The Foods eaten by the people of Finland

The culinary traditions of Finland are rooted in its cold climate, rugged terrain, and long coastline. Over the last 500 years, Finnish cuisine has evolved, influenced by periods of Swedish rule, Russian occupation, and more recent global influences. Despite these outside influences, the traditional Finnish diet remains deeply tied to local ingredients and seasonal availability. Here is a look at foods that have been commonly consumed in Finland over the past half-millennium.


  • Rye Bread: Known as "ruisleipä," this is a Finnish staple and is often sour and dense.
  • Potatoes: Introduced in the late 18th century, they quickly became a staple in the Finnish diet.
  • Grains: Barley and oats were historically more prevalent than wheat and were used for porridge and bread.


  • Fish: Given the country's extensive coastline and numerous lakes, fish like perch, pike, and salmon are popular.
  • Meat: Pork, beef, and lamb, along with game meats like elk, reindeer, and hare.
  • Dairy: Milk, butter, and cheese, including unique varieties like "leipäjuusto" (Finnish squeaky cheese).

Vegetables and Fruits:

  • Root Vegetables: Carrots, swedes (rutabaga), and beets.
  • Berries: Blueberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, and cranberries are foraged during the summer and stored for winter.
  • Mushrooms: Foraged and used in various dishes.

Spices and Condiments:

  • Dill: Commonly used herb.
  • Allspice: Used in some traditional meat dishes.


  • Beer: Long history, traditionally brewed at home.
  • Milk: Consumed in large quantities, sometimes as "piimä," a type of buttermilk.
  • Koskenkorva: A type of vodka, and other schnapps-like spirits.

Traditional Dishes:

  • Karjalanpiirakka: Karelian pasty made of thin rye crust filled with rice porridge, mashed potatoes, or carrot and rice filling.
  • Kalakukko: Fish pie made of perch, salmon, or vendace.
  • Lohikeitto: A creamy salmon soup.
  • Hernekeitto: Green pea soup, traditionally eaten on Thursdays.
  • Poronkäristys: Sautéed reindeer, usually served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce.

Historical Influences:

  • Swedish Rule: Brought culinary practices like baking and introduced foods like cabbages and root vegetables.
  • Russian Occupation: Influenced pastries and sweets, with dishes like "blini" (Russian-style pancakes) and beet soup becoming popular.

Modern Influences:

  • Globalization: Modern Finnish cuisine includes pasta, pizza, and other international foods.
  • New Nordic Cuisine: A contemporary trend focusing on local, seasonal ingredients and foraging.

Overall, Finnish cuisine has retained its focus on hearty, simple dishes that are well-suited to its climate, while also incorporating a range of influences from neighboring countries and beyond.

Back to blog

For those eating a modern diet, we recommend adding the below vitamins to your daily routine.