Have you heard of hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”)? It’s a cozy Danish concept that’s taken the world by storm, and it couldn’t be a more enjoyable pastime, especially in the chilly months. Hygge is about enjoying togetherness, coziness, family and friends, rustic charm and warmth – both literal and figurative. And, like most traditions, with it comes plenty of food. Hygge is the curl of steam coming off hot soup, the aroma of wine mulling with spices on the stove, the quiet stirring of morning oatmeal on the stovetop and the slow-curing of local fish. The recipes are soothing comfort food dishes that nourish the soul. They’re straightforward, welcoming and accessible to all regions of the world from Scandinavia and beyond. Here’s how to hygge deliciously, this winter.
Mulled Wine (Glögg)
Glögg is a famous Scandinavian mulled wine that hygge-doers love to sip on, but it can pack a punch. Get ready to fully relax with this recipe.
Smoked Trout Nordic Toasts
Hygge is all about staying in, getting comfy and making your own meals, so a homemade lunch is essential. Smørrebrød, a Danish open-faced sandwich, is often topped with smoked fish and other homemade treats, like pickled cabbage and beets. This light and refreshing option pairs well with earthy squash soups.
Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs
Make sure to serve this hygge favourite of Sweden with either lingonberry or red currant jelly, a traditional condiment pairing to complement and tame these savoury meatballs. You can also try these Scandinavian cardamon buns.
Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloins
‘Flæskesteg’ is a traditional Danish roast pork dish that’s commonly served around the holidays. It’s often dished up with potatoes and cabbage, and is served family style to encourage sharing around the table. If you can’t locate pork belly, pork tenderloin or a pork loin roast make for a beautiful alternative at your hygge-filled feast.
Nordic Oats with Pumpkin Seed Oil
Slow down and watch the curls of steam rise from steel-cut oatmeal topped with a Nordic favourite, buttermilk. This is a nourishing breakfast to start a hygge-filled winter’s day.
Hot Smoked Sockeye Salmon with Charred Orange and Maple Syrup
Preparing food at an unhurried pace, showing respect for the ingredients and nourishing your body and soul are some of the core aspects of hygge. A common Scandinavian protein, smoked fish, slows down the pace of cooking, resulting in a meal where you can truly taste the love.
French Onion Soup Casserole
Hygge can be embraced by all, no matter their locale. This super-cozy casserole invokes the spirit of French country cooking, making you feel taken care of at first bite.
Morning Glory Yogurt Loaf
The act of baking and serving sweet treats makes the hygge ritual that much more special. The uncomplicated, unfussy nature of quick-breads makes them a perfect pairing with a warming cup of tea or hot chocolate on a cool winter morning.
Baked Rice Pudding
Eating rice pudding is a Danish holiday tradition, but the dish in its many forms is enjoyed from morning to night throughout the year. Take the no-stir approach and cozy up on the couch with a good book while this baked rice pudding bubbles away in the oven.
Warming spices of cloves, allspice and cinnamon soothe, filling the hygge home with the welcoming aroma of mulled cider.
Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
Hygge doesn’t mean unhealthy or exclusive, it’s about accessibility and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. If vegan scalloped potatoes make you feel good, by all means, make them!
Wild Mushroom Soup
Earthy flavours and foraged foods are a must for a good hygge feast, and what better way to present them than in a rich, wild mushroom soup? Spoon up pure comfort and warm up deliciously.
Whole-Grain Caramel Apple Oven Pancake
An æbleskiver is a cross between a pancake and a popover and it’s a classic Scandinavian breakfast food, commonly filled with or served alongside stewed apples. If you don’t have an æbleskiver mold, serve a family-style apple pancake instead.
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
A simple tray of rosemary roasted potatoes is one of the great pleasures in life. It’s nourishing, heartwarming and comfortable cuisine that appeals to diners of all ages and locations.
Spiced Hot Chocolate
A mug of hot chocolate is pure comfort to all ages. Sweet, perfectly cozy and a proper hygge necessity, it will get you through that “to-read” pile, or, perhaps, a “to-watch” television marathon or two.
Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash
Saffron buns are served on St. Lucia Day in December throughout Scandinavia. Take a note from this charming tradition and infuse a cozy winter squash risotto with saffron instead.
Hazelnut Cinnamon Rolls
Don’t you just want to curl up into one of these cinnamon rolls? A more hygge food does not exist.
Cardamom Crumble Shortbread Squares
Cardamom is more commonly used than cinnamon in Scandinavian baking, bringing a welcome floral but still warming fragrance to everything it’s added to. Light a fire, put on the kettle and set out a tray of these cardamom crumble shortbreads for an après ski treat.
Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts
Mix and match your favourite earthy root vegetable for the ultimate hygge side. A big roast, good friends and endless glögg are the perfect accompaniments.
Crackle Ginger Cookies
Molasses keeps these perfectly sweet hygge treats chewy for several days on the counter. Unlike more involved holiday cookies, these don’t require precision rolling and cookie cutters – it’s all about those irregular nooks and crannies when it comes to hygge baking!
Get the recipe for Crackle Ginger Cookies