Norway is a beautiful country! There is plenty of history and landmarks to keep you busy, but when that exploring is done you need to eat! Norwegian food is nothing short of spectacular. Save your energy off the slopes for an adventure through the authentically delicious food in Norway!
What Is Special About Norwegian Food
Norway has some of the best access to the Atlantic in the world. Norwegian salmon is known worldwide for its quality, but there is so much more to be discovered in Norwegian cuisine. From all the bounty of the sea to the delights of the ranch, there are so many beautiful featured flavors in Norwegian foods.
Norwegian foods don’t shy away from seasonings, but they tend to err on the simply seasoned side preferring salt, pepper, warm spices, and herbs. Health is a concern in Norway and many people like lighter food earlier and heartier meals in the cold evenings. Food in Norway is all about local flavor prepared perfectly!
Most Famous Norwegian Food
Fårikål (Mutton and Cabbage)
This delicious dish is a local favorite; in fact, it is even considered the national dish of Norway! This traditional Norwegian food is prepared in the autumn, and they celebrate Fårikål Feast Day at the end of every September in Norway.
Fårikål is a dish made from mutton (lamb) and cabbage. One-the-bone mutton is cooked with cabbage and potatoes to make a humble but delicious Norwegian dish. This meal is perfect for a cool night in the harsh but beautiful climate!
Traditional Norwegian Food
Smalahove (Sheep’s Head)
This humble holiday dish makes use of the whole animal and local holiday celebrations would not be complete without this Norwegian food. Smalahove is the traditional dish of boiled sheep’s head. The head is sometimes smoked and then boiled with root vegetables.
This Norwegian dish has roots in Nordic farm culture and local chefs’ desire to use what was available.
Rømmegrøt (Sour Cream Porridge)
Rømmegrøt is a traditional Norwegian porridge made with wheat flour, butter, seasonings, and sour cream. The combination of ingredients makes the porridge both smooth and tangy. This is one Norwegian food that is sure to bring a smile to your face with all of its comforting flavors.
Rømmegrøt is a holiday favorite because it is flavorful and comforting. The texture of this porridge is thick and rich. It’s usually served in small portions topped with cinnamon and honey and paired with fresh fruit.
Rakfisk (Fermented Fish)
This preserved fish is traditionally enjoyed in Norway as a snack. Rakfisk is a type of preserved fish dish made from trout or Arctic char. It is heavily salted and aged for several months. This traditional Norwegian food is great for lovers of salty, fish flavors.
Bergensk Fiskesuppe (Bergen Fish Soup)
Bergen is a beautiful seaside town on the southwestern coast of Norway. Being a seaside town has given the locals a love of everything from the ocean. Consequently, Bergensk fiskesuppe is a Norwegian food made for lovers of everything oceanic.
This creamy fish soup marries the local Norwegian flavors of fish like cod and salmon with rich dairy, like sour cream. Vegetables like celeriac, carrots, and potatoes round out this perfectly comforting Norwegian soup.
Fenalår (Slow-Cured Lamb)
This complex cured dish is a traditional food in Norway. Fenalår is a leg of lamb that is salted and dry-cured over months. It is flavorful and often described as sweet and mutton-like.
Fenalår is often a celebratory dish. It is served at Christmas and other holidays and its typically enjoyed in thin slices as a snack or appetizer.
Norwegian Food: Breakfast
When one thinks of Norwegian food their brain automatically jumps to vafler or Norwegian waffles. Valfer are the traditional heart-shaped waffles of Norway. They are made with a leavened and dairy-rich batter that produces airy and satisfying waffles.
Norwegian waffles are enjoyed from breakfast to dessert. Possibly the most popular way to enjoy this Norwegian food is as the bun for your hot dog; it’s a local favorite! If you prefer sweet waffles, enjoy vafler topped with whipped cream and fruit.
This flatbread is so thin and delightful that it’s no wonder why Norwegians love this simple food. This delicious Norwegian dish is a thin potato flatbread often served rolled with dried fish or a bit of sugar. Lefse can be enjoyed really any time of day, but it makes for a light and lovely breakfast food in Norway.
Grovbrød (Brown Bread)
Norwegian bread is beloved and one bite of complex and tasty grovbrød will make you a believer! Grovbrød is a traditional Norwegian whole-wheat bread that is enjoyed by locals just about every day. Recipes vary, but typically include darker wheat-like rye and often include a touch of molasses or treacle.
Grovbrød is used for sandwiches, toast, bread puddings, and more. This Norwegian bread is a staple of daily life in Norway and its interesting flavor is a national treasure!
Cloudberries resemble blackberries in shape, but their color is a gorgeous ombre of bright pink to yellow. This special and very rare fruit thrives in cold climates and can be found in the swampy marshes of Norway. Cloudberries are hard to find, but locals enjoy trying to comb the marshes for these berries.
The flavor of these berries is simultaneously sweet and tart. Cloudberries are a bright treat in the Nordic cold, and locals love eating them for breakfast with porridge or on their own.
Norwegian Food: Lunch, Sides, and Snacks
Raspeball (Potato Dumpling)
This classic Norwegian food is delicious and served in homes and restaurants across the country. Raspeball is a traditional potato dumpling made very simply with grated potatoes and flour. These dumplings are enjoyed as a side to rich meaty favorites like lamb or local Norwegian fish.
Brunost (Brown Cheese)
Some people may be put off by a dish with a label like “brown cheese” but it is a truly special local treat! Brunost is a traditional Norwegian cheese made from whey, and it can be produced with cow’s milk or goat’s milk.
This thick and creamy cheese is as iconic of Norwegian cuisine as one can imagine. It is one of the things Norway is famous for. This cheese is tied to their culture and is eaten almost every day. If you want to taste a bite of real Norway, try brunost with grovbrød.
Klemme-Ost (Squeezable Cheese)
This Norwegian brand of snacks is loved by locals for its ease and great flavor. Klemme-Ost is a brand of squeezable cheese that is very popular in Norway.
They make tons of flavors of their original squeezable cheese like bacon, pesto, or vegan cheese. These packets are perfect for a light snack on the go in Norway.
Fiskeboller (Fish Balls)
Norway is a paradise for seafood lovers. Local chefs have truly mastered the preparation of local Norwegian fish including this specialty, fiskeboller. This dish is fish balls typically made from white fish, flour, and spices then deep fried.
This is a staple of home cooking and restaurant food in Norway. Fish balls are found in soups, as an appetizer with sauce, or as a fishy main dish. Sauces like bechamel and tartar sauce are often paired with these fishy bites.
Sursild (Pickled Herring)
Chefs in Norway have long known how to prepare for the long winters with tons of cleverly preserved foods. Sursild is a traditional Norwegian food made of pickled herring. It merges Norwegian love of fish and preserved foods.
Sursild has a flavor that is salty and fishy with a little hint of pepper. It is enjoyed on top of bread or toast and often eaten in the winter when food traditionally was more sparse.
Tørrfisk fra Lofoten (Air-Dried Cod)
This traditional dish is such an important piece of the culture in Norway that holds Protected Geographical Indication. That means this Norwegian food can only be produced in one region to be genuine, like Champagne and Champagne, France.
Tørrfisk fra lofoten is made from air-dried locally-caught cod. The cold air temperatures make Norway the only place in the world to properly air-dry this fish. It has a great fishy flavor that is exported from Norway across the globe.
Norwegian Food: Dinner
Lapskaus (Meat Stew)
This hearty dish is a bowl of pure Norwegian comfort food. Lapskaus is a traditional beef stew made across Norway. It uses beef, roots like parsnip and celery root, carrots, and seasonings to create a dense and lux meat stew.
Lapskaus is the perfect dish for the cold climate in Norway. The hearty meat and potatoes will warm you up so close to the Arctic circle.
Norwegians love meatballs! They make a delicious pan-fried version of meatballs that stands entirely on its own. Kjøttkaker is a simple Norwegian food that is cooked in homes and restaurants across the country.
Norwegian meatballs are made with minced meat, usually beef, pork, and/or lamb, with seasonings. They are pan-fried to get crisp and delectable on the exterior. Kjøttkaker is often served with brown sauce or gravy and potatoes.
Pinnekjøtt (Dried Lamb Ribs)
Lamb is a very popular meat in Norwegian cuisine and pinnekjøtt is a dish that local lamb lovers simply devour! It’s made of lamb ribs that are cured, dried, and smoked; this gives the lamb a salty and smoky flavor that cannot be compared! This Norwegian dish is beloved around the holidays for its decadent and salty flavor.
Medisterkaker (Pork Patties)
This Norwegian food is made from minced pork and seasonings like nutmeg. The pork is formed into patties and pan-fried to get a delicious crisp.
This is an example of a humble but oh-so-tasty food in Norway. Medisterkaker is made in homes and restaurants across Norway. They are delicious with potatoes or apples and gravy.
Finnbiff (Sauteed Reindeer)
The cold climate in Norway makes a perfect home for reindeer and the local ranchers have a deep respect for these animals. One of the fun facts about Norway is that it is home to one of the largest wild reindeer herds.
The reindeer in Norway is said to be some of the most delicious in the world. Finnbiff is the perfect introduction to eating reindeer for anyone curious about this lean meat.
Finnbiff is a traditional Norwegian food made from sauteed reindeer that is mixed with cream to make a sort of stew. Some variations include vegetables and it’s often served on top of mashed potatoes. The sauteed reindeer tastes similar to beef with a nice lean finish.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Norwegian Food: Desserts
Tilslørte Bondepiker (Layered Dessert)
This dessert is as lovely and varied as the Norwegian landscape. Tilslørte Bondepiker is a trifle or parfait-style dessert where layers of cream, cake, and fruit are served in a clear dish.
In Norway, this dessert often includes layers of apple compote with cream. But no matter what is in the layers the sweet cream makes it lush and delicious.
Trollkrem (Lingonberry Cream)
Trollkrem is a traditional Norwegian food that is as pretty as it is delicious. It is a simple dessert made from lingonberries and meringue so it has a beautiful berry color.
This airy Norwegian dessert is the perfect bite of local sweet flavor and a light dish to follow some heavier Norwegian main dishes.
Eplepai (Apple Pie)
Locals in Norway absolutely love apple pie. Apples are cool-hardy and can grow even in the cold climate of Norway. Their version of apple pie, though, does not resemble an American apple pie.
Norwegian apple pie is more of a spice cake-like dish. Apple slices are baked in an inviting batter to make a really nostalgic dessert. Like other apple desserts, this sweet Norwegian food is delicious with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Krumkake (Norwegian Waffle Cone)
One of the Norwegian desserts known worldwide for its delicious flavor and beautiful appearance.
Krumkake is a Norwegian cookie made at Christmastime. The cookies are pressed with a special Norwegian waffle maker to give them their signature design then rolled into cones. No holiday celebration in Norway would be complete without Norwegian waffle cookies!
They’re served dusted with powdered sugar and sometimes filled with delicious cream. Enjoy the holidays with Norwegian style and a platter of krumkake!
Discovering Traditional Norwegian Food
Norway is a Scandinavian paradise full of delicious flavors to discover. The food culture here is so rich and approachable that you are sure to fall in love. Delicious Norwegian food has something to offer every palate and it’s all waiting for you at a local Norwegian restaurant!