8 Norwegian Christmas Foods

Norwegian Christmas Foods
Image credit: goodfoodandwords.com

Norway is full of delicious Christmas foods. But one of the most traditional and well-known Norwegian Christmas foods is lutefisk and pinnekjøtt.

Norwegians eat two types of dried fish during this time of year. They’re both traditional foods that Norwegians have eaten since the Viking Age. So you can imagine they’ve had plenty of time to perfect these recipes!

In this article, we’ll explore the history behind these two Norwegian Christmas foods and then tell you how you can try these delicious dishes if you travel to Norway during the holidays.

1. Lutefisk

Lutefisk is one of the most popular  Norwegian Christmas foods. It is a traditional dish that originated from poorer fishing communities. And it consists of dried whitefish (normally cod, haddock, or ling) soaked in lye for several days. 

The fish is then reconstituted with water and boiled, often served with mashed potatoes, sour cream, butter, and sugar.

Lutefisk was originally made by soaking dried fish in water or milk, then rinsing off the salt before boiling it.

 But this led to a mushy texture that some people didn’t like. So instead, they started soaking the fish in lye (potash) solution instead.

2. Pinnekjott

The pinnekjott is a Norwegian meat dish traditionally served during the Christmas season. Pinnekjotts are similar to kebabs but with a thick bread dough wrapped around the skewers and then baked in an oven. 

They can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. The pinnekjott originated in the 19th century when poverty was common in Norway. 

It was originally considered peasant food but has now become one of the most popular dishes of Norwegian Christmas foods at dinner tables.

The bread dough is made with flour and yeast and rises overnight.  Before being rolled out into an oval shape, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar on one side.

3. Yuletide fish

The Norwegian tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates back over 100 years. Traditionally, whitefish and cod are prepared with various ingredients, including salt, pepper, nutmeg, lemon juice, and herbs. 

The fish is typically boiled or baked in the oven so it can be easily peeled from the bone and eaten. Some traditional recipes include leeks, carrots, and potatoes for a heartier meal.

The most popular dish is lutefisk, traditionally served on December 24th as part of the julbord (Christmas buffet).

Lutefisk is made from dried whitefish soaked in lye over an extended period, adding flavor and gelatinizing the fish’s protein.

4. Yuletide dessert

In Norway, the yuletide dessert is a rice pudding called risengrynsgrøt. This delicious rice pudding is traditionally served with whipped cream and various Norwegian Christmas food cookies. 

In Norway, this dish has been around for many centuries. And it has become an essential part of the Norwegian Christmas foods dinner. 

The traditional way to serve this dish is in a bowl or cup with whipped cream on top. However, you can also eat it with a creamy topping on the side if you prefer that.

To make these Norwegian Christmas foods, cook your rice according to package instructions and add milk, egg yolks, and butter.

5. Ribbe

It may be December, and we’re in the midst of winter, but Norway still feels some summer vibes. That means fresh salads, ice cream, and salad on the menu for this week’s #TacoTuesday.

 It also means that many of us are getting ready for Christmas. The Norwegian Christmas food celebration is a bit different than what most of us are used to since they celebrate it in the middle of January.

 But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great Norwegian Christmas foods to try out during this time. One dish you’ll find all over Norway during this time is ribbed or a roasted pig stuffed with apples, onions, and herbs.

6. Cod

Cod are traditional Norwegian Christmas foods. There’s a local legend about how the tradition of eating cod on December 25th began. 

In 1643, a fisherman went out for the night and caught an especially large cod. He cut it up, fried it with butter, salt, and pepper, and then served it to his guests at breakfast.

 The next morning he opened his Bible and read from Luke 2: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field. So he named this dish julestek (Christmas steak).

7. Christmas Porridge 

Christmas porridge is a holiday dish that many Norwegians eat on the morning of December 24th. The porridge is made with whole grain, salt, and sugar and topped with butter, cinnamon, and raisins. 

It’s believed that the dish was originally eaten as a way to use up all the flour in the house before Lent. Nowadays, it’s more commonly served as breakfast alongside coffee or tea.

8. Christmas Cookies and Cakes

Christmas cookies and cakes are common Norwegian Christmas foods. Along with gingerbread, these cookies and cakes are served during Advent or as a dessert after dinner on December 24th. 

A few examples of popular Norwegian desserts are gingerbread, julekake (a type of cake), lefse (flat pancakes made from potatoes), and rice porridge called risengrynsgrøt. These dishes are often decorated with icing and sometimes nuts.


Norway is known as the land of the midnight sun. But most people don’t know that it’s also the land of some pretty amazing  Norwegian Christmas foods! 

The Christmas season in Norway lasts from December 13th to January 6th and is filled with delicious treats like fattigmand (peppermint candy) and julekake (Norwegian Christmas cake).

Here are some great Norwegian Christmas food ideas that you should definitely try next season!

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