Why the world would end without Danish Christmas food

In Denmark, we love to eat. Eating is pretty much what we do all day this time of year. We have so many various dishes and drinks depending on which part of Denmark you’re from. Since my family comes from North Jutland, some of these dishes are most popular up there.

Read next: Traditional Danish Food: 20 amazing dishes you must try in Denmark

In our home, we (read: mom) make most of this food from scratch. It’s just sooo much better and she’s such a great cook! I know lots of Danes who even brew their own schnapps.

About this time last year, I wrote a post on Danish Christmas food and it became one of the most popular posts around here. So this year I decided to make an updated photo series for you guys. I’m happy to share recipes if you’d like; let me know in the comments.

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What we call them: Juleslik

When we eat them: In my family, we make a day out of it in early December. We make sweets and cookies enough for every day of December. I deliberately hide the weight this time of year!

Vanilla wreaths
Vanilla wreaths
Oatmeal balls
Oatmeal balls


What we call them: Gløgg, snaps, juleøl

When we drink it: As often as possible. Many elderly Danes drink snaps every day because it’s good for the health – or so they say. The rest of us only drinks it at Christmas dinners. Mulled wine is often enjoyed with apple slices, while the special x-mas beer is launched on J-day (juleølsdag) in late October. We have a P-day (påskeøl) for the special easter beer as well.

Danish snaps
Danish snaps (schnapps)


What we call them: Rugbrød

When we eat it: Danes eat rye bread all year round, but we like to make extra good topping during Christmas. In my family, we love fish so we put all kinds of smoked, cold, warm and raw fish on the rye bread.

Rugbrød with smoked salmon and fish frikadelle
Rugbrød with smoked salmon and fish frikadelle


What we call them: Leverpostej

When we eat it: This is actually also an all year round topping, yet it’s a popular part of our Christmas lunches. It’s not exactly the same as pate, but it’s close.

Danish Christmas food


What we call them: Tærte

When we eat it: It’s quite popular for Christmas lunches, but many Danes also make them for dinner during the rest of the year.

Pie with ham, egg and broccoli
Pie with ham, egg and broccoli


What we call them: Rullepølse

When we eat it: In my family, we make them ourselves. My parents make one with lamb and another with pork, and they’re absolutely tasty! We eat it every morning during December.

Rolled ham sausage with onions
Rolled ham sausage with onions


What we call them: Sideretter

When we eat it: They’re quite popular all year and especially during Christmas lunches.

Boiled eggs and chives
Boiled eggs and chives
Root beets
Root beets


What we call them: Fisk

When we eat it: Every day if I could. I think this much fish is specific for my family though as most Danes eat pork. We eat lots of fish during Christmas lunches and on New Years Eve.

Cod roe, fish frikadelle, smoked salmon, eel, trout and scramled eggs
Cod roe, fish frikadelle, smoked salmon, eel, trout and scrambled eggs
Pickled herring
Pickled herring


What we call them: Sund slik

When we eat it: Along with nuts, you can find healthy snacks on Danish tables every day of December.

Figs, dades and dried abricots
Figs, dates and dried apricots


What we call them: Sylte

When we eat it: I don’t. But many Danes like to eat this at Christmas parties and for lunch.

Pork jelly
Pork jelly


What we call them: Julemiddag

When we eat it: Only on Christmas Eve, although I could eat it several times a year! A lot of Danes also eat roast pork or goose.

Roast duck with caramel potatos and prunes
Roast duck with caramel potatoes and prunes
Risalamande with hot cherry sauce
Risalamande with hot cherry sauce


What we call them: Stuvet hvidkål

When we eat it: Only in Northern and Southern Jutland I think, and it’s common to eat it on the 25th or 26th of December.

Danish Christmas food

Boiled pork and sausage
Boiled pork and sausage

What’s your favourite Christmas dish?

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  1. I’m always curious to see different Christmas traditions around the world, so thank you for sharing! The sweets look delicious, and I love that you incorporate so much fish into the meal- especially smoked salmon!

    1. Thanks, Ashley. Those sweets are highly addictive! 😉 So is the fish, but at least it’s much more healthy to eat. We have many fishermen in my family so we always get fish several times a week. It’s sooo good!

  2. Um, yumm! I seriously must have gained at least 10 pounds in Norway over Christmas. It’s really interesting to see where Norwegian food overlaps with Danish and which things are really different!

    1. Me too! I deliberately haven’t been on the weight since before Christmas, but now it’s time to get back on the fitness bike! Yeah, Scandinavian food is quite similar – there’s rye bread (rugbrød) in Norway too, right?

  3. OOOOH! this post really made me feel like I should give Christmas in Denmark another try. I only had one, and was pregnant at the time, so I wasn’t up for experimenting with new foods, as I generally am 🙂

    I adore fish — as most people who were born and raised on an island do — so that fish platter looks really appetizing to me! Even the boiled cod roe, which I never had before but would absolutely try.

    I actually make my own beef liver pate and often add mushroom and bacon to it, so we are pretty close there 🙂

    And the rye bread, ah, I remember that well! Delish, topped with all kinds of goodies. I wonder what I could use now, since I found out that I am celiac and cannot have rye, and gluten-free bread is more or less appalling across the boards 😉

    Happy New Year! Or rather, Godt Nytår! 🙂

    1. Aw, you’ve lived in Denmark? 🙂 I don’t hear that very often. Well, if you ever make it to my country again, I will do my best to find you an alternative for rye bread. I have a friend with gluten allergy and she knows a lot about alternative diets. Godt nytår to you, too 🙂

  4. Wow! My mouth is watering just looking at all this good food! While I was in Colombia I had a friend from Holland make me some traditional Thanksgiving food, but now I have to try some Danish food at some point too!

  5. Do you have the recipe for the oatmeal balls?? Those little things are one of the many highlights of a Danish Christmas for sure.

  6. These bring back so many good memories I have for Christmas. Both of my grandparents were from Denmark before they came to Racine, Wisconsin and we have a lot of these foods during the holidays. Thank you so much for sharing. Another tradition we always had during Christmas was the calendar candle. We would burn it every night until Christmas Day. I wish we would have those candles here in the U.S.

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