Essential Herbs in Danish Cuisine

Exploring the Essential Herbs in Danish Cuisine


Embark on a culinary adventure with us to discover the best Danish culinary delights. Denmark is a food lover’s paradise with a diverse range of traditional dishes that are elevated by the use of fresh herbs. In this article, we’ll delve into the herbs that define Danish cuisine and offer a unique recipe to try at home.

Danish Herbs and Their Uses

1. Dill (Dild)

Dill is a quintessential herb in Danish cuisine, known for its fresh, slightly tangy flavor. It is often used in seafood dishes, particularly with fish such as in Gravlax (cured salmon) and pickled herring. Dill is also a key ingredient in potato dishes and sauces.

  • Uses: Seafood dishes, potato salads, pickles
  • Recipe Example: Gravlax with fresh dill

2. Parsley (Persille)

Parsley is widely used in Danish cooking for its bright, slightly peppery taste. It is commonly used fresh in salads, soups, and as a garnish for various dishes. Parsley pairs well with meats and vegetables, adding a touch of freshness.

  • Uses: Salads, soups, garnishes
  • Recipe Example: Smørrebrød with roast beef and parsley garnish

3. Chives (Purløg)

Chives add a mild onion flavor and are often used fresh in Danish cuisine. They are a popular addition to open-faced sandwiches (smørrebrød), omelets, and creamy sauces.

  • Uses: Open-faced sandwiches, omelets, sauces
  • Recipe Example: Egg and shrimp smørrebrød with fresh chives

4. Lovage (Løvstikke)

Lovage has a strong, celery-like flavor and is used less frequently but adds a unique touch to soups and stews. It can also be used in salads for an interesting twist.

  • Uses: Soups, stews, salads
  • Recipe Example: Danish vegetable soup with lovage

5. Horseradish (Peberrod)

Horseradish is known for its sharp, spicy flavor and is commonly used in Denmark as a condiment for fish and cold meats. It is often grated fresh and used in sauces.

  • Uses: Condiments for fish, cold meats, sauces
  • Recipe Example: Smoked salmon with horseradish cream

Exploring Danish Cuisine with Herbs

Smørrebrød Tasting: Traditional Danish Open-Faced Sandwiches

One of the most iconic dishes in Danish cuisine is smørrebrød. These open-faced sandwiches feature a variety of toppings that are often enhanced by the use of fresh herbs. The history of smørrebrød dates back to the 19th century and has evolved into a culinary art form.

  • Popular Toppings:
    • Pickled herring with curry salad and onions
    • Roast beef with remoulade and crispy onions
    • Smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill
    • Egg and shrimp with mayonnaise and chives
    • Liver pate with mushroom and bacon

“Smørrebrød is not just a sandwich. It’s a work of art.” – Claus Meyer

Danish Pastries: A Sweet Treat for the Senses

Danish pastries, known as wienerbrød, are a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. These pastries are made with laminated dough, creating a flaky texture filled with delicious fillings like marzipan, custard, and fresh fruit.

  • Popular Pastry Shops:
    • Juno the Bakery
    • Lagkagehuset

Discovering Danish Breweries: Tasting Local Craft Beers

Denmark’s craft beer scene is thriving, with breweries offering unique brews that often incorporate local ingredients. Mikkeller and Nørrebro Bryghus are notable breweries that provide a wide range of flavors.

Recipe: Danish Potato Salad with Dill


  • 1 kg small potatoes, boiled and sliced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the Potatoes: Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and let cool. Slice them into thick rounds.
  2. Make the Dressing: In a large bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and finely chopped red onion.
  3. Combine: Add the sliced potatoes to the dressing and gently mix until all potatoes are well-coated.
  4. Season and Garnish: Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle generously with fresh chopped dill.
  5. Serve: Serve chilled or at room temperature as a side dish.


From the tangy dill in seafood dishes to the spicy kick of horseradish with smoked salmon, herbs play a crucial role in Danish cuisine. Exploring these flavors can transform your culinary experience and bring a touch of Denmark to your table.