20 Traditional Danish Food In Denmark You Have To Try

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Denmark is an exhilarating blend of old traditions and new ideas mixed into one beautiful country. Here you will find the homes of great authors and chefs because this is a country where creativity reigns, particularly when it comes to Danish food.

This Nordic kingdom has inspired people for centuries, and now more than ever Denmark has become a destination for all things new and delicious. Eat like a local with this guide to traditional foods of Denmark!

What Is Special About Danish Foods

Denmark has a long culinary tradition based on its cool climate and agricultural offerings. They have long favored simple foods with a “meat and potatoes” style of cooking; however, in recent memory, the chefs in Denmark have been on a mission to prove that simple food is deserving of praise.

Copenhagen has become a beloved food town for eaters and chefs alike. Here you will find Michelin-star restaurants, street vendors, bakeries, markets, and more. The food here is a medley of old and new with an emphasis on simplicity and locally available ingredients.

The sustainable food movement is alive and well in Denmark and it is delicious!

Most Famous Danish Food

Smørrebrød (Danish Open-Faced Sandwich)

This Danish icon is simple, customizable, and oh-so-delicious. “Smørrebrød” translates to “butter bread” and that is the base of this dish. Smørrebrød starts with buttered Danish rye and then layers of delicious flavors are stacked on top. This Danish food is endlessly customizable and enjoyed in so many ways by so many Danish locals.

The traditional toppings for this Danish food include cold cuts, smoked fish, cheese slices, pate, vegetables, and spices. There are endless options for this traditional Danish food. Locals love to enjoy smørrebrød for breakfast or light lunch with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Traditional Danish Food

Rødkål (Shredded Red Cabbage)

Danes love this colorful vegetable! Rødkål is Danish red cabbage and it is a local favorite to enjoy as a side dish for meats, seafood, and more. What makes this side dish so sensational is the flavor.

The cabbage is mixed with a blend of vinegar and spice to give it a wonderful zing and slightly fermented flavor that everyone will love! Try this Danish food with flæskesteg or a bold Danish sausage.

Rugbrød (Rye Bread)

Danish rye bread is an absolute staple of Danish cuisine. It’s used for sandwiches, toast, bread pudding, and more, and the traditional recipe for this classic bread is almost as old as Denmark itself!

This rectangular bread packs in the flavor. It has a unique flavor due to the sourdough method used to make this bread rise but it’s not overly sour.

Instead, rugbrød has a great mildly sweet flavor from the rye and molasses in the bread. Sometimes seeds and kernels are included in the dough to give it a more complex texture. Enjoy this Danish food as part of the classic smørrebrød.

Rød Pølser (Danish Hot Dog)

Hot dogs are an essential part of Danish cuisine. They’re sold by street vendors, bars, and even restaurants. One thing that sets Danish dogs apart is their bright red color. They’re known for being vibrant in color, snap, and flavor.

Rød pølser are the traditional bright red dogs of Denmark. They are usually boiled and then served on a white bread bun. The topping includes remoulade, mustard, ketchup, fried onions, and pickles.

Grab this Danish food from a street vendor and enjoy it as you wander through Copenhagen.

Hakkebøf (Beef Patty)

This Danish food may feel very familiar to Americans, but its style and flavor make it stand out on its own.

Hakkebøf is a grilled beef patty that looks very similar to the American hamburger patty. It’s made of minced beef that is formed into a patty and then grilled to crispy perfection on the outside. The patty is enjoyed with caramelized onions and potatoes.

This simple meal is so beloved by Danish locals that its reinventions are everywhere in Denmark. You will find this served by street vendors and high-end restaurants alike.

Mørbradbøffer i Flødesovs (Sirloin in Cream Sauce)

Locals in Denmark love eating deliciously simple foods, like this traditional Danish food. It is so simple and so satisfying. Mørbradbøffer i Flødesovs is a delicious meal of sirloin steak in an irresistible cream sauce.

The steak is smothered in a rich and flavorful sauce and often served with cooked onions and mushrooms. It’s commonly found in Danish restaurants and homes throughout Denmark.


Danish Food: Poultry

Gammeldags Kylling (Roast Chicken)

It may be simple, but nothing can top a perfectly roasted chicken. The flavors of the poultry truly sing when slowly roasted, and nobody coaxes more flavor out of chicken than the Danes. Their traditional dish of Gammeldags Kylling or Danish roast chicken is a savory celebration of flavor!

This simple Danish food is all about the process. The chicken will slow roast for hours with herbs and peppercorns. It’s basted in stock to give it a moist and rich flavor.

Local restaurants do serve this dish, but it is traditionally enjoyed as a home-cooked meal. This comforting Danish food is great with boiled potatoes and asparagus.

Tarteletter (Savory Tart)

Tarteletter are small chicken-filled tarts and they are a Danish food that everyone gets excited for! They are small, fun, and most importantly delicious! These tarts are a favorite food in Denmark at buffets and parties.

Tarteletter starts with a flaky, buttery tart crust. The filling is made with a blend of chicken and asparagus and those elements are mixed together in the most creamy and satisfying white sauce. These are a perfect starter to a meal or a comforting bite from a Danish buffet.

Andesteg (Roast Duck)

Duck can be a tricky dish to make perfectly, but Danish chefs have a true mastery of this bird!

Andesteg is the Danish food tradition of beautifully roasted duck. You will find this dish served at Denmark’s finest restaurants and also made by Danish home cooks.

The trick to this succulent dish is in the slow roasting, this gives the duck fat time to render into deliciousness. Chefs will turn that rendered fat into a luxurious sauce for the finished duck.

Often the duck is stuffed with apples and herbs to give it a complex and tantalizing flavor. This Danish food is often served with red cabbage and potatoes.

Danish Food: Pork

Stegt Flæsk (Pork Belly)

This delicious pork dish is considered the national food of Denmark and with one bite you will understand what all the hype is about!

This meal shows that simple can be spectacular and delicious! This dish has humble roots but Danes everywhere love to eat this flavorful meal and it can be found at restaurants throughout Denmark.

Stegt flæsk consists of a fried pork belly with potatoes and a velvety herb sauce. The pork belly is unforgettable because it is pan-fried with a pinch of salt and pepper so the meaty pork flavor shines through.

The best part is the parsley and cream sauce that is served on the potatoes. This Danish food is a creamy and delicious dream!

Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)

Danish meatballs are one of the most memorable dishes in Danish cuisine. This dish is pure comfort food with a distinct Danish style. Frikadeller are enjoyed as a hearty and filling dinner often with potatoes and/or veggies.

Frikadeller starts with a blend of minced meat, usually featuring pork, that’s mixed with herbs and spices to make the perfect meatball. The meatballs are pan-fried and then served in a rich and smooth brown gravy.

Boller i Karry (Curried Meatballs)

Copenhagen is a foodie’s paradise! This town is deliciously diverse and in tune with great international flavors. Boller i karry may not be the image that comes to mind when people think of Danish dishes, but these curried meatballs are a local favorite.

Boller i karry starts with delicious Danish meatballs over basmati rice, but what makes this dish unforgettable is the smooth and creamy curry sauce that the meatballs are smothered in. It is a milder flavor than traditional Indian curries, but it is full of species and amazing flavor.

Find this Danish food in restaurants throughout Copenhagen and beyond.

Leverpostej (Liver Pate)

While this Danish food may not be for everyone, it is a rich, decadent, and savory treat for those who choose to indulge!

Leverpostej is the traditional Danish liver pate and it’s delicious! This local favorite is perfect when spread on rugbrød or crackers and its luxurious flavors will make you feel like royalty!

This Danish food is made in restaurants and homes throughout Denmark. Typically, it starts with pork liver, and fat, spices, and seasonings are mixed in to create the perfect lush and spreadable flavor.

Flæskesteg (Pork Roast)

This Danish food is the picture of holiday joy. Flæskesteg is the traditional Danish dish of roasted pork, but this is no average pork roast!

What sets this delicious pork roast apart from others is the crispy, crunchy crackling on the pork. This tasty byproduct of the cooking makes this pork roast special enough to be the star of holiday events throughout Denmark.

Enjoy this Danish food classic with cabbage or roasted potatoes.

Brændende Kærlighed (Mashed Potatoes with Bacon)

This Danish food translates to mean “burning love” in English and with one bite you will get why!

Brændende Kærlighed is a traditional Danish dish consisting of mashed potatoes topped with fried onions and bacon. The potatoes are typically simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs and the dish is usually served with another favorite local food in Denmark, pickled beets.

This dish has been with the Danes through thick and thin for over a century and today you find it on the menus of restaurants throughout Copenhagen and beyond.

Medisterpølse (Danish Sausage)

Sausage is one of the oldest food traditions in Denmark. Danish sausage is known worldwide for its decadent and delicious pork flavor. This sumptuous sausage is unlike any pork sausage you have tried and once you get a bite you won’t be able to get it out of your head.

This unforgettable Danish food starts with pork, but what makes this sausage so special is that the pork is mixed with suet in addition to spices and then cased into long tubes.

The suet gives the pork an extra rich fattiness and almost a mild sweetness. Danish sausage is perfect with potatoes and cabbage.

Æbleflæsk (Pork and Apples)

Pork might just be Denmark’s favorite food. The locals have so many traditional ways to prepare pork and each is tastier than the last. Æbleflæsk is a wonderful Danish pork dish that highlights the natural ingredients of Denmark as well as simply delicious flavors.

Æbleflæsk is a holiday staple in Denmark and it all starts with pork. Rich and savory pork belly is fried with sweet and tangy apples with a hint of sugar. The meat and fruit meld perfectly to make a balanced sweet and salty favorite.

This Danish food is very popular during the holiday season and will be seen at most Christmas buffets in Denmark.

Danish Food: Seafood

Stjerneskud (Seafood Sandwich)

Stjerneskud means “shooting star” and it’s an appropriate nickname for this bright shining dish!

The story of this fish dish actually starts in space. A famous astronaut visited Copenhagen and a local chef was inspired to create a succulent dish in their honor. Today this Danish food is enjoyed by locals regularly all the time.

Stjerneskud starts with a perfectly fried fish filet, often from plaice, a popular species of flatfish eaten throughout Denmark. The filet is beautifully breaded and fried and then served with caviar, shrimp, asparagus, and thousand island dressing. It is often finished with a squeeze of lemon to highlight the wonderful fishy flavor.

This interstellar Danish food is served at restaurants throughout Denmark and is often reinvented by local chefs.

Fiskefrikadeller (Fish Patties)

Locals in Denmark love fish! Fish is served in a wide range of delicious forms here, including the unbeatable crunchy and tempting fiskefrikadeller. This Danish food resembles a crab cake, but with all the smooth flavors of the Dane’s favorite fish.

The fish patties are made with a simple mix of shredded fish, herbs, and flour and then pan-fried. This gives the exterior a wonderful crunch and flavor. They are often served with aioli, tartar sauce, sour cream, and a lemon wedge.

This ocean-inspired Danish food can be found at restaurants and homes throughout Denmark. They are especially popular at parties!

Rødspættefilet (Fried Fish Filet)

Everyone loves fried fish and the Danes are no exception! Rødspættefilet is a local favorite food in Denmark, consisting of a flaky fried fish filet. This crunchy and buttery dish is a local favorite and can be found in restaurants and street vendors throughout Denmark.

It is often made with plaice filets that are gently breaded and pan-fried to perfection. The dish is garnished with lemon to bring out the delicious fishy flavor of this succulent Danish food!

Discovering Traditional Danish Foods

Denmark is a haven for creatives and foodies. There is some much delicious imagination in this beautiful Scandinavian land, and nowhere is that ingenuity more apparent than on the plate. The food in Denmark is nothing short of inspirational and inviting, so listen to the delicious symphony that’s all around you and dive fork-first into exciting Danish food!



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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