Jansson’s Temptation

Jansson’s Temptation, known as “Janssons frestelse” in Swedish, is a traditional Swedish casserole made from potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, bread crumbs, and cream. It’s a beloved dish often served during Christmas, Easter, and other festive occasions in Sweden. The combination of creamy potatoes and the distinctive flavor of sprats makes this dish a unique and comforting treat.


  • Potatoes: 6-8 medium-sized, peeled and cut into thin strips or matchsticks
  • Onions: 2 medium, thinly sliced
  • Pickled sprats (ansjovis): 1 can (typically around 125 grams or about 4.4 ounces)
  • Heavy cream: 2 cups
  • Butter: 2-3 tablespoons
  • Bread crumbs: 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prepare the Potatoes and Onions:
    • Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin strips or matchsticks.
    • Thinly slice the onions.
  3. Drain the Sprats:
    • Drain the sprats, but reserve the brine as it adds flavor to the dish.


  1. Layer the Ingredients:
    • Grease a baking dish with butter.
    • Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dish.
    • Add a layer of sliced onions on top of the potatoes.
    • Scatter some sprats over the onions.
    • Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of potatoes on top.
  2. Season and Add Cream:
    • Pour some of the reserved sprat brine over the layered ingredients for added flavor.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
    • Pour the heavy cream evenly over the top.
  3. Top with Bread Crumbs and Butter:
    • Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the top layer of potatoes.
    • Dot the top with small pieces of butter.


  1. Bake the Casserole:
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven.
    • Bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown and crispy. You can test the potatoes with a fork; they should be soft.
  2. Serve:
    • Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving.

Tips for Success

  • Sprats: If you can’t find Swedish sprats (ansjovis), you can substitute with anchovies, though the flavor will be slightly different. The sprats used in Jansson’s Temptation are typically milder and pickled, unlike the saltier anchovies.
  • Cream: Using heavy cream gives the dish its rich and creamy texture. You can use a mix of milk and cream if you prefer a lighter version.
  • Potatoes: Waxy potatoes (such as Yukon Gold) work well because they hold their shape better during baking.

Final Thoughts

Jansson’s Temptation is a classic Swedish comfort food that combines simple ingredients into a flavorful and satisfying dish. The balance of creamy potatoes, sweet onions, and the savory, slightly salty sprats creates a delightful harmony of tastes and textures. This dish is perfect for festive occasions or any time you crave a hearty, comforting meal.

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