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Leipäjuusto (Finnish baked cheese) recipe

Leipäjuusto (Finnish baked cheese) recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Dairy
  • Cheese
  • Homemade cheese

Leipäjuusto is a traditional Finnish cheese, made from cow's milk, that is set and then cooked under the grill. This cheese is often served as part of a Finnish breakfast with cloudberry or cranberry jam.

14 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 400 g cheese

  • 8g cornflour
  • 6g salt
  • 24g sugar
  • 2L full fat milk
  • 1g of calcium chloride dissolved in 50ml of filtered water
  • 6-8 drops of rennet dissolved in 50ml filtered water

MethodPrep:1hr ›Cook:1hr ›Extra time:1hr45min resting › Ready in:3hr45min

  1. Mix cornflour, salt and sugar together in a small bowl.
  2. Pour milk into a large saucepan; add the dissolved calcium chloride to milk and mix well. Stir in the cornflour, salt and sugar mixture; mix well.
  3. Heat the milk until it reaches a temperature between 38 to 43 C, stirring constantly to prevent it from scorching.
  4. Add the rennet that has been dissolved in water; mix well. Remove from heat and let stand for about 30 minutes.
  5. Check the curd by placing your index finger at a 45 degree angle and pushing back to break the surface of the cheese. If the curd is too soft it will collapse, leaving a cloudy whey. It should have a compact structure with a clear coloured whey. If the curd does not have the right consistency, it let stand for another 5 minutes.
  6. Cut the curds into 1 1/2 or 2cm cubes. Leave for a further 30 minutes. At this time, the curd will settle in the bottom of the saucepan.
  7. Line a colander or sieve with muslin. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the curds into the muslin. Fold muslin over top and let the liquid drain from the cheese for 20 minutes.
  8. Transfer the cheese to a baking tray. Let stand for another 10-15 minutes. Drain off any whey.
  9. Preheat oven grill; set the rack just above the middle of the oven so you can easily see the cheese browning.
  10. Grill the cheese for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the surface of the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden brown. Check the cheese regularly, removing any whey that gathers on top of the cheese with a spoon.
  11. Carefully turn the cheese over (using a plate to help you flip it), and grill for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden brown on top.
  12. Remove the cheese from the oven and leave to cool.


Do not use UHT milk. Fresh pasteurised milk is fine.


You can find calcium chloride and rennet online and in some specialty food shops. These ingredients will help produce a firmer cheese.

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11 Traditional Finnish Food You Need to Taste

Finnish cuisine is not the most popular one but is filled with nordic and arctic flavors and simple dishes that you would absolutely love. Just think about the delicious blueberry pie from freshly picked berries or a smoked salmon with oven-baked veggies and boiled potatoes. And let’s not forget about all the other forest berries, fish, and reindeer dishes you must try when visiting Finland – besides enjoying the sauna or watching the northern lights in winter and experiencing the midnight sun in summer. Time to go back to the tasty and traditional Finnish dishes!

Episode two: Delicacies from Finland


2 packages (2 scant tablespoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water, 105°F to 115°F.
2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly crushed cardamom seeds
4 eggs, at room temperature
8 to 9 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup soft or melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sliced almonds and/or pearl sugar

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand 5 minutes or so until yeast begins to foam. Stir in the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs, plus enough flour to make a batter (about 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. YOU CAN ALSO DO THIS IN THE BOWL OF A STANDING MIXER.

2.Add about 3 cups more flour and beat until the batter appears glossy, with no lumps. At this point I often let the dough sit for 15 minutes or so to let it “come together” – but that isn’t necessary. Then beat in the melted butter.

3. Beat in additional flour to make a stiff dough that can be kneaded. Often, I mix the dough with the dough hook on my standing mixer adding flour gradually. Be careful not to add too much flour – When dough is kneaded enough, it will have the feel of “wet paint” when touched with your knuckles.

4. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

5. Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled and floured board. Divide into 3 parts, then divide each of the three parts into 3 parts. Shape each into a strip about 16 inches long by rolling the dough between the palms and the board. Braid 3 strips together into a straight loaf, pinch the edges together, and tuck under. Repeat for the second and third loaves. Lift the braids onto lightly greased or parchment covered baking sheets. Let rise for about 20 minutes (the braids should be puffy but not doubled in size).

6. Glaze the loaves by brushing with the egg glaze. Sprinkle with almonds and/or pearl sugar.

7. Preheat the oven to 400°F. (or for convection oven, to 350°F.) Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake or the loaves will be too dry. Remove from the oven when light golden-brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 3 braids.

Karelian Piirakka

Piirakka can be filled with either a creamy unsweetened rice pudding or mashed potatoes.
For the creamy rice filling:
1 cup uncooked white rice (not precooked or instant)
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
For the mashed potato filling:
2 cups cooked mashed potatoes
hot milk
2 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
For the rye crust:
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter, shortening or salad oil
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups rye flour
For the basting sauce:
1 cup hot milk mixed with 1/2 cup melted butter
For the egg butter:
Equal parts butter and chopped hard cooked eggs mixed together

1. The easiest way to make the rice filling is to combine the rice, salt and milk in a heavy casserole. Cover, and bake at 200°F. in the oven overnight or 6 to 8 hours. Add the butter. Otherwise
2. For the mashed potato filling – you can use leftover mashed potatoes, thinned down with hot milk to the consistency of a paste.
3. For the rye crust: In a large bowl, stir the water, alt, and shortening in a bowl, gradually adding the white flour beat until smooth.
4. Add the rye flour and mix until well blended. Turn ut onto a board and knead until smooth. Shape dough into a roll about 2 inches in diameter and divide into 12 equal parts.
5. Dust with flour, flatten and roll out into circles 6 to 8 inches in diameter, keeping shape as round as possible.
6. Place about 1/4 cup filling on each round of dough and spread to within an inch of the edges. Fold two sides of the dough onto the filling to form an oval shape. Leave an inch-wide strip of the filling exposed. Crimp edges of the dough. Place onto greased or parchment covered baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
7. Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush the filled pies generously with the basting sauce and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned, bating twice during the baking with the basting sauce.
8. Baste once again when you take them out of the oven. Cover with a towel to soften the crusts or wrap the entire batch in foil in one package. Serve hot or cold with or without the egg butter.

Karelian Paisti

1 pound lean lamb, cubed
1 pound lean pork, cubed
1 pound lean beef round, cubed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
6 large sweet onions, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
Chopped Fresh Parsley
Roasted Sunflower Nuts
Wild Rice or mashed potatoes

1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. In a heavy, enameled, cast-iron pot or other deep, heavy ovenproof casserole, layer the meat, salt, allspice, white peppercorns, and onion.
2. Cover tightly (I like to cover the ingredients inside the pot with parchment, tucking it down around the sides thoroughly).
3. Bake for 6 to 8 hours or until the meat is very tender.
4. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and roasted sunflower nuts and serve with wild rice or mashed potatoes.

To cook the wild rice: Wash 1 1/3 cups wild rice thoroughly and drain. Combine in a heavy, ovenproof casserole with 1 teaspoon salt and 5 cups boiling water. Bake alongside the ragout in the 275°F. oven for 2 hours or until the rice is tender. Makes 4 cups wild rice, to serve 8 to 12 people.

This Finnish Cheese Is Hard to Pronounce and Easy to Love

The Complete Idiot&aposs Guide to Cheeses of the World calls juustoleipä (YOO-sto-lay-bah) “one of the most unusual cheeses on the planet.” And if there is anything I love, it is an unusual cheese. Juustoleipä is a Finnish word that translates to 𠇌heese bread,” which further increases its appeal as the holy union of two of my favorite food groups.

The bread signifier has more to do with texture than flavor. To make juustoleipä, curdled milk is baked or grilled until it has a toasty brown skin. Juustoleipä is an example of a “squeaky cheese,” which has everything to do with the way it rubs against your teeth and not whether you can play a block of it like a DJ scratches a record (trust me, I tried). Because the milk is never fermented, the pH stays low, so when juustoleipä is heated the inside becomes gooey without falling apart or melting.

In fact, juustoleipä-lovers say warming it up is the only way to eat it. Patty Koenig is the General Manager at Carr Valley Cheese, a family-owned Wisconsin cheese plant that has been around for over a century. Koenig offers juustoleipä samples to visitors of the cheese factory𠅋ut only if she’s nearby to toast them. “You have to serve it warm, it releases so much more flavor,” Koenig says. She recommends pairing it with jam, syrup, or marinara sauce. It can also be cut into cubes to top a sweet or savory salad.

Laplanders traditionally make juustoleipä with reindeer milk, but Carr Valley Cheese makes it with cow and goat’s milk in flavors like jalapeño and garlic. Koenig is a fan of the original. “I like the plain because you can do so many things with it,” she says. Some Fins even like it with their coffee𠅎ither dunked, or as cubes in the bottom of the cup. Regardless of how you consume it, it’s pretty much the ultimate breakfast hack.

Anna Vuoria, Advisor for Cultural Affairs and Creative Industries at the Consulate General of Finland in New York, has fond memories of the way juustoleipä was prepared in her Northern Finland childhood. “There, the traditional way to cook Leipäjuusto [another word for juustoleipä] is to bake it in the oven, with a bit of cream, and when it’s warm and a bit crunchy on the top, you serve it with berry jam,” Vuoria says. “The perfect match is cloudberry jam.” (IKEA, hello.)

Julia Schneider and her partner Jason Byrnes put a gastropub twist on the juustoleipä she sells from her food truck, Muttley Royale, in Jersey City. They cut the cheese into sticks that can be dipped into homemade cilantro aioli or marionberry jam. For Schneider, juustoleipä was a relatively recent discovery. “I just happened upon the bread cheese two years ago. It caught my eye because you could grill it, but it’s milder than halloumi. It’s very versatile.” She made a little sign for her truck explaining that juustoleipä is like “mozzarella sticks without the breading.” The explanation definitely helps.

Juustoleipä seems to evoke curiosity followed by fierce loyalty. “No matter who tries it they always buy it,” Koenig says. I can now count myself as one of these fans, having bought a package of Carr’s Bread Cheese at the grocery store. One day, I ate it cubed with blackberries. The next I stress-ate it from a tupperware next to my bed𠅋oth of which I can highly recommend.

Carr Valley Cheese has called their product Bread Cheese for over a decade. Its visibility in American grocery stores caused Bread Cheese to become a de facto term for juustoleipä, like Coke or Xerox. Koenig says they’ll soon be rolling out a version for optimum snack-ability: individually wrapped sticks called Bread Cheese Singles.

To paraphrase John Keats: “Soft cheeses are sweet, but squeaky cheeses are easier to dunk, therefore, ye squeaky cheese, squeak on.”

Cheese Personality: Juustoleipä

Natalie Gardino | July 11, 2013

Of course a cheese’s personality is largely dependent on the taste, texture, aroma, and ingredients that go into it, but there are other parts of a cheese’s story that contribute to its character. In this blog series, Natalie investigates the distinct personality traits of some of the most unique cheeses out there.

It looks a little like bread, a little like cooked tofu, and a little like the top of a burnt lasagna. It’s sometimes called “Finnish Squeaky Cheese.” But it’s most often referred to as Juustoleipä.

Juustoleipä (hoo-sta-lee-pah), or Leipäjuusto, is Finnish for “bread cheese.” In Finland, the cheese was originally made from reindeer’s milk, and is easily recognizable by its browned, loaf-like appearance.

It’s not a hard cheese to make, but the end result is unique. Rennet is added to milk to form cheese curds, which are then pressed into a pan (traditionally in a disk shape). The curds are then baked, toasted, or grilled to create the trademark toasty spots on the outside of the “loaf.” The result is a buttery, fresh cheese with a slightly sweet, caramelized outer crust.

This mild-flavored cheese is very versatile and can be served warm or cold. Most fans prefer their bread cheese served warm, though. One of the qualities of this cheese that makes it popular is its grill-ability. It’s one of few grillable cheeses (halloumi is another), which are a bit perplexing at first because, interestingly, they don’t melt—and we expect cheese to melt. When re-heated, this cheese actually stays in one piece but gets creamy and near-melted on the inside, creating a veritable bread-less grilled cheese.

Though heat doesn’t melt the cheese, it does change its consistency significantly. Cold Juustoleipä is springy and grainy in texture while warm Juustoleipä is silky and smooth with just a little snap to it.

So why doesn’t it melt? Many factors contribute to the melt-ability of cheese, including moisture, fat, salt, age, and acidity. In a general way, these chemical components affect how protein breaks down, which is essentially what the process of melting cheese is. Sid Cook of Carr Valley Cheese, who makes a version of Juustoleipä, explains that in this case, the cheese doesn’t melt because it has a low acid content. This cheese is low in acidity due to the fact that it does not have cultures (the bacteria that develop cheese into a certain style) added to it.

American cheesemakers have developed variations of this baked cheese, made with cow’s milk. The American versions are often sold under the shortened name of “Juusto” or “Bread Cheese.” Carr Valley’s Bread Cheese, for example, is pasteurized to lengthen shelf life and make the cheese safer for consumption, but it retains the baked loaf qualities of the traditional kind.

In the summertime, throw Juustoleipä on the grill until it gets just gooey and smokey enough, then enjoy as-is. Chop it into bite-size pieces and drizzle with honey, or serve cold with fruit, jam, or nuts. Or, go the traditional Finnish way and dip it into a nice cup of coffee to switch up breakfast time.

Be sure to read my next blog post on the personality of washed rind cheeses.

5. Leipäjuusto

This weird and salty dessert, known as squeaky cheese in English, is a favourite among the Finns. It’s made of a mixture of cow’s milk and beestings that has been baked in the oven. Finns usually eat it with cloudberry jam, together with a cup of coffee.

And yes, it really does squeak! To a foreigner, this dessert might feel strange, but to Finns, this dessert often tastes of childhood.


Juusto cheese is a bread cheese, so its firm and flat in shape. It looks kind of like a browned block of tofu out of the package. These browned edges contrast well with the milky white center.

The package recommends heating the cheese before eating. Microwave, grill, stove, or oven all work. I opt for the easiest way and nuke a few slices for 20 seconds. The cheese glistens from the fat and looks amazing.

Juusto cheese tastes salty and overall pretty mild. It has an alluring buttery scent and flavor. It also has an interesting slightly fruity smell and taste that reminds me of syrup. It is actually chewy, which I’ve never experienced with cheese before. It kind of reminds me of the texture of a really thick layer of mozzarella on a pizza. When warm, juusto cheese squeaks between your teeth just like fresh curds. I tried this cheese cold too just to see how it tasted…not great. Heating it up is definitely the best way to bring out the flavors and textures.

Overall, the texture of juusto is interesting enough to buy this again but the flavor to me is just mediocre by itself. With something sweet like a jam or honey though it would be great!

Top 9 Traditional Dishes and Desserts to Try in Finland

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.

Latest posts by Viivi Severina (see all)

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.

Korvapuusti (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.

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.

Reindeer 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.

Joulutortut (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.

Leipäjuusto (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.

Top 20 BEST Traditional Finnish Food You Should Try

Ruisleipä (Rye bread)

Rye bread is the most basic breakfast sandwich you can get, it is basically two slices of Finnish rye bread, a slice of ham, and a slice of cheese on each side – that’s how most people in Finland eat this. However, if you’re feeling fancy, you can also eat it with a slice of tomato, a salad leaf, and a slice of cucumber.

Why should you try this Finnish food? You need to eat breakfast too, correct? Unless you’re one of those weird people I know (like myself) who doesn’t eat breakfast because it is overrated, then you can also eat this anytime you wish. It is not strictly just for breakfast. I eat this for dinner sometimes because why not.

Where can you get it? If you’re staying in one of the many awesome luxury hotels in Helsinki, then you can almost make sure they have rye bread in their breakfast buffet. If not, you can buy rye bread, cheese, and ham from the local grocery store (they’re decent, don’t worry) or a ready-made ham and cheese rye bread sandwich.

A lot of cafes have them too, but they are like €5 a sandwich, which is crazy expensive for something simple – trust me, I wouldn’t pay for it.

Are you planning to visit Helsinki soon? We recommend going on a walking tour around the city! You could ask your local guide, where is the best place to find the best breakfast in Helsinki!

Riispuuro (Rice porridge)

Riisipuuro is your basic rice porridge made with a mixture of water, full-fat milk, and rice. If you’re feeling a bit naughty, you can add a slab of butter and sugar on top of it, and if you’re feeling a bit Christmas-y – add cinnamon! I prefer it with a slab of butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Yes, I like my porridge naughty sometimes.

Why should you try this Finnish food? It is heavy and delicious – or at least I think. Plus, like what I said, you need to fuel up for a day of walking, and rice porridge is a common breakfast food that a lot of Finns love.

I do think though that since people are busier nowadays, they don’t make rice porridge at home anymore. However, they have a tradition at Christmas where everyone gathers around to eat rice porridge for breakfast.

Where can you get it? I’ve mentioned that the locals are rather busier these days, right? Yes, well, because of that, big food chains started producing rice porridge ready for consumption. Although rice porridge on its own is easy to make and delicious when fresh, then again, it is time-consuming – nobody has time for that nowadays, unfortunately.

Great luck to you, though, you can buy ready-made ones (they’re not that bad) from local grocery shops or, again, if you’re staying in a hotel that serves breakfast, they might have it there too.

If you want to experience the best breakfast in Helsinki, you can book your accommodation at Hotel Kämp or Hotel Lilla Roberts for their awesome breakfast spreads.

Hernekeitto ja pannukakku (Pea soup and pancake)

Ah, hernekeitto! Basically, it is pea soup made from either fresh peas if it is summer and dried peas during winter. It is typically cooked with smoked pork shanks, onions, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.

Simple, right? Well, cooking it is simple, but you have to always remember to soak the dried peas first in water overnight otherwise, cooking it would be a major pain in the ass – tried and tested. Soak it in water.

Why should you try this Finnish food? Finnish pea soup is an ultimate favorite amongst Finns, especially the older people. Most young people hate this, but personally, I think Finnish pea soup is splendid, especially if there’s smoked ham!

This soup is typically served every Thursday in Finnish restaurants, and alongside it, you’ll also get a slice of oven-baked pancake with jam (and sometimes whipped cream). Oh, and, of course, rye crackers or rye bread with a thick layer of butter – with this soup is just wow.

Where can you get it? You can get Finnish pea soup from typical Finnish restaurants, but it might be tough to find it as this dish is seasonal (usually popular during winter). However, from time to time, lunch restaurants like Moko have it on their menu.

Otherwise, if you want to taste Finnish pea soup but don’t want to spend too much money on it, again, they have it available in the canned goods section in all grocery shops, which aren’t the best, but they are not so bad either.

Do you want to experience Helsinki on a more personal level? Hire a private tour guide and explore the city!

Lohikeitto (Salmon soup)

The basics out of all the basics. Finnish salmon soup is an ultimate favorite regardless of the season! It is a timeless classic made with salmon, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cream or full-fat milk and typically season with allspice and dill. Simple right?

Why should you try this Finnish food? This is one of my favorite Finnish food since arriving in Finland. Also, this is eaten with rye bread with a slab of butter. Plus, Finland is known for its salmon culture influenced by Scandinavia.

Whenever I have guests from abroad visiting me here in Finland, I always make sure to bring them to a restaurant that sells this, and all of them loved this creamy deliciousness. So I recommend you should not miss this either!

Where can you get it? You’re in luck because there’s a lot of restaurants in Helsinki that have this on their menu! Unfortunately, I am not sure which one serves it best. I know that traditional Finnish restaurants such as Ravintola KuuKuu, Ravintola Lappi, and Restaurant Story have traditional salmon soup in their lunch or dinner menus.

I would say you can get this from grocery shops as well, but man, unless you can’t pay 10-15€ for a bowl of nice salmon soup from the restaurants I mentioned then, please make it at home instead because the ones you get from shops are not good. You can try my recipe from my food website, The Kitchen Abroad’s simple but delicious Salmon Soup!

If you’re planning your trip to Helsinki, we recommend staying at Hotel Fabian as it is right smack in the center of the city and you’ll get easy access to a lot of tourist areas and as well amazing Finnish restaurants.

Siskonmakkarakeitto (Sausage Soup)

Siskonmakkara is a raw sausage, and if I would translate siskonmakkarakeitto to English, it means, “Sister’s sausage soup” – which is an odd name and I am not sure what is the history behind why they called that sausage type like so.

Why should you try this Finnish food? Siskonmakkarakeitto is one of those unusual dishes you’ll encounter while in Finland, and I think you should give it a try. The sausage used in this specific soup is specially made just for this specific soup – nothing else, or at least not that I know of.

The sausage is raw, and to get those little balls of sausages, and you’ll have to sort of… hmm, squeeze them out from the sausage casing, you get me? I really can’t explain it well, but this video can certainly tell you exactly what I mean(It is in Finnish though, but I just want you to see the part when they squeeze them balls out!)

Where can you get it? Unfortunately, there aren’t many restaurants that sell this as most Finnish people cook this regularly at home since it is easy to make it. However, if you stumble upon one restaurant that sells this, go for it without a doubt.

If you like basic but good hotels, Hotel Clarion is a newly opened hotel just a bit off the center of Helsinki if that is more of your jive.

Lihapullat muusilla ja puolukkahillolla (Meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam)

Ah, Scandinavian meatballs! No pun intended, I swear. You all know IKEA, right? Well, the meatballs you get from there are traditionally obviously from Sweden. But! Finland also has a traditional Finnish meatball, which every single child in this country loves. I love it too, and it is damn good. It is quite similar to the Swedish version: Meatballs, brown sauce, mashed potato, and lingonberry jam – the bomb.

Why should you try this Finnish food? Ah, the famous lihapullat or meatballs! I remember when I was working in this one famous traditional Finnish restaurant here in Helsinki, their meatballs were the most popular dish on the whole menu. Everyone’s coming to that restaurant to have that dish more than anything else and guess from where are their customers?

Finland! Yes, Finns love meatballs! They were getting a lot of foreign diners too since the restaurant was a well-known traditional Finnish restaurant. I think it is worth trying this dish not only because it is good and it is usually rather cheap and as well as heavy and filling. Your €€€ will be all worth it!

Where can you get it? Again, you’re in luck because you’ll find this dish pretty much everywhere in Helsinki or any other Finnish restaurant in the whole country. This is a famous dish and trusts me, not every restaurant serves it good! You’re in even more luck, though, because I know where you can get the best meatballs in Helsinki, and that is Ravintola Tori have the most raved meatballs in town.

Do you like hiking? Maybe a quick calorie burn before your next big carby Finnish meal? Here’s an amazing tour that will take you from the city to the wild – Nuuksio National Park day tour from Helsinki

Makaronilaatikko (Baked macaroni with minced meat)

This Finnish baked macaroni with minced meat could easily be compared to the American mac and cheese – only this dish doesn’t have cheese, but instead, it has minced meat and full-fat milk. I think every child in this country had this every other day or at least once a week, and every single University student possibly has this every single day – three times a day.

Why you may ask? Well, makaronilaatikko is exceptionally easy and cheap to make! Plus, almost everyone in Finland ate/eat this dish. I don’t necessarily suggest you eat this if you’re in Finland, but it is up to you if you wish, I think this dish is nothing special but popular amongst broke students.

Why try this local favorite? It is comfort food for locals, and it is cheap! If you’re on a budget, this is your go-to meal if you’re in Finland – or anywhere in the world!

Where can you get it? From the grocery shop. This dish is not too fancy for it to be included in a restaurant’s menu. However, if you’re lucky and stumble upon any lunch restaurants that have this on their menu, I’d still stay rather make it at home and try something else. I like this dish because if I’m busy and broke, then I think this dish is awesome.

Do you want your trip to be a little bit more personal? Perhaps, you want to cook at home? Why not stay in an apartment hotel so you can test out local produce and make a dish of your own – Aallonkoti Apartment Hotels.

Karjalanpaisti (Meat Stew)

Karjalanpaisti or meat stew is one of the simplest comfort food you can have in your life! It is cooked in a special pot quite the same as a crockpot only you can cook it in the oven it is usually cooked for several hours or even overnight so you can only imagine how soft the meat can be – it melts in your mouth.

Why should you try this Finnish food? This meat stew is one of those meals that would warm up your heart and soul! If you come to Finland during winter, I’m sure you’ll love this stew after touring outside in the cold.

Where can you get it? It is not common for restaurants to have this dish on their menu because it is so time-consuming to make it. However, this can easily be done at home if you want to make it! You can easily cook this dish in the comforts of your home by using a crockpot or a pressure cooker. Also, karjalainpaisti is best served with mashed potatoes!

If you’re staying in Helsinki, you must not forget to visit Porvoo, which is a city not far from the capital itself. There are few traditional Finnish restaurants in that city that may have karjalanpaisti on their menu so keep an eye on that!

They do have a lot of day tours you can partake in if you want to visit this lovely small town by the coast! Helsinki to Porvoo day tours is what we recommend.

Pyttipannu (Pan-fried potatoes with sausages)

Pyttipannu is a dish made of leftover dishes that you put together from yesterday’s dinner. It is a good way to get rid of old food! Pyttipannu is typically made with old potatoes, onion, and sausages and topped with a fried egg. However, you could always put whatever leftover food you have and fry them in a pan and serve it with ketchup and mustard – done.

Why should you try this Finnish food? Again, I find this dish comfort food. If I made something with potatoes from the day before, I usually just fry them in butter with onions the next day, and that’s pyttipannu. If you’re a foreigner, you might find this dish odd, but I dare you to try it, I think it is awesome. Come on it is fried potatoes! Who doesn’t like fried potatoes – in butter?

Where can you get it? From regular shops, you can find this in the frozen section, and all you have to do is, well, fry them in a pan. Or, if you’re keen, you can fry old potatoes with onions and sausages and voila, pyttipannu. Again, this dish is something restaurants don’t serve, but there’s a possibility you’ll find this randomly from some restaurants.

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Kaalikääryleet (Stuffed cabbage)

Kaalikääryleet is stuffed cabbage, the best translation you can get. This dish is done by blanching the cabbage leaf, filling it with minced meat and cooked rice, roll it and then cook it in the oven and serve with mashed potatoes. Some people eat it with lingonberry jam, because why not.

Why should you try this Finnish food? I am not so sure if this is traditional Finnish as I’ve eaten stuffed cabbage from other countries in Europe, notably in the Balkan and Baltic areas. But, if you’re interested in this sort of dish, I recommend trying this dish here in Finland. It is still somewhat different than I’ve eaten from other countries!

Where can you get it? Again, Finnish grocery stores are good places to find traditional Finnish food at a cheaper price. It is best to make this fresh or eat this from restaurants. But then again, it is either a Finnish grandma or ordering this from a restaurant would be your only choice – the latter might be tough as, again, most restaurants don’t serve this dish.

Here’s another apartment hotel you can stay at in Helsinki: Uudenmankatu Apartments.

Nakkikastike (Hot dogs in Sauce)

If you ask a Finn what dish reminds them of childhood, there is a big chance they’ll say nakkikastike which is a very basic dish that consists of Finnish sausages, cream, and a bit of tomato paste.

I’ve made this a few times for my sister’s children and my partner and even wrote a recipe for it as it seems like a mystery for a lot of people and there’s a chunk of them who actually tried this out of curiosity.

They liked it and as most Finns say, ei siitä vikaa (it’s okay, nothing is wrong with it).

Why try this Finnish dish? I honestly don’t know why but if you’re curious enough, why not? It is quite an easy food to eat and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. I think that is why a lot of kids like it and a lot of parents cook it at home – it is an easy dish that is ready in less than 20 minutes which the little humans will devour in 5.

Where can you get it? Most shops sell this ready-made and all you have to do is heat it up and voila. Some old-school Finnish restaurants also sell this from time to time and it surprisingly goes fast. I suggest you just simply get this from the shop as it is less hassle and it honestly tastes alright.

Paistettu muikku (Fried vendace)

Paistettu muikku or fried vendace is a typical summer dish where you cover the vendace with a dry mixture of rye and regular flour then, you fry the fish in butter or ghee until golden and crispy. This dish is usually served with aioli and a slice of lemon on the side.

Why should you try this Finnish food? If you come to Finland during the summer season, you’ll find fried vendace in summer food markets near the ports or towns. You’ll see how popular this dish is amongst foreigners and locals alike. I make it a goal to eat fried vendace at least three times a year during summertime it is a crispy treat you’re looking forward to having since it is only available at a certain time of the year!

Where can you get it? You can get fried vendace in food markets near the ports or market squares! Some shops have this as well in packaging but don’t buy those, they are not as fresh. Also, in market halls, you’ll find some small stalls that sell fried vendace as well!

Lihapiirakka (Meat pie)

Oh, lihapiirakka or meat pie! One of my after-party favorites! The Finnish meat pie is one of the bombs you can have when you visit it is greasy, salty, and delicious. The dough is quite similar to doughnut dough, and it is filled with minced meat and cooked rice – then it is deep-fried in greasy oil to goodness.

Why should you try this Finnish food? If you’re up for some street food, this is the one you’ll get from the streets of Finland. Only they don’t have street vendors, but instead, they have small kiosks where you can buy these bad boys. You can have them either filled with more goodness or plain as it is, your choice – I suggest trying both.

Where can you get it? You can buy meat pies from street kiosks. I highly suggest getting them bad boys from kiosks as they are usually naughtier than the ones you get from shops. Remember, the greasier, the better. If you want it, you can buy this from the ready-made fridge section in any grocery store, just warm them up in the microwave and eat it with ketchup.

Lasimestarin silli (Marinated Herring)

Marinated herring is one of those winter food which you prepare during summertime. Lasimestarin silli or marinated herring is a kind of preserved food that you typically store for the upcoming winter. Traditionally made with herring caught from the summer, you make a concoction out of vinegar, sugar, and some spices, and you store it in jars and keep it marinating or preserving till the winter season. Marinated herring is also a traditional Christmas food for some families here in Finland.

Why should you try this Finnish food? If you’re adventurous enough, I think you will like this odd dish. During springtime, Finns usually eat marinated herring with new potatoes, the perfect combination of old and new. I like marinated herring, and as we speak, I have a jar in my cupboard ready for next year as I wait for the new potatoes!

Where can you get it? You don’t have enough time to cure your herring if you’re only visiting Finland for a short while, but you’re in luck because in shops you can easily buy a jar of marinated herring for few euros! Or you can go to market halls and try them from there.

Korvapuusti (Cinnamon rolls)

Korvapuusti is a sweet pastry with cinnamon, butter, and sugar filling and baked to perfection! It is quite similar to the American cinnamon roll, but not quite, korvapuusti is simpler and in my preference, better.

Finnish cinnamon rolls are easy to make and so lovely to smell while baking them, plus it is a delicious snack with coffee! You’ll see a lot of Finns eating this with coffee if you go to cafes, they love this sweet bun!

Why should you try this Finnish food? I don’t know if I should explain why you should eat this. I mean, who doesn’t like sweet pastries!?

Where can you get it? Local grocery shops have this, actually, scratch that – you’ll find korvapuisti everywhere you go in Finland. The best ones I’ve tried in Helsinki are from Fazer Cafe and Cafe Regatta – the latter I highly suggest going to it is one of the best places in Helsinki.

Leipäjuusto lakkahillolla (Cheese bread with Cloudberry Jam) What is this?

Leipäjuusto is a type of squeaky cheese baked over an open fire, and with the direct translation to English, it is called “bread cheese.” This is traditionally eaten with cloudberry jam as dessert.

Why should you try this Finnish food? Again, leipäjuusto is a traditional Finnish food you’ll probably only find in Finland and is one of those odd sorts that are worth trying. The weird part is that this dish is often eaten as a dessert and goes well with coffee! I love this and often buy it from shops whenever I cravings for this lovely squeaky cheese.

Where can you get it? Few restaurants might have this on their menu, but it is easy to get this from a regular food store, even the cloudberry jam you’ll find in jars, and they are pretty decent. I don’t go to restaurants for this and just buy the ones ready from shops they’re easy and not so expensive.

For instance, a jar of cloudberry jam is about €5, and I think it is quite a steal considering how rare you’ll come across this berry from forests. They’re well known to be quite hard to find thus, the price of cloudberries could depend on how abundant they’ll be for that year.

Leipäjuusto, on the other hand, is easy to produce and you’ll find them easily from the shops any time of the year.

Mustikkapiirakka (Blueberry pie)

Mustikkapiirakka or blueberry pie is yet another famous Finnish thing, usually eaten for dessert, and often found in cafes if you’re eager to taste this.

The simplest way to make this is by making a simple shortcrust pastry, laying it on a pie baking round, mixing frozen blueberries with powdered sugar and potato flour, place them on top of the pastry, and bake it till the crust is cooked. So simple and so good, especially if served warm with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream.

Why should you try this Finnish food? Oh, you’ll love this simple dessert! Every time I make this at home or work, it is gone before the day ends. Finnish people love this simple pie it is one of those things they devour, especially if the berry season is on.

Where can you get it? You can get mustikkapiirakka from cafes, and some restaurants have them on their menu if the berry season is on. Otherwise, it is easy to make this at home wherever you are in this world as long as blueberries are easy to get.

Pulla (Sweet bread)

Finns love a good sweet bread to go with their coffee during their break times and although a good cinnamon roll is favorable, there are still some who enjoy a good simple pulla which is a simple cardamom sweet bread topped with sugar crystals.

I made this pulla in February in time for “laskiainen” (mid-winter holiday) where I made laskiaispulla, a pulla filled with jam and whipped cream.

Why try this Finnish dessert? It is an easy-to-grab pastry that you can easily get everywhere. Also, it is a lovely treat along with your coffee or tea!

Where can you get this? Most stores have this fresh in their pastry section or somewhere in the bread section, you can find ready-made packed sweet bread pastries.

Köyhät Ritarit (Finnish French Toast)

Köyhät ritarit or your basic French toast with a twist! So what makes this sweet toast any different from the regular French toast? Well, instead of old bread, you use old sweet bread! There’s this thing in Finland called “Pulla” or sweet bun in the form of bread it has cinnamon, cardamom, and butter.

All the goodness in one bun! Just like your regular French toast, you make köyhät ritarit the same way and serve it with whipped or ice cream, and if you’re feeling fancy, you can add seasonal berries or fruits!

Where can you get it? You have to make it yourself. The awesome Finnish blogger behind Perinneruokaaprklwho also took that amazing photo of this dessert has an awesome recipe that goes with it. Unfortunately, it is in Finnish, but google translate can somewhat do the job for you!

So, it was quite a lot to put on your list, eh? Well, better start thinking about which ones you’ll hunt once you visit Finland! I only wrote down 21 traditional Finnish food in here, but trust me – there’s a lot more!

Finnish food is so simple, especially the traditional Granny style ones, but there’s nothing more delicious than dishes your Granny can make best. Do you know what I mean? Granny food rocks! Even Anthony Bourdain agrees with that. Hope you liked this long list!


Juustoleipä, also known as Leipäjuusto or juusto, originally comes from Southern Ostrobothnia, Northern Finland and Kainuu. It is known in English as 'Finnish squeaky cheese'. Other dialects have various names such as narskujuusto that depict the way that fresh leipäjuusto "squeaks" against the teeth when bitten. Among all its synonyms, leipäjuusto is the more commonly known name.

Leipäjuusto is a fresh cheese made from cow's beestings, rich milk from a cow that has recently calved. It can be made also from reindeer or even goat's milk. The cheese is called 'Leipäjuusto' (bread cheese) or 'Juustoleipa' (cheese bread) since it is 'toasted' during its preparation. The oven cheese contains about 20 to 22% milk fat while today's lighter versions contain about 12% milk fat.

Traditionally, people used to let leipäjuusto get totally dried so that they could then store it for up to several years. For eating, they used to heat the almost rock hard Leipäjuusto cheese on a fire to soften it and to produce appetizing aroma. Even today, the cheese is dried by keeping it in a well ventilated area for a few days. But, unlike its older version, it has a mild flavour.

Watch the video: I Tried Coffee Cheese Kaffeost. No Talking Cooking Video. Make Eat Home (June 2022).


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