Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød)

by Spicie Foodie on March 12, 2014

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #Smørrebrød

The Kingdom of Denmark (Kongeriget Danmark) is a Northern European country bordered in the south by Germany and by Norway and Sweden to the north. The land of Hans Christian Andersen is today’s Earth Eats featured country.

Traditional Danish cuisine, like that of many other Northern European countries, is heavily based on meat and potatoes, due to the harsh winter conditions. Having a large coastline means that fish/seafood too became an essential component of the cuisine of Denmark.

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #Smørrebrød

First impressions will leave you thinking that Danish cooking isn’t very healthy, but I have found otherwise. In the past years there has also been a movement promoting fresh local and healthier ingredients. Their cuisine keeps evolving and in fact Fromer’s said the following “Danish food is the best in Scandinavia — in fact, it’s among the best in Europe.” With a review like that you know you must give the dishes of Denmark a taste.

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches

I have never really eaten Danish food; Up until the time I started researching Danish cuisine I wasn’t even sure if the famous pastry called “Danish” was an American invention or really one that originated in Denmark. It turns out that the pastry is eaten in Denmark, but there it is called winerbrod or Vienna bread and was invented by Viennese chefs in 1840. Though I do love a warm, soft and sticky winerbrod, I wanted to prepare something savoury and that wouldn’t conflict with my need to avoid wheat. So instead I would like to share another famous Danish treat: Smørrebrød.

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #SmørrebrødSmørrebrød translates to bread and butter or open-faced sandwich. The small sandwiches are traditionally eaten during lunch or smaller versions are served as appetisers. The basic recipe is a piece of buttered rye bread topped with fish/seafood, cold cuts, meat, cheese, and fruits or vegetables. When doing my research I found that there really isn’t one specific topping that defines smørrebrød. What I found was that the variety of topping choices is huge. Yes, there are a few that you’ll probably come across over and over again, but many people add their own personal touches even to those classics.

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #Smørrebrød

There were so many delicious choices but In the end I choose to prepare 4 different types of smørrebrød. Both cured salmon and pickled herring are eaten frequently throughout Scandinavia, I absolutely love them both so I had to include them in the mix. Danish blue cheese is my husband’s favourite blue so of course we had to include that too. Then I came across a very unique recipe for herring with curry sauce — I love curry and can never resist trying out new flavour combinations. The recipe belongs to Marcus of the blog “Danish Open Sandwiches” He has among the best collection of recipes for smørrebrød, make sure you check out his blog. The simplest recipe for smørrebrød I came across was just butter and slices of radish.

Okay, now I’m going to give you the ingredients list for the sandwiches and recipe for the curried herring.

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #Smørrebrød


4.7 from 3 reviews
Danish Smorrebrod: Herring in Curry Sauce or Karrysild
Prep time
Total time
Pickled herring gets a very interesting makeover in this Danish curried herring sandwich recipe. (Recipe adapted from Danish Open Sandwiches blog http://www.danishsandwich.com/ )
Recipe type: Lunch, Snacks, Sanwich
Cuisine: Danish
  • Herring in Curry Sauce Ingredients:
  • 5 pickled herring filets, sliced in 1 cm strips
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp mild curry paste
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 dill pickle, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp pickled herring liquid
  • half an apple, cored and sliced thinly or chopped
  • ¼ tsp coriander seed, crushed
  • ¼ tsp mustard seed, crushed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • dill or chive for garnish
Additional Ingredients:
  • Danish rye bread
  • unsalted butter
  1. Stir to combine creme fraiche, mayonnaise, Dijon and curry paste.
  2. Add crushed spices, pickles, capers, onions and pickling liquid and combine. Allow to refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavours to blend.
  3. Remove from fridge, add sliced herring and apples to sauce.
  4. Serve about ⅓ of a cup of mixture on buttered Danish rye bread and garnish with dill and chives (or green onion). Enjoy with fork and knife!
!Ingredients for Apple, Bacon and Blue Cheese Smorrebrod:
rye bread
unsalted butter
cooked bacon, cut into even sized pieces
Danish blue cheese, sliced into thin slices
Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

!Ingredients for Gravad Laks Smorrebrod:
rye bread
unsalted butter
smoke salmon
fresh dill

!Ingredients for radish smorrebrod:
rye bread
unsalted butter
thinly sliced radishes
pinch of sea salt to sprinkle over


Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #Smørrebrød

This was a super fun lunch to prepare! I assembled the sandwiches before serving them, but I think it would also be great to lay out the ingredients and let everyone build their own smørrebrød. I’m thinking a fun thing to do for a party.

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #Smørrebrød

I have to say that I was not only intrigued by the curried smørrebrød, but also had high expectations — I was not disappointed. The tanginess of the pickled herring combined with the curry powder and other ingredients was amazing! I love the soft and crunchy textures. We had some of the sauce leftover and the next day I ate just that on a piece of rye, it was so good.

The smoked salmon sandwich was very good but nothing too impressive if you’re used to eating lox on your bagel. The radish one was very simple but still delicious. As for the blue cheese, apple and bacon one: that was my husband’s favourite. I loved it too, the tart cheese with tart and crunchy apple complimented the smokey bacon wonderfully.

Earth Eats: Danish Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød) by @SpicieFoodie | #Danishcuisine #smorrebrod #lunch #sandwiches #Smørrebrød

This was such a different lunch for us and one we both would happily have again. We both are also looking forward to tasting other dishes from Danish cuisine.

Tell me have you eve eaten Danish food, if so what would you recommend we try next?

If you’re interested in Danish cuisine these cookbooks look delicious!

Blogs and great Danish Recipes to check out!
Wienerbrød – Danish Pastry Braid by My Danish Kitchen
Honest Cooking has many Danish recipes
FLÆSKESTEG (Danish Pork Roast) and Danish Aebleskiver (Apple Slices) by DiepLicious
Vegan Smorrebrod by Vegan Miam
Smørrebrød – Danish Open Sandwiches by Blow Up Food!


Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide to Better Photos, Photography eBook by Spicie Foodie


in Earth Eats Series,European

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa March 12, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Beautiful and extremely tempting! I am a big fan of this healthy Danish dish.




2 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:49 PM

Glad to hear it Rosa!


3 John@Kitchen Riffs March 12, 2014 at 10:35 AM

I know virtually nothing about Danish food! So this has been a treat to read. Great looking dish, too. Thanks for this.


4 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:49 PM

Thank you, John and I hope you can give it a try soon!


5 LaReesa March 12, 2014 at 12:38 PM

I just have to say I LOVE your Earth Eats series! It is such a great idea and I love the countries you’ve chosen so far — I kind of expected to see generic cuisines like Italian and Greek and French. You’ve so intrigued me with Afghan and Albanian and Danish, though! Keep up the good work. I can’t WAIT to try these sandwiches. I don’t usually like pickled herring but this looks like it could make me like it:)


6 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Thank you so much LaReesa! I do intend to showcase those well know cuisines but not for a long time. Enjoy these Danish sandwiches:)


7 Eha March 12, 2014 at 7:44 PM

This is absolutely lovely but certainly not JUST Danish . . . . your very good map shows about 1/3 of the area where these sandwiches are breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and always party food and there are dozens of variations including many with meats. Now I come from Estonia [yes, on the map] and tho’ I have lived for decades in Australia the only time I would have something else for breakfast would be when I am travelling!!! I would not dream of making or eating a sandwich with two slices of bread and when offered such in a cafe, always take the top slice off!! Beautiful photos and smoked salmon with cottage cheese and raw onions or chopped chives is yummy!!!!!


8 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Yes, I know, I also used to eat (very similar) ones in Czech Republic.:) But for this Earth Eats they are being filled under Denmark. I can’t wait to get to your native country Eha!


9 Medeja March 13, 2014 at 1:34 AM

My husband lived in Denmark 4 years ago and he is still remembering Smorrebrod :)


10 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:52 PM

Oh how lucky for him!:)


11 sippitysup March 13, 2014 at 5:08 PM

When I went to Norway we were served quiet a few sandwiches very similar to this. The best I remember was served outside in the countryside in the fjords. The experience stuck with me enough that I have put together a few of these sandwiches myself. Only I tend to eat them for breakfast now that I’m home. GREG


12 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:56 PM

I can imagine how amazing your sandwiches tasted while in Norway. That’s great that you still make them at home.


13 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen March 13, 2014 at 11:15 PM

Lovely post, Nancy! I am new to your blog, but I know this will not be my only visit. In fact, I see myself stopping by often. I love your blog’s design and color scheme, but your photography is what is blowing me away! So very inviting. Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I am now following you at Pinterest, and your blog via Bloglovin’, so I don’t miss a beat!


14 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:57 PM

Hi Stacy and welcome! Thank you so much:)


15 Amelia March 14, 2014 at 12:53 AM

Hi, your open sandwiches look so appetizing and delicious. Very impressive presentation and photography skill.

Have a nice day.


16 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:57 PM

Thank you Amelia!


17 Brooks March 14, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Nancy, I’ve enjoyed similar dishes in the past, but the variety of Smorrebrod gorgeously captured in pixels here, enlightens me. Earth Eats—a great feature!


18 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:57 PM

Thanks so much Brooks!


19 Holly | Beyond Kimchee March 14, 2014 at 8:08 AM

I don’t know much about Danish food but the Smørrebrød is the kind of sandwich/appetizer that I like to indulge. Beautiful to the eyes and pleasing to the mouth! I love all the pictures of your lovely creation!


20 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:58 PM

They are so delicious and I think they would even be a hit at a dinner party. Thank you Holly!


21 Nandita March 14, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Awesome post Nancy! The recipe as well as the photographs are just rocking! Loved every bit of the post :)


22 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:58 PM

Thank you Nandita!:)


23 Mar March 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Great post! I love Smørrebrød!, having lived in Denmark and still going there often it’s one of the foods i enjoy the most up north, my favorites are with herring or shrimp. Another favorite is the Frikadeller (danish meatballs) with potato salad and rye bread. For dessert, the Risalamande (it’s a bit like Arroz con leche, but with a yummy cherry sauce) or the Aebleskiver, which are like pancake-balls covered with sugar and served with marmalade.


24 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Thank you Mar! That’s great that you still enjoy Danish cuisine at home. I haven’t tried the frikadeller — will do so soon±


25 Sandra March 14, 2014 at 3:33 PM

This is quite impressive Nancy! Thank you for the culinary education and the mouthwatering photos.


26 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Thank you Sandra!


27 Ramona March 14, 2014 at 6:19 PM

This looks like a wonderful treat. I have never had smorrebrod… but I like the idea of a curry sauce.


28 Spicie Foodie March 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM

You should give them a try Ramona. Yes, I think you’d love the curry sauce one:)


29 rika@vm March 16, 2014 at 1:35 PM

We stayed in Denmark for a year and it was a bit difficult to eat there as a vegan. I like the fresh raw veggies on these bites. I made vegan Smørrebrød last year using Viana’s sunflower creamy spreads: http://veganmiam.com/recipes/vegan-danish-open-sandwiches-smorrebrod


30 My Kitchen Stories March 17, 2014 at 4:11 AM

There qy=uite a bit of EEurope still left in you Nancy. Lovely pictures


31 Spicie Foodie March 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Absolutely Tania!:) I lived there so long that it will always be in my soul.


32 Karen Harris March 20, 2014 at 7:11 AM

Oh my, what a beautiful site you have. I could gaze at your photos all day long. So many wonderful recipes and gorgeous images. Thank you so much for stopping by blog which led me back here to yours.


33 Spicie Foodie March 20, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Thank you Karen, I look forward to stopping by yours again!:)


34 Bill March 22, 2014 at 6:07 AM

I was in Denmark a few years ago and that was my first experience with Smørrebrød. The ones we had for lunch were made with shrimp and were absolutely delicious! This post brings back so many memories of that trip. Thanks for reminding me! Great post and beautiful photos, Nancy!


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