10 Ingredients You Will Find in a Danish Kitchen

A smørrebrød plate including herring | ©  Max Handelsman / Flickr
A smørrebrød plate including herring | © Max Handelsman / Flickr
Photo of Aliki Seferou
5 March 2017

Noma, one of the world’s best restaurants, is located in Copenhagen and in the past few years has brought Nordic cuisine into the spotlight. But what can someone expect from a Danish dish? This list will introduce you to the 10 most used ingredients in Scandinavian recipes.


As Denmark is surrounded by sea, fish couldn’t be missing from the local kitchen. Grilled salmon with lemon, basil and other spices is a dish often found on a restaurants’ menu. But what Danes love the most is smoked salmon on top of smørrebrød. The recipe for a quick, healthy and delicious lunch is simple. Combine a slight layer of remoulade sauce spread on top of sliced rye bread with a piece of smoked salmon and top with olive spread and fresh dill. Other combinations are endless — instead of olives you can add avocado or onions or cucumber. Just choose whatever you yearn for.

Salmon on smørrebrød | © Aliki Seferou


There are various recipes that use cod but the most well-known and favorite is Fiskefrikadeller. This is fish balls fried in margarine and served with remoulade sauce, potatoes and fresh vegetables. Boiled cod with mustard sauce is also a traditional dish that Danes eat quite often and you’ll find in any restaurant.

Fish | © Katjasv / pixabay


Pickled herring has been a main dish of the Danish local cuisine since medieval times. Even today, it is among the favorite dishes in Scandinavia. The salty, vinegary fish is usually marinated with mustard and leafy spices and it’s a tradition to cook it at Easter. For a complete meal, pickled herring is usually accompanied with eggs or potatoes. For locals, it is a must to drink a cold glass of beer or flavored schnapps while tasting their favorite food.

Pickled herring | © Heather Sperling / Flickr

Danish blue cheese

Danish blue cheese, also known as Danablu, is a creamy blue-veined cheese, made from cow’s milk and homogenized cream. It was first made at the beginning of the 20th century by a Dane farmer. Even though the cheese looks quite similar to roquefort, its taste is milder and saltier. As it is very creamy, locals use it as a dip or dressing. You’ll also see it in salads, on tarts or mixed with pasta.

Danish blue cheese | © Stuart Webster / Flickr


Some of the most famous Danish products internationally are the Danish butter cookies. You’ve probably seen them somewhere in their cute, colorful round boxes. Danes love butter. They spread on bread, use it for frying their favorite meals, such as meatballs, or use it as an ingredient in many of the popular Danish pastries. Butter is in every local’s fridge.

Danish butter cookies | © Jasmine / Flickr


It’s difficult to find a local dish in Denmark that is not served with potatoes. Boiled, baked, fried, with sauce, in soup — potatoes are everywhere. There is even a special recipe that is usually cooked for Christmas Eve dinner. They’re called brown potatoes, but you’ll also hear them called caramelized potatoes or sugar potatoes. This consists of potatoes fried in butter and sugar.

Potatoes | © McKay Savage / Wikimedia Commons


Danes use apples (æble) in manysweet and salty recipes. One of the most typical dishes in Denmark is pork with apples (æbleflæsk), which is on every Christmas dinner table. It is usually followed by apple cake (æblekage) or a traditional apple pie with macaroons and whipping cream.

Apples | © Daria Yakovleva / pixabay


Capers is one of the most used ingredients in the local Danish cuisine. They can be found on the top of a smørrebrød or in a tuna salad. Plus, it is also one of the basic ingredients for Dane’s favorite sauce, remoulade.

Salad with capers | © insatiablemunchies / Flickr


The Danish pig-meat industry is considered one of the greatest worldwide. So, pork is one of the main ingredients in Nordic cuisine. It’s cooked in various ways, and there are many pork recipes that are traditionally cooked for Christmas dinner.

Flæskesteg | © Mogens Petersen / pixabay


Eggs are used for many sweet and salty recipes in Scandinavia, so they couldn’t be missing from this list. They are used in the recipe of many of the beloved Danish pastries and apple cakes, as well as in salty dishes such as meatballs. Moreover, one of the favorite meals for locals is boiled eggs on top of smørrebrød, accompanied with fresh vegetables and remoulade sauce.

Eggs | © Greekfood-tamystika / pixabay

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