Essential Swiss Recipes Everyone Should Know

In alphabetical order, I’ve compiled a list of those quintessentially Swiss recipes that I think everyone should know about. I hope you’ll discover at least one dish you’ve never heard of before. Or, perhaps you’ve tried them all? What else would you add to this list? Of course, these dishes only give you a taste of Switzerland. There are so many more wonderful foods to learn about from all corners of the country.

1. Älplermagronen

Switzerland’s version of macaroni and cheese is served with applesauce. Some versions of Älplermagronen also contain boiled potato chunks, but I personally prefer it without. One of my favorite ways to serve it is with crispy onion slices

2. Birchermüesli

Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner invented Birchermüesli around the turn of the 20th century. Featuring a raw apple at the center of this dish, his original recipe also calls for oats, sweetened condensed milk and nuts. I also like making it with grated pear.

3. Capuns

Savory little dumplings wrapped in Swiss chard leaves and served in a bouillon or creamy broth are known as capuns in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. You will find many different versions of this dish, as each family and restaurant has their own recipe. While capuns typically contain dried, cured meat from this region, there are also vegetarian versions of this dish.

4. Fondue

Melted cheese in a pot, served with skewered bread or potatoes, could not be more Swiss. One of the most classic Swiss fondues is the Moitié-Moitié. Among other ingredients, you make it with equal parts of two Swiss cheeses, Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois.

5. Käseschnitten / Croûtes au fromage

Käseschnitten (cheese slices) in German or croûtes au fromage (cheese crusts), this dish is a great way to use slices of dry bread. Top them with cheese and other ingredients, and then heat them until melty in an oven. Served with a salad, it makes for a super easy and satisfying meal.

6. Papet Vaudois

Papet Vaudois is made with Saucisse aux choux (cabbage sausage), and you serve it on a bed of leeks and potatoes cooked with a little cream and some local white wine. Seasoned with salt and pepper, this sausage may also contain garlic, coriander, nutmeg, mace, cloves and anise. Papet is an old term from the local French dialect that refers to a thick porridge or soup.

7. Polenta

Polenta is a popular dish throughout Switzerland, but especially in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. Often served with stewed meat, polenta can also accompany a simple plate of cheese. This was my experience at the Grotto dei Deux Ponti in Giornico, Switzerland. You will also find polenta with darker hues, which I tasted in Valposchiavo, that is mixed with buckwheat flour.

8. Raclette

A specialty of Valais, Raclette refers to both a type of cheese and to an extremely popular Swiss dish. This dish involves simply scraping the melted Raclette cheese onto a plate with boiled potatoes. The traditional way to prepare Raclette is scraping the cheese from a demi-meule (a half wheel of cheese). An easy way to make it at home at your dining room table is with a raclonette, which heats little trays of pre-cut Raclette.

9. Rösti

One of the most iconic Swiss dishes is rösti. To make it, you grate potatoes (often boiled first) and fry them into flat, round pancake. Ideally, the potatoes become crisp and golden brown on the outside, while they remain a bit soft and almost creamy on the inside. This comforting dish has many variations.

10. Risotto

Another popular dish from Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region is risotto. Saffron risotto remains particularly popular. Not surprisingly, there are many different ways to make this dish. Others may add a dash of Merlot wine or perhaps some vegetables, such as squash, mushrooms or asparagus. The short-grained Loto rice is frequently used to make risotto in Switzerland.

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