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Estonian Cuisine

Estonian cuisine preserved the customs of cooking and recipes of peasant food of the XIX century. compared to the cuisines of other Baltic countries (Lithuanian, Latvian), it considered fishier. The dishes are healthy and appetizing.

How cooking developed in Estonia

Until the XIX century. on the tables of the inhabitants of the country there was a simple food without frills: bread from rye flour, salted herring (Baltic herring), kvass, yogurt with water, cereal dishes. Food cooked in a large cauldron for the family, so that cooking did not take much time.

Estonian cuisine always considered nutritious, tasty and natural.

Bread considered the main food, it treated with great respect, never even crumbs thrown away. There is a saying: “Bread is older than we are.”

When there a bad harvest, willow, acorns, moss, heather, fern added to the bread. They prepared decoctions of turnips, sorrel, nettles, thistles, snyti. Because of the dominance of the corvee, meat and dairy products rarely consumed by peasants.

The climate of Estonia cold, the soil is dotted with stones. The way of life was farming. Villagers left for work in the fields at dawn and returned at 8 p.m. – then they had their main meal. In the afternoon we had lunch with bread and salted herring. For dinner, they ate soups from peas and legumes, cereals at home. After serfdom abolished, villagers could already cook hot food during the day, and instead of dinner, lunch became the main meal.

Depending on the area where the inhabitants lived, there was an exchange of fish for grain and vice versa. Seasonality had a great influence on the diet.

For the holidays, sepik served – gray bread, blood sausages with a filling of cereals, jelly, porridge from barley groats, pancakes.

The culture of growing potatoes came in the middle of the XIX century. over time, this vegetable became the second bread. In the late XIX – early XX centuries. the economy was experiencing an upswing.

Estonian national cuisine borrowed cooking options and ingredients from other states with which the country traded. They began to eat pate, salads, canned food.

The features of cooking, the influence of cuisines of Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, can trace. In Soviet times, local gastronomic customs influenced by the cuisines of the Caucasus and Central Asia. But in most of the dishes, original features strengthened and preserved.

Specifics of modern Estonian cuisine

The inhabitants of the country have reached our days the traditional festive menu in the countryside – the “cold table”:

  • herring in marinade with the addition of sour cream;
  • holodets;
  • liver pate;
  • potato salad;
  • rosolye;
  • rolls with ham filling;
  • meatballs with mayonnaise;
  • stuffed eggs;
  • pickles.

In restaurants and at home, meat, pea, fish, vegetable, sweet bread soups prepared.

The traditional dish kama – tolokno with yogurt preserved on many tables. Flour used of different varieties: rye, barley, pea, oatmeal.

On Christmas holidays, jelly, pork blood sausage with lingonberry sauce, pork roast, sauerkraut, piparkukas cookies baked and served. On Maslenitsa, they make vastlacuclide – rolls with cream, on Midsummer Day – barbecue, grilled sausages.

Distinctive features

The food on the tables of Estonians is simple, nutritious, natural, satisfying. The taste characterized as slightly sour, milky.

The peculiarity of national cooking achieved thanks to rare original combinations of products: fish and lard of a pig, peas and milk.

Mixed vegetable-cereal cereals predominate, for example, mulgipuder from pearl barley and potatoes. As the main dish, boiled tubers with a sauce of flour, broth, cream with pieces of meat, minced meat or sausage served.

In the national cuisine, a limited number of seasonings and spices used. In addition to salt and onions, greens added to food: dill, parsley, cumin, sometimes marjoram, bay leaf, allspice.

Due to the fact that food is rarely fried in oil, the culinary traditions of this country can be called healthy.

Despite the fact that some products do not look compatible with each other, there are no problems with digestion. Food balanced, as the leading place given to fish, cereals, vegetables, fruits.

Main products used

The menu of the people of Estonia at any time of the year includes yogurt, yogurt, cottage cheese, homemade cheese, milk. On the basis of fermented milk food, various desserts, cereals, soups prepared, as well as castmed – gravy for meat and other hot dishes made from milk and sour cream.

Residents of the country from vegetables prefer potatoes, cabbage, peas, carrots, rutabagas. Sometimes beet salads prepared.

Features of the geographical position of the country, its proximity to the sea have an impact on the menu: herring, sprat, flounder, eel – popular dishes. Fish served fried, made casseroles, poured with a mixture of eggs and milk, sprinkled with herbs, smoked, dried. Pike, ruff, bream, snetka, vendace eaten in the eastern regions remote from the sea.

Pork and its offal (liver), jelly from pork head and legs also found on the tables. Of the other types of meat, locals eat veal, lamb, venison.

Chicken, mushrooms, buckwheat cannot see among Estonian dishes. Rarely use products from wheat flour.

Popular cooking methods

To prepare lean pork, its large pieces boiled in broth for a long time. Use containers with thick walls, which put in the oven or oven.

When cooking food from the liver, it boiled in a sauce of sour cream and cream. Chefs also love baking as a method of cooking.

Frying is rarely used. Instead of vegetable oil, local housewives use milk with sour cream or flour.

Traditions of Estonian cuisine

The most important meal occurs in the afternoon. In modern Estonia, they eat:

  • for breakfast – light food in the form of milk porridge, sandwiches with butter and fish, fried in tomato and cream sauce crackers with eggs, beans, jam, cheese;
  • for lunch and afternoon tea – dairy, fish soups, buckwheat porridge, blood sausage, sauerkraut, pork knuckle;
  • for dinner – hearty fish or meat;
  • the final course of the day is sweet soup (second dinner).

At the main meal of the day on weekdays, weekends and holidays, all family members without exception gather at the table.

National dishes of Estonia: what to try

In this country, any tourist  treated to traditional delicious soups, liqueurs, infused with fruits, original desserts. National dishes include sausages and dumplings made of blood, herring with sour cream, meatballs, potato salad, liver pate, stuffed eggs.

Syir – homemade cheese from high-fat cottage cheese – is also a national dish.

Residents of the country prefer their favorite food, which include:

  • sandwiches with herring;
  • sandwiches with baltic sprats;
  • syults – jellies of heads, tails, tongues of a pig, calf, ram;
  • vere pakeogid – pancakes with peas and blood;
  • mulgicorp – cottage cheese vatrushki with sour cream and jam;
  • pyrukad – pies with rice, stewed vegetables and minced meat.

Milk soup with fish

Milk-based fish soup is a bit like a traditional soup. The composition of this dish includes cod, potatoes, onions, salt, milk, fish broth. Sometimes cream put instead of milk and other vegetables added.

For the originality of the taste, the broth made from two parts of the water in which the fish boiled, and one part of milk.


Mulgikapsada, or Mulgian cabbage, is a traditional sauerkraut dish with pork meat and barley or pearl barley. It stewed in cast iron or a cauldron.

Aromatic spices and other vegetables added to the mulgicapsade. It served with a side dish of potatoes and mustard.

Mulgikapsad can be eaten in restaurants, on the street – at the Christmas market. It is sold in the form of canned food in local supermarkets.

Estonian soup

Estonian soup a cabbage soup made of fatty meat broth based on pork or smoked ribs.

In addition to cabbage, potatoes, beans, Herculean groats, black pepper, and sometimes vodka added to the soup. The dish served on a plate or roll.


Kartuliporss, or “potato piglets”, are flatbreads or balls of pork baked in mashed potatoes. Sometimes portions decorated with decorative eyes made of olives or peas and patches of carrots, imitate the figure of a pig.

On top, each “piglet” covered with a golden crust, obtained due to breading. The composition of the kartoliporss includes sour cream, giving it a delicate creamy taste. Sometimes the dish poured with ketchup on top.

Meat soup

Soups and soups made of meat are a recognized treat on the tables of Estonians.

In a rich soup of venison, lamb, wild boar or smoked meats add pickle, olives, lemon. The broth concentrated.

Meat soup and blood sausage dishes that are considered a recognized national treat of Estonian cuisine.

Black pudding

Blood sausage called verivorst. It cooked with pearl or barley groats, chopped bacon. The dish served hot and cold with mustard, lingonberry jam.

Verivorst considered a Christmas treat. This sausage appears on sale in autumn and winter. Its main ingredient is bovine, veal, and pig blood freed from fibrin and filtered through a sieve.

For blood sausage, minced pork, pieces of other sausages, seasonings and spices, garlic, black pepper, beef tongue or veal prepared.

At home, such a sausage prepared from the intestines, blood and fat of a pig.


The recipe for this dish invented in Estonia, it included in the list of intangible heritage of the country.

Holodets is a meat snack with onions, peppers, similar to pate. It boiled with gelatin; sometimes other vegetables are added to taste.

Jelly is sold in canned, plastic cans, can be spread on bread. The dish is eaten with fresh cucumbers, onions, fried potatoes.


Suitsukala is a fish dish, smoked trout. Preliminarily it smeared on all sides with salt, pepper.

Sweetsukala served with a slice of lemon and the addition of bay leaves.


Rosolye is a hearty salad of herring, potatoes, carrots, beets, eggs, pickles, apples and onions. The salad seasoned with sour cream and mustard. Rossolier is both the main course and a snack.

Traditional sweets

The most popular desserts in Estonia are different variations of bread soups, blueberry soup, jelly with milk or whipped cream, mousse based on semolina and fruit juice, cottage cheese cream, apple casserole, pancakes with jam, cakes, bubert – semolina pudding with an egg.

Onion jam

Onion jam has a sweet taste. It used as an additive to meat.

Due to prolonged frying, onions caramelize, become sugary. During the preparation of such jam, honey, wine, balsamic vinegar added to it.


Piparkukas, or piparkook, are cookies with black pepper, ginger, and a lot of cinnamon. Pepper cookies dry and crispy, have a sweetish-sharp taste, glaze patterns applied to it on top.

The dough for piparkukas consists of flour, a mixture of butter, sugar, cinnamon and beaten eggs. Also add honey, molasses, ground spices, nutmeg. Then the dough rolled out, cut into rectangles or other shapes, a pattern applied, smeared with yolk and baked in the oven.


Marzipan a glazed cake made from grated almonds, powdered sugar. Sometimes orange, chocolate, pistachios added. Festive cakes made in the form of various figures, painted by hand.

Marzipan is the national pride of Estonia. It is believed that his prescription was opened in Tallinn, when the medicine was prepared in a pharmacy on Town Hall Square.

Rhubarb pie

This cake is a dessert with an unusual spicy taste, obtained by the addition of rhubarb. The ingredients of the dough include butter, flour.

Estonian drinks

Traditional drinks are fruit drinks, kvass. Kissels boiled from pea-based milk and oatmeal added.

The people of the country like to drink cocoa, black coffee (mostly light roasted) with the addition of milk, lemon.

Estonians brew their own beer in each district. The most popular varieties are:

  • dark “Saare”;
  • light “Saku”;
  • honey;
  • homemade with the addition of juniper.

Of other alcoholic beverages, heegwein common – a kind of mulled wine, Vana Tallin liqueur, which consumed in its pure form, added to coffee, cocktails. The strength of this liqueur is from 40 to 50 °. Estonians love Kannu Kukk – a liqueur of increased strength based on raspberries, with the aroma of cumin.

Recipes of Estonian dishes

Many recipes of national cuisine preserved since the Middle Ages. These dishes are nutritious, hearty, light and easy to prepare.

Marinated herring

For this fish dish, you will need the following products:

  • 1 kg of fresh herring;
  • 2 onions;
  • 2 carrots;
  • flour;
  • vegetable oil.

For the marinade you need the ingredients:

  • 1 liter of water;
  • 100 ml vinegar 9%;
  • 5 peas of black and allspice;
  • 5 clove buds;
  • 2 bay leaves;
  • sugar – 4 tbsp;
  • salt – 3 tbsp.

How to prepare:

  1. Clean the fish, cut off the head, remove the insides. Bread the fish in flour, fry in oil until golden brown.
  2. Peel and chop the vegetables (onions, carrots).
  3. Place half of the onions and carrots in a container, put the roasted herring there, place the remaining vegetables on top.
  4. Cook the marinade, adding spices.
  5. Pour the herring with vegetables with boiling marinade, cool to room temperature, cover and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Herring in marinade with onions and carrots served together with potatoes, rye bread.

Herring soup with potatoes

To prepare this dish for 4 servings, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 liter of water;
  • 200 g of fresh herring;
  • 3 potato tubers;
  • 0,5 carrots;
  • 1 onion;
  • 30 ml sunflower oil;
  • 0.3 bunch of dill;
  • 1 bay leaf ;
  • salt and black ground pepper – to taste.


  1. Cut potatoes and carrots into small cubes, pour water in a saucepan.
  2. Boil and cook until done.
  3. Chop onions, fry them in sunflower oil until golden brown.
  4. Remove the heads, tails, fins, entrails of the fish, rinse it, dry it.
  5. Season the cooked potatoes with salt and dip the fish in a saucepan with them. Put fried onions and bay leaves in the soup. Simmer the soup for 8 minutes after boiling.
  6. Chop the dill. Add greens, black ground pepper, salt to the finished soup.

The soup served.

Bread soup

This dish considered a dessert by Estonians. You will need the following products:

  • 400 g of bread (rye, dried or stale);
  • 100 g sugar;
  • 1.5 liters of water;
  • 100 g raisins;
  • 250 ml of juice (apple, orange, cranberry or etc.);
  • cinnamon to taste;
  • 1 tbsp sour cream for serving.


  1. Break the sliced dried bread into pieces, pour water. Leave to soak for 1 hour in water.
  2. In the same water, put the bread to cook until soft.
  3. Remove the container from the heat, wipe the bread mass through a sieve to remove lumps.
  4. Put the resulting bread mass in a pan, add juice, sugar, raisins, cinnamon. Cook the soup for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Soup can be served with sour cream, milk. Instead of raisins, it is allowed to add dried apples.

Stewed sprat

For 6 servings of this dish you will need the following products:

  • 1 kg of fresh sprat;
  • 1 bunch of green onions;
  • 1 bunch of dill ;
  • 150 g butter;
  • 1 tbsp milk;
  • 0.5 tbsp wheat flour;
  • 1 tsp. salt.


  1. Eviscerate the sprat, remove the tails and heads, the inner black film, rinse the fish from the inside.
  2. Put a layer of sprat in a container for stewing, salt the fish.
  3. Wash the green onions, dry, cut into thin rings.
  4. Sprinkle a layer of sprat with green onions and chopped dill.
  5. Lay out the remaining fish in layers, add a powder of greens and salt.
  6. Pour the flour into the milk, stir until smooth. Pour the resulting milk-flour mixture into the fish.
  7. Place pieces of oil on top of the fish.
  8. Cover the container with a lid, put in the oven at 180°C.

The dish cooked for 40 minutes. It served with any potato or vegetable side dish.

Silgu Worm

For silgu vorm you will need the ingredients:

  • 125 g herring;
  • 125 g smoked herring;
  • 125 g of fresh herring;
  • 125 g potatoes;
  • 25 g green onions;
  • 15 g dill;
  • 25 g butter;
  • 0.5 chicken eggs;
  • 380 g milk;
  • salt to taste.


  1. Cut the potatoes into small straws.
  2. Grease the baking dish with oil, put in layers of onions, potatoes, fish fillets of fresh, smoked and herring. Above and below should lie a layer of potatoes.
  3. Beat the egg with milk, salt, pour this mixture over the fish and potatoes.
  4. Put the oil on top. Bake in the oven at 200°C until done. Do not cover the form with a lid on top.

Casserole with fish

For this festive dish of Estonian cuisine you will need products (for 6 servings):

  • 800 g fillet of sea fish (cod);
  • 1.2 kg of potatoes;
  • 4 chicken eggs;
  • 1 onion;
  • 150 ml milk;
  • 1 tbsp wheat flour;
  • 2 tbsp sour cream;
  • 3 tbsp. chopped dill and green onions;
  • to taste – salt, ground black pepper, flour, butter for frying.


  1. Chop the onion, fry in butter.
  2. Cook the potatoes, push them. Add the sautéed onions. When the potatoes have cooled, put 1 egg in it, salt and stir again.
  3. Salt the fish, roll in flour, fry on both sides, divide with a fork into pieces.
  4. Beat 3 eggs with milk, add salt, 1 tbsp. flour, sour cream, herbs. In this mixture, put the fried fish and stir.
  5. Grease a baking dish with melted butter and sprinkle with flour.
  6. Place the potato mixture on the bottom of the pan, then the fish mixture. On the very top, put a few small pieces of butter, put in the oven for 20 minutes (at a temperature of 220 ° C).

When the surface of the casserole becomes golden, it can be served on the table (with cold sour cream to taste).


Killatuchlid is a potato soup popular in western Estonia and on the islands of Saaremaa, Muhu, Hiiumaa.

For this dish you will need the following products:

  • 1 kg of potatoes;
  • 300 g pork;
  • 60 g sour cream;
  • salt to taste;
  • water.


  1. Cut the pork and potatoes into pieces.
  2. Put in a thick-walled saucepan, season with salt and water. You do not need to add onions and spices to killatuchlid.

This soup cooked for 40 minutes, served with sour cream.

Estonian Cuisine
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