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25 Authentic Finnish Recipes and Foods (2022)

TRYING FINNISH FOOD for the FIRST TIME (our first impressions)

Are Finnish recipes a smart option to include on your menu? Many individuals will tell you that the lack of fresh vegetables and the bitterly cold environment make Finnish food inferior to that of its neighbors. I’ll present you with a different image though.

Whatever freshness Finnish food may lack, they make up for with flavor and creativity. This essay will show you how to include such unusual dishes into your menu in a variety of ways.

Jump to Old Style Finnish Recipes and Food
Jump to Modern Finnish Recipes and Food
Jump to 25 Authentic Finnish Recipes and Foods

Traditional Finnish Recipes and the Finnish food culture was mainly set on farming going all the way before recorded history. Still, agriculture showed to be insecure and non-effective due to the extremely cold temperatures. Having a safe way of life thus required adaptation of food from nature to survive the failure of crops. Since there was a shortage in milking, and the animals being slaughtered could not exhaust the population’s basic needs, fishing and hunting proved to be good sources of proteins.

Nevertheless, the Finns have assimilated into their dishes additional international influences like Spanish and Asian fusions that are taking place in some of their restaurants. Trends such as sustainability and organic foods have ever-increasing roles to play, including the demand for vegan and vegetarian diets. Tanttu says that even though most professional cooking has classic French cuisine as a basis, the modern Finnish recipe creators do not forget their history and infuse their twist into each dish.

Old Style Finnish Recipes and Food

All fish types are popular all over the Finnish recipes chart, with the specialty being smoked fish, even though it can appear steamed, grilled, pickled, or grilled. The salted fish was common throughout the country, mainly accompanied by potatoes and bread. The coastal areas mostly had the Baltic herring, which was grilled over a fire on a wooden skewer. Since fishes are seasonal, salmon and perch are common in spring and summer. At the same time, crayfish has always found its prominence between July and August, which mostly leads to the organization of large crayfish parties.

As far as meats go, Finnish food are no different from its northern Europe neighbors in being the carnivore’s paradise. Traditionally, they used meats of all animals as food, except the horseflesh. The crown jewel in the meats section of traditional Finnish recipes is the reindeer, in addition to which you will find excellent game birds. The Finns from the countryside slaughtered just once a year, where they kept the fat, entrails, and blood for processing to make a diverse number of dishes.

The Finns have not found it in their hearts to abandon wild berries in the main courses of their diets; they have also brought them into their desserts. The most common is the Arctic berry, also known as lingonberry, which is sour when eaten raw but makes excellent compote, jam, liqueur, and wine. It has been a part of authentic Finnish recipes since the early times. Then comes the yellow or bright orange cloudberry growing in the swampy terrain. It has a tart, earthy flavor that blends well with game meat. Some other berries include rowan berries, bilberries, and sea buckthorn berries.

As for their drinks, the Finns love their alcohol, with vodka being a favorite tipple that has brought names such Koskenkorva and Finlandia to world fame. What might not be known to outsiders as being part of traditional Finnish recipes are the fruit wines they make from raspberries, strawberries, white-, red- and blackcurrants. In the cold winter months, they warm themselves up with the delicious Gloggi, which is more like a mulled wine with spices and is at times topped up with rum or brandy. Those who are adventurous opt for the Salmiac or licorice vodka, an acquired taste.

Modern Finnish Recipes and Food

Traditional Finnish recipes are based on a culture of “eat-to-live,” whose sole design was giving people strength and enabling hard work. It has passed through vigorous evolutionary processes that have gradually transformed into a delicacy worth the dime.

The Finnish recipes might not yet be acclaimed worldwide for their culinary delights, but the last decade has been experiencing a quiet food revolution. There is a new generation of chefs who are not scared of mixing up things, opening new food joints, and excellently using the local products to work their magic. These chefs do not fear innovations, which has seen them bring fresh ingredients like lingonberries and arctic clouds to the table as accompaniments to reindeer, elk, bear, or even beaver.

Finland has an abundance of fields, forests, lakes, and a long coastline, bringing a veritable larder to their doorsteps. The modern chefs and restauranteurs have been swift in cottoning on this by using whatever is readily available to generate new delicacies. The heart of this new Finnish food is Helsinki, from where the leading chefs in 2000 developed the “Helsinki Initiative” to promote good Finnish recipe creation. Great emphasis is being placed not only on fresh local produce but is also being placed on good contact with that small-scale local producer.

Most of this new generation of  Finnish chefs have traveled broadly or gotten their education from abroad, which they are now using to fuse and mix the traditional Finnish food with ingredients and flavors of international acclaim to make huge impacts.

25 Authentic Finnish Recipes and Foods

1. Reindeer Meat Stew (Renskav)

Reindeer Meat Stew Finnish Recipes

Take a trip to Lapland with this Finnish recipe for reindeer stew with mushrooms. Renskav is a traditional reindeer meat dish prepared by the Sami people in Northern Europe. Thinly sliced reindeer steak is cooked from frozen with mushrooms and cream. A delicacy from the Arctic, and a healthy meat dish to enjoy year round.

2. Traditional Finnish Meatballs “lihapullat ja muusi”

It doesn’t come as a surprise though, Finns do love good Finnish meatballs for whatever scenario as it is comfort food for most people here in Finland.

My Finnish recipe for meatballs is a combination of all recipes I’ve made and tested over the 14 years of working as a chef in various Finnish restaurants here in Finland. Out of the many places I’ve been to, a lot serve Lihapullat as a staple dish in their menu.

Traditional Finnish Meatballs lihapullat ja muusi

3. (Riisipuuro) Finnish Rice Porridge

(Riisipuuro) Finnish Rice Porridge

What could be more comforting than bowl of steaming rice porridge?

Unlike similar dishes from other countries, sugar isn’t added to the mixture but sprinkled on top just before serving. Some prefer it with a fruit broth known as “fruit soup” or a bilberry compote.

This Finland recipe for rice porridge is rarely cooked and is traditionally served at Christmas time. Traditionally an almond is hidden in the pot of porridge. Whoever finds the almond in her or his serving will have good fortune.

4. Karelian Stew Recipe

Karelian Stew Recipe Finnish Recipes

Karjalanpaisti Is the most famous Finnish recipe in Finland. If you ask a Finn to tell you a traditional Finnish dinner dish, I bet they will say this: Karelian stew aka Karjalanpaisti, in Finnish.

Originally from the Karelia region, this meal became a staple all around Finland as evacuees from the Karelia region moved around Finland after the war times in the ’40s.

5. Cabbage Rolls or Kaalikaaryleet

Cabbage Rolls or Kaalikaaryleet Finnish Recipes

Cabbage rolls are pretty common dish across Europe (from my own observation anyway). I’ve seen cabbage rolls recipe in several different European cookbooks. Like many other cabbage rolls, this Finnish recipe for cabbage rolls or known as Kaalikaaryleet are stuffed with rice, cabbage and ground beef. The filling is then wrapped with whole cabbage leave. This is a complete meal on its own if you ask me.

6. Finnish Salmon Soup, or Lohikeitto

Finnish Salmon Soup, or Lohikeitto

Finnish Salmon Soup, or Lohikeitto, is a simple Nordic salmon chowder and a comforting 30 minute Finnish recipe. This meal, made with a light cream broth, melt-in-your-mouth chunks of salmon, and tons of fresh dill!

The flavors are unpretentious and clean, with a traditional dill infused broth touched with allspice. I make it in the spring, of course, when wild salmon is in season, but it’s become one of my favorite winter meals, too.

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7. Fried Muikuks (White Fish)

Fried Muikuks (White Fish) Traditional Finnish Recipes

Fried muikuks in a pan belong to the classic category of fish dishes – who is a fish lover who hasn’t tasted these silver ribs coated in flour that are suitable for nibbling! This Finnish food is a favorite throughout the country.

8. Fried Vendace

Fried Vendace Traditional Finnish Recipes

Fried Vendace can be described as Finland’s own ‘fish and chips’ as the dish features a local fish that is found in Finland, served with heaps of mashed potatoes. The delightful fried Vendace or “Muikku” in Finnish melts once it enters your mouth. With every bite, the savory and rich flavor are sure to get you hooked.

9. Siskonmakkarakeitto or Sausage Soup

Siskonmakkarakeitto or Sausage Soup

While looking for a Finnish recipe for this months Eat the World a few recipes stood out and I knew I couldn’t pick just one to make. This simple soup is amazing, I always forget how much we love turnips until I cook with them again.

10. Honey Baked Ham

Honey Baked Ham Traditional Finnish Recipes

Finnish recipe for a Honey baked ham baked in a hint of pineapple juice and basted with a deliciously buttery, sticky glaze! Let the holidays begin with a slice or two of Honey Baked Ham! Juicy and succulent on the inside with crispy, charred, sticky edges. The perfect ham for your Christmas dinner table.

10 Side Dish Finnish Recipes

11. Cabbage Casserole (called kaalilaatikko in Finnish)

Cabbage Casserole Authentic Finnish Recipes

Cabbage casserole is to Finns like spaghetti is to Italians, one of their favorite Finnish food items, tamales to Mexicans, and curry is to Eastern Indians. It’s almost as old as Finland itself and is an essential part of the Finnish culinary tradition. I would bet that one forkful of cabbage casserole for most Finns evokes memories of family meals and the scent of baked cabbage, probably made by grandma.

12. Rosolli or Beetroot Salad

Rosolli or Beetroot Salad Authentic Finnish Recipes

Rosolli is a Finnish recipe for a vegetable salad that’s traditionally served at Christmas. It’s made with beetroot, potatoes, carrots, apple, onion and pickles with a tangy and sweet dressing. A delicious vegetable salad for any time of the year.

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13. Makaronilaatikko or Finnish Macaroni Casserole

Makaronilaatikko or Finnish Macaroni Casserole

This might be the most common dish in Finnish homes. It is easy to make and kids especially love it. The traditional Finnish recipe for this casserole itself contains macaroni and minced meat and a milk and egg mixture that binds everything together. Top it off with some tomato ketchup and you are set.

14. Kraelian Pie With Egg Butter

Kraelian Pie With Egg Butter Authentic Finnish Recipes
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“This authentic Finnish recipe is very good served with Hapankaalikeitto (Finnish Sauerkraut Soup). This recipe calls for a rice filling, but other traditional fillings include mashed potatoes, meat, fish, and cheese. Posted for Zaar World Tour 05”

15. Gravlax

Gravlax Finnish Food

Gravlax is fresh salmon that’s been cured with a combination of salt and sugar. It’s arguably the ultimate easy-to-make luxury food in the world! This homemade Cured Salmon Gravlax recipe can be made with a small fillet or whole side of salmon, and costs a fraction of store bought. The beauty of this authentic Finnish recipe for cured salmon is that you can control the salt so it’s not too salty and it’s got a fresh herb flavor that you’ll never get in a packet!

16. Kalakukko

Kalakukko Fish Pie Finnish Food

I love this authentic Finnish recipe for Kalakukko! This is my second version of the pie. There is another u mashenki. But they are all different. This cake made of rye flour with fish and brisket is cooked for a long time, but stored for a long time. It is convenient to take with you on a journey into nature, because it combines rye bread and a full dish.

17. Mykyrokka – Savonian Blood Dumpling Soup

Mykyrokka – Savonian Blood Dumpling Soup

Blodpalt is an authentic Finnish recipe that makes use of the reindeer blood, and has been prepared in Sámi kitchens for hundreds of years, normally throughout the long dark winter. Swedish Sámi food ambassador and chef Greta Hoover cooked this dish with Australian Aboriginal elder Aunty Beryl during Indigenous Terra Madre, held in Jokkmokk, Sweden last month and hosted by Slow Food Sápmi.

18. Lohikeitto – Salmon Soup With Cream

Lohikeitto – Salmon Soup With Cream

Lohikeitto is a traditional Finnish recipe, the absolutely delicious salmon soup recipe that is popular in Nordic countries. It’s dilly, creamy, buttery and has huge chunks of salmon and hearty vegetables. Not only does it taste amazing but it also comes together in just 30 minutes.

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19. Ruisleipa (rye bread)

Ruisleipa (rye bread) Finnish Food

This Finnish recipe for Rye Bread Ruisleipä has been on my baking list for a while. And what better time to post than now, Real Bread Week, the international celebration of additive free loaves. As I write this blog, bread heads, near and far are posting their favourite bakes to encourage people to buy real bread from their local independent bakeries; bake their own real bread and support the charity behind the Real Bread Campaign.

20. Pytt i Panna Swedish Hash

Pytt i Panna Swedish Hash

The Swedish name for it means “small pieces in a pan”, and that is literally what this dish is. Small pieces of potato, onion, and sausage are all fried together in one pan, topped with a fried egg, and served with a side of pickles and beetroot.

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21. Piparkakut (Traditional Finnish Gingerbread Biscuits)

Finnish Gingerbread Biscuits)

Piparkakut are spiced, orange-infused ginger cookies with a lovely crunch. Unlike some gingerbread cookies, these are a touch lighter and far less sticky.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not tasty! Between the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and mixed citrus peel, these will hold their own against any cookie on the plate.

22. Bread Cheese or Leipajuusto

Bread Cheese or Leipajuusto

When it comes to Finnish food, cinnamon rolls and this bread cheese = leipäjuusto. It is a non-fermented cheese with a chewy texture. The cheese itself doesn’t have much flavor, and it is served with cloudberry jam, which is also synonymous with Finland.

23. Salty Licorice or Salmiakki

Salty Licorice or Salmiakki

People who love black licorice will flip for these assertively flavored candies. This is another Finnish food that we have to give the credit for to Sweden. Salty licorice, or s

Salmiakki, is an absolute Finnish favorite. It should not be confused with sweet licorice. Salty licorice is flavored with ammonium chloride, giving it a salty taste.

24. Creamy Finnish Blueberry Pie (Mustikkapiirakka)

Creamy Finnish Blueberry Pie (Mustikkapiirakka)

Finnish blueberry pie, Mustikkapiirakka, is a popular Finnish dessert. A layer of blueberries are buried in a creamy custard topping on a cookie-like crust. This easy recipe is made with ingredients that are easy to find in North America.

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25. Quick Laskiaispulla Recipe

Quick Laskiaispulla Recipe

If you want to try all the different bun versions we have in Finland, Shrovetide is the perfect time to be in Finland.

That’s because it is the season of the Finnish cream bun, called Laskiaispulla in Finnish (literally: Shrovetide bun). This mouth-watering soft cinnamon bun comes with a sweet filling of strawberry jam and whipped cream.


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