15 Traditional Swedish Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (2024)

Other than Swedish meatballs and Christmas stollen, Swedish Christmas foods might not be something with which you’re all that familiar.

However, after checking out the 15 tasty recipes, you’ll want to get much more acquainted with them.

15 Traditional Swedish Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (1)


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And luckily, there’s a little something for everyone on this list.

Whether you’re in the mood for Swedish-style Christmas ham, Christmas caramels, or even beetroot salad, there are plenty of options on this list.

So keep reading if you’re looking for something sweet, savory, smoky, or spicy.

You’ll find a dish to suit your tastes, and you’ll love having a Swedish-inspired holiday feast!

If you aren’t sure where to start, try your hand at the St. Lucia saffron buns. They’re simply divine!

15 Popular Swedish Christmas Dishes

1. Jansson’s Frestelse Med Lax (Jansson’s Temptation with Salmon)

I realize that the name of this recipe is quite the mouthful, so when people ask, you can just tell them you’re making “Swedish salmon casserole.”

It’s a hearty, complete meal in one dish, and it takes less than an hour to make. The ingredients are carefully chosen to maximize the salmon’s flavor.

The dill, butter, pepper, and peppercorns give it an excellent taste, and the breadcrumbs add a bit of crunchiness that really sets it off.

2. Julskinka (Swedish-Style Christmas Ham)

The thing to remember about julskinka, or Swedish-style Christmas ham, is that it isn’t something you can make the night before Christmas.

The ingredients list is simple; all you’ll need is the ham and the ingredients to make the brine and glaze.

However, the entire process for preparing and cooking the ham takes over 2 weeks!

Don’t worry, though. That’s primarily idle time. The ham needs to soak in the brine for 14 days.

The actual cooking doesn’t take nearly as long – just an hour for every pound of ham.


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The glaze is flavorful and gives the ham a crisp, fragrant, golden-brown skin, but the meat inside remains tender and pink, and the whole thing tastes phenomenal.

3. Swedish Potato Sausage (Värmlandskorv Or Potatiskorv)

Swedish potato sausage is succulent, wonderfully spiced (though not spicy), and filling.

You can serve it as an appetizer or as the main course.

Either way, people will be sure to come back for more, so you might want to make an extra one just in case.

4. Swedish Meatballs

If you love Ikea’s Swedish meatballs as much as I do, then this is the recipe for you.

With it, you can make the same thick, spicy meatballs with the yummy rich, creamy gravy.

Plus, you can make enough to serve five people in under an hour, and it doesn’t take much longer to double the recipe and make enough for 10 people instead.

So, if you’re looking for a tasty, filling Christmas appetizer, give these Swedish meatballs a try.

5. Cured Salmon Gravlax

It doesn’t get much simpler than this 10-minute recipe for cured salmon gravlax.

Just be sure you don’t wait until the last minute because 10 minutes is just your hands-on time.

You’ll need to let the salmon chill in the refrigerator for several hours before it’s ready. It’s best to make it about a day and a half to 2 days ahead of time.

It has the perfect salty-but-not-too-salty, herby, and tangy flavor, and the fresh dill adds a nice kick, as well.

Serve it on crackers, toast, or rye bread with lemon wedges.

6. St. Lucia Saffron Buns

These gorgeous, golden-yellow saffron buns are one of my very favorite options on this list. They’re perfect in every way.

They’ll take some time to make, but even if they took twice as long, they’d still be worth it for their light, airy texture and sweet, buttery flavor.

Not to mention, they’re gorgeous!

7. Delicious Mandelmusslor Recipe (Swedish Cookies)

These lovely cookies are a holiday staple in most Swedish households, and after just one bite, you’ll understand why.

They have a mild, sweet, and nutty flavor, and the tangy cream cheese filling and sugary jam complement them perfectly, but you can also enjoy them plain with a mug of hot chocolate.

There are plenty of other toppings you can try, too – chocolate, peanut butter, whipped cream, caramel, etc.

Your options are limited only by your imagination.

8. Swedish Christmas Caramels

You can make these fantastic Swedish caramels with just seven ingredients: ginger, heavy cream, honey, sugar, butter, orange zest, and flaky salt.

They’ll have the same texture, consistency, and color as traditional caramels, and while there’s a ton of caramel flavor there, as well, you’ll also get notes of the orange zest and ginger.

Pro tip: If you enjoy the flavor of salted caramel, you can add some salt into the mixture as it cooks instead of just waiting to put it on top as a garnish.

9. Swedish Rice Pudding with Sour Cherries in Syrup

This holiday favorite is a pudding, porridge, and sweet treat topping all in one. It’s creamy and features intense holiday flavors like cinnamon, cardamom, sugar, and whipped cream.

It’s thick and has a consistency that isn’t for everyone. Still, if you don’t mind the texture of cottage cheese or oatmeal, you’ll probably enjoy this, as well.

The berries and jam add a tartness to the dish’s overall flavor, but if they’re too tangy for you, you can help tone them down with chocolate, caramels, or whatever else you like.

10. Vegan Swedish Beetroot Salad

If you aren’t a fan of beets, then this vegan Swedish beetroot salad might not be something you’ll enjoy.

If you do like them, though, then this bright pink dish will be a genuine hit that’ll brighten up your table.

It’s effortless to make, requiring only 10 minutes and fewer than 10 ingredients (three of which are salt, pepper, and a parsley garnish).

You won’t have to do any cooking, and it pairs well with Swedish meatballs (or vegan meatballs), crackers, or anything else you want to serve with it.

11. Swedish Midsummer Cake with Berries and Cream

I realize that this is a Swedish midsummer cake, meaning it isn’t exactly in season around Christmas. However, just look at it. It’s stunning!

So, if you can find the berries in the grocery store (which you should be able to do), then why not make it as a beautiful centerpiece for your Christmas dessert table?!

I promise that no one will complain that it’s out of season, especially once they taste it.

12. Swedish Almond Tart

You’ll only need seven ingredients for these simple Swedish tarts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a massive dose of flavor.

These crunchy tarts are buttery, nutty, and 100% luxurious. In no way does their simplicity negatively impact how much you’ll love them.

13. Swedish Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Buns)

If you’re looking for a dessert that’ll really wow your guests, check out this recipe for Swedish kanelbullar.

They’re sweet and flavorful cinnamon buns, but they’re the prettiest ones you’ll ever see.

They also aren’t sticky and messy like traditional American cinnamon buns.

Instead of a melted glaze on top, you’ll use an egg wash and a dusting of pearl sugar.

They take a bit of time to whip up, but everyone will love them.

14. Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Cookies)

If you prefer your desserts with unique, complex flavors instead of tons of sugary sweetness, then you’ll enjoy pepparkakor cookies.

They’re similar to gingersnaps, but they’re thinner, spicier, and a bit less sweet.

Still, if you enjoy crunchy cookies and the flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, you’ll be hooked on these.

Another great thing about them is how easy they are to make. You can easily have two dozen of them ready to serve in less than an hour.

15. Cherry Swedish Tea Ring: “Christmas Stollen”

I’m absolutely crazy about Swedish tea rings at Christmas because they look so much like festive Christmas wreaths (not to mention how amazing they taste).

And despite their intricate design, they aren’t all that difficult to make. They’ll take a little over 3 hours, but a huge chunk of that (over 2 hours) is rising time.

And the rings are so flavorful! The sticky icing is a fast favorite for everyone, but the cherry pie filling with almonds, cinnamon, and butter is just as wonderful.

If you’re a fan of cherry cream cheese danishes, that’s kind of what this tastes like, only without the cream cheese.

15 Traditional Swedish Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (2)

15 Traditional Swedish Christmas Foods

Have a Swedish holiday with these traditional Swedish Christmas foods. From ham to meatballs to caramels and cookies, these dishes are worth celebrating!


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15 Traditional Swedish Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (3)

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15 Traditional Swedish Christmas Foods (+ Easy Recipes) (2024)


What are some traditional Christmas foods that are eaten in Sweden? ›

Christmas presents are under the lighted tree, candles shine brightly and the smorgasbord (or smörgåsbord, as it's written in Swedish) has been prepared with all the classic dishes: Christmas ham, pork sausage, an egg and anchovy mixture (gubbröra), herring salad, pickled herring, home-made liver pâté, wort-flavoured ...

What do they call Santa in Sweden? ›

Swedish Santa: Now let's talk about Santa, the original Santa in Sweden is called Tomten and is not like the big Santa that you know. This guy is more like a small gnome, and he would go to your house and leave presents all over it.

What types of food do Swedes eat on Christmas Eve? ›

Swedes eat traditional dishes like pickled herring, gravlax, meatballs, Christmas ham, and ris ala malta on Christmas Eve.

What is the most traditional Swedish dish? ›

1. Meatballs with potatoes and lingonberry sauce. Truly a traditional Swedish dish is meatballs with potatoes (mashed or boiled) and lingonberry jam. It is said that if you travel to Sweden without trying this typical dish, you have not been to Sweden.

What is Sweden's main dish? ›

These days, the food is made up of many of the dishes Sweden is most famous for, including meatballs, Jansson's temptation (a potato gratin with cream and sprats) and gravadlax.

What are the seven dishes of Christmas? ›

Recipes for the “seven fishes” vary from region to region; this one uses crab, shrimp, calamari, clams, mussels, scallops and white fish.

How do Swedes say Merry Christmas? ›

And as for other Christmas greetings in Sweden, the most important ones are “God Jul” (Merry Christmas) and “God fortsättning”, meaning “enjoy the rest of the holidays”.

What do Swedish people call Christmas? ›

Christmas (Swedish: jul, IPA: [ˈjʉːl]) is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until St. Knut's Day on January 13. The main celebration and the exchange of gifts in many families takes place on Christmas Eve, December 24.

What is traditional Christmas in Sweden? ›

On Christmas Eve, or Julafton, Swedes celebrating Christmas attend church services. They return home to a traditional family dinner,r including a buffet dinner (smörgåsbord) with ham, pork, or fish, and a variety of sweets. After the festive Christmas Eve dinner, someone dresses up as Tomte.

What is Christmas dinner called in Sweden? ›

The traditional main meal on Christmas Eve is a smorgasbord called julbord which has been prepared with all the classic dishes. A good quality restaurant would typically serve more than fifty (or even a hundred) different dishes at a julbord. A family-julbord being much smaller.

What is the Christmas buffet in Sweden? ›

Julbord, Smorgasbord

It's basically a smorgasbord with a few dishes that is only available during christmas. The julbord is available in many restaurants in Sweden from the end of november until christmas eve. The food served at restaurants is more or less the same as what people eat in their homes on christmas eve.

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