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Danish Christmas Side – Browned Potatoes

Danish Christmas Side – Browned Potatoes

These sweet and sexy looking spuds are a must on every Danish Christmas table.
By Kalle Bergman

Before I met my Danish wife, I was convinced that the highest level of “fullness” a man could reach was through the Swedish Christmas dinner. In my world, three hours of constant buffet eating had to be the most heavy and numbing food experience anyone could be exposed to. A wall of small dishes, from cold to warm. First an exuberant and almost aggressively hungry pace, the first cold plates of herring are devoured easily. Then slightly slower over the meatballs, Christmas ham and prince sausages. Fork and knife are rested more often than before. Finally, in time for Janssons Temptation, rather desperate expressions are shared across the table. Scattered sighs, as participant after participant realize that there are still dishes on the buffet that has not been tested yet.

The Swedish Christmas fullness is special (and very dear to me). It is numbing, heavy and swelling – and for a long time I believed that this was the Everest of fullness.

But that all changed when I met my wife.

Because I didn’t know that there was another door. That somewhere, right in the very darkest and most distant corner of the Swedish Christmas fullness, was a slightly lit last door. A door with a discrete warning sign. A door with the text “Danish Christmas Dinner”.

See Also

The Danish Christmas dinner is a 9 on the Richter Scale. A Defcon 1. Why? Well, first of all it incorporates all the ingredients you need to make a belly bursting culinary atomic bomb. Butter, sugar, potatoes, pork, duck, fat, cream, cherry sauce, red wine, jelly, cream and a little bit more cream. But the ingredients themselves are not the main issue. Because if it was all in the fat and the carbs, you could just eat a little bit less of everything and steer clear of food coma. No, the main problem with the Danish Christmas dinner is that it is so amazingly good that the “eat less method” is almost impossible to implement. A small bite more turns into two small bites more. Two turns into three, and three turns into burst pant buttons, meat sweats and dinner guests lying stretched out on the floor. It is the Danish Christmas Curse.

One of the key players on the Danish Christmas table is the Brunede Kartofler – Browned Potatoes. Christmas time is tater time in Scandinavia (hell, any time is tater time in Scandinavia), and these ones might just be the sexiest spuds alive. Small boiled potatoes, cooked in butter and melted sugar. Golden, sticky and sweet. Wonderful and deadly at the same time. A perfect representative for the Danish Christmas Curse.

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Danish Browned Potatoes Recipe

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4.7 from 6 reviews

  • Author: Kalle Bergman
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


On the Danish Christmas table, this is probably the most classic side dish.


  • 2 lbs of small potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of organic butter, unsalted
  • 12 Tablespoons of water if needed


  1. Boil and peel the potatoes. Leave to cool off completely before moving to next step.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook the sugar on moderate heat until completely melted. Do not stir! When melted, add the butter and stir until the two are combined into an almost syrupy mixture.
  3. Add the potatoes, and a little bit of water to the mixture. If the mixture starts to stiffen and form lumps, don’t panic. Turn the heat up and it will melt again. Slowly rock the pan and cover each potato in the mixture, continuing to cook for about 8-10 minutes.


TIP: During the rest of the year, I like to spruce these potatoes up with a little fresh sage or chopped chili at the end – but for Christmas, I always serve them in this traditional manner.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
View Comments (22)
  • I love learning about everyone’s holiday dinners. Both the Swedish and Danish Christmas dinners are ones I’d love to take on. Of course making sure to wear a loose and comfortable dress as to make adequate room :) These potatoes surely sound and look sexy. Can’t wait to try them! Happy holidays Kalle & thanks for all the great work.

  • My dear Danish grandmother and great aunt made these potatoes with red cabbage at every holiday gathering. Reminds me of Christmas. Chase it with some Akvavit. Life is good. Merry Christmas!

  • Those look ridiculous!
    What type of potato works best for this? Also, should they be totally cooked once you boil them or should they be undercooked and finish cooking in the sugar?


  • Har endnu ikke været i stand til at købe de helt perfekte kartofler her i Californien. Står hver jul og skræller til størrelse- men de bliver dog altid gode!

  • Lena,
    jeg finder altid en nogenlunde lille nok kartoffel på Pasadena farmers market. Weiser family farms (fra Tahachapi) har normalt de bedste, ellers har Trader Joes, Sprouts eller Whole foods normalt den rigtige størrelse.
    Men nu ved jeg ikke hvor i Californien du er :-)

    Jeg får brunede kartofler til Mortens anden og til Jul.

    Første gang jeg ville servere dansk julemad lød der et ramaskrig fra min kones familie, vi kan da ikke have juleaften uden tamales, men efter den aften spørges der altid: Skal vi have dansk jul igen næste år :-)
    Jeg savner jul i Danmark, og det bliver formentlig heller ikke i år, men jeg tager 2 uger i Danmark om 3 uger :-)

  • Kalle,

    a lot of danes are going thru the buffet ritual early December :-)

    And it is nice to have so many choices, but I would not have it as the Christmas dinner on Christmas eve, but more like early December with colleagues and/or friends or on Christmas day with family.
    In Denmark the Christmas dinner is on Christmas eve, and it was not acceptable for me just to have tomales, so I implemented the tradition of my latino family to eat “flæske steg med hele svineriet”

  • Luv these! My Mom made them for every Christmas dinner! I tried to make them without a recipe and they didn’t work – tasted awful. Ha Ha

    Then boxing Day we had an enormous Smorgasborg of traditional open faced sandwiches on heavy sour ryebread for as many as 23 people. Luv this bread but can’t buy it in BC where I live and it’s made using a “starter” so I’m scared to make it. (The bread must so firm that it does not absorb any liquid such as with pickled herring.) (:

  • These are DELICIOUS!! Danmark’s famous “Dirty Potatoes” is how my parents referred to them. A tradition at every Xmas Eve (Dec 24th) dinner. (Others may have mentioned, we Danes celebrate Xmas on the evening of Dec 24th.)

    Now that Mom has passed away, I’m relying on the kindness of internet strangers to provide the recipes from my growing up years. Roast Duck or Goose, Dirty Potatoes, Red Cabbage, Rice-Almond “Pudding” Dessert. (Which I never liked as a kid, I just searched for the whole almond.)

    Does anyone have ideas for additional side dishes? Alternative desserts?

    I’d love to find a recipe for a cookie my Mom called “Medallions,” a fine textured, almost sandy cookie (each has a top and a bottom); sandwiched in-between is a thick golden pastry cream and on top of the upper cookie, is a powdered sugar and sherry(?) icing. To top it all off, is a small square of red currant jelly, making the top of the cookie reminiscent of the red-and-white colours of the DK flag.

    Thanks for any recipe ideas! Mom’s handwritten ones are a little…off. They’re in Dan-glish, half metric, half American ounces, just kinda a jumble. They, sadly, don’t work.

    Glædelig jul to all!

    • Hi. Hope your well. Hope you don’t mind me writing to you.I could put you in contact with My sister. A most wonderful Danish cook.. her cooking is AMAZING. I live in England ?? our home…My wonderful sister 36 yrs living in Denmark ??…. if you would like some help, drop me a line and let’s see if we can cook something Danish xxx Corinna x

  • Hello all

    My name is Brian. I’m born and still live in Denmark and i just came acrose this site. and i saw many of you wanted recipes for traditional Danish christmas dinners.
    I would recomend that you try this site for recipes. I know its in Danish, but google translate should help out, also there is lots of pictures.
    Good luck with your “Dansk julemiddag” and mery X-mas “God Jul”
    Regards, Brian

    • Brian, is a nice place to find recipies and I use it a lot, but it is not easy for non Danish speaking people to understand:-)

  • I tried it once, and it was excellent. Today, for some reason, the syrup got all black and burned way too soon. Also, the butter didn’t mix well with the sugar (later, I noticed that I bought the wrong butter, salted. Perhaps that was the problem).

  • I did not stir the sugar, but had to tip the pan so the melted sugar would contact the unmelted sugar to get it all melted.
    I don’t know if that was the reason, when I added the butter, they did not mix, I had sugar syrup under melted butter.
    Tasted great, but the crunch of sugar on the potatoes was weird

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