Search the
Visit Minnesota Website




Minnesota Lutefisk Recipes

Lutefisk and Lefse Recipes
 are Traditions for Some Minnesotans

Minnesota lutefisk recipes are a tradition among Norwegians. To cook Minnesota Scandinavian lutefisk,  just follow the instructions here. Some love it, some hate it, but if you want a "real" Minnesota food experience you should try lutefisk at least once!

"You know you're a Minnesotan if you get high on Lutefisk." ~ Ed Fischer, You Know You're A Minnesotan

Some people look forward to this annual lutefisk feast and others are challenged to try it with the attitude that it must be tried because "Real Norwegians Eat Lutefisk." Find a festival or event where you can get a taste of this unique dish.

Lutefisk is a traditional dish of the Nordic countries made from air-dried whitefish and soda lye. In Norway and Sweden, it is called lutfisk, while in Finland it is known as lipeäkala.

Its name literally means "lye fish", owing to the fact that it is processed with caustic soda or potash lye.

Lutefisk typically turns up in stores and markets during the winter holiday season. This is when we are most interested trying Minnesota lutefisk recipes.

I have been told many times that "lutefisk is really good if you know how to cook it." Since most of the Minnesota lutefisk recipes I have been served were mushy--more like a "fish pudding" and not at all appetizing I can attest that is true.

All you've every wanted to know about lutefisk can be found in The Last Word on Lutefisk: True Tales of Cod and Tradition

Basic Information About The Preparation
of Lutefisk Recipes

Lutefisk purchased in the U.S. has been rehydrated and must therefore be cooked carefully so that it does not become mushy. Properly prepared lutefisk should remain firm and look like what you see in the photo.

Lutefisk does not need any additional water for the cooking; simply place it in a pan, (do not use an aluminum pan as the lye in the fish will discolor the pan)salt it, seal the lid tightly, and let it steam-cook at very low heat for 20–25 minutes.

You can also make traditional Minnesota lutefisk recipes in your oven. Place the fish in an ovenproof dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 225 °C (435 °F) for 40–50 minutes.

Another option is to parboil the lutefisk. Wrap the lutefisk in cheesecloth and gently boil until tender. This usually takes a very short time, so watch the fish and remove it before it begins to fall apart.

Toppings vary from bacon or pork drippings, white sauce, mustard sauce, or melted butter which is our favorite, and most traditional, way to top the lutefisk.

Boiled and steamed potatoes, stewed whole, and green peas are a traditional "must" as vegetable accompaniments or side dishes. The one other "necessary" addition is some lefse, or flatbread.

In some parts of Northern Norway, lutefisk is served with melted goat cheese.

The History Of Lutefisk

Some Lutefisk History to Enjoy While Your Minnesota Lutefisk Recipes are Cooking.

Lutefisk was a Christmas dish during the medieval times when Catholics were required to fast before larger festivals. All meat was strictly forbidden during fasting. Fish and porridge were the substitute foods, and since (more or less) only dry fish was accessible at Christmastime, lutefisk fish came to be the Christmas fish.

It is said that lutefisk was invented because some "fumbly person" happened to drop lye on a piece of dried, soaked fish and thus discovered that the dry fish re-took its original shape and became white. Whether it was by mistake or not, it must have been a successful discovery in those days. Since salt was very expensive and hard to get, it was considerably cheaper to dry fish than to salt it. In some parts of the country, the dry fish could substitute bread. Dry fish was also brought on travels and for those who worked far away from home. We are told about sturdy men from Dalarna who brought dry fish on the haymaking. It was soaked in some swamp to later be banged to a relatively soft and palatable consistency.

Nordic Lutefisk Tips

Olaus Magnus, who lived during the first half of the 1500s, and wrote a history of the Nordic People, tells us, "Above all, the Nordic people eat dry fish such as pike, perch-pike, bream, burbot, and the fish which in the Gothic language is called "sik" (whitefish). All these different kinds of fish are stapled like wood.

When you want to prepare these fish to eat, you put it for two days in strong lye and one day in clean, pure water to make it as soft as you want it. After boiling it with an addition of salty butter, you can put it upon the very tables of princes as a well-liked and delicious dish."

There are several opinions about proper accompaniments to the lutefisk. Butter has already been mentioned by Olaus Magnus. Samuel Ödmann (born in 1750) writes about Christmas Eve in his grandfather's home, when "the meal was started by strongly PEPPERED lutfisk." Mustard and mustard sauce was used with fish by the Romans. In this country, mustard seems to be just as medieval as the lutefisk itself.

Many prefer their lutefisk with white sauce, salt, and pepper. Cajsa Warg writes in her cookbook, For Young Women, published in 1755, about a buttery sauce, thickened with flour, which was to be served with the lutefisk. And Dr. Hagdahl has a recipe for green pea purée, which you can serve with lutefisk or meat.

The pea purée, which is today substituted with canned or frozen small peas, doesn't seem to be a very common accompaniment with lutefisk. There's a recipe from the region of Dalarna, where you make the lutefisk with salted pork. On the West Coast some people pour hot pork fat over their fish, while others mix chopped eggs in the sauce. In Norway you can have stewed yellow peas and pork fat with your fish.

Thanks to the freezing facilities today, it would be possible to eat lutefisk all the year round, or at least prolong the lutefisk season. The Norwegians do. But in Sweden it seems like most people are reluctant to do this. It belongs to Christmas.

Thousands of tons of lutefisk are eaten each year. Half of this amount is dried, lyed ling, which has a lovely consistency and is fairly mild in taste. The other half is sathe, which has a coarser consistency and a more typical lutefisk taste.

~Author Unknown

Minnesota lutefisk recipes have a long and storied tradition!



During the winter holiday season some restaurants in Minnesota (especially in small towns) may offer lutefisk on the menu.

Made in Minnesota Products include many foods.  SPAM, Bee Free Honee (as seen on Shark Tank), Angie’s Popcorn, Sturdiwheat Baked Goods, Norsland Lefse, and Buffalo Gal Meats are just a few. Enjoy!

More Minnesota Recipes:

Christmas Appetizer Recipes: easy, tasty appetizers for your Christmas party or family gathering.

Scandinavian Lefse Recipe

Chocolate Christmas Recipes

Gifts in A Jar Recipes

Aebleskiver Recipes

Lingonberry Recipes

Minnesota State Recipes

Minnesota Hot Dish Recipes

Minnesota Wild Rice

Minnesota Wild Game

Spam Recipes

Rhubarb Recipes

Maple Syrup Recipes

Indian Fry Bread

Minnesota Restaurant Reviews: Enjoy the best foods wherever you are in the state.
Minnesota Gifts & Souvenirs

Plan Your Minnesota Vacation

Hotels.com: Save big NOW on all hotel bookings with Up to a $100 Cash Back Rebate with code REBATES18! Book by 12/31/18, Travel by 3/31/19.

VRBO


Minnesota Maps

Lake Superior Maps

Boundary Waters Maps

 

Minnesota Vacation Rentals


Best Prices on Minnesota Hotels at Hotels.Com


25 Best Minnesota Family Resorts

Shop for the Best Prices on Vacation Packages at BookingBuddy!

Minnesota Fishing Resorts


Ticket Liquidator: Minnesota Events Tickets and Venues Get deeply discounted tickets on top Minnesota sporting events, concerts, and shows. Timberwolves, Golden Gophers, Top Concerts ....More. Continuously Updated with current ticket offers.

Enjoy doing the things you love while saving with the discounts in the Entertainment Book. Many offers are two-for-one deals, 50% off and more. Get Your Entertainment Book Today!



BookingBuddy

VRBO


Minnesota Hotels, Attractions and Vacation Packages: read what other travelers have to say about the places to go and things to do in Minnesota.

Book the Whole House for the Whole Family

Minnesota Vacation Rentals  -  A vacation rental will give you the feel of your own cabin or chalet in Minnesota. Choose a vacation rental in a specific area or get ideas about some of the best Minnesota vacation destinations before you decide. There are  fantastic rental properties and amazing locations that will be perfect for your group of any size.

Travel in style. For less than a hotel. Vacation rentals in over 12,000 destinations.

Find Top Vacation Package Deals on BookVIP.com


Only in Minnesota

Minnesota Nice: Adult Coloring Book Full of Minnesota Love

Minnesota Travel Books


Minnesota Entertainment 

Ticket Liquidator: Minnesota Events Tickets and Venues Get deeply discounted tickets on top Minnesota sporting events, concerts, and shows. Timberwolves, Golden Gophers, Top Concerts ....More. Continuously Updated with current ticket offers.

Made in Minnesota

Minnesota Entertainment: Discount tickets to sporting events, concerts and shows. Save up to 50%.

Lodging in Minnesota - Hotels - Resorts - Bed & Breakfast Inns - Vacation Rentals

Minnesota Restaurant Reviews

Minnesota Visitor Site Map

About Me

Contact Us

Minnesota Visitor Home Page

Made In Minnesota

Information

For personalized travel information call 888-VISITMN (847-4866)

Minnesota Department of Natural resources 888-646-6367

Minnesota Historical Society 888-777-8386

Judith Ramsey - Publisher
Copyright © 2005 ~ 2018
All Rights Reserved

Amazon Associates Disclosure
 - We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay

Advertise On Visit Minnesota