Swedish Breakfast Spreads

Photo: tuey

Food & Drink, Sweden

Swedish Breakfast Spreads

Swedish BreakfastWhen traveling abroad in Sweden recently, I came to appreciate – and look forward to – an authentic Swedish frukost (breakfast) each morning. In the United States, while some of us start our day with a hearty plate of bacon and eggs, Sweden is a little different, forgoing heavy dishes for lighter fare – steamy bowls of porridge and its signature smörgås, an open-faced sandwich.

You don’t need to travel overseas to eat an authentic Swedish breakfast. Create your very own Swedish spread at home, and invite all your friends over to enjoy.


Like Americans (and any other right-minded individual!) Swedes typically start off their day with an early morning fika (coffee break), and then later in the morning drink coffee with breakfast. Known for their voluminous coffee consumption, Swedes prefer their brew strong and dark.

Porridge + Cereal

Steamy bowls of porridge are served with milk, sugar, berry jams and fruit compotes. Müsli, a dried cereal, can be combined with filmjölk, soured milk that is similar to buttermilk, or skyr, an Icelandic cultured fresh cheese, which resembles yogurt but is indeed a cheese. Add some fresh berries, and you have yourself a Swedish spin on the classic parfait.


An open-faced sandwich, smörgås is a breakfast mainstay. At home, you can create a build-your-own smörgås bar, with the following ingredients:

  • Bread + Crackers: Thick slices of rågbröd (rye) and seedy breads make a great foundation for an array of toppings. Knäckebröd (crisp bread) also is popular for breakfast, and some Swedes will garnish the cracker with caviar.
  • Butter + Cheese: You’ll want to spread a thick layer of fresh butter on your rågbröd and add a slice or two of cheese like Greve, a semi-hard Swedish cow’s milk cheese.
  • Fish + Meat: Platters of smoked fish, like salmon, are common at breakfast buffets. And, sometimes you’ll even find pickled herring fillets. Kalles Kaviar (salted cod roe) is guaranteed to wake up your smörgås – and taste buds! (Lucky us: The Swedish condiment now is available for purchase in the United States at IKEA stores.) In lieu of fish, cold cuts like salami and ham, along with liver pâté and terrines, make for a nice meaty addition.
  • Veggies + Herbs: Fresh veggies and herbs add a vibrancy to smörgås. Think sprouts, dill, watercress, cucumbers and radishes sliced paper thin, diced tomatoes and red onion, along with slivers of red bell pepper.
  • Boiled eggs: And, last but not least, the egg. Boiled eggs sometimes are sliced and layered on smörgås or eaten straight up with Kalles Kaviar.

Now, as they say in Sweden, God morgon!

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