Food & Drink

Every Danish Pastry You Need to Try in Copenhagen

When you think of Danish pastry, what comes to mind? Maybe some cream cheese, cherry filling, and a flaky dough? “Tourists will come in and ask for the one with cheese, or a salty and savory pastry,” says Lars Konstantin Hansen, manager of Lagkagehuset’s iconic Christianshavns Torv bakery. “[But] we don’t have these in Denmark.” Our beloved cherry Danishes aren’t quite the same as what the Danes are eating at home.

In Denmark, wienerbrød or ‘Vienna bread’ is the umbrella term for a range of flaky, sweet pastries. They’re named after the Austrian bakers who brought the technique of making laminated dough (think croissants) to Copenhagen. The Viennese pâtissiers traveled to Denmark in the mid-1800s after Danish bakers went on strike. (Or so the story goes.) Little did they know at the time, that this cross-cultural exchange would lead to international culinary acclaim. In short, weinerbrød refers to a category of pastry rather than a single pastry, although occasionally individual pastries are referred to simply as weinerbrød.

Today, wienerbrød of all kinds are a must-try when visiting Copenhagen. The bakeries are packed with sweet smelling (and tasting) choices. How do you know which ones to try? We’ve done the tasting for you in this definitive guide to Danish pastries.

All these gorgeous delicacies are from Lagkagehuset’s Christianshavns Torv bakery. This location bakes everything daily on site (and yes, the smell is divine). So if you’re into fresh pastries, “come in very early [around 6:00am], that’s when they come right out of the oven.” Thanks for the tip, Lars!

These are the best Danish pastries to try in Copenhagen:

Rabarberhorns (Rhubarb Horn)

These soft, golden pastries aren’t available all year round, so be sure to grab one (or two!) when in season. They’re made by folding rhubarb and marzipan into a milky dough that’s later topped with nuts and/or sugar. A rabarberhorn is not a traditional Danish wienerbrød, but it’s definitely among the popular bakery picks, and with good reason; the slight tartness of the rhubarb is wonderful against the sweetness of the dough.


 

Dough

Soft and doughy

Filling

Rhubarb and marzipan

Feature

Sweet with a tart finish

Did you know

The dough for rabarberhorns is made with buttermilk, which makes this pastry super soft with a slightly tangy taste.

 

 
 

Frøsnapper (Seed Snappers)

A frøsnapper is a traditional Danish pastry lathered with remonce – a thick paste that’s equal parts sugar and butter. It’s more savory than the other puff pastries thanks to a bit of salt and a generous helping of poppy and other seeds. Great for those who want something with their coffee but aren’t into the super-sweet stuff.


 

Dough

Flaky and delicate

Filling

Remonce

Feature

Slightly savory and sweet

Did you know

“Frø” is the Danish word for both “seed” and “frog,” so a frøsnapper has two translations. It’s always called “seed snapper” in English, although ‘frog snapper’ is technically also correct.

 

 
 

Hindbærsnitter (Raspberry Slices)

Similar to the Latvian Alexander Torte, a hindbærsnitte is a must-try for all the shortbread lovers out there. These buttery squares are slathered with raspberry marmalade and topped with a thick powdered sugar glaze. If you want to try a hindbærsnitte in Copenhagen, go to Lagkagehuset. They’re generous with their raspberry filling, giving their hindbærsnitter two layers of filling instead of the normal single layer. Think of this one as a slightly less-sweet, elevated pop-tart.


 

Dough

Shortbread

Filling

Raspberry marmalade

Feature

Sweet with a tart finish

Did you know

The Little Mermaid author Hans Christian Andersen would travel across country, from Copenhagen to Skagen, to eat hindbærsnitter at Brøndums Hotel.

 

 
 

Spandauer

This is the pastry. The inspiration behind the globally recognized “Danish.” The name comes from an infamous prison in Berlin’s Spandau district which, to Danish bakers, resembled the shape of the elevated pastry. Spandauer are one of Denmark’s oldest and most cherished wienerbrød. If you try nothing else in Copenhagen, try a spandauer (but seriously, try way more than that).


 

Dough

Flaky

Filling

Custard crème or Marzipan custard crème

Feature

Crisp viennoiserie ring

Did you know

The marzipan custard center in a spandauer is called borgmestermasse or “Mayor’s Mass,” named after Jacob Marstrand, a baker and former magistrate of Copenhagen.

 

 
 

Direktørsnegl (Boss Snail)

You can just look at a direktørsnegl and understand why it’s one of Lagkagehuset’s best-selling pastries. This frosted spiral bun is chocolate’s unequivocal response to the cinnamon roll. Why, exactly, it’s called a “boss snail” is a bit of mystery, but Lars believes that the name evolved from the pastry’s previous moniker. “It [used to be] called højsnegl or “tall snail” because it was a bit more classy [than a regular cinnamon bun]… like a top hat.”


 

Dough

Flaky but sturdy

Filling

Puff pastry and chocolate

Feature

Shortbread-like bottom

Did you know

Think you detect a hint of cinnamon in that direktørksnegl? Nope. A direktørksnegl is only made with chocolate and dough. There’s not a drop of cinnamon in the entire pastry (not ONE drop!).

 

 
 

Kanelstang (Cinnamon stick)

This classic bakery “cake” is so fluffy and sweet that it’ll convert even the most stringent of cinnamon-skeptics. It’s typically sold as a large cake, but Lagkagehuset is one of the few bakeries where you can buy a slice. Paired with a hot cup of coffee? Heaven!


 

Dough

Soft and bready

Filling

Cinnamon remonce

Feature

Overwhelmingly cinnamon

Did you know

Kanelstang’s star is on the rise. It’s becoming one of Lagkagehuset’s best-selling pastries (and it is Lars’s recommended must try!).

 

 
 

Kanelsnegl (Cinnamon snail)

While originally from Sweden, some argue that Danes are ones who truly perfected the cinnamon bun. We choose to remain neutral in this matter, and think that everyone is a winner. There’s not much that needs to be said about the Danish kanelsnegl – it’s tender, flaky, and oh-so-delicious.


 

Dough

Flaky

Filling

Cinnamon remonce

Feature

Gooey cinnamon core (the best part)

Did you know

There’s a Danish custom to eat cinnamon buns on Wednesdays. It’s called Onsdagssnegle (Wednesday snails), and we thoroughly recommend that you partake in the tradition. Some bakeries sell their kanelsnegle at reduced prices on this day.

 

 
 

Tebirkes (Tea Poppy Seed Buns)

A tebirkes is essentially a frøsnapper that’s been folded instead of stretched and twisted. Similarly, it’s not too sweet and is a little savory; and the poppy seeds add a nice finishing crunch. Make sure to check you don’t have anything in your teeth after enjoying one.


 

Dough

Flaky and delicate

Filling

Remonce

Feature

Lots of poppy seeds on top

Did you know

There are different types of tebirkes but the ones with remonce are undoubtedly the most popular.

 

 
 

Not exactly pastry, but you get them at the bakery

Romkugler (Rum Balls)

A romkugle may look like chocolate, but it’s actually a soft confection of leftover pastries and cakes. The darker the rum ball, the more chocolate cake used. And they’re always kneaded with a healthy dose of rum essence.

Romkugler’s cakey filling are also found inside another bakery favorite, træstammer (tree logs). These marzipan and chocolate-striped logs have been a Danish dessert for as long as anyone can remember.


 

Dough

Dense and cakey

Filling

Rum-infused cake

Feature

Sprinkles. Rum-forward flavor

Did you know

Danish romkugler come in different colors and sizes. In fact, some rum balls are as big as softballs! But no, you won’t get drunk from eating one.

 

 
 

Pølsehorn (Sausage horn)

The Danish “pig in a blanket” isn’t snack-sized here; one pølsehorn is almost a full meal. The dough is soft, slightly sweet, and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds; a nice balance to the smoky pork sausage. Grab this for a quick lunch or snack.


 

Dough

Soft and sweet

Filling

Pork sausage

Feature

Sesame seed topping

Did you know

In Denmark, pølsehorn are mainly a children’s snack and usually served with a full-sized sausage.

 

Visit Lagkagehuset to try the best in Danish pastry!

Lagkagehuset

Frederiksborggade 6
1360 København K
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 6:30am – 7pm
Sat 8am – 7pm
Sun 8am- 5pm


Frederiksberggade 21
1459 København K
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 6:30am – 7pm
Sat 8am – 7pm
Sun 8am- 5pm

Torvegade 45
1400 København K
Opening Hours:
Everyday 6am – 7pm

See more locations here.

 
Photography and graphics by Freya McOmish.