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Norwegian Halibut Recipe with Whipped Sour Cream

This juicy Norwegian halibut recipe is served with a slightly sweet whipped sour cream and vinegary cucumber salad. It is one of many Christmas dinners in Norway, but it is so good and SO EASY we should make it more often! Anyone can make this recipe, and it's actually quite easy to make for just one or two people as well. 


Halibut Christmas dinner seen from above.


Let's welcome my first ever fish recipe on this blog. I might be Norwegian, in the fishiest part of Norway too, but fish isn't my thing. Any fish that actually tastes like fish (hello, salmon, I'm looking at you) and I'm out. 


However, halibut is not that kind of fish. It is actually delicious, especially with these sides. You can make this dish for anyone in the family, whether they like fish or not, and I'm sure they will love it. 


I am in the process of sharing all my favorite fish-for-people-that-doesn't-like-fish recipes, but this is the first of the bunch. So stay tuned for the rest!


Update: I've also added this delicious weeknight dinner: breaded pollock with caramelized onions!


Poached halibut, cucumber salad and whipped sour cream.


The best way to prepare halibut


I prefer to use frozen fish for this halibut recipe. It thaws in no time using this method. You actually start cooking the fish directly from frozen. 


Fish should not be cooked in boiling water, but rather poached in a temperature of around 160-175F (70-80C), in order to not damage the delicate fish meat.


By poaching I mean you boil the salted water with 1 teaspoon vinegar, set it aside and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Then add the fish and put on the lid. 


You should mimic the salt levels in the sea when poaching fish. The salt binds the juices in the fish. You should use about 1 tablespoon salt per liter (4 cups) of water. Generally, you should use 3 times as much water as fish.


Halibut fillets in a casserole with water.


From frozen, it takes about 15 minutes to poach the halibut. You can see that the fish turns white and it is done when it is flaky. If you have really thick pieces of fish you should make sure to have the casserole over low heat while poaching. 


Run it quickly under running water and blot dry with a paper towel. Leave it on a plate in the refrigerator if you want to serve it cold, or serve right away if not. If you serve it hot, make sure you prepare the sides at the same time. 


Yup, everything takes less than 30 minutes!


Do you serve it hot or cold?


This halibut recipe could be prepared and eaten both hot or cold. I have tried both, and I absolutely prefer it cold. It's something about the texture of the cold fish that is very appealing to me. It gets firmer, feels meatier. I love it. But you could just as well serve it hot and it is juicier. 


Fork taking a piece of flaky fish.

Cold fish.


Whipped sour cream


The things that make this Norwegian Christmas dinner SO good, are the side dishes. And they are almost disturbingly easy to make. The whipped sour cream is so creamy, tangy and slightly sweetened. The touch of sugar really takes this sour cream to a whole different level!


To make it, simply whip sour cream and sugar until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes when using a handheld mixer. Set aside until ready to eat.


The sour cream should be fatty, preferably around 35% (Seterrømme in Norway), in order to whip it. If you can't find that, then opt for a full-fat Crème Fraîche instead. However, you could also use regular sour cream, but that wouldn't be as fluffy. In the United States, these other items are either placed next to the sour cream or next to specialty cheeses. 


How to whip sour cream. 


Vinegary cucumber salad


But it's also very important with the vinegary cucumber salad. The sour, yet fresh combination is perfect with the sweet sour cream and juicy fish.


I like to roughly peel the cucumber, just to give it some flare. You can completely peel it, or not peel it at all. Then slice it thinly and combine with vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. It gets better if you let it sit for 30-60 minutes before serving it.


It could also be made in the morning and served in the evening, just store it covered in the fridge until ready to eat!


How to make cucumber salad.


Serve it


Before serving, boil potatoes (I love fingerling potatoes), and melt some butter. Plate the warm or cold fish, serve with the cucumber salad and potatoes, dollop some whipped sour cream on the side and drizzle melted butter over the fish and potatoes. And don't forget the white wine - enjoy!


Some bright, lemony asparagus or warming Moroccan carrots could also be delicious with this!


Halibut fillet, not cleaned the skin off. Potatoes and cucumber on the side.


If you want to, you can serve the fish with the skin on like this, or you can take it off. Either way, the skin shouldn't be eaten, only for presentation!


Don't forget that a Christmas dinner isn't a Christmas dinner if it isn't followed by dessert. My favorite desserts after a meal like this include (but are not limited to) a crème brûlée, chocolate pudding, coconut cranberry trifle, whipped cream and krumkake or a Christmas pavlova!


This is a dish we always serve on December 25th or 26th, but we celebrate Christmas all week long, so on Dec 31st we usually serve turkey, like this rosemary turkey breast or a whole roasted chicken!


Did you like this recipe? Here are more festive dinners I think you would like:



I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year. 


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📖 Recipe

Halibut Christmas dinner seen from above.

Norwegian Halibut Recipe with Whipped Sour Cream

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Juicy Norwegian halibut recipe with a slightly sweet whipped sour cream and vinegary cucumber salad. The easiest Christmas dinner ever!


The Halibut

  • 4 fresh or frozen pieces of halibut (about 1200 grams with bones, 800 grams without)
  • 8 cups water (2 liters)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Boiled potatoes and melted butter, for serving

The Cucumber Salad

  • 1 English cucumber (or 1 ½, no need to adjust the other ingredients)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon light vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

The Whipped Sour Cream

  • 10 oz 35% fat sour cream* (300 grams)
  • 1-2 teaspoon sugar


The Halibut

  1. Add water, salt and vinegar to a large casserole and bring it up to a temperature of about 160-175 fahrenheit (70-80 celcius). Take it off the heat, add the fish and cover with a lid. Let it poach for 15-20 minutes or until the fish turns white and flaky and separates slightly from the bones.
  2. Run the fish quickly under cold, running water and blot dry with a paper towel. Serve right away with the prepared sides or place on a plate and put them in the refrigerator until cold (I prefer it cold).

The Cucumber Salad

  1. I like to roughly peel the cucumber, but you can peel completely or omit altogether depending on preference. Thinly slice and combine with all the other ingredients.
  2. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It is best if you let it sit for at least 30 minutes, but can be eaten right away.

The Whipped Sour Cream

  1. Whip the sour cream and sugar together until fluffy, 1-2 minutes using a handheld mixer. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To Serve

  1. Plate the cold or hot fish and serve it with the cucumber salad, a dollop of whipped sour cream, boiled potatoes and melted butter. Best enjoyed with a glass of white wine!


* If you can't find 35% fat sour cream (seterrømme in Norwegian), use the full-fat crème fraîche instead. In the US, sometimes it is close to the specialty cheesess in the grocery stores.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: ¼
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 16.9gSaturated Fat: 9.3gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 330mgCarbohydrates: 7.8gFiber: 0.4gSugar: 3.4gProtein: 44.7g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate, estimate for informational purposes only. Does not include the salted water as the fish is washed after, nor the potatoes and butter.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!

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Monday 29th of November 2021

This halibut looks amazing. Love how you paired fish with cucumber salad. Sounds like nice refreshing touch. I will have to try this. Can't wait.

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

It is nicely balanced, indeed. Thank you so much!


Monday 29th of November 2021

This dish looks absolutely amazing and I cant wait to make it! Thank you for sharing!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

Thank you, Ramona!


Saturday 27th of November 2021

This is definitely a great fish recipe for people who don't like fish! I like the addition of whipped sour cream as well!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

Thank you so much!

Amy Liu Dong

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

This dish looks really delicious and easy. I will make this at home for my husband. Thank you!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Friday 26th of November 2021

Thank you so much, yes it is super easy!

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