National Danish food – what to eat when visiting Denmark

At first glance, Danish cuisine is no different from the culinary traditions of the Scandinavian countries. Nevertheless, true gourmets will name a lot of distinctive features of national dishes, many of which even today are prepared according to unique, ancient recipes. Danish cuisine is original and original, it often combines incompatible products. That is why gastronomic tours to Denmark are very popular.

National Danish Food

Characteristic features of the national cuisine of Denmark

Dishes of Danish national cuisine are a combination of culinary traditions of many countries of the northern part of Europe. National cuisine is distinguished by a rich assortment of dishes and high nutritional value of each of them. This is due to climatic features, because in conditions of low temperatures it is vital to provide yourself with high-calorie food.

Danish cuisine

It is interesting! Culinary experts value Danish cuisine as a combination of German and Scandinavian traditions. It is dominated by meat, seafood and vegetables. An amazing combination of seemingly simple products inspires the most sophisticated culinary gourmets.

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To fully appreciate the features of Danish cuisine and taste the original national dishes, just visit the cafe or tavern. In Denmark, the restaurant business is rooted in the distant past. In many cafes, the menu offers recipes dating from the 13th century. Some critics claim that the national dishes of Denmark are morally obsolete, since the limited composition of the products and the lack of foreign ingredients in the recipes make it impossible to create truly tasty and original dishes. Nevertheless, local chefs managed to change the situation and revive a genuine interest in old recipes, modifying and improving them.

Features of national cuisine

  1. The basis of Danish national cuisine is hearty and high-calorie meat and fish dishes.
  2. One of the names that is firmly entrenched in Denmark is “The Country of 700 Types of Sandwiches”. Indeed, sandwiches are Danes’ favorite food. They are prepared from a huge number of ingredients, which are stacked in layers.
  3. Meat stew
  4. In Denmark, pork is very fond of, stew, sausages are cooked from it, fried, baked, served with vegetables and various sauces. Due to such an abundance of pork dishes, Danish cuisine is often compared to German.
  5. Fish and seafood are used as the main ingredient for the first and second courses.
  6. The most popular vegetables in Denmark are potatoes, onions, red and cauliflower, beans, peppers and mushrooms, carrots and greens.
  7. Also in high esteem dairy products – cottage cheese, cheeses, mayonnaise. Of great interest to tourists are milk soups.

Meat and fish

Meat and fish are included in many national dishes of Denmark. In addition to pork, locals cook a lot of beef and lamb treats.

Danish pork with braised red cabbage
Fried pork with braised red cabbage

Interesting fact! The most popular meat dish is fried pork with stewed red cabbage.

Offal is widely used in national cuisine. The pork liver is fried to a delicious, crispy crust and served with caramelized red onions and baked potatoes.

The poultry meat is grilled, and boiled potatoes and mayonnaise and greens sauce are served as a side dish. Also, poultry meat is salted and pickled.

Good to know! Salty chicken with sweet pineapple is a national dish that cannot leave anyone indifferent.

Treats Stegt Flask
Stegt Flask

The list of the most original treats rightfully includes a dish – Stegt Flask. For cooking, you need strips of bacon, potatoes, and for the sauce use beets and parsley. Another original Danish dish is meatballs. Add onion, eggs, milk, spices and bread pulp to the minced meat. Fried and served with potatoes or rice.

In Denmark, fish is also cooked – flounder, eel, trout. However, the most popular is salted herring, which actually has a slightly sweet and spicy taste.

Interesting fact! Sauces in Denmark are most often made from cranberries, lingonberries and raspberries.

Vegetable dishes

The most common vegetable in Denmark is potatoes. Any grocery store presents a huge selection of different varieties of root vegetables – for frying, cooking, stewing and mashed potatoes. Carrot, beet, cabbage and zucchini dishes are also prepared.

Bread and Baking

Rye bread

In Denmark, they eat a lot of bread. First of all, this is the basis for the famous Danish sandwiches, and bread is always served for the first and second courses. The most popular baked goods made from rye flour, which are distinguished by a sour taste, contain phosphorus, dietary fiber and magnesium. Making real rye bread is a long and complicated process. As for sweet pastries, local chefs are skilled craftsmen. In Danish national cuisine there is a huge selection of desserts – “snails” with cinnamon, rolls with a whole bunch of spices, carrot cakes, jelly-filled cakes, marzipan horns.


If in other countries a sandwich is regarded as a way to “freeze a worm” and have a bite, in Denmark it is a full-fledged, high-calorie, complex and very tasty dish. All sandwiches are united in a group called “smyrebrod”. Danish sandwiches are able to combine products that are unlikely to combine with each other. But this gives the finished dish a unique taste. Judge for yourself, one sandwich can consist of a huge number of layers of paste, fish, tomatoes, radishes and bacon.

Danish Sandwiches

Good to know! The most popular restaurant that specializes in selling sandwiches is Oscar Davidsen in Copenhagen.

The national multi-story sandwich was Hans Christian Andersen’s favorite treat. The famous writer preferred several layers of bacon, liver paste, tomatoes, radish and jelly.

Here are a few traditional Danish sandwich fillings:

Danish sandwich in a cafe
  • ham, egg, lettuce, pickles;
  • Roquefort cheese, radish, raw yolks;
  • sausages, anchovies, eggs, tomatoes, parsley;
  • boiled meat, onions, pickled beets, raw yolk, spices;
  • fried fish, lemon wedges, mayonnaise sauce;
  • salted herring, fruit jelly, bell pepper, pickled beets.

It is important! Denmark cannot be called a big country, but despite this, each region has its own original, local dishes. On the island of Ere skillfully prepared fritters and served with honey. On the island of Fane, you must definitely try the saccuk flour pudding, it is served with pork. On the island of Bornholm, smoked fish according to the original recipe. And you can try the most delicious herring on the Isle of Man.

Dishes to try in Denmark


The most popular dish in tribute. Literal translation means butter and bread. National Danish cuisine has more than a hundred types of sandwiches. The most popular ingredients are rye bread, butter, boiled meat or fried fish, cheese, vegetables and pate.

Danish national dish - Smørrebrod

Photo: Danish national dish Smorrebrod.

As meat ingredients, liver paste, fried pork, boiled or fried beef are used. The top of the sandwich must be supplemented with fresh or pickled vegetables and slices of cheese.

Hot dogs

Strolling through the cities of Denmark, be sure to try the local hot dog, which can be purchased at special racks – Pölsevogn. In Denmark, there are two types of hot dogs:

Hot Dogs in Denmark
  • riset – cooked in a bun, pickled cucumber, onion, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise are placed on top (the cooking method resembles an American recipe);
  • franksdog – cooked in the crust of a baguette, inside add sharp mayonnaise and a traditional hot dog filling.
Stegt Flax

A popular national dish that locals describe as “pork fat in parsley sauce.” Strips of bacon are used for cooking, and potatoes and beets are served as a side dish.

Interesting fact! In restaurants, the dish is served on rye bread as a snack or as an independent dish with a side dish of red cabbage, prunes and pickled cucumbers.


Meatballs traditional for Denmark are made from pork or ground beef with onions, eggs, milk, bread pulp and spices. Formed balls are fried and served with potatoes or red cabbage.

Meatballs in a plate

Translated, the word means – a million steaks. Preparing a dish of beef, which is cut into small pieces. As a side dish served potatoes, pasta or rice.

Millionbeuf Dish

It is important! In different restaurants, various spices are added to the meat – pepper, paprika, they can add corn, pepper or serve with mashed potatoes.

Fried pork

Pork is a staple in many Danish dishes. For example, bacon fried to a crust in parsley sauce is prepared. Boiled potatoes or apple mousse are served as a side dish.

Fried bacon

Also, the pork is baked directly on the skin; previously, cuts are made on it. It is believed that the most delicious in the dish is just the skin. The meat is served with sweet, caramelized potatoes. The dish is considered festive, and it is prepared for Christmas.

Danish herring

In Denmark, large quantities of food are eaten. The stores sell different varieties of fish and seafood. The best fish market operates on the island of Bornholm. Here you can buy salmon, flounder, cod, eel, haddock. The restaurants serve fried, baked, boiled, steamed fish. However, the herring is rightfully considered the queen of national cuisine. There are more than 60 national recipes for cooking herring – they are pickled, salted, canned.

Assortment of fish in a market in Denmark

Interesting fact! Be sure to try the famous “northern assortment” – herring, salmon, eel and caviar, served with creamy horseradish.

Danish herring salad

Traditional Danish herring salad also includes: potatoes, veal, pickles, sour apples, boiled beets, onions, carrots and a special dressing made of cream, vinegar, sugar and salt.

Danish cuisine is one of the most distinctive in the world. If you want to try simple products, but in an original combination, the national menu of Denmark will surely intrigue and surprise you.

Video: street food in Denmark – what to try and how much it costs.

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