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Danish Food: 10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes of Denmark

Danish Food: 10 Must-Try Traditional Dishes of Denmark

Denmark is one of the Scandinavian countries of northern Europe, sharing a border with only Germany. The country is surrounded by the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and consists of more than 1,400 islands. 

Denmark is well known for consistently being one of the happiest countries in the world, owing mostly to their social equality and generous social safety net.

Danes and Scandinavians in general tend to have an appetite for fish and meat, both of which feature heavily in many dishes. Presentation is also important, with many dishes utilising a board or a “spread” type serving which better allows people to share with one another.


Pickled Herring Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød consists of a slice of buttered bread topped with various cold ingredients. The bread used in this typical Danish dish is generally rye, although it can be made from another type of cereal. It tends to be served “buffet style”.

Smørrebrød means bread with butter in Danish, although in contemporary English they are known simply as open sandwiches since all of the ingredients are only on one slice of bread.

Other ingredients that accompany Smørrebrød include sausages, meats, different types of eggs, cheese and fish. The dish is characterized by its simplicity and the ability to customise the ingredients as much as the chef likes.

Flæskesteg (Pork Roast)


Flæskesteg is a roast pork dish generally prepared with pork loin. The traditional way of preparing Flæskesteg is by roasting the pork without removing the skin so that there is a crispy coating. After preparation, the skin of the meat is cut into narrow strips to be served.

Before putting the meat on the plate, it is rubbed with salt, pepper and bay leaves. Although these are necessary, there are other optional additional ingredients such as cloves inserted into the cuts of meat.

Traditionally flæskesteg is accompanied by boiled and caramelized potatoes and is typically eaten at Christmas celebrations.

Krasesuppe (Danish Giblet Soup)

Krasesuppe is a soup prepared with flour and butter fritters, served very hot. Common ingredients include carrots, leeks, livers, vinegar and sometimes celery. For decades this dish has helped the Danes withstand the cold winter months and now, being a hearty, warming dish.

Frikadeller (Meatballs)


Frikadeller are meatballs made from minced or ground pork meat. They are usually eaten with boiled potatoes, apart from at Christmas when they are served with brown sauce and stuffed red cabbage.

The Danish recipe for meatballs has its particularities. The meat used is half beef and half pork, it has onion, egg, flour, breadcrumbs, milk, salt and pepper.

Gravlax (Pickled Salmon)


Gravlax is fresh salmon that’s been cured with a blend of sugar and salt. The dish is not only popular in Denmark but all over Scandinavia: Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Icelandic. The history of Gravlax can be traced back to the Middle Ages when fishermen cured salmon by salting it, causing a kind of fermentation to take place. 

In this dish, the protagonists are the thin slices of salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. If the Gravlax is served on crispy toast accompanied by dill and mustard, you can be sure that you are tasting the true traditional dish. 

Boller I Karry (Buns and Curry)

Boller I Karry

Boller I Karry is a dish consisting of three main components; meatballs, curry sauce and rice. At first glance this dish may not look traditionally Danish, but it has actually been a staple dish of Denmark since the 19th century when the spices used were introduced to the market.



Aebleskiver is a kind of donut that is cooked in a special pan with hemispherical moulds. Although its name in Danish sounds like it should include pan fruits or even apple slices, it actually contains neither. One of the best-known versions of Aebleskiver is made with buttermilk and baking soda.

The trays that Aebleskiver are cooked in commonly have about 7 indentations. It is so traditional that the oldest ones are about 300 years old. It is a bit difficult to find Aebleskiver in restaurants or at breakfast, but it is common staple in family households, especially in the afternoon and with a coffee. Aebleskiver are also common at Christmas when they are served with Scandinavian-style mulled wine (glogg).

Rød Pølse

Rød Pølse

Rød Pølse are a type of Danish hot dog served in a soft bun with pickled cucumbers and fried crispy onions, seasoned with mustard and ketchup. These are typically served from pølsevogn or “sausage wagons” which are common throughout the country.

Stegte Sild (Fried Herring)

Stegte Sild

Stegte Sild is a fried pickled herring that is characterized by its tender texture and mild acidity. In the stegte sild, the fish is generally served fried and accompanied by bread and a sauce such as mustard. Although stegte sild is fried herring, in Denmark it is also prepared in many other ways: smoked, stewed, or marinated for example.


Swedish Kanelbulle

Kanelsnegl is a sweet cinnamon bun prepared using flour, cinnamon, sugar and butter. The dish is known by several other names, such as cinnamon roll, cinnamon bun, cinnamon swirl, cinnamon Danish and cinnamon snail. It is popular throughout Scandinavia and other parts of Northern Europe.

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