known as Punsch roll, this is a small cylindrical Swedish pastry covered in green marzipan and dipped in chocolate. The name comes from the fact that it’s flavored with punsch liqueur.
Toscakaka is a traditional Swedish cake with a nutty flavor with almonds and caramels as toppings. The cake is dubbed as one of the most popular and commonly served in Sweden. And you can see why after you taste it.
The light and fluffy sponge makes an interesting contrast to the crunchy almonds and caramels. Very rich and decadent, you should take your time eating this cake.
Wienerbrod is a pastry braid, flaky and crisp in texture. It’s a pretty complicated pastry to make as it requires you to fold and butter numerous times to get the dough right. But the result is worth it.
We recommend you visit a local Swedish or Danish bakery and try one!
Sweden is also famous for their sweet treats which you can enjoy as a snack. Ischoklad was originated in Germany but is now also popular in Sweden. Direct translation means “Ice Chocolate,” and it’s traditionally served during Christmas time.
It’s made with Chocolate and coconut oil, which is then had as a candy. It gets its name because the melt in your mouth feel the coconut oil gives. This snack is satisfying and nutty, and best of all you can make your own at home.
Another Christmas snack, Knack is a Swedish caramel toffee. Some even say that it’s Sweden’s favorite Christmas treat.
The texture can differ from one traditional recipe to another, but the taste is the same. The citrus fruits and Baileys that are added to the mixture gives Knack a delicious, satisfying flavor.
The recipe calls for a long list of ingredients, and it’s a little tricky to get the right temperature for your toffee. So it’s best if you buy this from the shop or get them online.
Lussekatt is a traditional saffron bun that you can find in Sweden, Norway, and Britain. It’s a spiced-yeast leavened sweet bun which means it’s fluffy and flavorful. Lussekatt is a great treat when you have tea.
In Britain, Lussekatt is made with cinnamon and nutmeg, but in Sweden, raisins are used instead. The traditional shape for this bun is S-shape, and it’s traditionally eaten during Advent.
You might be a little disappointed to know that most vendors use dyes to enhance the color instead of saffron. This is due to the very high cost of saffron.
Marmelad is a jam in Swedish, and it’s quite simple to make. The most favorite one is raspberry marmelad, which is cultivated all over Sweden.
Raspberry marmelad has a more pronounced flavor compared to strawberry jam so that you can use it sparingly. Another popular marmelad is Lingonberry, which is used in many Swedish dishes as a companion.
Pepparkaka is a Swedish gingerbread cookie. The name comes from the Middle Ages, as it was commonly made with pepper back then. But nowadays, Pepparkaka has no pepper and instead uses ginger.
Pepparkaka can be made hard and soft, depends on your preference. Similar to gingerbread, these cookies are served during Christmas time as well.
Semla is hugely popular in Sweden during winter time. A quick look on the display of bakeries, and you can see Semla all over them. Semla is a small bun, filled with almond paste and whipped cream.
If you get the chance to visit Sweden during Christmas time, you’d be pleasantly surprised at how much the local bakeries play around with original Semla recipe. From Nutella filled to fun shapes – don’t forget to taste them when you’re there!
We’re venturing into traditional Swedish drinks now. Starting with Filmjolk, it’s a traditional milk drink that is fermented with a unique blend of bacterial culture which makes it thicker than your usual milk.
They sell the starter culture online and specialty stores, so if you’re up for it you can make your batch at home. Drink it plain or add fruit or jam, or with muesli.
Glogg is a simmered red wine, mixed with sugar citrus peel and spices. They usually use cinnamon, cloves or ginger as the warming spice.
Some versions add in more alcohols like vodka or brandy, but if you’re into a non-alcoholic version of the drink, switch the wine to fruit juice. This is another one of Swedish drink that you can make at home.
As you might’ve guessed, Punsch means punch in Swedish. It’s made from Asian distilled red rice, Arak, that’s mixed with lemon, clove, cardamom and tea leaves.
This one can be served warm or cold according to your preference. It might be a little challenging to find the Arrack, but you’ll be able to purchase it with a bit of search online.
Saft is a concentrated syrup made from blackcurrant, redcurrants, lingonberries or elderflowers. The flavor is entirely up to you. You can use all types of berries to make this.
All you need to do to is mix it with sugar and water then let it simmer. You can enjoy saft by diluting it with water or soda before drinking.
The tart and sweet flavor are refreshing, and not to mention the antioxidants that come with the berries.
This is a fun drink, just as fun as its name. Snaps is a spice-induced vodka – traditionally served during festivals and celebrations.
Use a Swedish brand vodka and infuse it with aniseed, fennel and caraway seeds for a week. Put in a little bit of sugar and a lemon peel. The result is a warm, licorice-like flavor like no other.