Open prawn (shrimp) sandwich

Räksmörgås eller räkmacka

Open prawn sandwich

Leif Mannerström, a famous Swedish chef, describes a good räksmörgås (open prawn/shrimp sandwich) as food for the gods and so eating one gives us mere mortals a taste of heaven. I might not go quite that far, but they are good!

Whenever I see a räksmörgås (also called a räkmacka) I find it impossible to resist buying one. Fishmongers in Smögen, on the west coast of Sweden, have hundreds of heavenly räksmörgås lined up on their counters just waiting to be enjoyed by hordes of holiday-makers.

In Stockholm there is a plethora of places that create the most superb smörgås including Melanders Fisk and Tysta Mari in Östermalms Saluhall (a covered food market). Trying a good räksmörgås is an essential experience on a visit to Sweden! John Duxbury


Recipe summary for an open prawn sandwich


• Buy the best prawns (shrimps) you can. North Atlantic cold water prawns are best, rather than king prawns. (Swedes insist that hand-shelled prawns are much better, but I usually can’t be bothered shelling them myself!)
• Use good quality bread. I prefer a good rye bread, such as our danskt rågbröd (Danish style rye bread), but many people prefer a good quality toasted white bun.
• Shop bought mayonnaise is fine, but don’t over do it! I think many räksmögås are spoilt by excessive amounts of mayonnaise.
• I prefer to use just lettuce and tomatoes, but cucumber is often added. Radish, asparagus and avocado are occasionally added.
• Swedes debate whether butter or mayonnaise should be spread on the bread! My vote is for a light coating of mayonnaise.


2   eggs
4 slices   good quality bread
6-8 tbsp   mayonnaise
8-12   lettuce leaves
450 g (1 lb) prawns/shrimps (shelled weight)
1   lemon (some juice and some slices for garnish)
8   small sprigs of dill
4-8   cherry tomatoes


1. Place the eggs in a saucepan of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes (longer for bigger eggs and a firmer set). Plunge into plenty of cold water. After 1 minute, drain and cover with more cold water. Shell when cold.

2. Spread a light coating of mayonnaise on each slice of bread.

A light coating of mayonnaise is added to the lettuce leaves

3. Add the lettuce leaves and spread lightly with mayonnaise.

Slicing the hard boiled eggs

4. Slice the eggs and spread them out on top of the lettuce.

5. Lay the prawns on top of the egg slices.

6. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the prawns and then add a couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise on top of each sandwich.

The finished räksmörgås

7. Garnish with dill sprigs, lemon slices and cherry tomatoes.


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