A Christmas Cod dinner brings comfort and joy

A very Norwegian alternative to lutefisk


Photo: MatPrat
Easy to make and oh so delicious, Juletorsk—Christmas Cod­—is an excellent alternative to lutefisk for Norwegians and Norwegian Americans alike.

Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American

When it comes to Christmas food, many Norwegian Americans immediately turn their thoughts to lutefisk. But for many, lutefisk is not readily available, or perhaps they have never perfected the art of preparing it. Then, of course, there is the possibility that some folks have never acquired the taste for this famous—or infamous—Norwegian speciality.

But lutefisk is not the only fish traditionally consumed at Christmastime in Norway. In many parts of the country, cod is just as popular. It is a healthy versatile fish that just as easily can be served on a simple weekday, a Sunday dinner, or for a Norwegian Christmas dinner.

Indeed, there is hardly anything better than a Juletorsk Christmas Cod dinner, with boiled cod, Sande­fjord Butter, Cucumber Salad, and boiled potatoes. Easy to prepare, it looks festive on your best holiday plates and is sure to please your family and guests.

Christmas Cod

Adapted from Matprat
Serves 4


4½ lbs. cod, in pieces

Cucumber Salad:

1 cucumber

2 tbsps. water

1 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsps. white vinegar

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground white pepper

Sandefjord Butter

½ lb. butter (2 sticks), cut into small cubes

1 cup whipping cream

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground white pepper


  1. Cut the cucumber into thin slices with a sharp knife or cheese grater and place in a bowl.
  2. Mix together water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and pour the mixture over the cucumber slices.
  3. Boil the cream for the Sandefjord Butter and reduce to half.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter cubes, piece by piece. The sauce should not be brought to a boil after the butter has been whipped in.
  5. Add chopped parsley and season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  6. Boil water in a large pot, and add 2 tbsps. salt per 4 cups of water. Add the fish and let soak for about 10 minutes, then heat and bring to a boil. It will be ready when the fish easily separates from the bone.
  7. Serve the freshly boiled cod with lemon wedges, Cucumber Salad, Sandefjord Butter, and boiled potatoes.


White wines

Chablis (California)

Muscadet (France)

Grüner Veltliner, (Austria)

White Bordeaux (France)

Red wines

Pinot noir (California)

Barbera (Northern Italy)

Blaufränkisch (Austria)



Pale lager

Seasonal Christmas ales


Apple cider

Lemonade mixed with sparkling mineral water

Light alcohol-free beer

This article originally appeared in the December 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.