Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

Anna Brones’ Guide to Making Swedish Open Sandwiches (Smörgås)

by Jessica Lockyer-Palmer

published on 4 August 2017

In her book Live Lagom, food writer and author, Anna Brones explores the concept of lagom, the Swedish approach to life that is all about balance. The pages are filled with methods for channelling this ethos in your daily life, from the workplace to the kitchen. We caught up with Anna to hear more about her tips on recreating one of Sweden’s signature lunchtime dishes, the Open-Faced Sandwich. Read on to find out what she had to say.

Open sandwiches (smörgås) are one of my favourite Swedish items of food and also one of the simplest things to create. You don’t need a recipe for them, it’s really just about using your favourite kind of bread and adding the toppings (pålägg) that you want to go on it.

Begin by spreading a “lagom” amount of butter on your chosen bread. Lagom, the Swedish ethos explained in my book, Live Lagom, roughly translates to “just enough”, but sometimes it can be hard to define what just enough is. A lagom amount of butter for you may not be a lagom amount of butter for a Swede, in fact just enough for them is actually a very generous amount, which is good in my opinion!

For the topping, in Sweden it is common to use the typical, thinly sliced Swedish cheese, to which you can then add whatever you would like, including things like thinly sliced vegetables or fruit and pickles, like my Dill-Marinated Cucumber. There are an infinite number of diffferent variations that you could use. Some of my other favourites include:

• Herb butter and sliced egg
• Mayonnaise, small prawns and dill
• Sliced meatballs (also works well with a vegetarian version) and pickled beetroot

• Cured salmon and a mustard dill sauce

Open sandwiches make for a super simple snack or, if you have a couple of them, a satisfying lunch too. They are a really nice way to have an easy, balanced meal in your everyday life.

To see Anna create open sandwiches, check out the below video on our YouTube channel.


You might also like

View all


All of your favourite recipes from Jamie Oliver’s Together on Channel 4

Jamie Oliver is back with a brand-new cookbook and TV series to inspire your post-pandemic cooking. Together is a guide to reconnecting with your nearest and dearest over a good...


8 Cornish-inspired home cooking favourites from Rick Stein at Home

Rick Stein’s latest cookbook is packed with recipes celebrating Cornish ingredients and producers. Discover 8 of our favourites here.


10 recipes you’ll love in The Sweet Roasting Tin

75 laid-back, flavour-focused bakes await you in The Sweet Roasting Tin. Here are just 10 of our favourites, from an orange drizzle traybake to Black Forest cupcakes.


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week