Icelanders are equally talented with their sweet and savoury recipes.

What are the most delicious Icelandic recipes? What ingredients and methods of cooking are popular in Iceland? How can you recreate the best Icelandic dishes? Read on and acquaint yourself with seven top recipes from Iceland.

Iceland is becoming an ever more popular destination for foodies. The restaurant culture in Reykjavík is thriving, with Michelin star restaurants, world-renowned chefs, and creative recipes. While the rest of the world has heavily influenced many of the dishes served today, many have remained the same for generations.

Considering the lack of ingredients in Iceland, with the land being barren and infertile, Icelanders have always had to get creative when it comes to cooking. With just fish, meat, dairy, root vegetables and some herbs and berries, however, they managed to create a cuisine that still brings delight to the taste buds.

While many of the oldest recipes include a lot of boiled ingredients, they will largely be overlooked on this list; instead, it will look to the baked, fried and sweet options that will be a delight to any who try them.



Header photo from The Reykjavík Food Walk.

Baked Fish

Baked fish served with rice.Photo from MaxPixel

Iceland has always been a nation of fishermen, so the most diverse dishes from the country are undoubtedly those with seafood. While fish is prepared and served in a wide variety of ways, perhaps the most palatable to people from all backgrounds is when it is baked in the national tradition. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 fish fillets or 6 cod fish fillets
  • 1 lemon
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 200 g Emmenthaler cheese or 200 g Tilsiter cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.
  2. Butter a baking dish.
  3. Put the fillets into the baking dish.
  4. Season the fillets with salt, pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  5. Cover the fish with grated cheese.
  6. Mix mustard with cream and pour it over fish fillets.
  7. Cover with breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake the fillets for 35 minutes.
  9. Serve with rice or noodles or mashed potatoes

Icelandic Caramelised Potatoes

Caramelised potatoes are a sweet and filling side dish.An absolutely delicious side-dish, Icelandic caramelised potatoes compliment any roast meal. Traditionally, it is considered a particularly delightful addition to a shoulder of lamb and purple cabbage.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. Wash and scrub the potatoes removing any dirt, eyes, etc. Cut each in half, then cut each half into chunks.
  2. Bring a quart of water to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and place the potatoes in the pot. Cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender (able to poke a fork in it) but not mushy like you're making mashed potatoes.
  3. Drain all the water off the potatoes, let them sit in the colander for about 5 minutes to dry out.
  4. Place the sugar on a frying pan and heat it up until it gets all melty. Stir in the butter or margarine when this happens.
  5. When this mixture reaches a rich golden colour, remove from the heat and carefully roll the potato pieces in it to fully coat them each in the caramel sauce.

Icelandic Cocoa Soup

Icelanders are a big fan of sweet dishes, particularly those with chocolate and cinnamon.

This Icelandic dessert is so delicious, that it is very often served as a main course. A particular favourite amongst kids, it's easy to make and always greatly appreciated.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix the cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan.
  2. Add the water gradually and stir until smooth.
  3. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the milk, reheat to boiling point and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Mix the potato starch or cornstarch with a little cold water, stir into soup and remove from heat.
  6. Salt to taste and serve.

Icelandic Plokkfiskur

Beautifully served and garnished Plokkfiskur.

Otherwise known as the 'Icelandic Fish Pie' or 'Icelandic Fish Stew', this is one of the oldest and most traditional dishes on this list. While the most historical of Iceland's food tends to be the least appealing, this one is quite the exception.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4lbs cod, halibut or haddock, boiled
  • 1 1/4lb potatoes, boiled and peeled 
  • 1 white onion
  • 12 oz milk
  • 2 oz butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons chives, freshly snipped to add colour, flavour & garnish 

Directions 

  1. Skin, bone & break up the boiled fish into flakes.
  2. Roughly chop potatoes & finely chop onion.
  3. Slowly heat milk in a saucepan almost to a boiling point.
  4. While the milk is heating, in a medium to large sized non-stick saucepan, melt butter & sauté onion over medium heat until soft. Do not allow it to brown.
  5. Sprinkle flour over onion, stir well & cook for 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Gradually add warmed milk, stirring continuously. Simmer for 3-4 min, stirring often.
  7. Add flaked fish & stir briskly to break up the fish flakes completely. Season liberally w/salt & pepper.
  8. Add potatoes & stir gently. Cook over low heat until heated through.
  9. Spoon into 4 bowls & sprinkle each serving with 1/2 tbsp chives. Serve hot w/dark rye bread & butter.

Icelandic Pancakes

Icelandic pancakes more resemble crêpes.Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons

A real Icelandic favourite, the whole family will be asking for these over and over again. The directions for this one can be adjusted to personal taste; why not add honey or chocolate rather than the traditional jam and cream?

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 cups Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Essence of Cardamom

Directions

  1. Beat eggs and milk together, add dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. Leave to settle for 30 minutes.
  2. Melt and add margarine. Heat a small frying pan and grease the pan lightly.
  3. Pour enough batter to coat the pan thinly. When one side is done, turn the pancake over with a palette knife and fry the other side.
  4. Grease frying pan often.
  5. Pancakes are usually stacked as they are fried and white sugar sprinkled liberally on each one.
  6. They can be rolled up individually, with a little added white sugar on each one. Then, if you like, strawberry jam can be spread on the Pancakes, with a dollop of whipped cream in the middle. Fold over twice, and enjoy.

Skyr Crème Brûlée

Skyr is a delicious Icelandic sweet with centuries of history.

Skyr is a delicious national cheese, with the consistency of yoghurt. Though it comes in many flavours, pure Skyr can be used to make a delightful Créme Brulée, to put an Icelandic twist on a French classic.

Ingredients

  • 100 g cream
  • 100 g pure Skyr
  • 40 g egg yolk
  • 40 g sugar
  • 80 g white chocolate
  • The juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 vanilla pod

Directions:

  1. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and put in a saucepan with the cream. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and add the Skyr.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and add to the warm skyr mixture.
  3. Stir together the egg yolk and sugar and add to the skyr mixture along with the lime juice. Put into crème brulée ramekins and bake in a water bath at 120 °C for 30 minutes. Cool.
  4. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and melt the sugar with a crème brulée torch. 

Blueberry Schnapps

Blueberries grow wild in Iceland.Photo from Maxpixel

Just like the food, Icelandic cocktail recipes are gaining international popularity. Blueberry Schnapps makes the most of one of the types of berry found in the untouched wilds of Iceland's nature.

Ingredients

  • 125 g puréed blueberries
  • 500 ml water
  • 125 g sugar
  • 0,5 dl vodka

Directions: 

  1. Cook together the sugar, water and blueberry purée until the sugar is melted and syrup is slightly thickened. Cool and add the vodka. Freeze.
  2. Just before serving, purée the frozen schnapps in a blender to a slushy consistency and serve on the side with the brulée.


What is your favourite Icelandic dish? Do you have a secret recipe to share? If so, tell us about it in the comments box below!