• Iconic Finnish Foods of All Time

    1. Karjalanpiirakka

    Karjalanpiirakka or Karelian pies, as they are also known, fit into your hand and melt in your mouth. The crust was traditionally made with rye flour and filled with potatoes, rice or carrots. They are particularly delicious with an egg butter spread on top!

  • 2. Kalakukko

    People used to think of Kalakukkos as a packed lunch, the rye-dough pie containing everything you needed for a complete meal.

  • 3. Grillimakkara

    Children grow up eating this snack food both at the summer cottage and during winter around a campfire or at winter events such as Laskiainen.

  • 4. Rye Bread

    Rye Bread is dense and flat and very heavy but Finns will have it sent through the post when they are living abroad. Never mind the cost. Näkkileipä is the cracker version of rye bread and there are also many kinds, including the internationally-sold Finn Crisp cracker. They are eaten at breakfast with butter, cheese and other spreads, with soups at lunch or as an evening snack.

  • 5. Korvapuusti

    Usually eaten with a cup of coffee (Finns consume more coffee and perhaps more cinnamon buns than any other European nation), it is difficult to stop at just one. Or two.

  • 6. Mustikkapiirakka

    Although all Finnish berries – such as the deep red lingonberry and the bright orange cloudberry – can be made into delicious pies, the blueberry pie served with fresh milk is the one known and adored by all.

  • 7. Silli ja uudet perunat

    New potatoes are about as close to religion as you can get in Finnish food.  Best served with herring (silli) or lake fish. They start to appear around midsummer and their harvest makes the local papers each year. How can something so simple be so divine?

  • 8. Rapu

    Crayfish parties or “kraftskiva”, were originally a Swedish tradition that the Finns adopted and celebrate with finesse each summer. These small fresh water lobsters are considered a gourmet treat and they are not cheap. Which is why they are feted in style. Elegant and elaborate parties are thrown in honour of the Crayfish season which runs typically between July 21st and early fall.

  • 9. Poronkäristys

    Reindeer are found in Finland’s northern province of Lapland and their meat is one of the healthiest foods you can put on your plate according to recent studies. It is high in B-12, omega-3, omega-6 and lean. And it is delicious!

  • 10. Leipäjuusto

    You can find these iconic foods in the markets and restaurants across Finland but there is no where better to sample the local fare than in someone’s home.

  • And...

    Also not to be missed while in Finland: Salmiakki (salty liquorice) which almost all Finns are addicted to and Fazer Blue chocolate which you will pine for after you’ve gone home.

  • Recommended

    You might also like these fine articles:

    • Many faces of the Finnish sauna

      Many faces of the Finnish sauna

      The land of 3 million saunas is upgrading and re-inventing their centuries-old tradition attracting the curiosity of many sauna aficionados. In some cases, quite exceptional saunas can be visited just within city limits.

    • I wish I was
      in Finland

      – get all the latest info and updates from our Facebook group.

Iconic Finnish Foods of All Time

Finns are passionate about their food and they know how to celebrate it. Finns are also fiercely loyal to their culinary roots. Although you can buy just about anything your heart desires in Finland these days, go native when you are here and you will be in for a treat.

In Finland, market stalls everywhere overflow with seasonal produce and local delicacies. Festivals mark the arrival of favourite foods throughout the year. Finns even name pastries after their poets!

We’ve compiled a list of ten iconic foods that you SHOULD try – go on, don’t be shy.


These pastries originated in the eastern province of Karelia. This is the mythical birthplace of Kalevala, the epic 19th century poem that has become an essential part of the Finnish national identity.


Kalakukko are similar to karjalanpiirakka, but bigger in size and made with fish. They are most commonly filled with muikku, a small herring-like fish found in the Lake District of Eastern Finland.


A Finnish summer is not complete without grillimakkara. These big, fat sausages made for grilling are eaten with mustard and washed down with beer. Finns love them.


Korvapuusti translates into “slapped ears” in English but they are essentially cinnamon buns. And while Finland doesn’t hold a patent on cinnamon buns, they might seriously make the best.


Ruisleipä – rye bread, made from sour dough, is a staple of the Finnish diet. There are many varieties but the most popular and widely available is reikäleipä, meaning a bread with a hole. People used to hang their bread on poles from the rafters.

Mustikkapiirakka (and other pies made of berries)

In July and August blueberries paint the Finnish forest. They are everywhere and could cause a sense of panic if you are not used to seeing them in such abundance. You will want to pick them all and freeze them for winter. Which the Finns do but they are best enjoyed in the summer months, on their own or in homemade pies.

Silli ja uudet perunat

New potatoes with herring (silli). New potatoes with fresh lake fish and chantarelle sauce. New potatoes with fish roe (mäti). New potatoes with just a knob of butter, some dill and a little salt.

The variations are endless but equally mouth-watering – the Finns can talk about new potatoes for a long time, as the little spuds hold the promise of a summer still uncorked.


Crayfish parties or “kraftskiva”, were originally a Swedish tradition that the Finns adopted and celebrate with finesse each summer. These small fresh water lobsters are considered a gourmet treat and they are not cheap. Which is why they are feted in style.


Served with mashed potatoes, this dish is eaten throughout the country, in all seasons.


Known in English as “Finnish Squeaky Cheese” and also called Juustoleipä or “cheese bread”, this mild cheese is most often made from cow’s milk but can also be made from reindeer or goat’s milk. The milk is first curdled and then fried or baked in a pie tin and cut in wedges. It is most delicious with cloudberry jam!


Full of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the Midnight Sun and winter darkness, urban and rural, East and West.

More From Directory