Finnish cuisine dishes with smoked salmon, vegetables, rice, fish rye pies, sausages and meatballs with berry jam, cabbage, reindeer stews, salads with apples, cheese and cloudberries, soup and coffee

Top 9 Traditional Dishes and Desserts to Try in Finland

Viivi Severina

Viivi Severina

Viivi Severina is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Finland).

Viivi is a travel addict and writer from the cold and snowy Finland. Like most Finns, Viivi loves sharing her culture, attractions and travel tips with anyone who is interested to hear more about her beautiful homeland.

You can also follow Viivi on her adventures outside of Finland at GoTravelGlobal.
Viivi Severina

Tasting traditional dishes and desserts while visiting a foreign country is always fun.  And in Finland, you can surely find some tasty, and not so tasty, delicacies.  Here are the top 9 traditional meals that are popular in Finland.  So be brave and try some while visiting our country!

Makaronilaatikko (a Macaroni Casserole)

Makaronilaatikko is one of the most typical Finnish dishes that you can find in our country.  Everyone knows it, everyone has tried it and many of us, Finns, know how to make it at home.  The best possible translation for makaronilaatikko is “a macaroni casserole,” though it doesn’t describe this dish fully.

The word “makaroni” means “macaroni” while “laatikko” means “a box.”  Hence if translated literally it will mean “a box of macaroni.”  Every local prepares makaronilaatikko a little bit differently, though the recipe always includes macaroni, meat, milk, and eggs.  Remember to try makaronilaatikko with ketchup, otherwise, your Finnish culinary experience won’t be complete.

Makaronilaatikko, Traditional Finnish casserole with macaroni and minced meat - Global StorybookKorvapuusti (Cinnamon Roll)

You can find cinnamon rolls in numerous countries around the world, but the Finnish rolls are always made in the same way.  Our buns have two curly sides and are decorated with sugar.  Inside a korvapuusti, you can find a mix of ingredients like butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

One fun fact to know, the word “korvapuusti” also means the act of punishing someone by pinching his or her ear.  It used to be a traditional way to discipline the kids, but nowadays parents don’t use it as much.  You can find korvapuusti at most Finnish bakeries and cafés.

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Mustamakkara (Black Sausage)

Finland has numerous traditional dishes which are only served in a specific area or a city.  Mustamakkara is one of such meals.  This black-colored blood sausage was born in the middle of Finland, in a town called Tampere, around the 17th century.  Nowadays you can find it at other places as well, however usually under a different name.  But don’t tell this to the natives of Tampere, because locals in Finland are very proud of their traditional meals.

Black Sausage Finland - Global StorybookReindeer meat

Reindeer meat is probably the best-known dish from Finland amongst the foreigners.  But do you want to know the truth?  There are a lot of Finns who have never tasted a reindeer and most of us don’t eat it daily, weekly, or even annually.  Personally, I tasted reindeer only once ten years ago, though I was born and raised in Finland.

Reindeer meat tastes a little bit like mustamakkara that I mentioned above.  It’s a traditional food in the Finnish Lapland, and they serve it proudly for tourists visiting the northernmost parts of Finland.

There is more than one way to prepare reindeer meat.  It’s like any other meat, and you can find it in a variety of recipes.

Reindeer meat, Finland - Global StorybookJoulutortut (Christmas Tarts)

Finnish Christmas tarts is a traditional dessert typically served during December.  Finns usually make tarts at home, but if you are visiting Finland in the winter, you can easily find them at any cafe.  The locals bake the Christmas tarts using ready-made frozen pastry dough, and some plum jam.  First, they would make squares out of the dough, add jam in the middle and then fold the dough in the shape of a Christmas star.

Finland Christmas tarts - Global StorybookLeipäjuusto (Cheese Bread)

Leipäjuusto is a Finnish dessert from the western parts of the country.  However, you can easily find it at other regular convenience stores as well, nowadays.  Leipäjuusto is a several centimeter thick baked circles made of cheese.

Traditionally we always serve leipäjuusto with cloudberry jam, but some Finns have started to use strawberry and raspberry jams too.  You can also eat leipäjuusto cold or heat it up in a microwave for a few seconds.  It may sound odd to mix cheese with jam and then warm it up, but believe me – this is one of our best delicacies in Finland.

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Salmiakki (Salty Licorice)

If you haven’t heard of Finnish salmiakki aka salty licorice, then you haven’t done enough research on Finland.   Salmiakki is a Finnish candy that has made a name for itself around the world, as one of the most… terrible tasting things ever.  If you don’t believe me – then just search for videos of foreigners trying salmiakki.

Finns love to offer this salty candy to foreigners who are interested in our culture.  Even if most foreigners hate salmiakki, many Finns love it and eat it regularly.  You have to taste salmiakki while in Finland, and you can conveniently find it almost anywhere.  Finnish shops and cafes also love to sell other items with this ingredient, like salmiakki bear and salmiakki ice cream.

Salmiakki tarts, Finland - Global Storybook-2Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian Pies)

Finnish Karelian pies are pastries made of rice and wheat.  They are used like regular bread and are eaten with butter or sometimes with egg butter.  Karelia is an old area in Finland from where these pies originally came from.  Nowadays, almost everyone in Finland eats these tasty rice pies.

Karelian Pies, Finland - Global StorybookMämmi (Easter Pudding)

During the Easter, Finns around the country eat chocolate eggs, candies, plus the traditional pudding.  This black rye pudding is officially called “mämmi” in Finland, though foreigners also know it as “poop pudding” because of its unique texture.  Traditionally Finns eat mämmi with milk or cream, but to make it taste even better, you can also add some vanilla sauce.

Home Made Traditional Finnish Easter Dessert Mammi - Global StorybookPin Me: Top 9 Traditional Dishes and Desserts to Try in Finland - Global Storybook

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