Traditional Swedish Food You Absolutely Must Try

Ah, Sweden. This Scandinavian country, nestled between Norway and Finland, is home to just short of 10 million inhabitants. Its capital, Stockholm, and other major cities like Gothenburg and Malmo, attract a steady number of tourists each year. Now if you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a self-confessed foodie. When visiting a place for the first time, I think it’s so important to sample the local cuisine. And it’s safe to say that traditional Swedish food has always been something I’d love to try. It’s all well and good going to Ikea for some Swedish meatballs; but there’s nothing better than the real thing, right? So, whether you’re planning a trip to Sverige in the coming months, or if you’re just curious about its cuisine, here are traditional Swedish foods you absolutely must try.

Must-try Traditional Swedish Food

Swedish Meatballs

Adored by many, Swedish meatballs just has to take the top of the list. Authentic Swedish meatballs are known by the locals as ‘kottbullar’, and are widely available in every Swedish city. Although there are many recipes, most are mixed with diced onion and thick brown gravy or a thin meat juice. The further south in Sweden you go, the more fat you will find in the meatballs. They’re also typically served with lingonberries, just like many Swedish dishes.

Traditional Swedish Food
Swedish Meatballs by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar on Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Jansson’s Temptation

Jansson’s Frestelse, or Jansson’s Temptation, is a Swedish Christmas dish. Although it’s typically eaten during the holidays, many Swedes enjoy it all year round. It’s essentially a yummy casserole made of potatoes, anchovies, onions, breadcrumbs and cream. The unique name derives from the Swedish opera singer/food lover Pelle Janzon.

Jansson’s Frestelse by Lemsipmatt on Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0


Typically eaten in the winter, Raggmunk is essentially a delicious potato pancake that’s covered in flour and egg and also fried in butter. This treat is often flavoured with grated onion or garlic and seasoning, and served together with fried pork and, of course, lingonberries. Think of it as a Swedish hash brown.

Raggmunk. Flickr: Lena Dahlström / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Knackebrod can be translated to ‘crisp bread’, and was once considered to be a Swedish poor man’s food. Despite this assumption, knackebrod has remained an extremely popular baked bread in Sweden for hundreds of years. It can be topped with cheese and ham, or served alongside main courses as an appetizer. Typically eaten for breakfast, some Swedes also enjoy knackebrod with caviar.

Knackebrod by Robin on Flickr // CC BY 2.0

About Lauren Davidson

Since 2013, Lauren has been writing for various travel and lifestyle websites. Her first piece of writing was a travel guide on the Algarve region of Portugal, where she lived for over a year. Currently residing in Sheffield, England, she is studying Journalism and has a blog at You can follow her on Twitter at @Lozikinz.

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