Fiskegrateng (Fish Casserole with Macaroni & Garlicky Breadcrumbs)

March 17, 2017
Norwegian Fiskegrateng (Fish & Macaroni Casserole with Garlicky Breadcrumbs)

Norwegian Fiskegrateng (Fish & Macaroni Casserole with Garlicky Breadcrumbs)Some days you just need something with a bit of depth and a bit of warmth. An all-in-one meal straight from the oven and dished out directly from its hot container. Nothing too fancy or fussy. A good, classic meal that you can always count on. Understated, but gives you that cozy feeling with each bite. For me, that’s fiskegrateng.

Fiskegrateng is the very definition of comfort food. This is a beloved and popular dish throughout Norway and has had a constant place in cookbooks and homes throughout the 20th and 21st century, possibly even before. It’s an ideal way to use up leftover fish or just serve fish for dinner that everyone is bound to enjoy. It’s almost like a mac & cheese –  just swap out the cheese for the fish.

Norwegian Fiskegrateng (Fish & Macaroni Casserole with Garlicky Breadcrumbs)Norwegian Fiskegrateng (Fish & Macaroni Casserole with Garlicky Breadcrumbs)Norwegian Fiskegrateng (Fish & Macaroni Casserole with Garlicky Breadcrumbs)The premise of the dish is simple. White fish, a béchamel sauce and a topping of browned breadcrumbs (hence the ‘grateng’ or ‘gratin’). How you choose to build upon the casserole is entirely up to you. Many will argue the need for macaroni, some will add cheese, some will have more sauce, some will have more fish. I have found that my ideal fiskegrateng leans toward the creamier side with a good amount of fish and macaroni and some leek thrown in for good measure. And last, but certainly not least, a topping of buttery and garlicky breadcrumbs.

Norwegian Fiskegrateng (Fish & Macaroni Casserole with Garlicky Breadcrumbs)A good sign of any casserole is when you take it out of the oven and the sauce is bubbling up on the sides and there a slightly burnished top layer just waiting to be cracked into. This recipe will not disappoint!

Fiskegrateng (Fish Casserole with Macaroni & Garlicky Breadcrumbs)


  • 500g boneless, skinless white fish, such as cod (frozen, fresh, or cooked)
  • 150 g (1 cup) dry macaroni
  • ½ large leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 6 Tb (85g) butter
  • 4 ½ Tb flour
  • 3 cups milk, warmed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tb butter
  • salt and pepper

In a medium-sized pot, cook the macaroni in salted water until al dente. Remove the macaroni with a slotted spoon and set aside. Use the same pot to cook the fish (only if it is raw), about 5 minutes. Strain the fish and let cool. When it has cooled, flake the fish into pieces.

Heat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F.

Make the béchamel sauce by melting 6Tb butter in a large saucepan. When the butter is foamy, whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the warmed milk and continue to whisk. Toss in the leek and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook the sauce over medium heat until it has thickened, another couple of minutes. Set aside.

Melt 2 Tb butter in a pan and add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute and add the breadcrumbs. Mix everything together and cook for 1 minute longer. Set aside.

Separate the eggs. Stir the yolks into the béchamel. Whisk the whites and fold into the sauce as well. Next, add the macaroni and fish and gently mix everything together. Pour into a casserole dish and top with the garlicky breadcrumbs. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

It’s common to serve fiskegrateng with a grated carrot salad of choice.


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  • Reply Shauna Solomon March 17, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    This sounds perfect- particularly for the weather that we’re having right now. Perfect dinner to have after being outside. Not many bloggers post dishes with fish as the main ingredient so thank you! Have a lovely weekend, Shauna

    • Reply nevada March 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Thanks Shauna – this is such a no fuss, everyday (Norwegian) meal that I just had to share! I hope you like it 🙂

  • Reply Kat May 15, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Does this bake well the next day? I’m looking to make it a day ahead of time for a friend whose grandmother just passed, and wondered if it might keep in the fridge for baking later. Looks delicious! Fantastic photos too.

    • Reply nevada May 16, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Hi Kat, thanks for your question. Yes, you can certainly make this dish a day ahead and bake it the following day. Please send my condolences to your friend.

  • Reply Karen Wallin October 11, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    This sounds like something I want to try soon. There is a recipe I have been trying to find for years, my bestemore used to make it when I was a child. It is called fiskeboller, they are about the size and shape of a baseball, made with fresh cod and or pollock, potatoes, flour, onions and seasonings put through a hand grinding machine and then boiled. So delicious, but I can’t find a proper recipe for this and would love to make it, do you have a recipe you would be willing to share?

    • Reply nevada October 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Karen! Yes, fiskeboller is on my list of dishes to make and share! I’m so glad to hear you have such fond memories of it. It’s a classic!

  • Reply Angela Lee November 5, 2018 at 6:45 am

    Does the cod need to be cut up?

    • Reply nevada November 25, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Yes, that is the traditional way to serve it. You can just flake it apart after cooking.

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