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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Table of Contents
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. If you would like to learn more about unique Finnish drinks, I have written a whole article on them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon rolls: Pulla Recipe
- The Classic and Simple Finnish Salmon Soup
- 7 Local Foods to Try at a Finnish Grocery Store
- Finnish Pancakes and the Only Recipe You Need
- 7 Things to Know about Food Shopping in Finland
Finnish baking magic
My praised Finnish Baking Magic eCookbook & bonus videos Recreate Finnish bakes in your own kitchen hassle-free!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’m the founder of Her Finland. I love cultural tidbits, aha moments, Finnish folklore, and cinnamon buns. My newest interest is learning bird songs. Read more about me..
Thursday 16th of June 2022
I moved to Kuopio from my home country of Brunei back in 2018. As a non-Finn, Finnish breakfasts were difficult for me to get used to because I grew up eating rice or noodles for breakfast, but now I can't start my weekend (when I have my off days on weekends) without the foods mentioned in this article. I love Finnish breakfasts. 😍😍😍
Monday 20th of June 2022
Hei Liyana, thank you so much for sharing your experience! I can totally understand that the difference is huge. I'm so happy that you now can enjoy both styles of breakfasts!
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.
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 :)
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?
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.
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?
Monday 14th of September 2020
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
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?