Finnish Christmas Recipes

There are some Finnish foods  that immediately evoke Christmas for me. Below are recipes for some of them.




Beetroot,   Potato, Carrot Salad

(I know it sounds boring, but the flavours are really nice with  ham. For us it replaces the traditional hot casseroles. It will be 39C here on Christmas Eve. Not conducive weather to eat a heavy meal! )

This is an easy to make cold vegetable salad. Best made the day before to allow the flavours to develop and the colours to meld.  Rosolli not only tastes good, it is pretty to look at as well. It keeps well for up to 4 – 5 days.


4 boiled potatoes

4 boiled carrots

1 can diced beetroot

1 small onion

1 gherkin

1 green apple

Salt, white pepper


Optional –

1 – 2 filets of herring sliced into small bites size pieces.

Herrings can be an acquired taste.


Optional dressing –

150  ml cream

1.5 tsp white vinegar

1.5 tsp sugar OR

Sour cream

In our family we have it without the dressing. It also keeps better that way.


Optional decoration –

Boiled egg. Separate into white and yolk. Grate or finely chop.


Cook the potatoes and carrots in their skins until just tender. Allow to cool. Then peel them. Dice all vegetables into small, equal-sized cubes. Mix them together and season with a little salt and white pepper.

Whip the cream lightly, season with sugar and vinegar and add a few drops of beetroot liquid for colour. Serve the dressing (and herring) separately. Some people garnish the salad with hard-boiled eggs, separating  the yolks and whites,  chopping them finely, then creating a white and yellow striped pattern  or star over the top of the salad.



Christmas star


These are made with puff pastry and filled with pureed prunes. Served warm, dusted with icing sugar, they are a family favourite. They look deceptively intricate, yet they are simple and quick to make.

Use a good quality frozen puff pastry.

Cut each pastry sheet into even sized squares – 9 or 12 / sheet. I prefer a smaller size personally.

Make a diagonal cut from each corner to about half way towards the centre.

Put a generous teaspoonful of the prune filling into the centre. Then fold every second section into the centre, forming a windmill shape.


Brush over with lightly beaten egg yolk.  Place the pastries onto a floured baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven (220° C or 425° F) for 18-20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Store in an airtight container. Heat for approx. 5 minutes just before serving.


Filling –

Place 1 packet of pitted prunes into a saucepan. Add enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil and simmer till a soft jam consistency. Allow to cool before use. For something a little more special add a splash of brandy or port wine.

This can be made beforehand. It will keep well in the fridge. If you have any leftover it’s great with ice-cream, yoghurt or a breakfast cereal.



Christmas Porridge
(It’s actually a creamed rice)


Perhaps you  might like to try something new and different for your Christmas dessert this year. Try serving it with the fruit soup. Yeah, I know, this one sounds weird too.

Rice porridge with prune soup for lunch on christmas eve.

1 tbsp butter


150 gm rice

800 ml milk

Salt for seasoning

1 blanched almond

(Whoever gets the almond is deemed to have good luck for the following year.)

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in the bottom of a saucepan with some water. Add 150gm rice. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Then add 800 ml milk. Bring to the boil, then simmer for approx. half an hour, stirring occasionally to stop the rice from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. Season to taste.  Hide the blanched almond in the porridge.

Serve sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. OR hot fruit soup



Hot Fruit Soup

1 packet dried mixed fruit

1 cinnamon stick

Vanilla bean

3 tbsp cornflour

Splash orange juice

Sugar or honey

Place fruit, water, cinnamon stick and scraped vanilla bean into a saucepan with 1 litre of water. Boil 15 minutes or until the fruit is soft.  Sweeten to taste. Mix cornflour into a paste with cold water and pour slowly into the hot soup, stirring continuously until it has thickened slightly. Add a splash of orange juice.

Being winter, we did not have fresh fruit available. Mum always made it with prunes, sultanas and dried apples.

Serve hot with rice porridge.

Also very nice served hot or cold on its own with vanilla ice-cream.



© Raili Tanska

13 thoughts on “Finnish Christmas Recipes

  1. Yum – cinnamon…
    All of this sounds like a much better idea than the heavy roast turkey dinner which is served up in the Uk and America. So many people rush out to buy medicine for indigestion as soon as the pharmacies re-open after Christmas. Maybe they wouldn’t have to if they switched to Finnish fare…

      1. Cardamon – another of my favourite spices.
        Scandinavians have very healthy diets, but it’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime. We had a Dutch restaurant in my local town many years ago. The food was lovely, and the family who owned the business were kind and gentle. While people queued down the road for nasty food in a particularly unhygienic fish and chip shop down the road, the Dutch restaurant was often empty. One night I was there with my family, eating a beautifully prepared salad, when a customer at a nearby table stood up and loudly – not skimping on the obscenities – declared the food to be inedible.
        We were sad when the restaurant had to close down, and our new friends moved away. Since then KFC and MacDonalds have moved in, along with all those other dirty Corporates. Although many people are improving their diets, we seem to be fighting a losing battle. Meanwhile we fund the drug companies so that they can continue their capitalist bid to torture animals and feed drugs to the whole of humanity for their financial gain, instead of taking responsibility for our health.
        Uh oh, Jane’s on the rant again. Sorry.
        Love and peace, love and peace…

      2. Rant away! Culture change takes time. Smoking is a good example of that. It was the norm to light up a cigarette whenever and where-ever you wanted. Not anymore. At least here it is banned inside in public places. People have to go to designated areas outside. This has even come into private homes. I don’t know anyone who actually smokes inside anymore. According to research I’ve seen culture change takes seven years, especially when it’s on a massive scale. One step at a time.
        Finnish diet years ago was terrible. Might have had something to do with the taste for new potatoes fried in pork fat! Highest cholesterol and heart attack rates in the world in some towns. That’s been turned around now with health conscious programs and education.
        Love and peace, one breath, one step at a time 🙂

      3. Smoking in public places was banned over here several years ago, too. I remember some arrogant rock star saying he was going to ignore the ban, but he must have lost the battle, because he soon shut up about it. x

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