This Swedish Creamy Potato Casserole or Jansson’s Frestelse (which means temptation!) is simplicity itself. Just potatoes, cream and onions with a little salty flavor from the added anchovies. The bread crumb topping is optional, but why would you leave off that crunch? This is one dish that definitely becomes more than the sum of its parts.
When my mom was growing up, she says she would boil up a pot of new potatoes, then drain them and tip in some butter. She’d take the whole pot outside to a comfortable spot, read her book and eat those potatoes. It was, and still is, her ideal meal. Mom also says that her final meal, if she has a choice, will be potatoes and potatoes and potatoes, done many different ways. (Picture that scene from Forrest Gump but substitute potatoes for shrimp.)
That’s why I knew that my dish for this week’s Mother’s Day Meal Ideas Sunday Supper had to be something with potatoes. I found a mention of Jansson’s frestelse or Swedish creamy potato casserole on a Chowhound thread of favorite potato dishes. How had I never heard of this wonderful dish?
Jansson’s frestelse or Swedish creamy potato casserole is attributed to an opera singer named Pelle Janzon who was apparently not just a good comedic actor but also a lover of good food. In its home country, Swedish creamy potato casserole is a must-have at Christmas but it’s also eaten year round. I can completely see why.
To pretty it up, I baked mine in four little baking dishes but you can certainly make your Swedish potato casserole in one big pan. This dish is so rich that, as a side dish, we couldn’t finish our portions and ate the leftovers the next day. As a main dish, with just a fresh side salad, they were the perfect amount.
I highly recommend you make this Swedish creamy potato casserole aka Jansson’s frestelse for your mom!
Swedish Creamy Potato Casserole (Jansson's Frestelse)
- 1 medium onion sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons butter plus extra for topping
- 2 lbs or 910g Idaho® potatoes
- 1 can anchovies in oil drained (drained weight 1 3/4 oz or 50g)
- 1 3/4 cups or 414ml heavy whipping cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup or 45g fresh breadcrumbs
- Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.
- Peel and slice the onions thinly. Sauté them gently in a pan with the butter, until they are soft. Do not let them brown.
- Grease the bottom and sides of your baking dish or dishes, using a pastry brush dipped into the oil you drained off of the anchovies.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into strips. Use one third of the potatoes to line the bottom your greased baking dish/es.
- Add half of the sautéed onions and half of the drained anchovies. Top with another third of the potatoes, then the remaining onions and anchovies.
- Finish with the balance of the potatoes. Sprinkle with some salt and a few good grinds of black pepper. Pour in the cream.
- Sprinkle the top with the fresh breadcrumbs and put a few little slices of butter on them.
- In case the Swedish creamy potato casserole bubbles over, I suggest using a baking pan or some heavy duty foil under the casserole dish/es. Bake for about 45 minutes for smaller casserole dishes and as much as an hour for one big one, or until the potatoes are tender. You can cover them with some foil if they are browning fast but the potatoes aren’t cooked through yet.
- When the casserole is done, remove it from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.