Tunnbrödsrulle—The Swedish Wrap Anthony Bourdain Loved
If you’ve never had a tunnbrödsrulle, you're missing out. If you’ve had one and you’re not in Sweden right now, you’re probably missing it. So in this article we’re going to share everything there is to know about tunnbrödsrullar—from the history of the bread it’s made with to recipes. And, of course, all the products you need to make it!

Tunnbrödsrullar—the Basics

A tunnbrödsrulle (also known as a tumlerulle) is a Swedish wrap filled with tasty goodness. After a bite, Anthony Bourdain famously said, “The finest and best thing I ever had in my life.” He also said, “This is the most disgusting thing ever…and I LOVE it!” (We prefer the first assessment…)

If you’re Swedish, you probably already agree with Bourdain that it's a tasty treat (especially after a night on town).

If you’ve never had a tunnbrödsrulle…well, it’s about time you did!And thankfully, you don’t need to be Anthony Bourdain to be able tomake a tunnbödsrulle—it’s not haute cuisine. It’s simply a wrap filledwith your favorite fillings and can be put together in five minutesflat.

The one Anthony Bourdain tasted isthe popular street food version—filled with sausages, mash andaccompaniments—but you can fill your tunnbrödsrulle with anything fromfancy seafood salad and Caviar of Kalix to cheese and tomatoes.

Chancesare, if you’re Swedish you miss the tunnbrödsrulle like crazy if youlive overseas. Lucky for you, we stock all the ingredients to make it(whether you want to fill it with sausages and mash, skagenöra, orlöjrom). So when you need that midnight snack…or you just want somecomfort food…you can whip it up in ten minutes flat!

Now,let’s deep dive into the history of the tunnbrödsrulle and share allabout the ingredients that make it so special. If you already know howgreat the tunnbrödsrulle is, you might just want to skip straight to therecipes…

Let’s Get Historical—The History of the Humble Tunnbröd

While you probably think of tunnbrödsrulle as something you eat after a night on town if you’re Swedish, trunnbröd itself has a long history which has little to do with being a late night food!

For the uninitiated, tunnbröd is the Swedes’ equivalent of tortillas—available both in soft and hard (crispy) versions. To make a tunnbrödsrulle (which directly translates to “thin bread roll”...a wrap, in other words) you need the soft version.

Today tunnbröd is usually made with rye and/or wheat, but it wasn’t always made that way.

Back in the day, people didn’t have the option to store things as securely as we do today. For that reason, you couldn’t get hold of fresh flour throughout the year. It could get moldy, infested with vermin, destroyed by frost, and so forth. So people wanted to use the flour as soon as it was ground.

As a result of this, people got together for “storbaket” (the big bake) and made thin crispbread that could be stored safely, sometimes even for years. Both knäckebröd (crispbread) and tunnbröd were made this way.

Tunnbröd is famously known to come from the North of Sweden and up there, there were less days for harvesting (as the weather is worse) and frost would come sooner than in the South. This meant that people didn’t have a lot of flour and what was had, had to be used before the winter frost came knocking and destroyed it.

In other words, you didn’t have access to a lot of flour up North.

As a result of this, and due to “bad years” for harvests, bread wasn’t only made with regular flour from oats, rye, and wheat, but also potatoes, and flour made from bark.

And let’s not forget that bread was first baked outdoors over an open fire (hence why people got together to bake—bringing the accessories needed to make the bread and helping each other out).

Later, there were indoor fireplaces—eventually with ovens—but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the iron stove made its entry into the kitchen. In fact, from 1622-1747 households with a “baking oven” (i.e. a kind of stone fireplace with a built-in oven) were considered so rich they were taxed especially for the oven.

In the 1700s “baking cottages” that could be used by several people also started becoming popular, but in the very North of Sweden people still made bread outdoors over open fires as late as the early 20th century.

Another important consideration was that up North, they had “korn,” not the more glutinous wheat that was grown in the south. As such, it wasn’t so easy to make sourdough. Instead, the thin bread that didn’t need to rise was a better option.

Once flour became more readily available and more or less everyone had an oven of their own in the mid 1900s, tunnbröd became easier to make and people shifted to making it with mainly rye and wheat. Of course, once Polarbröd started mass producing it, pretty much everyone had access to it in local stores, which eventually led to the epic success of the tunnbrödsrulle.

However, tunnbröd is still linked to the North of Sweden and the Sami who live up there (the Swedish inuit population) are known to serve up incredible tunnbrödsrullar. Albeit, not with the ingredients Bourdain got to try. You’re more likely to get a tunnbröd with reindeer meat, just like you can at the popular Swedish amusement park Skansen where you can also learn to make tunnbröd in an old “baking cottage.”

If you love history, you should read this article about the origins of tunnbröd (it’s in Swedish, but there’s always Google translate).

The Classic Tunnbrödsrulle—What It Is and the Mastermind Who Invented It

To say this is the classic tunnbrödsrulle is probably wrong, because it was invented in the 1960s and surely people were eating tunnbrödsrullar with lots of other fillings way before then. But if you ask a Swede today about a tunnbrödsrulle, most will tell you that it’s “A tunnbröd filled with mashed potatoes, a sausage or two, and various toppings.”

So the tunnbröd, mash, and sausages are “the foundation” (and if it’s true street food style you might want “pulvermos” i.e. “powder mash” made from powdered potatoes).

It’s worth noting that Swedes who are really into tunnbrödsrullar will have a firm opinion on the mash, as well as what tunnbröd is the best (just here in our shop we have three different versions of tunnbröd…not including the various crispy ones!), and whether the sausages should be fried or boiled. Some might even say you should use a Danish pølse (a form of red hot dog) not a classic Swedish wienerkorv (wiener sausage). Or why not one of each?

What topping would you presume would be included in the tunnbrödsrulle? Or if your Swedish—what are the must-have toppings for a tunnbrödsrulle?

Ketchup and mustard, perhaps? And of course, that’d be the Swedish version of mustard that’s both spicy and sweet.

Maybe some relish? Like Bostongurka (a sweet and savory type of relish with pickled gherkins, onions, red bell peppers, and spices, like mustard seeds)​​.

Of course, you also need a bit of onion—the toasted kind (bought in tubs in Sweden).
Salad is optional.

Now, what you probably wouldn’t expect if you’re a foreigner is that Swedes, especially if they didn’t use Bostongurka, love to top this off with shrimp salad—the kind made with mayonnaise.  

Yep, mash and sausages with salad, ketchup, mustard, toasted onions and…shrimp salad, all wrapped up in a bread roll.

Sounds weird? In the words of Anthony Bourdain: “This is the most disgusting thing ever. And I love it.”

Who invented this (strange) delicacy?

It was Elov "Loffe" Bråtfors on the square in Stuvsta, where he had a “grill” (which translates to grill or BBQ, but it’s the kind of Swedish fast food place that serves hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, and more). However, he denies having used shrimp salad on it. Instead, he’s a proponent of Bostongurka.

So, let's look at how to make the ultimate tunnbrödsrulle…as well as some recipes for more fancy versions!

The Classic Tunnbrödsrulle Recipe

This is the Swedishness version of the classic tunnbrödsrulle that’s been a street food favorite since the 1960s.


- Tunnbröd
- Pulvermos (powdered mash)
- Wiener Sausages
- Ketchup
- Mustard
- Toasted onions
- Bostongurka OR shrimp salad
- Salad (cut in thin slices)


1. Boil water and add powdered mash according to the instructions. Whisk.
2. Cook your sausage(s) how you prefer (boiled or fried).
3. Take your tunnbröd and add mash along the center.
4. Add the sausage(s).
5. Add mustard and ketchup.
6. Sprinkle over toasted onion.
7. Add Bostongurka (skip if using shrimp salad).
8. Add salad.
9. Add shrimp salad.
10. Roll into a nice wrap.
11. Take a bite. Sit back. Enjoy.

Tunnbrödsrulle with Caviar of Kalix (Löjrom) Two Ways

If you want a luxurious canapé, this is the way to go. Serve with champagne to get the party started. The below recipe is from Mitt Kök and the original can be found here.

Caraway Cream Cheese and Caviar of Kalix Tunnbrödsrulle


- 4 tunnbröd (thin rectangular flatbreads)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1/2 red onion
- 3.2 ounces (80 grams) vendace roe (Caviar of Kalix a.k.a. löjrom)
- Arugula
- Caraway cream cheese

Caraway cream cheese

- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated aged cheese
- 1 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche

1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients for the cream cheese.
2. Spread caraway cream cheese on the flatbreads. 
3.Chop the eggs and red onion. 
4. Divide the eggs, red onion, and roe among the breads. Top with a few arugula leaves and roll up the breads from the long side.
4. Cut each roll into four pieces.


- Don’t like caraway? Stick to natural cream cheese.
- If you don’t have Caviar of Kalix at hand, you can use some good old Abba’s lumpfish roe.
- Arugula is also known as rucola.

Grilled Cheese with Roe and Toppings

Want a recipe directly from Polarbröd which makes the classic tunnbröd? Then this grilled cheese one with Caviar of Kalix is a great one. Technically it’s not a tunnbrödsrulle, as these are cut into pieces to be served as canapés, but hey, it’s made with tunnbröd. The original Swedish recipe can be found here.


- 1 loaf of Abisko bread (tunnbröd by Polabröd)
- 1½ cups grated aged cheese with strong flavor (e.g., Parmesan, Västerbottensost, or Brännvinsost)
- 1 drizzle of olive oil


- 4.4 ounces (125 grams) lumpfish roe or vendace roe
- 2 cups sour cream or smetana
- 1 bunch chives
- Dill
- Lemon
- Black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
2. Place the bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the bread. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with black pepper.
3. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
4. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut into smaller pieces.
5. Arrange on a serving platter and top with a dollop of sour cream, roe, chives, dill, and black pepper.

Tunnbrödsrullar with Salmon, Capers and Cream Cheese

Another recipe from Polabröd uses smoked salmon and cream cheese, as well as herbs and capers for a very Scandinavian taste. If you love cream cheese and salmon bagels, this might just be the next step up…

These wraps can be cut up and served as canapés or enjoyed as a simple wrap for lunch.

The original Swedish recipe can be found here.

Smoked Salmon and Caper Cream Cheese Wraps

Ingredients (serves 4 if used as canapés)

- 2 Abisko breads (tunnbröd by Polabröd)
- 4 slices smoked salmon

Quick Pickled Cucumber

- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 pinches salt

Herb and Caper Cream

- 4 tablespoons small capers
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- 7 ounces (200 grams) cream cheese
- Pinch of salt
- Black pepper

For Serving

- 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
- Herbs and salad greens for garnish (e.g., pea shoots, Swiss chard shoots)


Quick Pickled Cucumber

1. Thinly slice the cucumber lengthwise and squeeze out any excess liquid.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves.
3. Add the cucumber slices to the brine, toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Herb and Caper Cream

1. Chop the capers finely.
2. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, parsley, chives, chopped capers, salt, and pepper. Mix well until smooth and creamy.


1. Spread the herb and caper cream evenly over each bread slice.
2. Layer the smoked salmon and quick-pickled cucumber slices on top of the cream.
3. Carefully roll each bread slice into a tight wrap.
4. If not serving immediately, wrap the rolls tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.


1. Cut each roll into bite-sized pieces, about 2 inches (6 cm) thick.
2. Arrange the roll pieces on a serving platter and garnish with fresh herbs, salad greens, and radish slices.

Get Creative

You now have some recipes to choose from to make the perfect tunnbrödsrulle, but there’s nothing stopping you from coming up with your own recipes. Right now’s the time to do it, too, because it’s tunnbrödsrullens day coming up the second Saturday in May!

Try it with reindeer meat, chicken and mayo, skagenröra, surtrömming (a so-called surströmmingsklämma), or whatever else takes your fancy!

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