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The Complete Guide to Finnish Breakfast

Put your pain au chocolat or Lucky Charms aside, here comes Finnish breakfast!

What are Finns eating at breakfast? The most significant difference between Finnish and many other breakfasts is that Finns rarely eat anything especially sweet, like pastries or sugary cereals, in the morning time.

I am a legitimate brekkie junkie and thus guiding you through the Finnish preferences. Let’s go!

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Drinks at Traditional Finnish Breakfast

As Finns are the biggest consumers of coffee in the world, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many of us start our day with a cup of joe. Most likely it is filter coffee, enjoyed black or with milk. Some add also sugar.

Finns have a taste for a particular, soft, round-flavored coffee and that’s why we so often complain (by ourselves, never in public) about lousy coffee when abroad. Children usually have milk or hot chocolate in the morning time.

The food at Traditional Finnish Breakfast

Porridge has been the backbone of Finnish breakfast since, well, forever. Finnish oatmeal is delicious.

Finnish porridge can be made with milk or water, and both versions are tasty. The key is to use the stove, not the microwave to get the perfect structure and soft flavor.

Though it sounds a bit boring, I recommend trying porridge when visiting Finland. At least I can taste the difference. Just add a spoonful of jam, fresh berries or a slice of butter with sugar on top and enjoy.

Another classic is rye bread. At breakfast, Finns make rye sandwiches which include butter, cheese and a slice of cold cut.

Vegetables are not mandatory, but usually, we throw a couple of pieces of tomato or cucumber to make us feel we are eating a well-balanced meal.

Finnish breakfast foods include rye bread, the Finnish food staple. By Her Finland blog

Another morning favorite is a Karelian pie. This traditional pastry has rye crust and thick rice porridge inside. I know it sounds weird, but it is a mouth-watering savory treat.

It is the most common snack in Finland, sold round-the-clock in shops and gas stations. Both adults and children love it.

You can eat a Karelian pie as it is or with toppings. The most common topping is egg-butter mash, but you can find gourmet level Karelian pies with smoked salmon or reindeer in cafés.

Finnish breakfast includes Karelian pies - Her Finland blog

Typical Finnish Breakfast the Modern Way

Breakfast in Finland is not a serious institution for Finns. In cities, breakfast and brunch trends (e.g., shakshouka & turmeric latte) are visible.

Brekkie meetings have become a norm in business and between friends. In the countryside, breakfasts tend to be more traditional and always eaten at home.

Young, busy people opt for a smoothie with Finnish berries, quark or natural yogurt, seasoned with flax seeds and other nutritious little things.

Modern breakfast smoothie for busy Finns

I would say that we Finns are health-conscious, thanks to media and professionals who keep this topic in the limelight.

Most of us know that eating breakfast is a scientifically proven part of a healthy lifestyle. However, it is not uncommon that some of us skip breakfast completely.

Taking care of the nutrition of children has always been a huge priority in Finnish society. That’s why Finnish kindergarten offers breakfast to all attending children.

As a bonus, this practice helps the weekday morning chaos of families all around Finland.

A Finnish Hotel Breakfast

Do you always take the same things at a hotel breakfast? Try something new when you are in Finland: eat your hotel breakfast like a local!

This is such a fun activity with your goofy sweetie or kids. Prepare one dish for everybody to taste (because you don’t want any extra left-overs) and get ready to discover some new flavors!

What you need for a Finnish style hotel breakfast 

  • A Karelian pie with mashed butter & egg.
  • Local bread (rye bread if you want to be super Finnish!) with savory toppings: butter, cold cuts, cheese, and veggies.
  • Porridge with a little scoop of butter, sugar sprinkled on top. Let the butter melt in the middle.
  • Finnish coffee with milk.

Voila! The table is served with very traditional Finnish favorites.

Finnish hotel breakfast - Her Finland: How to choose Finnish breakfast items in a hotel? Check this helpful article about Finnish breakfast!

Dear reader, what is your favorite breakfast food and why? Let me know in the comment box!

Looking for more information about Finnish food and Finnish recipes? Check out some of my other posts: 

Finnish baking magic

My praised Finnish Baking Magic eCookbook & bonus videos Recreate Finnish bakes in your own kitchen hassle-free!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About Varpu
I’m the founder of Her Finland. I love mornings, Moomins, libraries and cinnamon buns. My oldest passion: spotting funny things. My newest interest: bird songs. Read more about me..

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Gwennith Angasan

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

When in Helsinki, my family stayed at Hotelli Anna. My mom and I absolutely loved the porridge. I sure would love to find out where I can find their brand of porridge in the US.

Varpu

Saturday 24th of April 2021

Hei Gwennith! Such a great memory. Have you asked the hotel what brand they use? You could buy it from an online shop, like Suomikauppa to get it delivered in the US! I hope this helps :)

Marta

Sunday 18th of April 2021

Hi! Thank you for this great article. I was looking for some informations about Finnish breakfasts for my studies and it was very helpful. I only got one question - what are the typical hours for Finnish breakfast? I am from Poland and for us it's usually 6/7 a.m. from Monday to Friday and about 9 am on weekends. What it looks like in Finland?

Varpu

Saturday 24th of April 2021

Hi Marta! Such a great question! I think the hours are very similar to Poland! Typically when people wake up, then they have their breakfast, so it's personal to one's rhythm but overall 6-9 daily. Hope this helps!

Jose Pablo Morales

Sunday 4th of October 2020

Hello, I was 11 years old when I attended a CISV camp in Finland, 1985. I went through Helsinki, later Turku Abo, by train, to finally live at Naantali for 1 month. While I was there, I lived in various people's homes. An old couple who lived in a strawberry farm used to give me for breakfast something I wish to ear again. It was warm, served on wooden plates, and I ate it either with a spoon or fork. I think it contained a mixture of egg, milk, and potatoes. Maybe cheese. I ate it with bread and a glass of milk. Would you know anything of the sort? Thank you very much for any help you can give me. Greetings from Costa Rica.

Varpu Pöyry

Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Hei Jose! Your experience sounds wonderful. I'm not sure what you ate, maybe potato soup, which would be in Finnish perunakeitto. Here's a Finnish recipe that you might be able to translate https://anna.fi/reseptit/pehmea-perunakeitto Let me know how it goes and was this the recipe you were searching for?

Nandita

Monday 14th of September 2020

Hi Varpu,

many years( 10yrs) back on one of my business trip I stayed in Tampere. The hotel had one of the best breakfast spread I have seen. Back than also they had many Lactose free products which was such a blessing for me. But what I liked the most was their porridge. It was not just made with oats, there were other sort of grains etc. and it was not all mushy but had a bite to it and was brownish in colour. I was reccommend that it a must try and I should have it butter and sugar. And believe me it was such a delight. Since then I am trying to find a recipe for this porrige and have failed. I searched the net a lot and failed. I would be really obliged if you could be me a tipp or reccomendation about such a porridge recipe.

Thanking You Nandita

Varpu

Monday 12th of October 2020

Hei Nandita! Can you remember if it could be oven porridge? That's super yummy and has a brown crust, like the one in here: https://www.soppa365.fi/reseptit/aamiaiset-valipalat/uunipuuro-ja-omena-puolukkakeitto Let me know if that helps?

Butch Biggs

Thursday 3rd of September 2020

My grandmother was born in Finland and she and siblings moved to the UP Here in U.S. when she was very young. She used to make something called krupsuaa (Spelling) I really don’t remember much about it but it was good.

Varpu

Monday 12th of October 2020

Yes, I know the recipe and I have it here for you: https://herfinland.com/finnish-oven-pancake/ It's the Finnish oven pancake, super yummy!

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