Swedish Pancakes & Pumpkin Soup

Many Americans don’t realize that Swedish pancakes are actually not breakfast food…in fact Swedes eat these thin pancakes (pannkakor) together with pea soup (ärtsoppa) as a traditional dinner on Thursdays. That’s right… not a specific holiday, not a certain season, just Thursdays in general. Why Thursdays, you might ask?


Eating pea soup and pancakes on Thursdays is a tradition that goes back hundred of years to the times when Sweden was Catholic. Since people would fast on Fridays, people tried to fill up the night before on this heavy meal, as the pea soup can be loaded with ham and other toppings, and the pancakes are stuffed with jam and cream. It was also an easy meal for a maid to prepare, as they often only worked a half day on Thursdays. The tradition has stuck in Swedish culture and many people still eat soup and pancakes on Thursdays today!

Although I enjoyed eating pea soup and pancakes for dinner as a kid (and still today), my husband really dislikes peas… so to make this recipe something he will actually eat, and to bring in an American twist, I decided to replace the pea soup with pumpkin soup topped with candied bacon, fried sage, and caramelized onions.


I am VERY excited to share this recipe because (1) the pancakes are my family’s recipe and it brings back very happy memories, and (2) the pumpkin soup recipe is one I created on my own and worked very hard to perfect. In fact, I made pumpkin soup three times before settling on, what I think is, the perfect recipe. It reminded me of Goldielocks… the first one was too thin, the second one too lumpy, and finally, one that was just right! I really think it is one of my favorite soup recipes now.


The pancakes are also delicious and we ate them with homemade lingon/cranberry sauce that a friend made (for Thanksgiving, actually) and whipped cream with a little vanilla sugar. You can eat these with any jam or fruit topping you want (and sometimes I even just eat it with a little sugar on top). Or you can get creative (and let me know if you come up with any good topping ideas!).


Hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did!

Swedish Pancakes

  • Servings: approx. 12 pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

You can actually make the pancakes ahead of time, wrap them in plastic or foil, and store in the fridge until ready to eat. Just zap them in the microwave and they will taste as good as fresh!


  • 3 eggs / ägg
  • 2¼ cups milk / 5.3 dl mjölk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter / 30 g. smält smör
  • ½ teaspoon salt / salt
  • 1½ cups flour / 3.5 dl vetemjöl


  1. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, melted butter and salt
  2. Slowly add in the flour as you whisk the batter, try to get out any chunks
  3. Melt a little piece of butter in a pan (non-stick is best) over medium heat
  4. Using a ⅓ measuring cup, scoop batter into the center of the pan and immediately lift the pan up, slowly circling until the batter has coated the base of the pan
  5. Put pan back on element and wait about 1 minute, or until you can feel with the spatula that the pancake will lift
  6. Flip the pancake over and wait about 30 seconds, then transfer to a plate
  7. Repeat this process with the remaining batter, adding a little butter to the pan every 2 to 3 pancakes

Pumpkin Soup with Candied Bacon, Fried Sage, and Caramelized Onions

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

I have also made this soup with butternut squash, which is often easier to find in Sweden, and it was just as delicious! If you are going to make this recipe vegetarian, just substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and add a bit of brown sugar when caramelizing the onions.


    For the toppings:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil / olivolja
  • 8 sage leaves / salvia
  • 4 pieces of bacon / bacon
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar / mörkt muscovadorörsocker
  • 1 onion / lök
  • For the soup:
  • 3 tablespoons butter / 45 gsmör
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar / mörkt muscovadorörsocker
  • 3 tablespoons flour / vetemjöl
  • 2 cups chicken broth / 0.5 liter hönsbuljong
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree / 1 liter pumpor pure
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika / paprika
  • ¼ (or more) teaspoons cayenne / cayennespeppar
  • 1 teaspoon salt / salt
  • Pepper to taste / svartpeppar
  • ¾ cup creme fraiche / 1.5 dl creme fraiche 


  1. Rinse sage leaves, then pat dry
  2. Rub the brown sugar into both sides of each piece of bacon
  3. Cut the onion into thick slices
  4. Add the olive oil to a pan on medium-high heat, wait for the oil to get hot (you can dip the tip of a sage leaf in the oil to see if it bubbles)
  5. Once the oil is hot, place the sage leaves in the oil
  6. Fry each side of the sage leaves for about 30 seconds, then place on a paper towl
  7. Pour the oil from the pan into a container and set aside
  8. Turn the temperature down to medium (but do not wait to put the bacon in, this is more to cool the pan down for the onions)
  9. Fry the bacon in the same pan, frying for a few minute on each side
  10. When bacon is cooked through, place on a plate and put aside (note: do not put on a paper towel as the bacon will stick!)
  11. Add the onions to the pan, as well as the reserved olive oil from the sage leaves
  12. Start making the soup while you wait for onions to caramelize (it can take 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally
  13. Start the soup by melting butter in a large pot on medium-high heat
  14. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and flour, stirring for a minute or so to create a roux
  15. Slowly add in chicken broth (better if it’s warm), while continuing to stir
  16. Stir in pumpkin puree and spices
  17. As soon as the soup comes to a low boil, turn off the heat and set pot aside
  18. Stir in creme fraiche, then serve in individual bowls
  19. Chop the caramelized onions and candied bacon, then add with a sage leaf on top of each bowl – enjoy!


6 thoughts on “Swedish Pancakes & Pumpkin Soup

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