Close-up of 'Jansson's temptation', a dish with herring, potatoes and onions baked in cream.
Jansson's temptation. Photo: OTW/

Jansson’s temptation

Potatoes, onions, anchovies and cream are the essentials for this Christmas dish.

Jansson’s temptation, or Janssons frestelse − a creamy potato and anchovy casserole − is said to have been named after Pelle Janzon, a food-loving Swedish opera singer of the early 1900s.

In any case, the recipe was published for the first time in 1940, and this rich casserole quickly became a classic of the Swedish Christmas dinner table. But Jansson’s temptation can just as easily be eaten at any time of year.

A woman preparing a meal. On the table in front of her are various dishes, copper pots, a lighted candle, oranges, fir twigs and a small Christmas goat.
All you need to prepare a Jansson’s temptation is some serious chopping skills. Photo: OTW/

Conversions and abbreviations

1 g = 1 gramme = 1/1,000 of a kg

1 kg = 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds (lb)

1 dl = 1 decilitre = 100 millilitres (ml) = 1/10 of a litre = 0.4 US cup

1 litre = 10 dl = 0.9 UK quart (qt) = 1.06 US liquid quart

1 fl oz, UK = 1 fluid ounce = 1/33 UK quart = 30 ml

1 fl oz, US = 1/32 US qt = 28 ml

1 lb = 16 oz = 450 ml

1 tsp = 1 teaspoon = 1/6 oz = 5 ml

1 tbsp = 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons = 1/2 oz = 15 ml

°C = degrees Celsius

°F = degrees Fahrenheit

For more online conversions:

Jansson’s temptation recipe


(6–8 servings)
1.2 kg potatoes
400 g onions
375 g spice-cured sprat filets
600 ml heavy whipping cream
salt, white pepper


Peel the potatoes and cut them into strips. Peel and cut the onions into thin slices, sautéing them gently in a little butter without browning.

Grease an ovenproof baking dish and cover the bottom with a layer of potatoes, then add half the onions and half the sprat (‘anchovy’) filets. Another layer of potatoes, then the rest of the onion and sprats. Finish with a layer of potatoes. Flatten the surface, apply a few turns of pepper fresh from the mill and sprinkle on a little salt.

Pour the cream on until it is almost visible through the potatoes. Place a few pats of butter on top and, if desired, sprinkle with some breadcrumbs.

Bake in the oven (250°C/475°F) for about an hour.