15 Top Traditional Icelandic Food Recipes To Discover (2024)

These unique traditional Icelandic food recipes are somewhat limited because of the shortage of food resources. However, that hasn’t stopped the Icelandic people from crafting delicious meals from the few ingredients they do have access to.

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Jump to the Recipes: Our 15 Traditional Icelandic Food Recipes For You To Discover

What Is Unique About Icelandic Food?

Due to its unusual geographical location, Iceland has developed a particularly interesting culinary culture. This country in the North Atlantic remained comparatively unconnected. Its remote location on the edge of the Arctic Ocean and the harsh reputation of its Viking residents both played a role in this.

Iceland is an unforgettable place to visit. It’s hardly surprising that Iceland has become one of the most well-liked tourist destinations in the world given the abundance of breathtaking scenery, charming fishing towns, and spectacular architecture. One part of Icelandic culture, however, can be appreciated without ever having to visit the nation. The excellent Icelandic cuisine.

Lamb, dairy products, and fish are the three main ingredients of traditional Icelandic cuisine. The Icelandic cuisine is heavily based on fish in particular. After all, Iceland is an island, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Icelandic food dishes are becoming more widely available in supermarkets and restaurants globally as a result of Iceland’s appeal abroad. Some of the most well-known meals from Iceland are skyr, thorrablot, and hangikjot. Traditional Icelandic food recipes have been combined with ingredients from throughout the world to create a modern Icelandic cuisine.

Discover the Delectable Icelandic Foods

The country of Iceland isn’t known for its abundance of food resources, but that hasn’t stopped the Icelandic people from crafting delicious meals from the few ingredients they have access to. From fermented shark meat to smoked lamb and reindeer, Iceland offers many delectable dishes you must try if you travel there. But you may wonder what that unique delicacy Iceland is best known for?

First, Iceland is located where the seafood is exceptionally fresh, highly available, and of outstanding quality. So Icelandic food is perfect for you if you love seafood such as lobster, fish, shrimp, squid, or other sea creatures. You can get this from any restaurant all over the island and not just one type or kind, so no matter your tastes, you will find a type of food from Iceland that pleases your palate.

Secondly, food from Iceland is one of the healthiest meals on the planet because of how healthy most of the ingredients are. For example, much of the cooking oil used in Iceland is fish oil which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and increase brain function while providing essential omega-3 fatty acids.

On top of that, a lot of the foods consumed are organic without pesticides or herbicides, meaning they are more natural than other meals around the world. In fact, all the vegetables found in Iceland are fresh, clean, and environmentally friendly. Therefore, Icelandic food might be right up your alley if you’re a vegetarian, gluten-free eater, or just someone who wants to eat something healthier.

Lastly, the Iceland daily products have a mouth-watering flavor profile with spices and herbs that make them irresistible even before you take a bite. No additives or preservatives are found in these goods, so by consuming them, you will be getting the freshest flavors possible without any strange aftertaste whatsoever.

5 Most Popular & Somewhat Unique Icelandic Foods

1. Smoked Lamb
This Icelandic food is a flavorful meat from the sheep popular in restaurants and at home. The lamb can be smoked, roasted, or boiled and is typically served with potatoes, vegetables, and sauces like horseradish or garlic mayonnaise. The delicate smoke flavor is the perfect addition to any meal.

2. Dried Fish / Hard Fish
Icelandic dried fish, called hard fish, is a delicacy made by catching cod and then sun-drying for some months. It is a low carb, high protein, and low-fat food that has become very popular for people who are dieting or have diet restrictions. This might be a strange meal, but it has been a healthy snack for Icelanders for centuries. They often eat it with butter, cream cheese, and other favorite snacks like smoked salmon and rye bread.

3. Icelandic Meat Soup
A traditional soup that originated from a time when much of Iceland was wild and uninhabited. The meat from hunted animals would be cooked in water with vegetables and barley flour, creating a simple and hearty meal to fill bellies after long hunts. The soup can also be modified for modern tastes by adding ingredients like potatoes, leeks, onions, herbs, or spices.

4. Humar – Icelandic Lobster
A delicacy found in Icelandic waters, lobster is a unique and tasty food that is both affordable and healthy. The lobster meat is often prepared with butter or garlic and can be served as an appetizer, main course, or snack.

5. Fermented Shark
Shark meat is a popular food in many countries and cultures, but few prepare it as uniquely as Icelanders. They prefer to ferment their shark to create hkarl, which has a powerful smell that not everyone enjoys. The cooking process may be unusual, but it makes for some interesting flavors.

FAQs About Icelandic Food Recipes

1. What is the National Food in Iceland?
Lamb is one of the most popular dishes on the island, while traditional Icelandic cooking often includes fish, potatoes, vegetables, and mushrooms. Other foods popular in Iceland include skyr (strained yogurt), reindeer, and puffin.

2. What do Icelanders Have for Breakfast?
Skyr with jam, thick oatmeal, cod liver oil, or bread with butter is a typical breakfast in Iceland. People also love cod liver oil, a staple during winter because it gives your body warmth and a high source of vitamin D.

3. Is Icelandic Food Healthy?
Icelandic cuisine is healthy and wholesome. The main staples in Icelandic recipes are fish, lamb, skyr, potatoes, and cod liver oil.

4. What Fruit is Native to Iceland?
Icelandic tomatoes, bilberries, crowberries, strawberries, redcurrants, and brambleberries are all available year-round.

5. What Exactly Do Icelanders Eat?
Fish and meat are followed by more fish and meat. The Icelandic cuisine is mainly centered on proteins, with lamb and fish being some of the most popular options because of the country’s environment and growing season limits. Additionally, dairy products are significant in Icelandic cooking. Even their own brand of yogurt, known as skyr, exists there.

15 Top Traditional Icelandic Food Recipes To Discover (1)

Our 15 Traditional Icelandic Food Recipes For You To Discover

1. Humarsúpa — Iceland Creamy Langoustine

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The Iceland Creamy Langoustine is a culinary delight I discovered while exploring the beautiful landscapes of Iceland. This dish has become a cherished part of my family’s dining experience, and I take pride in preparing it for them. This creamy langoustine soup captures the essence of Iceland’s rich culinary heritage.

It’s a testament to the country’s reliance on the bounties of the sea. The langoustine, with its sweet and delicate flavor, is the star of the show, enhanced by a creamy broth infused with the warmth of paprika and curry powder.

2. Icelandic Baked Fish

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The Iceland Baked Fish Recipe is a delightful culinary discovery I made during my visit to Iceland. As someone who loves preparing wholesome meals for my family, this recipe quickly became a favorite in our household.

This straightforward recipe centers around the use of fish fillets, typically cod or another white fish variety. The fish is the star of the dish, and its natural flavors shine through with the right combination of seasonings. The key ingredients include butter, lemon, grated emmental cheese, mustard, and cream.

3. Fiskibollur — Icelandic Fish Balls

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The Fiskibollur or Icelandic Fish Balls Recipe is a delightful discovery I made while exploring the culinary traditions of Iceland. These fish balls, made primarily from white fish fillets, are a true Icelandic delight. As someone who enjoys preparing this recipe for my family, I can attest to its unique and delicious flavor.

To create Fiskibollur, you’ll need haddock, cod, or flounder fillets, along with some onions, eggs, and a combination of all-purpose and potato flour. Seasoned with salt and white pepper, these ingredients come together to form small, savory fish balls. You can also add a touch of optional parsley or dill for extra flavor.

4. Icelandic Fish and ‘Chips’

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The Icelandic Fish and Chips Recipe has been a delightful culinary discovery during my travels in Iceland. This beloved recipe captures the essence of Icelandic cuisine, offering a taste of the fresh and bountiful seafood found in its pristine waters. As someone who has ventured into making this recipe for my family, I’ve come to appreciate its simplicity and the wholesome flavors it brings to our table.

At the heart of this recipe are the cod loins, a staple in Icelandic cuisine. Their mild, flaky texture makes them perfect for the classic fish and chips dish. To achieve that iconic crispy coating, a batter is prepared using a combination of flour, beer, vodka, salt, and baking soda. The addition of beer and vodka gives the batter a unique character and a wonderfully light texture.

5. Ofnsteiktur fiskur með lauk og osti — Icelandic Fish Casserole

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The Icelandic Fish Casserole Recipe holds a special place in my heart, discovered during a memorable visit to Iceland. This delightful dish, centered around haddock, showcases the rich culinary heritage of this beautiful country.

The Icelandic Fish Casserole Recipe is a testament to Iceland’s love for its abundant seafood. Fresh haddock, seasoned with a touch of salt, is the star of the show. Layered with finely chopped onions and topped with a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated cheese, this casserole embodies simplicity and deliciousness.

6. Hangikjot – Smoked Lamb

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The Hangikjot – Smoked Lamb Recipe is a culinary tradition that I discovered during my visit to Iceland. This unique dish has become a cherished part of my family’s dining experience, especially during special occasions.

In Iceland, Hangikjot – Smoked Lamb Recipe is more than just food; it’s a cultural heritage. The process of smoking lamb over wood chips or chunks, such as apple, cherry, maple, hickory, or oak, infuses it with a distinct smoky flavor that is simply irresistible. The seasoning, comprising coarse salt, ground black pepper, and dried oregano to taste, adds depth and richness to the meat.

7. Kjötsúpa — Icelandic Lamb Stew

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The Icelandic Lamb Stew Recipe is a cherished tradition in my household, and I take immense pleasure in preparing it for my family. This hearty dish hails from the beautiful land of Iceland, where it has been a staple for generations.

What makes this recipe truly special is the use of tender lamb shoulder or leg as the main ingredient. The succulent pieces of lamb are seasoned with salt and pepper, creating a delicious base for the stew. The addition of minced garlic adds a subtle yet delightful aroma to the mix.

8. Icelandic Breaded Lamb Chops with Spiced Red Cabbage

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The Icelandic Breaded Lamb Chops with Spiced Red Cabbage Recipe is a delightful culinary experience that I discovered during my time in Iceland. This dish has become a cherished favorite in my family, and I take great pleasure in preparing it for them.

The heart of this recipe lies in the succulent lamb chops that are expertly breaded and fried to a crispy perfection. Each bite offers a burst of flavor and tenderness that is simply irresistible. The breading, made from plain flour, eggs, and dry white breadcrumbs, creates a satisfying crunch that contrasts beautifully with the tender lamb.


15 Top Traditional Icelandic Food Recipes To Discover (10)

The Leg of Lamb With Blueberry & Juniper Berry Marinade Recipe is a delightful dish that I discovered during my time in Iceland. This recipe has become a cherished part of my family’s dining experience, and I enjoy preparing it for them on special occasions.

This flavorful recipe centers around a 2 kg leg of lamb, seasoned with a simple yet savory blend of 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper. What sets it apart is the unique marinade, which combines the earthy notes of coarsely ground juniper berries with the sweetness of 1/2 cup blueberry jam. To enhance the flavor, 2 tsp of fresh thyme leaves, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp gin, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon are added to the mix.

10. Rúgbrauð / Rugbraud — Icelandic Rye Bread

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Rugbrau or Icelandic Rye Bread, is a traditional staple of Icelandic cuisine. This dense and dark bread is made using rye flour and often includes other whole grains like oats or wheat. What sets Rugbraud apart is its unique preparation method. It’s traditionally baked underground using the natural heat from hot springs or geothermal areas.

The bread is placed in special wooden casks or metal containers, buried in the ground, and left to bake for up to 24 hours. This slow, underground baking process imparts a distinct flavor and texture to the bread, making it a beloved part of Icelandic food culture. Whie our bread is inspired by the ingredients we will usual conventional cooking techniques.

11. Brúnaðar Kartöflur — Icelandic Caramelized Potatoes

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Icelandic caramel potatoes, known as Brúnaðar Kartöflur. One of the best sweet traditional Icelandic food recipes for side dishes served with roasted or pan-fried meat. It’s a great alternative to the traditional roasted potato. 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.

12. Flatkaka/Flatbrauð — Icelandic Flatbread

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Flatkaka is a rye pan-fried flatbread, which usually comes with line patterns of the iron cast roasting pan. It was believed to have first appeared in the ninth century and was baked on hot stones or direct ember heat.

The signatures of Flakaka include a thin round shape, soft texture, and made without yeast. Nowadays, this delicious Icelandic food is made by frying in a cast iron pan and is also usually served in a quarter or half with mutton pate or smoked salmon.

13. Kartöflur í Jafningi — Potatoes in White Sauce

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Boiled potatoes are a staple side dish in Icelandic cuisine and almost always were served with a white sauce. A Béchamel Sauce, one of the French Mother sauces. I had an affinity to mix my peas in with my Kartöflur í jafningi. Now I sometimes just serve them already together. Because I served this Icelandic food recipe with Fiskibollur and I added fresh dill, so freaking good.

14. Pylsur — Icelandic Hot Dog

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It’s the Icelandic hot dog and sauce that make its fame. Traditionally, the hot dog contains equal parts of pork and beef or lamb. Pylsa comes with multiple sauces, but Icelandic sweet mustard sauce is a major choice.

You’d better order an “Ein Med Ollu” Pylsa to get all the ingredients, including raw onion, crunchy deep-fried onion, Icelandic mustard, and remoulade sauce. Simple traditional Icelandic food recipe at its best.

15. Iceland Style Burgers — Rocky Sunrise Bacon and Egg Burgers

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Although Icelanders consider shark meat their country’s traditional cuisine, in reality, the truly traditional Icelandic food is the old-fashioned, fat and greasy hamburger. For decades, you could not travel around the country and buy anything else than a sloppy, slightly overcooked burger. And you had to have coleslaw and kokteilsósa (Icelandic co*cktail sauce) on the side if you didn’t want to be perceived as a traitor.

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15 Top Traditional Icelandic Food Recipes To Discover (2024)


What is the most traditional food in Iceland? ›

The most typical Icelandic food is fish, lamb, or Icelandic skyr. These have been the main elements of the Icelandic diet for over a thousand years. Icelandic meals are commonly meat-based due to the lack of farmable lands in the past.

What is Iceland's signature dish? ›

1. Hákarl (Fermented Shark) Iceland's national dish is Hákarl, a fermented shark dish. The sharks are usually Greenland sharks, and their meat is poisonous unless it's been fermented.

What is Iceland's national delicacy? ›

Hákarl, also known as fermented shark, is the official national dish of Iceland. While it's not part of the traditional daily cuisine anymore, hákarl is considered a delicacy and many tourists opt to try this unique dish at least once.

What did the Vikings eat on Iceland? ›

The Norse diet, including those known as Vikings, was far more diverse than how it is represented in modern-day media and included a wide range of food types. The most common foods were: Dairy products (milk, cheese, curds, whey) Grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats)

What is the most consumed meat in Iceland? ›

Iceland. The most consumed meat in Iceland is chicken, reflecting the worldwide love for poultry and its increasing affordability and versatility. However, lamb is perhaps the most traditional and beloved meat in Iceland, as the country has a long tradition of sheep farming.

What is the best fish to eat in Iceland? ›

On your travels in Iceland, look out for favorites such as cod (in Icelandic, þorskur), delicious Arctic char (bleikja; it's similar to trout) and haddock (ýsa). For some great places where you can try fresh, delicious fish and assorted sea critters, here's a handy guide.

What is the most popular snack in Iceland? ›

The Most Famous Icelandic Snack: Pylsa (Pulsa)

Pylsa, sometimes called pulsa, is most like an American hot dog and it's one of the top things to eat in Iceland.

What is the national breakfast of Iceland? ›

The main components of a typical Icelandic breakfast include eggs, bacon, sausages, and skyr. Skyr is a traditional Icelandic yogurt that is high in protein and low in fat. It is often served with brown sugar, berries, or cream. Another popular dish is oatmeal or hafragrautur, which is made with rolled oats and milk.

What is the shark dish in Iceland? ›

Hákarl (an abbreviation of kæstur hákarl [ˈcʰaistʏr ˈhauːˌkʰa(r)tl̥]), referred to as fermented shark in English, is a national dish of Iceland consisting of Greenland shark or other sleeper shark that has been cured with a particular fermentation process and hung to dry for four to five months.

What is the dessert of Iceland? ›

Icelandic desserts
Skúff*ckakaThin chocolate cake topped with melted chocolate and shredded coconut
RandalínLayer cake with different portions of sponge cake, icing, and jam
VínartertaA type of randalin with layers of plums
LaufabrauðThin fried pastry with cut designs
19 more rows

What is a delicacy in Iceland? ›

Hakarl is a fermented shark and the most famous food in Iceland. If you're brave enough to give it a try, an experience eating hakarl will certainly be an authentic story to take home with you. Fermented shark is best eaten with a shot of Brennivín, a cumin-flavored liqueur from Iceland.

What is the national drink of Iceland? ›

Brennivín is Iceland's traditional distilled spirit and is a type of flavoured spirit that is popular among the Scandinavian countries, called aquavit or akvavit. Brennivín is made from fermented grain or potato mash; however, it is flavoured with caraway or dill.

What did the first Icelanders eat? ›

One thing that kept early Icelanders alive in the absence of grain was Icelandic moss (actually a lichen found on the northern side) they would soak and eat as a porridge. A second bulk food was dulse a seaweed found more on the southern shores.

How did Icelanders avoid scurvy? ›

It is easily understood that formerly, when potatoes and other vegetables were scarce, the diet was apt to be low in vitamin C, and probably it has been milk, more than anything else, that has saved the population from scurvy.

Why does Iceland eat so much meat? ›

For centuries, hunting, fishing and foraging sustained Iceland. The island, just south of the Arctic Circle, is so remote, and its growing season so short, that people would take whatever they could from the land and the sea, surviving on puffin jerky and (ammonia-reeking) fermented shark.

What do Icelandic people eat for breakfast? ›

The main components of a typical Icelandic breakfast include eggs, bacon, sausages, and skyr. Skyr is a traditional Icelandic yogurt that is high in protein and low in fat. It is often served with brown sugar, berries, or cream. Another popular dish is oatmeal or hafragrautur, which is made with rolled oats and milk.

What is the most popular drink in Iceland? ›

Brennivín (a.k.a the black death), a clear and unsweetened Icelandic schnapps with a 37.5% alcohol content, is considered the national drink of Iceland. The very name "Brennivín" translates to "burning wine," and it is typically served cold as a shot, alongside a beer, or as a base for various co*cktails.

What is the most popular tradition in Iceland? ›

Go to chapter
  • Þorrablót: An Icelandic Winter Feast in January.
  • Sólarkaffi: January's Return of the Sun.
  • Bóndadagur and Konudagur in January and February: Iceland's Dual Valentine's Day.
  • Bolludagur, Sprengidagur and Oskudagur: An Iceland Three-Day Food Fest in February or March.
  • Bjordagur: Beer Day, March 1.

What is an Icelandic hot dog? ›

What sets Icelandic hot dogs apart is that they are made mostly from Icelandic lamb, along with pork and beef. And, this isn't just any lamb, pork or beef. This is organic, free range, grass fed, hormone free - pick your positive metaphor - Icelandic lamb, pork and beef.


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