The Most Popular Swedish Food, Ranked

Choose the food you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 18, 2024 06:52
Food often serves as a bridge that connects various cultures and histories, making it integral to the understanding of a country’s heritage. Sweden’s culinary treasures are no exception, offering a blend of traditional and modern flavors that capture the essence of its landscape and history. However, with such a rich array of choices, selecting where to start can be a daunting task for locals and tourists alike. That's where the value of a ranked list comes into play. By gathering consensus on the most beloved Swedish dishes, our rankings offer a clear starting point for culinary exploration. This list is constantly updated based on user input, reflecting current preferences and trends. It is more than just a guide; it is collective insight into the heart of Swedish cuisine, shaped by the experiences and tastes of its enthusiasts.

What Is the Most Popular Swedish Food?

  1. 1
    This dish is considered a classic in Swedish cuisine and is often served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and pickled cucumber.
    Meatballs, or köttbullar in Swedish, are a traditional dish made from ground meat, usually a combination of beef and pork, mixed with onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings. The mixture is shaped into small, round balls and then cooked. Meatballs are typically served with lingonberry sauce, potatoes, and sometimes accompanied by pickled cucumbers.
    • Ingredients: Ground meat (beef and pork), onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, seasonings
    • Shape: Small, round balls
    • Cooking Method: Frying or baking
    • Serving Sauce: Lingonberry sauce
    • Accompaniments: Potatoes, pickled cucumbers
  2. 2
    This is a cured salmon dish that is often served as an appetizer or on sandwiches. It is usually made with sugar, salt, and dill.
    Gravlax is a traditional Scandinavian dish, particularly popular in Oslo. It consists of raw salmon that is cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and dill. The curing process typically takes around 24 to 48 hours, resulting in a firm-textured fish with a delicate balance of flavors.
    • Main Ingredients: Salmon, salt, sugar, dill
    • Curing Time: 24 to 48 hours
    • Texture: Firm
    • Flavor: Balanced, mildly sweet, and herbaceous
    • Serving Method: Thinly sliced
  3. 3

    Janssons Frestelse

    Pelle Janzon
    This is a casserole dish made with potatoes, onions, cream, and anchovies. It is a popular dish during the Christmas season.
    Janssons Frestelse, also known as Jansson's Temptation, is a traditional Swedish dish made with potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, cream, and breadcrumbs. It is typically served during Christmas and other festive occasions in Sweden. The dish is named after Pelle Janzon, a food writer and restaurant critic from the early 20th century who popularized the recipe.
    • Main Ingredients: Potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, cream, breadcrumbs
    • Occasions: Christmas, festive occasions
    • Origin: Sweden
    • Traditional Dish: Yes
    • Type: Hot dish
  4. 4
    This is a buffet-style meal that consists of a variety of cold and warm dishes, such as pickled herring, eggs, meatballs, and cheese. It is a popular meal for special occasions.
    Smörgåsbord is a traditional Scandinavian buffet style meal, consisting of a wide variety of cold and hot dishes. It is a culinary feast that showcases the rich diversity of Nordic flavors and ingredients. The Smörgåsbord is typically served on a long table filled with an assortment of dishes, allowing guests to serve themselves and indulge in the wide array of options.
    • Seasonality: Often features seasonal ingredients, reflecting the availability and freshness of local produce.
    • Communal dining: Encourages communal eating and sharing of food, fostering a convivial atmosphere.
    • Variety: Offers a wide range of dishes, including pickled herring, smoked salmon, meatballs, cured meats, cheeses, salads, potatoes, bread, and various desserts.
    • Flexible: Allows individuals to choose their favorite dishes and create their own customized plate.
    • Customizable: Accommodates dietary preferences and restrictions, offering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
  5. 5
    This is a potato pancake dish that is often served with fried pork and lingonberry sauce.
    Raggmunk is a traditional Swedish dish made of grated potatoes mixed with flour and fried until golden brown. It resembles a potato pancake or fritter. The name 'Raggmunk' translates to 'hairy pancake' due to the crispy edges that resemble hair. It is typically served with a dollop of lingonberry jam and often accompanied by fried bacon or pork slices.
    • Main ingredients: Potatoes, flour
    • Serving condiments: Lingonberry jam
    • Optional accompaniments: Bacon, pork slices
    • Texture: Crispy exterior, soft interior
    • Shape: Round and flat, resembling a pancake
  6. 6
    This is a cinnamon bun that is often served with coffee or tea. It is a popular pastry in Swedish cafes and bakeries.
    Kanelbulle, also known as cinnamon roll or cinnamon bun, is a traditional Swedish pastry. It consists of a soft, sweet, and buttery dough that is generously filled with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, and butter. The roll is then baked until golden brown and topped with a subtle glaze or pearl sugar for added sweetness and texture.
    • Shape: Spiral-shaped roll
    • Texture: Soft and fluffy
    • Size: Typically around 10-15 cm in diameter
    • Filling: Cinnamon, sugar, and butter mixture
    • Glaze: Optional glaze or pearl sugar topping
  7. 7
    This is pickled herring that is often served as an appetizer or on sandwiches. There are many different varieties of pickled herring, including mustard, onion, and dill.
    Sill, also known as Swedish pickled herring, is a traditional Swedish food that consists of herring pickled in a brine made from vinegar, sugar, and various spices. It is a popular dish often enjoyed during holidays and special occasions in Sweden. The herring is typically left to marinate for a few days or weeks, allowing the flavors to develop and the fish to become tender and flavorful. Sill is commonly served as a part of a smorgasbord, alongside other traditional Swedish dishes and accompaniments such as boiled potatoes, crispbread, sour cream, and onions.
    • Main Ingredients: Herring, vinegar, sugar, spices
    • Preparation Time: Several days to weeks
    • Serving Style: Cold
    • Flavor Profile: Salty, tangy, and slightly sweet
    • Texture: Tender and slightly firm
  8. 8
    This is a type of sausage that is often served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. There are many different varieties of korv, including falukorv and prinskorv.
    Korv is a type of Swedish sausage that is widely popular and enjoyed across the country. It is typically made from a combination of ground pork, beef, and spices, giving it a flavorful taste and a slightly firm texture. The sausage is commonly grilled or fried and can be served in a variety of ways, such as in hot dog buns or alongside traditional Swedish dishes. Korv is a staple of Swedish street food and is loved by locals and visitors alike.
    • Ingredients: Ground pork, beef, spices
    • Preparation: Grilled or fried
    • Texture: Slightly firm
    • Taste: Flavorful
    • Traditional Usage: Served in hot dog buns or alongside Swedish dishes
  9. 9
    This is a custard-like dessert that is made with cheese, cream, and sugar. It is often served with lingonberry or raspberry sauce.
    Ostkaka is a traditional Swedish dessert that can be described as a baked cheesecake. It has a uniquely rich and creamy texture with a sweet and slightly tangy flavor. The dish is typically made with fresh cow's milk, eggs, sugar, and rennet, which coagulates the milk to form the cheese-like consistency. It is often flavored with hints of almond and served with tart lingonberry jam and sometimes whipped cream on top. Ostkaka is closely associated with the region of Småland in southern Sweden.
    • Type: Dessert
    • Texture: Rich and creamy
    • Flavor: Sweet and slightly tangy
    • Ingredients: Fresh cow's milk, eggs, sugar, rennet
    • Additional Flavors: Almond
  10. 10
    This is a yellow pea soup that is often served with pancakes or bread. It is a traditional Thursday meal in Sweden.
    Ärtsoppa, also known as yellow pea soup, is a traditional Swedish food that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a simple yet delicious soup made from dried yellow split peas, often cooked with a ham hock or pork. The soup has a thick and creamy texture, with a slightly sweet and smoky flavor.
    • Main Ingredient: Dried yellow split peas
    • Meat: Ham hock or pork
    • Texture: Thick and creamy
    • Flavor: Slightly sweet and smoky
    • Color: Yellow

Missing your favorite food?


Ranking factors for popular food

  1. Traditional dishes
    The popularity of traditional Swedish dishes should be considered. These include dishes such as meatballs, herring, gravlax, and surströmming.
  2. Regional specialties
    Different regions in Sweden have their own unique specialties that are popular locally. These should be considered in the ranking.
  3. Accessibility
    The availability and accessibility of the food to locals and tourists should also be taken into account. Some dishes may be popular but are not widely available.
  4. Cultural significance
    The cultural significance of the food and its importance in Swedish culture should also be considered.
  5. Taste and appeal
    Ultimately, the taste and overall appeal of the food to the general population should be a significant factor in the ranking.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Swedish food. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or food is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 187 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each food once every 24 hours. The rank of each food is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular swedish food

Sweden is known for its rich culinary traditions that have been passed down through generations. Swedish cuisine is a reflection of the country's geography, climate, and history. The country's cold climate has influenced its cuisine, resulting in hearty and comforting dishes that are perfect for the chilly weather. One of the most popular Swedish foods is meatballs, which are typically made with ground beef and pork, breadcrumbs, and spices. They are often served with lingonberry jam, mashed potatoes, and a creamy gravy. Another beloved Swedish dish is gravlax, which is a type of cured salmon that is typically served with dill sauce, boiled potatoes, and crispbread. Swedish cuisine also features a variety of traditional pastries and sweets, including cinnamon buns, gingerbread cookies, and semla buns. These sweet treats are often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Overall, Swedish cuisine is known for its simplicity, freshness, and use of local ingredients. Whether you're in the mood for savory meatballs or sweet pastries, there's something for everyone to enjoy in the world of Swedish food.

Share this article