What Do Norwegians Eat At Christmas?

Pork Ribs Norwegian Christmas

Roasted pork ribs/ belly, usually served with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes, is the most popular dish on Christmas Eve. (Photo: Unknown)

Norwegians are traditional when it comes to Christmas food. Nine out of ten eat roasted pork ribs (or belly) and dried mutton ribs on Christmas Eve, and most people continue to enjoy Norwegian Christmas food throughout the holidays. 

A large 2012 study on behalf of the Norwegian Office for Egg and White Meat tells that on Christmas Eve, there are almost no changes from year to year. Fifty-five percent eat roasted pork ribs, while  thirty-seven percent prefer dried mutton, or lamb ribs. In parts of Northern Norway, some people still eat freshly caught cod.

In Eastern Norway, more than seven out of ten prefer pork ribs on Christmas Eve, while in Western Norway more than seven out of ten eat dried mutton ribs.

But during the holiday season many taste both.

More than half answers that they eat both pork ribs and dried mutton ribs for dinner during Christmas. Almost as popular are trout/ salmon and turkey. A majority, six out of ten think it is important to eat traditional Norwegian Christmas food.

Christmas Breakfast

Traditions not only apply for dinners, but affect all meals.

Six out of ten say they eat Christmas breakfast on Christmas Day with many different dishes, in addition to leftovers from Christmas dinner. The most popular dishes are smoked salmon, followed by scrambled eggs and brawn.

Norwegians put time and thought into the Christmas breakfasts. The family has time to sit down at the table for many hours and enjoy themselves, and “breakfast” often lasts all day.

Turkey on New Year’s Eve

Compared with other countries, few Norwegians eat turkey on Christmas Eve. However, on New Year’s Eve turkey is a big favorite.

Thirty-two percent eat turkey for dinner on the last day of the year. Roasted turkey has established itself as the most popular dish.

New Year’s Eve is also a popular night for dried mutton ribs – eighteen percent prefers to eat this traditional meal.

(Article continues)

Norwegian Cloudberry CreamCloudberry cream tastes heavenly and is a very popular Christmas dessert. (Photo: matprat.no)

Traditional Desserts

Tasty, traditional desserts are an important part of all Christmas dinners.

On Christmas Eve rice cream is the first choice. As many as four out of ten choose rice cream, while two out of ten eat cloudberry cream. Other popular desserts are caramel pudding and ice cream cake.

Editor’s Note: Bellow you can read “Vila Duel’s” comment and get all the delicious details.


Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews

Categories: Culinary Surprises, Traditional Food

6 replies

  1. Ribbe: Roasted pork belly, usually served with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes, Christmas sausages, meat balls and gravy. A clear favourite, eaten by six out of ten households, mainly in Trøndelag and Eastern Norway.

    Pinnekjøtt: Salted and dried, sometimes smoked, lamb ribs. These were traditionally steamed over birch branches – hence the name (“Pinnekjøtt” translates loosely to “stick meat”). Served with sausages, boiled potatoes and mashed swede. Norwegians’ second most popular choice on Christmas Eve, particularly among people on the West Coast.

    Lutefisk: Stockfish that has been lying in water and lye (a way to preserve fish in the old days), then cooked in the oven. Typical accompaniments are potatoes, bacon, mushy peas and mustard. Although the wobbly fish is traditionally the centre of Christmastime feasts, the season is getting longer as lutefisk enjoys greater popularity.

    Turkey: Turkey is also eaten by some for Christmas in Norway, as in so many other countries. With or without stuffing and usually served with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, apples, grapes or prunes, or even Waldorfsalad; and Port wine sauce.

    Cod: There is also a long tradition for eating fresh cod on Christmas Eve, particularly along the coast in Southern Norway. The fish is simply boiled in salted water, and served with boiled potatoes, root vegetables and red wine sauce.

    Christmas ham: Not necessarily eaten on Christmas Eve itself, but a Christmas ham is likely to feature at one stage or another on the table during the Christmas season. Can be eaten cold, or roasted in the oven.

    Pork roast: Some Norwegians also like to eat pork roast in the festive season. Usually served with red cabbage, boiled potatoes and gravy. Additional vegetables can include broccoli and carrots.

    On the side
    Christmas sausage: The Christmas sausage is a pork sausage, sometimes made with cloves, mustard seeds, ginger and/or nutmeg, often served as an accompaniment to ribbe.

    Medisterkaker: Fried minced pork meat and flour patties. Another popular accompaniment for ribbe. The leftovers are often eaten the following day(s).

    Kålrotstappe: Mashed swede, sually served with pinnekjøtt.

    Something sweet
    Småkaker: Tradition dictates that seven different kinds of Christmas buiscuits and/or coockies should feature on the table at Christmas, and that all should be home-baked, although today’s busy families often make do with the ready-made variety. The pepperkake (gingerbreadman) is arguably the most popular of them.

    Multekrem: Dessert made of cloudberries and whipped cream.

    Kransekake: A popular almond ring cake that shows up for all big occasions in Norway – including Christmas. The cake consists of 18 wreaths of decreasing size stacked on top of each other to form a conical pyramid. It is usually decorated with miniature Norwegian flags.

    Riskrem: Rice porridge mixed with whipped cream and served with a red sauce made from berries.

    Marzipan: Marzipan is a popular Christmas treat in Norway. Chocolate-coated marzipan is a favourite, but you can also buy coloured marzipan to make your own marzipan shapes at home, or make your own.

    Christmas drinks
    Aquavit: Norway’s national drink. It is a potato-based spirit flavoured with herbs such as caraway seeds, anise, dill, fennel and coriander. The preferred accompaniment to Christmas food.

    Gløgg: The Norwegians’ take on mulled wine, but made with a syrupy mixture as opposed to a herbal blend, with dried almonds and raisins added for taste.

    Juleøl: Many Norwegian breweries issue special beers for Christmas. Slightly thicker than your average lager, Christmas beers often contain spices and feature a festive label.

    Julebrus: Soda-like drink, red or golden brown in colour, popular with Norwegian children this time of year.

  2. Where is a good recipe site for these? I’d love to try making some.

  3. I’m very surprised Lutefisk wasn’t mentioned in this article..

    • And I’m glad it wasn’t mentioned, because there is no part of Norway lutefisk is a traditional christmas meal. Maybe in certain homes. Lutefisk is only mentioned in articles that tries to convince people that norwegian food is the most disguting in the world. Roasted pork ribs and dried mutton ribs (ribbe and pinnekjøtt) are the two dishes that dominates

  4. this site was like super helpful for my school project on christmas for norway. thanks thornews!

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