Crispbread: Crispy Scandinavian Staple Food with Long Shelf Life


In the cold regions of Scandinavia, crispbread has long been cherished as a staple food and preserved item. Made primarily from rye, this dried bread-like food boasts a crispy, pleasing texture. It is considered one of the traditional breads of Scandinavia, and even the Vikings are said to have consumed it as their main sustenance during voyages. In this article, I would like to introduce the Scandinavian crispbread, which can be easily made in Japan as well.

What is Crispbread?

Crispbread is a dried bread that has been consumed in Scandinavia for centuries. With its flat, cracker-like shape, it is thin and lightweight, making it easy to carry. In Japan, it is called crispbread, while in Sweden it is also known as knäckebröd. 

The drying process allows for long-term storage, and it is popular in Nordic countries as a breakfast, snack, or preserved food. It offers a crispy texture with a slight hint of saltiness and is often eaten with jam or cream like toast. Of course, it can also be enjoyed on its own. In Japan, a similar food item is dried bread, which is stored as emergency food.

Unlike dried bread, which is made from wheat flour, crispbread is primarily made from rye. This is because the Nordic countries are cold regions where hardy rye has been cultivated since ancient times. As a result, rye bread is still favored as a staple food in Northern Europe, including Scandinavia.

Moreover, the history of crispbread dates back far in time, as it has been consumed as not only a staple food but also an indispensable stock food during harsh winters among the people of Northern Europe. It is also said that crispbread was a staple food on long Viking voyages between the 9th and 12th centuries.

Popular as a Healthy Food with Versatile Customization

Crispbread was originally eaten as a Nordic version of dried bread for preservation. Traditional crispbread is made from very simple ingredients, using only rye flour, salt, and water. 

However, in recent years, the high nutritional value and low-calorie content of crispbread have attracted attention, making it popular as a health food. Crispbread is made from whole grains, which are rich in dietary fiber. In addition to the highly nutritious rye, ingredients such as nuts, oats, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are often used. It is now frequently enjoyed as a chic and easy-to-make snack by topping it with avocado, fruits, sour cream, or salmon.

Crispbread Can Be Easily Enjoyed in Japan

Crispbread is readily available in Japan at affordable prices from stores like IKEA, Kaldi Coffee Farm, and online retailers. One of its charms is that it can also be easily made at home. 

The method is very simple: mix rye or wheat flour with your choice of nuts or seeds, then add a small amount of coconut oil or olive oil to bind the mixture. Bake it in a 200°C oven for about 15 to 30 minutes, and you’re done. If you lightly score the bread before baking, it will easily snap apart once baked.


Crispbread has been a long-standing staple and preserved food in Scandinavia, and today, it is also popular as a health food. In Japan, it can be easily purchased at stores or made at home. On your days off, try customizing your own crispbread with your favorite toppings for a unique experience.