Janssons Frestelse (Jansson’s Temptation)

Janssons Frestelse (Jansson’s Temptation) is a traditional Swedish dish served on Christmas and other special occasions. I’ve even had this dish as a late treat at weddings. Jansson is basically a potato and onion casserole, with a little twist.

Janssons Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)

In my family, we serve Janssons Frestelse on Christmas (which is celebrated on the 24th in Sweden). It is served on a smörgåsbord alongside other dishes such as meatballs, herring, ham, bread, cheeses, and rice pudding. Smörgåsbord means “sandwhich table” and is really just a Swedish buffet. For Christmas, the term Julbord is used, which means “Christmas table.”

You can Google “smörgåsbord” to see some pretty impressive buffets.

Janssons Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)

I’m sure you are wondering why there is a picture of anchovies in this recipe.

That’s the twist.

Jansson is made up of repeating layers of grated potatoes, yellow onions, and anchovies. Upon baking the casserole, the anchovies almost disintegrate, leaving just a salty taste. These anchovies can be a little difficult to find, but if you have an Ikea nearby, you’re in luck. They usually have a few tins in the refrigerated section. If you have anchovies at your local grocery store, just make sure they aren’t in olive oil.

Janssons Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)

Since I love the taste of the anchovies after the Jansson is baked, I usually use more than one tin. You don’t want a thick layer of anchovies though, just spread out a few over the potatoes or onions (see picture). Then pour half of the cream into the casserole and save the remaining half for later. The potatoes can get a little mushy if you add all of the cream at once.

Janssons Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)

I served the potatoes alongside Swedish meatballs and gravy. If you look closely, you can see the meatballs steaming. Yum!

Janssons Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)

Janssons Frestelse (Jansson’s Temptation)
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 - 2 tins of anchovies (not in olive oil)
  • 3 dL heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup breadcrumbs (optional)
  1. Peel and grate the potatoes. Place the grated potatoes in cold water immediately. Allow the potatoes to sit in the water for 10-15 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are soaking, slice the onions and sauté them in the butter until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Wring out the potatoes in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the water. Using a paper towel, pat them dry. In a large baking dish, add a layer of grated potatoes. Sprinkle a thin layer of onions on top of the potatoes. Next, add a layer of 5-6 anchovies (increase this number for a larger baking dish). Repeat the layers until the baking dish is full, topping the Jansson with the last remaining potatoes.
  5. Drizzle a little of the anchovy liquid on top of the casserole. Pour half of the heavy cream into the casserole. Top with breadcrumbs if desired.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour. After 30 minutes of baking, add the remaining half of the cream, then continue baking until the Jansson is golden brown and the potatoes are tender.
  7. Serve while hot.

Janet Anderson
Janet Anderson

My late Mother in Law used to make this in the days before we had IKEA. She used regular anchovies, so that is what tastes right to me. But the "anchovis" at IKEA are actually pickled sprats, while they call true anchovies 'sardeller." There is a Wikipedia article about Janssons frestelse.