Danish Christmas Foods

Traditional Danish Christmas food: 12 must-try Danish Christmas recipes

Danish Christmas foods are the key to celebrating the festive season like the Danes. If you want to channel some classic Danish hygge into your holidays, learning how to cook a handful of delicious Danish Christmas food recipes could be the best way to begin. 

While every Danish family will have specific traditions to follow regarding what they most want to eat during Christmas, there are a few classic meals common within the Julefrokost Christmas lunch. 

Fortunately for food lovers, they’re all delicious!

Today, we’re going to take you on a journey through some of the classic Christmas foods you might want to prepare to add a Danish flavor to your festive season.

Traditional Danish Christmas dinner: Julefrokost

The first thing you need to know about Danish Christmas dinner is the name: Julefrokost. While the Julefrokost menu isn’t the only example of festive fare you can encounter in Denmark, it’s probably the most important meal to the locals. 

Similar to the Swedish Julbord, the Julefrokost celebration involves plenty of delicious food and strong alcohol. 

Danish Christmas lunch is more of an all-day party than a sit-down meal. You might start with a Danish crown cake for breakfast, apple cinnamon coffee cake, and a cup of delicious gokstad coffee. 

By the time lunchtime rolls around, you’ll be eating Flæskesteg roast pork, fish, smoked salmon, and rugbrod (whole grain bread). 

After that, you’ll have meatballs, rice pudding, and plenty of toasts finished with traditional Danish snaps. The key to a great Danish Christmas dinner is making sure everyone at your table is full, satisfied, and too sleepy to move by the end of the day. 

12 Delicious Danish Christmas foods

Traditional Danish Christmas food is often rich, warming, and lovingly prepared by the whole family. If you want to put some of the foods mentioned in our list to the test during your festive celebration, there are plenty of Danish Christmas food recipes available to guide you. 

For now, let’s explore some of the must-have items in a Danish Christmas dinner…

Danish Christmas Foods

1. Ableskiver (pancake balls)

Start Christmas right with a delicious breakfast of fluffy pancake balls. Though you can eat this delicious meal at any time of the year, it’s particularly common as part of a Christmas breakfast celebration. 

Quick and easy to make, Aebleskiver combines eggs, apples, buttermilk, and sugar for a deliciously decadent meal. You can even find special pans for making this food in Denmark.

Danish Christmas Foods

2. Flæskesteg (Danish roast pork)

Easily one of the most popular national dishes on the Danish Christmas table, Flæskesteg is a slow-cooked pork with crispy crackling on the skin. Flæskesteg is usually served for the main Christmas meal on Christmas eve, alongside carrots, potatoes, and all kinds of other treats. 

Though it does take a while to prepare properly, the delicious moist pork and crispy crackling are the perfect combo. 

Danish Christmas Foods

3. Fåsselår (lamb leg)

Not a huge fan of pork? You could always try the traditional leg of lamb from Denmark instead. The toughest part about making this Danish Christmas food is how long it takes to prepare. 

You’ll need to buy the lamb leg at least a month in advance and coat it in salt and water for about 30 days before hanging it to dry. You then eat the salty meat as a kind of jerky alongside toasted bread. 

Danish Christmas Foods

4. Rodkal (red cabbage)

Common in both Sweden and Danish Christmas dinners, Danish red cabbage is a popular side dish for your festive meals. All you really need to make this meal is some shredded red cabbage, currant juice, salt, sugar, and vinegar. 

If you prefer, you can also use elderberry juice instead of currant, depending on what’s available in your local store. 

Danish Christmas Foods

5. Aebleflaesk (apple pork)

Among the many delicious foods served in the Julefrokost celebration, Danish apple pork is a simple side dish made with three ingredients. All you need is streaks of pork or bacon, onions, and apples. 

The dish is most common in specific parts of Denmark, so it’s more likely to be a tradition if your family has grown up with it. 

Danish Christmas Foods

6. Brunede kartofler (sugar potatoes)

If you’ve ever had a problem convincing your kids to eat their vegetables at Christmas, Danish sugar browned potatoes could be the answer. Though not the healthiest item on the Julefrokost menu, Brunede Kartofler is a popular side dish. 

All you need to do to make this dish is bake your potatoes in plenty of butter and sugar in a hot frying pan.

Danish Christmas Foods

7. Danish Christmas cookies

Cookies are a must-have part of the Danish Christmas celebration. There are many different kinds of cookies depending on your preferences, including gingerbread biscuits, vanilla cookies, and oatmeal balls made with marzipan and pearl sugar. 

One of the most traditional Danish cookies is the “Burnkager”, or Danish brown cookies, made with cinnamon, almonds, pistachio nuts, ginger, cloves, and allspice. For something a little more refreshing, try the Pebernodder pepper cookies

Danish Christmas Foods

8. Dough angel wings (klejner)

Klejner angel wings are another kind of cookie common in Danish Christmas celebrations. These cookies appear all throughout the Nordic region, and are made with a mixture of sugar, egg yolks, flour and butter. 

Usually, you’ll make the dough and cut it into shapes (similar to an angel wing), some families also roll the dough into knots. The key to amazing Klejner is deep-frying the dough and eating it when it’s still crispy, warm, and golden.

Danish Christmas Foods

9. Danish glögg

Glögg is a common alcoholic drink in Sweden and Denmark. It’s essentially the Scandinavian version of mulled wine, often featuring several different alcoholic beverages, including rum, port, and red wine. 

The sweet and spicy drink is designed to keep Danish families warm during the cold Christmas nights — which are particularly bitter in the Nordic region. 

Danish Christmas Foods

10. Risengrød (rice pudding)

Risengrød is probably one of the most important Danish Christmas recipes you can learn. Whereas other parts of the world celebrate the end of a Christmas meal with a pudding or cake, the Danes almost always have risengrød. 

Usually, large batches of this creamy rice pudding will be made on the 23rd of December, and on Christmas Eve, the family will mix it with vanilla, whipped cream, and almonds. You can also add a large sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top!

Danish Christmas Foods

11. Klatkager (rice pudding pancakes)

Clearly not happy with wasting food, the Danish always have a use for the meals they can’t totally finish. At Christmas, when rice pudding is still leftover from the night before, the Danes make rice pudding pancakes, known as klatkager. 

The pancakes are delicious and easy to make — just mix flour and eggs into your rice pudding. Usually, they’re served with various fruits, jams, and a little powdered sugar. 

Danish Christmas Foods

12. Rugbrod (whole grain bread)

Bread is a common accompaniment to a lot of the snacks and meals involved in Danish Christmas dinner. This unique rye bread is a very dense loaf, quite different to the breads we’d usually find in supermarkets throughout the US and UK. 

Rugbrod is often baked the night before Christmas Eve and will be served alongside salmon, deep-fried plaice and other fish-based treats. 

Enjoy your traditional Danish Christmas dinner

Danish Christmas dinner is a wonderful time filled with meaningful family moments and delicious meals. As you’ve probably noticed from the recipes mentioned above, there’s not much room for healthy snacks in the Danish feast, so be prepared for a potential food coma. 

When enjoying your Danish Christmas foods, make sure you have plenty of fresh glögg available to the whole family, as well as Danish snaps. Throughout the meal, snaps are used for toasts to good health, the year ahead, and other joyous things. 

Remember, after you finish your Christmas dinner on Christmas eve, you’ll give the kids an extra bowl of rice pudding to leave out for Santa, and settle down with some flaky pastries, sweet cake, or a great cup of coffee before bed. 

What a fantastic way to start Christmas! 

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