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

Book Collections

The best cocktail and drinks books for amateur mixologists

Whether you’re an amateur seeking a beginner’s guide to mixing, or a drinks aficionado on the hunt for cocktails with sophistication, there’s a cocktail book out there for you.


Air fryer chicken recipes

These easy and healthy fakeaway chicken recipes are designed to be made in an air fryer, perfect for quick family-friendly dinners.

Recipe Collections

Ideas for using up leftover Easter eggs

From cookies, cakes and fondants to a mousse, these recipes will be a fitting end to the last of your Easter eggs.


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

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