A perfect recipe for Lutfisk – A Traditional Delicacy from Scandinavia


Lutfisk is a traditional Scandinavian dish that has a long history and is popular during Christmas . It is a unique dish that is loved by some and loathed by others. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the history behind lutefish, how to cook it, and give you some useful tips and tricks to succeed with your own lutefish recipe.

History and Origin of Lutfisk

Lutfisk originated in Scandinavia and has been an important part of the Nordic food culture for centuries. Originally, brine fish was developed as a method of preserving fish during the long, cold winter months when fresh fish was hard to come by. By drying the fish and then rehydrating it with lye (which is an alkaline solution), the fish could be preserved for a longer period of time.

There are different theories about where lutefish actually come from. According to a legend, the Vikings are said to have discovered lute fish after a fishing village burned down and the fish that lay drying got wet from the rain and ash. The Vikings tried the fish and discovered that it was edible and liked it so much that they started using lutefish as a delicacy.

How to Cook Lutefish

Cooking saltfish can be a challenge, but with the right technique and a few tips, you can turn out a delicious meal. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cooking saltfish:


  • 1 kg lute fish
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 20 g of butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp flour
  • 180 ml of milk
  • 120 ml cream
  • 3 cloves
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 4 slices pancetta or pork

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the salted fish in a deep baking dish and sprinkle with salt. Cover the tin with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and remove it from the heat. Stir in the flour and mix to a batter. Add the milk and cream gradually, stirring well after each addition.
  4. Add cloves, white peppercorns and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil, stirring, then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Strain the sauce and keep warm.
  6. Cut the pancetta into small pieces and fry them until golden brown. Drain them on kitchen paper and then keep them warm but not covered so they retain their crispness.
  7. When the fish is done, take out 2 tablespoons of the fish spade and add it to the sauce. Then stir in butter to taste.
  8. Place a portion of sole fish in the center of a plate, cover with sauce and garnish with lightly fried peas and crispy pancetta pieces. Serve with boiled potatoes and a side bowl of finely ground allspice, white pepper and black pepper.
Mannerström's Christmas cookbook

Mannerström’s Christmas cookbook

“I like an old fashioned Christmas! I roll up my sleeves and cook all the Christmas food from scratch. I put in the herring, bury the salmon, roll meatballs, cook and grill the ham, make the ribs… Nothing must be missing!
Then it’s good with a cold schnapps and some mumma!”

Tips and Tricks to Succeed with your Lutfisk recipe

  • Buy saltwater fish from a reliable supplier to ensure that the fish is of high quality.
  • Lutfisk can be hard to find outside of Scandinavia, but there are specialty stores and online stores that sell it.
  • Be careful when handling saltfish as they can be fragile and fall apart easily.
  • Serve lutefish with traditional side dishes such as boiled potatoes, peas and a sauce of your choice.
  • To get the right consistency on the fish, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and not to overcook it.

Final Thoughts

Lutfisk is a dish that has a long history and tradition in Scandinavia. With the right cooking technique and a few simple tips, you can enjoy this unique delicacy at home. Give it a try and discover why lutefish is so loved by some and loathed by others. Prepare for a culinary experience that will take you back to Scandinavia’s rich food culture and traditions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lutefish

What is lye?

Lye is an alkaline solution used to rehydrate dried fish and give it its unique texture.

Where can I buy lutefish?

Lutfisk can be bought in specialty stores and online stores that focus on Scandinavian foods.

How long can I store lute fish?

Store salted fish in an airtight container in the fridge. It can last for several days, but it is recommended to eat it as soon as possible for the best taste and texture.

Can I freeze lutefish?

Yes, you can freeze brine fish to extend its shelf life. Just be sure to wrap it properly in an airtight container before freezing it.

julens godaste lutfisk

The best lute fish of Christmas

Here the lutefish is served with potato ragu and a sauce with the taste of anchovies!
Prep Time 9 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 9 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4 pers
Calories 805 kcal



  • 2 kg Stockfish


  • 5 st Anchovy fillets
  • 2 msk butter
  • 2 msk Flour (or cornstarch)
  • 3 dl Whipped cream
  • 3 dl Milk
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Potato stew

  • 200 g Green Peas
  • 200 g Brussels sprouts
  • 8 st Potatoes
  • 1 st Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Allspice (ground)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • White pepper (to taste)


  • Start with the lute fish: Rinse the lute fish under running cold water until the water is completely clear. Then let the fish lie in water in the refrigerator overnight.
    2 kg Stockfish
  • Set the oven to 225 degrees.
  • Place the fish, skin side down, in an ovenproof dish with high edges. Salt and cover with aluminum foil. Cook in the oven for 40-55 minutes.


  • Boil the cream and milk in a saucepan. Remove the plate but continue to keep warm.
    3 dl Whipped cream, 3 dl Milk
  • Let the wheat flour slowly fry together with the butter (If you use cornstarch, it should be added at the end, then the butter can also be omitted).
    2 msk butter, 2 msk Flour
  • Before the flour takes on any color but still begins to have a slight nutty aroma, add boiling milk and cream while whisking vigorously. Add a little at a time, to the desired consistency.
  • Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the anchovies. Blend the sauce until smooth.
    5 st Anchovy fillets, Salt, Pepper

Potato stew

  • Cut the potatoes into wedges. Boil it together with bay leaves and spices in water for about 5 minutes.
    8 st Potatoes, 1 st Bay leaf, 1 tsp Allspice
  • Then add the Brussels sprouts and let it cook soft together with the potatoes.
    200 g Brussels sprouts
  • Add in the peas at the end.
    200 g Green Peas
  • Meanwhile, heat the salted fish and the sauce. Taste the sauce and add salt and white pepper.
    White pepper
  • Serve the lute fish together with sauce and potato ragu and decorate with an anchovy fillet on each plate.

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