Iceland is open for travel: check volcano updates here

Icelandic Food Recipies: Plokkfiskur

Make Your Own Traditional Icelandic Fish Stew Plokkfiskur

|July 1, 2017
Book, nature, food, travel and hot tub enthusiast - not necessarily in that order. Reykjavík born and raised, but country girl at heart.

The original recipe for the delicious and famous Plokkfiskur, Icelandic fish stew, with an added deluxe version. Bon Appetit!

Iceland might not be widely celebrated for its culinary traditions. However, we in Iceland are blessed with an abundance of high-quality ingredients. It's just that for a long time, we weren't entirely sure how best to use them. 

Still, some classics have remained ever-popular, even with the increasing variety of food options in our supermarkets and restaurants. And to clarify, I'm not referring to fermented shark or skate – that's a topic for another time. Instead, I want to begin with one of Icelandic food classics and a personal favorite of mine: Plokkfiskur.

History of Plokkfiskur

While Iceland's culinary journey might not be the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of this island, we have dishes that have stood the test of time. Plokkfiskur is one such dish, deeply rooted in our culture and history. It's a dish with tales of old times, when Icelandic families gathered together, sharing stories over a warm bowl of this fish stew.

Many of us Icelanders have fond memories associated with Plokkfiskur. From the first taste as toddlers in preschools to the lunch breaks in schools, Plokkfiskur has been a constant companion. It's the dish that grandmothers made with love, mothers perfected with their tweaks, and now the newer generation continues to cherish.

In a land known for its breathtaking landscapes and folklore, Plokkfiskur stands as a testament to Iceland's simpler times. Times when meals were about sustenance, yes, but also about community, family, and tradition. So, when you delve into a bowl of Plokkfiskur, know that you're not just savoring a dish but also relishing a piece of Iceland's history.

Photo from Fiskur í matinn

Classic Plokkfiskur (About 3 Servings)


  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 50 g butter
  • ½-1 dl wheat flour
  • 500 g potatoes, boiled
  • 500 g cod or haddock, boiled
  • 4 dl milk and fish stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper (white or black)


  1. Prepare the Potatoes: Boil the potatoes with their skin on. Once boiled, cool them by draining the hot water and replacing it with cold water for a few minutes. Then, peel and cut them into bite-sized pieces.

  2. Cook the Fish: In a deep pan, bring water to a boil. Add salt, followed by the fish. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 8-9 minutes. Remove the fish, retaining the water (stock) for later use. Flake the fish using a fork.

  3. Make the Stew: In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Stir in the flour, then gradually add a mixture of stock and milk (⅓ stock, ⅔ milk). The consistency should resemble thick soup or gravy. Add the potatoes and flaked fish, stirring gently. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Serve: Enjoy your Plokkfiskur with traditional Icelandic rye bread, generously buttered.

Photo by Tilraunaeldhús Söndru

Plokkfiskur Deluxe Recipe

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of curry
  • Ready-made bearnaise sauce (or homemade)
  • Grated cheese


  1. Follow the steps for the Classic Plokkfiskur recipe.
  2. Before adding the flour to the onions, stir in a teaspoon of curry.
  3. Transfer the stew to a baking or gratiné pan.
  4. Pour bearnaise sauce over the stew.
  5. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C until the cheese turns golden brown (about 3-5 minutes).

Photo from Ljúmeti and Lekkerheit

Plokkfiskur is a testament to Iceland's culinary evolution, turning simple ingredients into a dish that warms the heart. Have you ever tried Plokkfiskur? Share your experience!

Plokkfiskur - FAQs

What does Plokkfiskur mean?

Plokkfiskur translates to "pulled fish" in English. It's a traditional Icelandic fish stew made with simple ingredients.

Is Plokkfiskur a common dish in Iceland?

Yes, Plokkfiskur is a staple in Icelandic cuisine. Many Icelanders grow up eating this dish, served in preschools, schools, and popular restaurants across the country.

What kind of fish is used in Plokkfiskur?

Traditionally, white fish like cod or haddock is used in Plokkfiskur. However, variations might exist based on family recipes.

How is Plokkfiskur served?

Plokkfiskur is best enjoyed with dark sweet Icelandic rye bread and a generous spread of butter.

Are there variations of Plokkfiskur?

Yes, every family in Iceland might have its unique recipe for Plokkfiskur. Some might add ingredients or spices, while others stick to the traditional recipe.

Related Tours

Related Blogs