Exactly What to Make When All You Want to Do Is Hygge
Take cues from Scandinavia next time you really want to get cozy with these recipes from Food Network.
In America, we aren’t strangers to the comforts of curling up in a fuzzy blanket, book in one hand, cocoa in the other. But in Denmark, coziness (and all its accessories — fireplaces, knit socks, sweet treats, candlelight and good friends) is practically a national sport. The Danes call it “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-gah”), and you likely heard about it late last year when several books on the subject hit shelves and turned the Danish tradition into a full-blown lifestyle trend.
Why are we not surprised? Adopting a trend that basically involves getting into your comfiest pajamas and never leaving the couch is pretty much a no-brainer. When your family is ready for some major hygge time, dial it up the with one of these recipes — some inspired by traditional Scandinavian dishes, and others with a more American flair.
Ginger Molasses Skillet Cookie (pictured above)
In Denmark, it’s not hyggeligt without sweets, and this skillet cookie (with its Scandi-inspired icing design) is a no-fuss way to get your whole crowd in a comfy state-of-mind instantly.
SLOWCOOKERSWEDISH MEATBALLSFood Network KitchenFood NetworkBeef Broth, Worcestershire Sauce, Pork, Turkey, Breadcrumbs, Eggs, Allspice, Onion Powder,Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Unsalted Butter, Flour, Sour Cream, Lingonberry or Red CurrantJelly, FlatleafParsley,SLOWCOOKER SWEDISH MEATBALLS Food Network Kitchen Food Network Beef Broth, Worcestershire Sauce, Pork, Turkey, Breadcrumbs, Eggs, Allspice, Onion Powder, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Unsalted Butter, Flour, Sour Cream, Lingonberry or Red Currant Jelly, Flatleaf Parsley
Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
This quintessential Swedish dish hits all of comfort food’s most important pillars — it’s meaty, creamy, savory and warm. We’re talking IKEA-levels of hygge with minimal prep thanks to your slow cooker. (And it’s not even that slow; you’ll be meatballin’ by the fireplace in about two-and-a-half hours.)
In Sweden they’re called kanelbullar, in Denmark you’d call them kanelsnegler and in America we call our variations cinnamon rolls or sticky buns. And when we’re craving some cinnamon-covered comfort right now, we make Ina Garten’s done-in-an-hour recipe, which relies on puff pastry instead of a yeasted dough that needs time to rise. “Oh my God, they’re so good,” she says. “And they take like 10 minutes to prepare.”
Whether you get a dressed-up toast for $15 at an LA-style restaurant or still refer to it by its other not-so-schmancy moniker (“open-faced sandwich”), the Danes still knew this dish was great before you did. They call it smorrebrod, a toast piled with butter and perhaps fish, meat, cheese, herbs and more. Food Network Kitchen’s latest take on toast showcases a sunny egg and an impressive avocado flower. Try it on a rye bread for extra Scandinavian flavor.
Comfort foods don’t always double as finger foods, and it’s a little hard to balance a bowl on your recliner’s arm. But silky hot soup (and bonus points if it’s this highly rated tomato) overcomes this limitation when you serve it in a mug, perfect for sipping while wrapped in a blanket.
Instead of apple cake (a traditional Norwegian treat), try this sheet-pan trick for apple crumble. The dish’s thinner profile means everyone gets the best balance of crumbly topping and sweet, gooey apples. It will warm you from the inside out.
Bobby Flay’s warm sangria doesn’t require hours of steeping to activate its citrus flavor. That comforting heat means it’s ready after just a few minutes on the stove — so you don’t have to wait to curl up with a glass. Or try glogg, a traditional Swedish mulled wine, to really lean into the Scandi theme.
Many cultures claim meatloaf as their own (you can probably thank the Romans for the idea), but if there was a dish at the center of the American version of hygge, this would be it. Cozy up with Ree Drummond’s five-star recipe and don’t come out until spring.