Connect to Your Ancestors with Traditional Finnish Food

February 13, 2020  - by 
a young boy eats traditional finnish food.

If you have Finnish heritage, a fun way to understand Finnish culture is to cook some foods from your homeland.

Cuisine from Finland is what many consider to be comfort food—casual, simple, and delicious. Traditional Finnish food features a broad range of ingredients, from fish and meat to mushroom and berries. Ever tried reindeer? In Finland, it is a meat staple. A variety of rye breads and the use of rye flour are also popular and delicious.

Traditional Finnish Foods—Breads

It is not uncommon to see street markets in Finland overflowing with produce and even meats particular to the season. Finns are passionate about their food and like to keep it traditional. Karjalan piirakke (Karelain pie) is a well-known and well-loved Finnish food. It is a pie of sorts made with rye flour and stuffed with potatoes, rice, or carrots. People also enjoy topping it with an egg butter spread.

karelain pie, a traditional finnish dish.

Kalakukko is similar to Karjalan piirakke, but it is stuffed with herring fish—another popular food in Finland. Another common way to eat herring is sliced and put on rye bread. But no Finnish bread recipe collection is complete without ruisleipa! This dense bread is a true Finnish treat. Make it yourself, and experience what Finnish food is like in your own home.

Finnish Meats and Cheeses

Some of the most unique parts of Finnish food culture come through meats. Reindeer and herring are unique staples. Finnish lihakaalilaatikko, or meat and cabbage casserole, is a popular dish that is easily made at home. Finnish squeaky cheese is a delicacy loved by the people of Finland and is best served with lingonberry or your favorite jam. Salmon is served in many ways in Finland, but salmon pie is one of the most common.

squeaky cheese, a traditional finnish dish.

Traditional Finnish Desserts

Desserts, like Finnish breads, are popular and well-loved in Finland. Finnish pancakes are used mostly for dessert rather than for breakfast. Mustikkapiirakka, or Finnish blueberry pie, is popular because of the abundance of blueberries in Finland and also because it is delicious. Lingonberry jams can be used with desserts or with meatballs or other meats. Whatever you use it for, it is a delicious treat to have on hand.

mustikkapiirakka, a traditional finnish dessert.

Try These Finnish Foods at Home

Don’t hesitate to create some of these delectable treats at home! When you do, share your experience and some photos in the Memories section of You can also use the FamilySearch Memories app. That way, other members of your family can enjoy the recipes and try them too!

Your Finnish Heritage

two girls at a festival in finland

Rachel Trotter

Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer and editor at Evalogue.Life. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on,, and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

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  1. I fail to understand how that Asian child would be relevant to the article you were writing…
    Last time I checked, Finland was populated by a White European ethnic group called Finns, who are known for their blonde hair and blue eyes. The picture right above the comment section is of Finns.

    1. Hi Kalle! Thank you for your feedback. I’ve passed this on to the editorial team. Thank you for reading the blog!

  2. A couple of minor corrections to a great article:

    It’s spelled Karjalanpiirakka. No matter how you spell it, it’s delicious. (Finnish runs words together in ways that seem strange to English speakers)

    As for Kalakukko, the only real similarity is that they are both made with rye flour. The piirakka are small, flat pastries. Kalakukko are large, bread-like pies that are filled with savory fillings.