20 Traditional Danish Recipes (2024)

These Danish recipes bring a taste of Denmark right to your own kitchen!

From meatballs to herring salad, these authentic meals are a welcome addition to your routine.

20 Traditional Danish Recipes (1)


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Much like other Scandinavian countries, many Danish dishes are made with just a few ingredients.

They’re made with simple meats and vegetables, and the desserts aren’t too sweet.

You won’t find too many processed ingredients, and like the Swedes and Norwegians, the Danes have a deep love of herring and pickles!

I hope that trying any of these 20 delightful recipes will inspire you to look for new dishes to bring into your regular weekly rotation.Enjoy!

1. Danish Brunede Kartofler (Caramelized Browned Potatoes)

Ok, so caramel-coated potatoes might seem a little odd.

But I promise it works, especially when paired with pork chops!

The salty and sweet combination is the same you’ll get using sweet potatoes or adding apple sauce.

If you can’t find canned, new potatoes, you can use whatever you have on hand.

Be sure to boil them until they’re fork-tender before adding to the sugar mixture.

2. Danish Meatballs

We’re used to meatballs and marinara. The tender meat with the tomato sauce works wonders with pasta or in a sub, and it’s a favorite for a reason.

Over in Europe, you will mostly find meatballs served with a creamy gravy and potatoes.

Rather than using egg, this recipe calls for half-and-half or milk to help everything bind together.

For something extra special, maybe try this lingonberry sauce that is favored in Sweden.


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3. Danish Chicken and Asparagus Tartlets

If you’re looking for finger food that goes beyond chips and chicken wings, the Danes have you covered.

Who doesn’t love a mini-pie or tart full of savory chicken and creamy sauce?

One of my favorite shortcuts in the world has to be frozen pie crusts. And the fact that you can buy minis is just a lifesaver!

Between those and the six ingredients you’ll need for the filling, you can have these ready to serve in under an hour.

4. Smørrebrød (Open-Faced Sandwiches)

The first time I ordered a sandwich in Sweden, I was surprised when it came without a top.

But I quickly fell in love with the concept, and to this day, I will eat my sandwiches this way.

More like works of art, I love being able to see all the colorful ingredients. And not having a top piece of bread means they’re not as heavy.

Using a good dark rye bread means you’ll have a wonderfully rich flavor and an excellent sturdy base for all those toppings.

Be sure to start with the fish before moving onto the meats and cheeses.

5. Agurkesalat (Cucumber Salad)

Vinegar and pickled foods are super popular in Denmark, and you’ll often find something like this served as a side dish.

Thinly sliced and mixed with onions, vinegar, and salt and pepper, they will quickly pickle but keep their crunch.

These are wonderful served with roasted pork or when added to a salad for a boost of flavor.

6. Rugbrød (Danish Rye Bread)

Bread can be quite a controversial topic when speaking to Europeans.

What we consider dark bread – pumpernickel or rye bread – is often overly sweetened and not dark enough when compared with traditional European rye bread.

This recipe is as traditional as it gets. The crumb is moist but not fluffy and light.

It’s filled with seeds and nuts for texture and includes dark beer for a deep flavor.

For maximum flavor, leave the dough to rise for two days (yes, you read that right). This will allow it to ferment and will enhance the flavors perfectly.

7. Flæskesteg (Danish Roast Pork with Crackling)

There was always a fight for the crackling in my house!

It can be achieved by cutting deep into the pork skin, though not all the way to the meat.

Pat dry, and thoroughly coat with coarse sea salt, getting it into the grooves.

The joint will need to be roasted at a high temperature to achieve the crackling crust.

8. Danish Kringle

This wonderful pastry is originally from the pretzel family.

It can be super light, full of layers, and have a variety of fruity fillings.

This is a little simpler, using a sweet, yeast-based dough to create the classic oval shape.

The dough will be soft, so be careful when handling it.

When filled with the brown sugar and nuts, it is almost cinnamon roll-like, especially when you add the glaze!

9. Danish Potato Salad

Potato salad is a big deal across the pond, and each country has its own take on the BBQ favorite.

Some will add boiled eggs and sausage and others go for chopped pickles.

Whatever you choose, it will be delicious.

I happen to be in love with the mustard dressing on this dish, and it’s one of my favorites.

Mix it with capers, parsley, and green onions, and you’ll have a fresh take that isn’t quite as heavy as other recipes can be.

10. Koldskål (Danish Buttermilk Dessert)

As mentioned above, the Danes don’t like overly sweet desserts.

That’s clear in this simple little dish.

Made by mixing buttermilk with yogurt and sugar, it can be served with fruit for breakfast or after dinner.

11. Karbonader (Danish Breaded Pork Patties)

The Danish version of a schnitzel (which is a thin piece of pork), these are made using ground pork.

The pork burger patty is kept simple with breadcrumbs, an egg, and salt and pepper.

Once coated in the breadcrumbs, the patties need to be fried in oil for around 8 minutes total.

These make for an excellent, crunchy alternative to pork chops or meatballs.

12. Red Berry Pudding with Cream

One of the most popular Danish desserts around, this pudding combines sour rhubarb with sweet strawberries and tart red currants.

Once the fruit has softened, it gets thickened like a jam with some cornstarch.

Once chilled in the fridge, the fruit mixture will set, and you’ll serve with plenty of cold cream.

13. Pølse (Classic Danish Hot Dog)

Although you could use any sausage you prefer, it needs to be all-pork, smoked, and extra-long for it to be authentically Danish.

Where Americans prefer chili dogs or just lots of mustard and onions, the Danes like to put everything from sweet pickles to apple on their hot dogs.

If you want to go all-out, try whipping up a batch of Danish remoulade.

14. Danish Meatloaf

When it comes to meatloaf, I often find it can be dry and a little one-note.

This meatloaf, though, is anything but!

It uses both ground beef and sausage meat for all that great meaty flavor and incorporates sweet chili and blue cheese.

This might not be the prettiest when you turn it out of the dish, but the onion and pepper topping with be tender and packed with flavor.

15. Æbleflæsk (Danish Apple Pork)

This might sound like apple and pork chops, but it couldn’t be further from it.

This open-faced sandwich is a layer of cooked apples and onions, served on a slice of rye bread.

It can be as soft or crisp as you prefer.

The whole thing gets topped with fried, thick slices of streaky pork belly.

It’s not as thin as bacon, but you could use that as a substitute if it’s all you have.

16. Rødkål (Danish Red Cabbage)

Cabbage is a staple side dish in most European households.

Some like it finely shredded and mixed with pork, and others like to pickle it.

What I love about this variation has to be the color.

Even after cooking for an hour, it keeps some of its bite and will add such a vibrancy to your plate.

17. Remoulade

This classic condiment can be used on sandwiches, with fries, on as mentioned above on that fantastic hot dog!

There are a few different variations of this sauce. Most will include diced pickles, and some will include curry powder.

I’m a massive fan of this specific New Orleans remoulade.

But the Danish variation is super delicious and works so well on everything from pork to fish.

Feel free to check out other recipes to find one that works best for you.

18. Sillsallet (Herring Salad)

Every aspect of this dish screams Scandinavia!

From the pickled beets and herring pieces to the boiled potato and dill pickles, it’s everything you would expect from the Danes and more.

You will always find this dish served during the holidays, and it’s such a traditional part of a Danish smorgasbord.

19. Danish Hash

This dish is a great way to use up some leftovers.

You’ll need cooked potatoes that you will pan fry until crisp and golden.

For the onions, using shallots will add such a lovely sweetness, but you could use any you have.

Only add your cooked, cold meat toward the end, so it has time to warm through but not become dry.

20. Danish Pancakes

Much like crepes, these are super thin pancakes that get served with everything from jam and sugar to ice cream.

Getting them thin can be challenging and will take a bit of practice.

The trick is to get the batter as smooth as possible and lift the pan from the heat as you swirl the batter around to get a thin coating.

When cooked, they should have a slightly crisp edge and a pale golden color.

20 Traditional Danish Recipes (2)

20 Traditional Danish Recipe Collection

These Danish recipes bring a taste of Denmark right to your own kitchen! From meatballs to herring salad, these authentic dishes put a fun new spin on your weekly meals.


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20 Traditional Danish Recipes (3)

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20 Traditional Danish Recipes (2024)


What is the most traditional Danish dish? ›

The "national dish of Denmark" is stegt flæsk - pieces of pork, fried until crisp, and then served with boiled potatoes and parsley sauce. Ironically, the tasty frosted pastries known to much of the world as "Danish" are not Danish at all.

What is the main meal of the day in Denmark? ›

Most Danes have three regular meals a day, usually consisting of a cold breakfast with coffee or tea, a cold lunch at work and a hot dinner at home with the family. Some also have a snack in the middle of the afternoon or in the late evening. Meat, especially pork, is by far the most common ingredient of hot meals.

What is the indigenous food of Denmark? ›

Traditional food in Denmark is based on what could easily be farmed or gathered during the country's short summers. Cabbage, root vegetables, meat, fish, and rye bread were all staples. Wild berries are also a favorite in Danish cuisine.

What do Danish people eat for lunch? ›

In general, people eat home-cooked food in Denmark, and many families eat together every night. A typical lunch in Denmark consists of slices of rye bread with different toppings such as chicken salad, roastbeef, paté, or herring. For dinner, traditional Danish dishes often includes potatoes on the side.

What is a unique food in Denmark? ›

But there are some uniquely Danish foods that are truly delicious and worthy of your sampling.
  • Danish Licorice (Lakrids)
  • Danish Rugbrød from Det Rene Brød.
  • Marinated herring smørrebrød from Aamanns 1921.
  • Salmon smørrebrød at Restaurant Kronborg.
  • Uniquely Danish Aebleskiver, Copenhagen Denmark.
Feb 4, 2016

What is the most popular drink in Denmark? ›

Beer is a very popular drink throughout Denmark with world-famous brews such as Carlsberg and Tuberg available internationally. The most popular type of beer in the country is pilsner, which is a lager. Things to know: Usually, hotels and restaurants include a tip in the bill.

What is Denmark's national drink? ›

Akvavit, translated from Latin to mean 'water of life', is a Scandinavian drink distilled from potatoes and grains and flavoured with herbs. It is the national drink of Denmark and is enjoyed as a celebration drink, sipped from a shot glass.

What are three popular foods in Denmark? ›

Danish Food: 5 Popular Dishes + 3 Facts about the Food Culture
  • Smørrebrød.
  • Stegt Flæsk.
  • Frikadeller.
  • Medisterpølse.
  • Æblekage.

What is the most famous Danish pastry? ›

Specifically, the famous Danish pastry wienerbrød was first developed by Austrian bakers who immigrated to Denmark during a worker's strike. Other European desserts, such as profiteroles and riz à l'impératrice, have inspired the development of Danish desserts.

What do the Danish eat for Christmas? ›

Christmas dinner is a serious affair. Traditionally, you will be sat at a table for a good few hours, eating a meal of roast pork and duck plus boiled potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. Risalamande is the big Christmas dessert, a rice pudding topped with cherry sauce where a whole almond will be hiding.

What is on a Danish hot dog? ›

Soft buns, smoked dogs, raw onions, fried onions, pickles and Danish remoulade = a classic Danish Hot Dog!

What did ancient Danish people eat? ›

Danish cooking mostly consisted of peasant dishes before the 1860 Industrial Revolution. These meals were based on the necessity of using products available on or near the family farm – bread, fish, pork, cabbages and potatoes.

What is a Danish sandwich? ›

1. an assortment of open-faced sandwiches consisting as of fish, meat paste, or vegetables on slices of buttered bread, as served in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. 2. one such sandwich. Also ˈsmorrebrod.

What is a traditional sandwich in Denmark? ›

Smørrebrød is a Danish open-faced sandwich with a slice of rye bread, salted butter, and a variety of ingredients. The variant with potato is a classic which is especially tasty in June and July when the Danish potatoes grown in the open field are in season. It is also one of the only vegetarian variants of smørrebrød.

What are Danish sandwiches called? ›

Smørrebrød (Danish pronunciation: [ˈsmɶɐ̯ˌpʁœðˀ]; originally smør og brød, "butter and bread"), smørbrød "butter bread" (Norwegian), or smörgås "butter goose" (Swedish), is a traditional open-faced sandwich in the cuisines of Denmark, Norway and Sweden that usually consists of a piece of buttered rye bread (rugbrød, a ...

What is the most common Danish pastry? ›

Typical Danish pastries include a snegl, a cinnamon roll-style pastry, a spandauer, a pastry with a dab of custard cream in the middle (you probably know this as a 'Danish pastry'), and a tebirkes, a pastry with remonce in the middle and poppy seeds all over the top.

What is Denmark most famous for? ›

The list of what Denmark is famous for ranges from impeccable modernist design to baroque palaces, a popular, long-reigning royal family to an equally popular quasi-anarchist Copenhagen community, and so much more. Above all, this small nation is proud of its welcoming spirit, which makes it a joy to visit.

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