Swedish Language Blog

Thanksgiving Foods in Swedish Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Vocabulary

American Thanksgiving is coming up. It’s the fourth Thursday of November (since 1941). There’s plenty to be said about the holiday in the US, both good and bad – there’s the consumerism that has bled over from Black Friday into the actual holiday, there’s the origins of the holiday itself, the romanticization of a coming together of the American Indians and the Pilgrims, which was (and isn’t) so simple and there’s also family, food, and football.

Sweden doesn’t celebrate American Thanksgiving. I know. Quite a shocker. They just aren’t that intrigued by the story. They’ve got plenty of other holidays, which you can read about here. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Americans in Sweden don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. And it most definitely does not mean you shouldn’t learn some vocabulary about Thanksgiving. You’ll want to regale your Swedish friends with the glory of your meal. Below you’ll find twenty words that can help you describe your Thanksgiving dinner in Swedish. It’s a simple vocabulary list with common Thanksgiving foods and drinks.



en kalkon


en fyllning


en sallad


(ett) potatismos

mashed potatoes

en potatis


en sötpotatis

sweet potato

en sky/en sås/en brunsås


en haricots vert/gröna bönor

green beans

en bulle/en fralla

dinner roll

ett bröd


ett tranbär


en tranbärssås

cranberry sauce

ett krås


en vaniljglass

vanilla ice cream

en äppelpaj

apple pie

en pumpapaj

pumpkin pie

ett rödvin/ett rött vin

red wine

ett vitvin/ett vitt vin

white wine

ett/en öl


en äppelcider

apple cider

This is, by no means, a complete list. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners change from year to year, family to family, and region to region. Feel free to add some of your favorite parts of the meal in the comments below. And if you ate a turducken (that’s a chicken (en kyckling) stuffed inside a duck (en and/en anka) stuffed inside a turkey (en kalkon))? Explain to your friendly Swede what you’ve done and let us know how they react…

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. Nils:

    “Ett vitvin” sounds strange to me. I feel it needs to be “ett vitt vin”. In compounds like “vitvinssås”, sure, but not on its own.

  2. Mike:

    You know what Swedish ingredient makes American Thanksgiving better? Lingonsylt! Substitute lingon berries for cranberries. My family does Thanksgiving for almost 30 members of the extended family (all Americans, except for my wife) and we make the sauce out of lingonberries and butter instead of cranberries. Much better!

  3. Marcus Cederström:

    Yeah, vitt vin is definitely more common, but you can find both used.

    And good tip, I love lingon!