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Norwegian Food – 15 Traditional dishes to eat in Norway

Norwegian Food – 15 Traditional dishes to eat in Norway

Want to try some traditional food from Norway? Here are 15 Norwegian dishes that you should try as well as more info about the local cuisine.

Norwegian Food has many similarities with Swedish food and Danish food as well as Icelandic food, but Norwegian Cuisine also consists of some unique dishes and ways to prepare the food. 

Traditional food in Norway can be eaten at restaurants throughout the country, and some places even prepare the dishes like the old recipes whereas some modern restaurants will prepare traditional Norwegian dishes with a modern touch.


Fårikål is a hearty stew which is quite easy to prepare, and a popular dish in the cold winter months. There is even a dedicated day of the year when you eat Fårikål.

It’s commonly eaten in the western parts of Norway, but you can also find some good places to eat Fårikål in Oslo, such as Dovrehallen.

traditional food in Norway

Photo: Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Sursild (Pickled Herring)

Pickled Herring or Sursild as its called in Norwegian is quite common and can be found in almost every supermarket. Pickled Herring is an integral part of Scandinavian cuisine as well as the Baltic countries and the Netherlands. 

You could also eat herring prepared in other ways, such as fried herring. 

Pickled Herring - sursild

Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock


If you’re traveling to the northern parts of Norway, you might get the chance to eat Finnbiff, which is another traditional food from Norway, made with sauteed reindeer meat, served with sauce in stew form. 

It’s also popular in the Lapland region of Sweden and Finland as well as Russia. 

Traditional norwegian meal

Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock


Very similar to meatballs, and Kjøttkaker literally means meat cakes and is usually served with brown sauce, potatoes and carrots. It’s a simple Norwegian dish, but very delicious.

It’s best eaten homemade, but you can also find some gourmet versions in restaurants, and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll get invited for dinner hosted by a Norwegian person. 

Smalahove (Sheep’s head)

Of all traditional food from Norway, the Smalahove might be the most off-putting and weird Norwegian food to try.

This is not something that the ordinary Norwegian will eat on a weekday, but Smalahove is nonetheless a traditional dish which basically consists of sheep’s head.

The sheep’s head is either boiled or steamed for about 3 hours and is usually served with rutabaga and potatoes. It was typically a food for the poor people back in history, and sometimes the brain was cooked inside the skull as well before eaten with a spoon. 


Photo: Jon Naustdalslid/Shutterstock

Brunost (Brown cheese)

The most popular type of brown cheese in Norway is the Gudbrandsdalsost. It’s also known as Mysost and it’s typically eaten on sandwiches or crispbread. It’s made with whey and milk or cream.

The brown color comes from the heated milk sugars during production.

Norwegian brunost

Photo: Shutterstock

Smoked Salmon

You can eat Salmon in many ways in Norway, either cooked, fried, cured, or smoked. One of the most popular ways of preparing salmon is the one called Gravlaks, which is basically salmon that has been cured in salt, sugar, and dill.

Salmon fillets are usually served with potatoes, vegetables, and some sauce. 


Photo: BBA Photography/Shutterstock


Lutefisk is another traditional food from Norway, which is typically eaten around Christmas. Lutefisk is made from lye and whitefish (normally cod) which has been dried and salted.


Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock


If you want to try some traditional soups in Norway you should try Sodd, which is a traditional mutton soup with potatoes and carrots. If you’re visiting during the colder parts of the year, this hearty meal will definitely give you some welcomed warmth. 

Sodd - traditional soup from norway

Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock

Whale Steak

For foreigners, this might be the most controversial food from Norway. Whaling isn’t banned in Norway, and although a decline of the consumption of whale meats, many Norwegians eat whale from time to time.

It’s not considered a controversial type of food in Norway. And you can find it in restaurants throughout the country as well as in fish markets.

Controversial food in Norwegian

Photo: sergioboccardo/Shutterstock


Tørrfisk is a Norwegian delicacy, particularly around the islands of Vesterålen and Lofoten. It’s a type of unsalted and cold air-dried fish, normally cod.

The tradition of Tørrfisk dates back to the 12th century and can also be cured through fermentation.


Photo: Tsuguliev/Shutterstock


Lapskaus is another Norwegian stew that I can recommend you to try. It can be made by fresh or leftover meats such as beef or lamb, but pork can also be used.

Potatoes are also included in the stew along with vegetables such as onions, carrots, rutabaga, celery root as well as various spices and herbs. There is a similar dish which is known as European sailor’s stew, and the origins might come from the Vikings.


Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock

Pølse med Lompe (hotdog)

While regular hotdogs are sold and consumed in Norway, the Norwegian version with a sausage in potato pancake is more traditional and unique.

You will find Pølse med Lompe in kiosks, gas stations, IKEA, and around train stations, and it’s a kind of Norwegian Street food.

Polse med lompe

Photo: Asmus Koefoed/Shutterstock

Fiskeboller med hvit saus (Fish balls)

Fish balls in white sauce is another classic retro dish from Norway. It’s easy to make and it’s usually served with potatoes and carrots. 

Norwegian Waffles

Belgian waffles might be famous worldwide, but Norwegian heart-formed waffles are just as delicious, usually served with jam and cream as well as a dash of raw sugar. 

Norwegian Waffles

Photo: Patricia Hamila/Shutterstock

More about Norwegian Food and Cuisine

Norway has a long history of fishing, and many villages supported themselves with seafood for many years. That holds true still today, although international food and other types of meat are commonly eaten as well. 

Seafood remains an important part of Norwegian Cuisine, even more so than its Scandinavian counterparts. For example, Norwegian salmon and shrimps are world-renowned and exported worldwide. But of course, the highest quality is kept in Norway.

Sheep, lamb, and pork are other popular meats found in the cuisine of Norway. Many traditional dishes are accompanied by potatoes, carrots or some other root-crops and vegetables.

The sauce is also an important ingredient and the most common sauce is perhaps brown sauce, but there is a wide variety of Norwegian sauces that fits perfectly with the different kinds of meat and seafood. 

Norwegian cuisine

Photo: snow toy/Shutterstock

Other traditional foods from Norway

  • Cloudberries
  • Bilberries
  • Lingonberries
  • Rye bread
  • Krumkake
  • Raspeballer
  • Rakfisk

What is a typical Norwegian breakfast?

A typical Norwegian breakfast usually consists of sandwiches with various cold cuts, spreads, cheese or jam. Most Norwegians drink coffee in the morning, and some will also have a glass of milk or juice.

Yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, cereals, and crispbread are other popular choices when it comes to breakfast in Norway.

Typical Norwegian Breakfast

Photo: Sunita Niva /

Christmas food in Norway

Pinnekjøtt is the main dish served at Christmas Eve and consists of air-dried ribs from sheep. Other common dishes include Ribbe (pork ribs), lutefisk, boiled cod, ham roast or turkey, which is served with various side dishes. 

Most Norwegian typically spend Christmas eve with their family and enjoy a big feast with lots of Norwegian food accompanied with various kinds of pastries and sweets afterward.

Christmas food in Norway is not really complete without some Glögg (hot beverage similar to Glühwein) and some Aquavit or Christmas beer 

Christmas food in Norway

Photo: Dignity 100/Shutterstock


Lefse is a type of Norwegian Flatbread made of potatoes, butter, flour, and cream. There are various types of lefse and you can roll various types of food in them.

The most common way to eat Lefse is to just add butter and rolling it up, but you can also add sweeter ingredients such as jams, lingonberries, sugar or cinnamon.


Photo: Julie Vader/Shutterstock

Norwegian Meals

Norwegians usually eat three meals of the day, breakfast (frokost), dinner (middag) and supper (kveldsmad). Norwegians usually eat their dinner around 4-6 PM after work, and the supper usually consists of sandwiches around 7-8 PM.

More reading from Norway

Which is your favorite traditional food from Norway? Leave a comment below!

Diane M Mount

Wednesday 10th of March 2021

Lefsa and Krumkake....